Author Archives: Anna Coffin

Ask the Doc

posted September 19th, 2015 by

Ask The Doc

Anna Coffin, DVM / Guthrie Pet Hospital


Q: Some of my friends give their dogs over-the-counter medications and seem to do so pretty freely. I’m not so sure   this is safe. What well known over-the-counter medications are dangerous for our pets?

A: Over-the-counter pain medications like ibuprofen, Tylenol and aspirin can be dangerous for your dog and especially for your cat. In dogs, these medications can cause gastrointestinal upset and bleeding, and long term use of these products could lead to intestinal perforation. Cats do not have the ability to metabolize most pain medications, so over-the-counter pain medications should never be given to a cat. One dose of Tylenol can kill your cat!

Decongestants are another common over-the-counter medication that can be harmful to your pets. While antihistamines are very safe, it’s important to make sure that it does not contain a decongestant. The pet dosage for antihistamines is much higher than the dose that humans take.  If the antihistamine product you are giving contains a decongestant, then it would be quite easy to overdose your dog on the decongestant. High doses of decongestants can cause heart problems and high blood pressure.


Q: How common is diabetes in cats and dogs? It seems like I hear about pets getting diabetes all the time, so I’m curious just how common it is.

A: Diabetes is one of the most common endocrine diseases diagnosed in pets; however, there are not any current prevalence studies. I diagnose and treat multiple cases of diabetes in dogs and cats every year. One study performed in 1999 did show a threefold increase in cases. This is most likely due to the pet obesity problem plaguing our nation.


Q: I recently read on Facebook about a friend who lost her dog to a spider bite. Have you heard of this before, and what could I do to prevent this from happening to my dog?

A: Pet deaths due to spider bites in North America are very rare. The Black Widow and the Brown Recluse are the only two venomous spiders in North America. To prevent exposure to spiders, have an exterminator spray your house and environment on a regular basis. Keeping your house clean and free of clutter will also reduce the incidence of spiders in your home.