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Is it save to give dogs Paracetamol?

Q: Is it save to give dogs Paracetamol? PetPlanet Talk Adminstrator PPAdmin pettalk@petplanet.co.uk Could someone advise me on a query regarding the giving of paracetamol to dogs. I took my 14 year old border collie to the vets last monday with a tiny lump on his neck, which was dealt with. Whilst there I told the vet that Ben had arthritis in his back leg and I was giving him one aspirin tablet daily with his food. He was going to prescribe a drug for this, but as I am single and live on incapacity benefit only, due to being disabled, I could not afford the ongoing treatment. He then told me to stop the aspirin and to give him a half of a 600mg paracetamol tablet twice daily, I could only find a 500mg tablet so I gave him half of this instead, 4 days later he was sick. I took him back to the same clinic on saturday and another vet said it looked like kidney failure, and seemed most surprised that I had been told to give Ben paracetomal, He was admitted and was on a drip for 24 hours but got worse, I was advised to put him to sleep today as he wasn;t going to recover. It was Kidney failure, the Urea test was 33 on admittance and rose to 40 today. What I would like to know is, was it the paracetamol that contributed to his death, as he had never had a days illness before ever. I have since been told that you should not give paracetamol to animals, as they dont get rid of it the same as we do. I feel so bad because he was well and healthy before the paracetamol. I hope you can give me some advice about this. The vet concerned said it was not because of the paracetamol, just that Ben was 14 years old and this is often what happens with older dogs. I have another dog of 9 years and dont want this to happen again. Thank you Heather Watson

A:Is it save to give dogs Paracetomol? PetPlanet Talk Adminstrator PPAdmin pettalk@petplanet.co.uk Dear Heather, Both Aspirin and Paracetamol are more toxic to dogs than newer non-steroidal anti-inflammatories. Aspirin is used as an anti-inflammatory in America as it is listed in their text books, with dosages. Paracetomol is also used as an anti-inflammatory, though not so commonly now. They were all that was available before the newer drugs. Paracetomol generally has it's toxic effect on the liver, causing irreversible damage, which is why those who overdose on paracetomol rarely survive. It can also cause renal tubular damage and is contra-indicated in patients with known kidney problems.It would be difficult to prove a connection with the paracetomol without knowing the state of your dogs kidneys prior to the problem and older dogs do develop kidney problems. It may have been an infection or some other cause which tipped the balance, I cannot comment without the full facts of the case. I also cannot make any comment on another vets case. If you feel you have a complaint, first discuss it with the practice you go to. If you feel they are giving no satisfaction then write to the Royal College of Veterinary Surgeons. June Third-Carter B.V.M.S., M.R.C.V.S., Vet.M.F.Hom. for PetPlanet.co.uk

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