by Chris Ciewelich via CatKB.com

This is an article written by Dr. Marty Becker (Good Morning America’s Veterinarian) I found last week in the Miami Herald that I thought would interest many cat lovers:

Easy new option to give pets medication
Knight Ridder Tribune – The Bond column
Dr. Marty Becker

Marty BeckerAdministering medications to pets can be an exasperating experience for both pets and their owners. I once wrote an article entitled, “Cats Can Fly,” which parodied the efforts of feline families trying to give cats their prescription.

There is also a side to this that is not funny. A recent marketing study revealed that only 10 percent of cat owners and 30 percent of dog owners succeed in medicating their pets correctly. What this means is that a lot of prescriptions sent home by the veterinarian end up in the cupboard rather than in the pet, and the pet owner is too embarrassed or hesitant to go back to the veterinarian and admit failure.

It’s very important that a pet owner give medications, at precise intervals, for as long as the veterinarian has prescribed. Failure to do so can not only can hinder the pet’s recovery from a condition or illness, but medication-battles (cats under the bed, prying dog’s mouths open) can have a negative emotional impact on the pet and the Bond we share with them as well.

Many humans feel uncomfortable taking pills and don’t like to push one down their pet’s throat, perhaps for good reason. In a recent study, 30 cats were used to evaluate pill passage (JP Graham, American Journal of Veterinary Research, 2000). After 5 minutes, 84% of the capsules were still sitting in the esophagus, which leads to serious concerns. If the pill dissolves in the esophagus for a prolonged period of time, this could cause severe inflammation or esophagitus.

Do you wish there was a better way?

If you’ve ever been on the “giving end” of your pet’s prescription and found yourself soliciting the help of family members to wrestle your pet, you understand the dilemma. Many have tried wrapping the pet in a towel, perching Fluffy on a slippery counter, hiding Sparky’s medications in food, or just stuffing it down their throat no matter how hard the struggle. Finally, a new way to make treatment, TREATment, has arrived.

Flavored liquid medications are very effective and becoming the first choice for veterinarians and pet owners if giving traditional medications to the pet is a problem.

One such company helping to medicate pets easier is Apothepet, a new veterinary pharmacy that uses a flavoring system called FLAVORx to make liquid medications tasty treats. Virtually any prescription medication, commercially available in tablet or capsule form, can be transformed into a down right delectable liquid suspension that they’ll lap up out of a spoon. (www.apothepet.com or 866-961-5666)

I admit, I was a skeptic until I witnessed pets devouring bitter medications, like the steroid prednisolone, that are typically received by the pet as though they were given a taste of battery acid.

Marianne Sadecki from New York City couldn’t stand to see her Tabby cat suffer illness, but when she tried to feed her cat pills or hide them in his food, he refused to take them. Her vet suggested that she try switching these pills into liquid medication. Marianne gushes, “Now, I use cherry vanilla ice cream liquid flavor and my cat loves it! He doesn’t fight me anymore. It’s great!”

Some drugs that are bitter are better in certain flavors, so it is always good to consult with the pharmacist to make sure you have picked out an appropriate flavor for the medication your pet is taking. Plus, certain species like ferrets, birds and gerbils like fruity flavors best. Medications can be mixed in a concentration that enables you to give 1/2 to 1ml of the liquid, which is an easy volume to get down a cat.

While you cannot order flavors online, Apothepet works in partnership with your local veterinarian who will prescribe a drug, call or fax in the prescription and a trained staff of registered pharmacists and veterinarians at Apothepet will dispense the flavored medications and ship them directly to your door.

Many veterinarians are finding this method tantalizing as well. “I find it’s a really nice option, especially for owners who have a hard time giving meds,” says Dr. Mary Volkers, of Parkdale Pet Care in West Bend, Wisconsin, who recommends flavored medications for 9 out of 10 prescriptions. ”It’s especially appreciated by clients who have cats to pill or have little dogs who are feisty.”

Besides compounding pharmacies, some veterinarians are recommending a new product called Medi-Crunch. Medi-Crunch has a flavorful crunchy exterior and creamy soft peanut butter based interior into which a capsule or pill can be inserted. The low-cal combination of crunchy and soft encourages the dog to take the medicine. (www.medi-crunch.com or 888-MDCrnch).

Hopefully these new technologies and easier ways to give our pets their medicine will help to save some of our animal companions and humans from the hassle of pilling and traumatizing beloved pets.

This article originally appeared on www.catkb.com and was written by Chris Ciewelich.