Flurbiprofen (a drug similar to ibuprofen) is a non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drug (NSAID) used to treat inflammation and pain. Apart from increasing your risk of serious and sometimes fatal heart and blood vessel problems like heart attack and stroke, flurbiprofen can also cause serious damage to your pet… and in some cases even death.
Toxic muscle rub
Recently the American Food and Drug Administration (FDA) reported that several cats became very sick with sudden kidney failure and two died after ingesting a topical NSAID pain-killing cream containing flurbiprofen. The poor cats probably got exposed by licking their owners on the area where they had applied it.
According to the FDA both drugs, flurbiprofen and ibuprofen, are extremely toxic to cats and dogs. Even “very small amounts” can be dangerous. But flurbiprofen isn’t the only muscle rub that can pose a health risk to pets. There are some topical drugs that pets should not be allowed to come in contact with. They include:
- Creams containing steroids (hydrocortisone), which can typically cause vomiting and diarrhoea.
- Zinc oxide, found in nappy rash ointments, poison ivy creams and some sunscreens, which can cause an especially serious reaction in dogs. (If your pet is exposed to one of these zinc oxide preparations, be on the alert for blood in their vomit or stool. If you think they may have consumed more than just a tiny amount, you should definitely get them to a vet as soon as possible.)
- Dovonex, an ointment for psoriasis that can cause kidney failure in both dogs and cats even in very small amounts.
- Rogaine, the hair-growing foam first developed as a drug to lower blood pressure, can have tragic consequences when ingested. If you’re using this product, never, ever let your pet lick your head – and don’t let cats rub their heads against yours.
- 5-fluorouracil, a cream for skin cancers and solar keratosis – dry scaly patches of skin caused by damage from sun exposure – is one of the most toxic products out there for dogs and cats, who are unlikely to survive after ingesting it.
Of course, when in doubt – even if you only suspect your best friend might have eaten something toxic – a trip to your vet is always the best idea.
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Disclaimer: Bear in mind the material contained in this article is provided for information purposes only. We are not addressing anyone’s personal situation. Please consult with your own physician before acting on any recommendations contained herein.
“Flurbiprofen-containing topical pain medications: FDA alert — illnesses and deaths in pets exposed to prescription topical pain medication” U.S. Food and Drug Administration, April 17, 2015, fda.gov
“Lotions, creams and prescription medications:” Should my pet be licking me?” Dr. Tina Wismer, VetStreet, vetstreet.co