Sunday, August 16, 2009

DOGS, CATS AND PILLS

It is never fun for both you and your pets when you have to give them medication. Having both dogs and cats, I find it way much easier to give medication to dogs. It is like comparing apples and oranges. Both border collies that I have had were on long term medication because of health issues.

Jessie, who passed away last year, required daily medication to deal with a liver tumour. Giving her the pills was a breeze. It is all about what food you use to wrap around the pill or use for a disguise. For many years she gladly took her pills with plastic cheese wrap around them. No chewing was involved, it was a direct down the throat swallow. In shopping for cheese, I had to decide what kind of plastic cheese should I buy for her - full fat, light or fat free. Should I buy the no-name or buy the more expensive name brand? Such decisions! Did she care about the amount of fat in the cheese? I never asked her. I do think she preferred the full fat cheese. There came a point though that she decided she didn't like the plastic cheese anymore. I had to find an alternative disguise. The choices were endless and I knew that variety should be part of the equation. I started to browse the deli meat area of the stores where I shop. Again there were choices to be made - full fat, reduced fat or fat free. I bought stuff that I would never touch. Each week I would buy a small package of bologna, summer sausage, turkey or other processed meat to make giving her the pills enjoyable and non-stressful. The fun part of having two dogs is giving one dog the disguised pills wrapped in something that smells and tastes wonderful to the dog while the other dog would watch in anticipation and wonder why he couldn't have any. Of course I would give a small sample at times to this dog as one has to be fair to both dogs.

Giving medication to cats is an entirely different story. It can be stressful to both you and the cat. The photo that I enclosed with this posting is the tools of the trade that I am currently using with one of my cats who recently had her teeth cleaned and also tore her ACL in one of her back legs. How she did that is beyond me as she is not the athletic one. She must have done it jumping off one of her favorite chairs after taking of one of her many daily naps. My male cat can jump to high heights and is the athlete in the family. The syringe in the photo is what one calls a pill popper. Best invention made. I have never used one until last week. In the past giving a pill to my male cat required two people, a sheet to wrap the cat in and quick maneuvers. I have shown one of the sheets used in the photo. The male cat is big, strong and likes to chomp down on your fingers as you are trying to get the pill to the back of his throat. For those of you unfamilar with giving a cat a pill, you need to open their mouths by inserting your finger into the side of their mouth. Once you get their mouth open, you need to keep it open with your fingers from one hand and with the other hand try to get the pill to the back of their mouth. Talk about stress for all involved. Speed is required and fumbling with the pill is not good as the cat will chomp down on your fingers as he is trying to close his mouth. You also have to watch their back legs as they are trying to get out of the grasp you have them in. The pill popper syringe that I have started to use with the female cat requires you to pull the plunger slightly back and put the pill at the tip of popper. You still need someone to hold the cat, and you also need to get the cat's mouth open. Instead of your fingers being chomped on, the syringe gets directed to the back of the throat and you push the plunger in so that the pill gets released and voila, it is in. Of course I then close the cat's mouth so that she doesn't spit the pill across the kitchen. Giving her the pills required some coordination as she needs to take the pills with food. While she is eating, I get the pills and the pill popper organized, call the DH to get ready and we wait until she is finished eating. He is the holder and I handle the pill popping. While all of this is going on I need to get the dog out of the kitchen as he starts to bark when he sees us trying to give her the pills. He is relegated to the garage or outside before the pill exercise occurs. He is jealous when he sees the cats getting affection from DH or myself. I call all of this the pill military exercise.

There are other ways to give your pets pills. One item I was given last week at the vet is cat treats called pill poppers. The treat has a pouch in it designed to hide the pill. Cats are way too smart for this and never in a million years would my cats fall for this disguised treat. I haven't bothered to open the bag. Another method that is used and depends on the medication, is crushing or sprinkling the medication into wet cat food. My cats are way too smart to fall for this method and I have stopped using this method after my first try.

Some of you that have cats who own you may have great pill stories or have cats that take pills in an easy manner. I have never had this latter experience. Until next time......

1 comment:

  1. Excellent article! Your approach is impressive.

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