The 8 Most Common Veterinary Drug Prescriptions

Recent veterinary drug advances have yielded many new and effective treatments for common dog illnesses and conditions. These vet drug preparations reduce pain, improve health and treat disease in millions of pets each year.

Many veterinary drugs are based on successful human drugs but never mix or exchange human and canine drugs. Formulations and dosages may be the same and doing so could put your pet at risk.

Veterinary drug use is changing the way dog and cat owners care for their pets, resulting in longer and better lives for their companions.

Most common drug prescriptions:

Non-Steroidal Inflammatory Drugs for Arthritis

Non-steroidal inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) have changed the course of canine arthritis. These powerful drugs improve the quality of life for arthritic dogs, improving mobility and reducing pain. Be aware that these drugs may cause liver and gastrointestinal damage and should be used only under strict veterinary supervision. Many are not appropriate for cats.

Antihistamines for Allergies

Veterinary antihistamines are available in tablet and spray form. Popular non-steroidal formulas include Atopica, Chlorpheniramine, Clemestine, Diphenhydramine and Cyprothetadine. For certain allergic conditions, corticosteroids such as Methylprednisolone and Prednisolone may offer significant benefit but do come with known health risks.

Flea, Tick and Worm Medications

Flea and tick products are the most popular veterinary medications for good reason. Easy to use and very effective, products such as Frontline, Advantage, Revolution, Interceptor and Program have eliminated seasonal flea-related suffering in dogs and cats. Conveniently, some products protect against heartworm and intestinal parasites as well. Do not use dog-specific formulas on cats.

Antiobiotics to Treat Infections

If your pet develops an infection, the treatment options are many. Your veterinarian will diagnose and prescribe the drug that is most appropriate for your pet's particular needs. Amoxicillin, Cephalexin, Clavamox, Ciprofloxacin and Baytril are broad-spectrum antibiotics.

Thyroid Medications

To treat an underactive thyroid (hypothyroidism), your veterinarian may prescribe Soloxine, Thyroxine or Levothyroxine. These medications are available in a variety of strengths for both dogs and cats.

Eye Drops for Glaucoma

To treat glaucoma (fluid buildup in the eye), your veterinarian will usually prescribe eye drops such as Xalatan, Timolol or Trusopt. These drops decrease fluid production. For more serious conditions, oral diuretics such as Acetazolamide or Methazolamide may be prescribed.

Medications to Treat Addison's Disease

Addison's Disease (Hypoadrenocorticism) is a serious disease that results in insufficient adrenal hormone production. Based on the source of your pet's condition, your veterinarian may prescribe Florinef, Percorten V or corticosteroids.

Cushing's disease (hyperadrenocorticism) is, in many ways, the opposite of Addison's disease. It is treated with Lysodren, Anipryl, Selegiline or Ketoconazole.

Medications to Increase Dopamine

Canine cognitive dysfunction is similar to Alzheimer's disease. Age-related behavior changes such as confusion and lack of responsiveness may indicate a decline in mental function. Anipryl increases the amount of dopamine (a neurotransmitter) in the brain and improves overall cognitive function. According to a major veterinary drug handbook, Anipryl is not approved for use in cats.

Administer all drugs and medications according to your veterinarian's instructions.

Working with your veterinarian, you can protect your pet and help her live a comfortable, healthy and long life.