Joint relief creams found to be dangerous for pets
Experts are warning pet owners to be careful when they use common creams meant to relieve joint and muscle pain because the compounds may be harmful to animals.
Denise Jones learned the lesson the hard way when her cat Archer got really sick and was vomiting non-stop.
The animal was admitted to an animal hospital and kept there for five days because of kidney failure.
The vet told Jones that the prescription pain cream that Archer licked off her hands was to blame and that the pet hospital had seen cases like this before.
The pain cream has a higher concentration of the same drug that is in Voltaren and non-steroidal, anti-inflammatory drugs, like Ibuprofen, are toxic to pets.
“It’s not something you think about,” Denise said. "You keep your medications away from kids, but I didn’t think about cats.”
There are no warnings on NSAID creams, or on the less potent, over-the-counter products like Voltaren, to alert pet owners about the dangers.
Experts say cases are rare, but they are likely to become more common.
“As people use more and more of these creams, I think we’ll see more toxicities and it’s not just the n-saids, it’s the hormonal creams people use, it’s the Vitamin D creams people use for psoriasis,” said Dan Schlesinger, an emergency veterinarian.
He adds that freshly applied creams are more dangerous and cats seem to be more susceptible to the effects.
Health Canada hasn’t issued any warning about the products, but the U.S. Food and Drug Administration warned pet owners last year.
The Canadian Veterinary Association says there is no government body to oversee animal reaction to human drugs, but it will initiate its own investigation.
Jones is now left with a $4,000 medical bill and hopes others can learn from her situation.
“I want people to know a simple cream can be deadly to your animal.”
The manufacturers of Voltaren have not provided any comment.
(With files from Lea Williams-Doherty)