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Useful Over the Counter Products

June 18, 2015

While some injuries and illnesses require prescription medication, many readily available products can be useful to have on hand for home care of minor superficial wounds, abrasions or bug bites.

Topical antibiotics can be very useful. In particular, Neosporin brand makes a liquid topical antibiotic in a small non-aerosol pump dispenser called “Neo to Go!” that is a nice alternative to ointments. It is easy and clean to use and dries completely, so your pet is not spreading ointment residue where s/he sits or lies down.

Aquaphor is a topical ointment that can be used on a wide variety of superficial skin problems from wounds and abrasions to hot spots or rashes to dry skin. It does not contain an antibiotic, but provides a semi-permeable barrier (allows oxygen and water to move through) that helps prevent contamination, keep the wound moist, and promote the body’s own healing.

Kerasal ointment can be used for areas of hyperkeratosis. The cracked, crusty nose or elbows that some dogs get may be caused by hyperkeratosis. Kerasal helps soften and exfoliate the accumulated dead skin. If you are unsure if it is appropriate to use on your pet, please speak to one of our doctors.

It is very difficult to cover small superficial wounds in dogs and cats, partly because their fur interferes with adhesives and partly because they tend to lick and chew (and possibly eat!) bandages. However, two wound dressing that adhere tightly to the skin may be useful in areas that have been shaved or with thin hair. One is called Tegaderm and the other is called Nexcare (both available in the first aid section of drug stores). Bandaging wounds is not always appropriate, so speak to one of our doctors if you have questions.

Epsom salts dissolved in water can be used for soaking minor skin irritation and wounds. Using osmotic pressure, it helps draw any discharge or seepage out of a wound to relieve inflammation and keep the wound clean. Some people feel it also has some anti-inflammatory and pro-healing effects.

Baby wipes are excellent for a wide variety of circumstances that require spot cleaning: For example, skin folds or between toes. They can be appropriate for cleaning some types of wounds as well.

Eye wash and/or non-medicated moisturizing eye drops are excellent products to have on hand. If your pet gets something in his or her eye, you can use it as a flush. If your pet has allergies, you can use a few drops several times a day to help rinse allergens out of the eye. In addition, Naphcon-A eye drops can be used for pets whose allergies cause eye irritation.

There are also numerous oral over the counter medications that can be used safely in pets. We commonly use, for example, antihistamines and acid reducers. However, never give your pet any human prescription or over the counter medication without speaking to one of our doctors first. Pets (especially cats) metabolize some drugs very differently than we do and some medications can be very dangerous for them. In particular, do not give your pet any pain relievers or decongestants without speaking to a veterinarian.

As always, if you have any questions please call the clinic to speak to one of our doctors!

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