Tips for Responsible Use and Disposal of Pet Medications
Situations To Avoid
Human medications are now the leading cause of poisonings in pets according to the American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA). Prescription medication for humans should not be used on guinea pigs unless prescribed by a doctor. Your veterinarian knows what safe dosage will work on your pet. Be careful not to drop a pill on the floor where your guinea pig could find it and eat it. If you drop a pill and can’t find it, isolate the area from your guinea pigs until you know it is safe.
Do not used old medications on your pets to remedy a reoccurring problem. It can be completely ineffective or deadly. Do not gamble with your pet’s life. If your pet is exhibiting symptoms you have seen before. Just like humans, similar symptoms can be related to multiple issues. Remember, guinea pigs hide many signs of illness because they are prey animals. Take your guinea pig to a veterinarian immediately for a proper diagnosis.
Do not trust the internet. It might be cheaper to buy prescription medications for your pet online, but ask your veterinarian to suggest a website to purchase from first. Medications kept in stock are stored in unknown conditions and do not always display an expiration date. Stick to sources you can confirm as reliable. Responsible online retailers will not sell advanced care medications without a prescription.
Water treatment facilities can not eliminate pharmaceutical waste in water. If you dump leftover medications down the toilet or wash them down the drain, you’re contaminating the environment. The Environmental Protection Agency’s website has more information.
Correctly follow instructions on medication from your veterinarian. If the medication needs to be kept refrigerated, make sure it is kept cold for the entire time you are using it. Store prescriptions safely out of reach of children and pets. Your veterinarian might have advice on disposing of your expired medications. They might have a disposal method available for you since they do it as well.
Unwantedmeds.org can help you locate a pharmacy or organization near you that is involved in a take-back program. The Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) has scheduled a National Take-Back Initiative for April 28, 2012, where medications can be collected and safely disposed. In 2011, 5,327 locations collected 377,086 pounds (that’s 188.5 tons!) of medical waste.
Medications can be brought to waste collections sites that are authorized with proper methods of disposal. The laws related to medical disposal vary from location to location so it’s best to check with the EPA.
Responsibility for the use and proper disposal of over the counter and prescription medications for your pets is something we all need to practice. If each of us does our part, we can enjoy the environment free from contaminants and leave it safe for animals as well.
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