The U.S. Food and Drug Administration has released a startling warning to pet owners who may be using topical pain relief creams. The report indicates that illness and deaths can occur in pets exposed to prescription topical pain medication used by their owners.
NPR reports that three cats have recently died after the owner began using a topical pain relief cream that contained flurbiprofen, a type of NSAID. Veterinarians have long warned pet owners to keep NSAIDs, such as ibuprofen, out of the reach of pets. However, topical pain relief creams have not had a pet warning.
Three cats from two separate households died, and the veterinarian performed an autopsy to determine the cause of death as the cats were previously healthy. The vet found that all three cats had died from flurbiprofen poisoning after the owners began using a topical cream for pain relief. In a separate incident, two cats presented with kidney failure from flurbiprofen poisoning recovered with extensive veterinarian care.
One of the owners says the topical cream was only placed on her feet and neck and was never around the cats. Therefore, it is unknown how the cats became exposed to the product unless it was transferred from the owner’s hands to the cats after application. Therefore, the FDA has released a safety alert regarding topical pain relief creams containing flurbiprofen and pets.
“FDA is alerting pet owners, veterinarians, health care providers and pharmacists that pets are at risk of illness and death when exposed to topical pain medications containing the nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drug (NSAID) flurbiprofen. People using these medications should use care when applying them in a household with pets, as even very small amounts could be dangerous to these animals.”
The FDA is recommending that those using the creams take extra care to ensure none of the product makes its way onto the pet, as only a small amount of the product is needed to cause the death of the animal. In addition, pharmacists filling prescriptions for the product should warn the patient that the product must be kept away from animals and provide proper instruction on ensuring safe handling. Similarly, doctors and veterinarians should also inform patients under their care of the risks the pain relief creams pose to pets.
Did you know that topical pain relief creams could be deadly to pets? What more should be done to ensure that pet owners know about the risks associated with their medications, including creams, and their pets health? Should the veterinarian, doctor, or pharmacist be the main point of contact for such a discussion?
[Image Credit: Getty Images/ Sean Gallup]