Every day, FDA’s Center for Veterinary Medicine (CVM) receives calls and emails from pet owners, like you about many different topics. Some serious topics include what to do when a pet gets into things he shouldn’t, what to do if a pet gets too much medicine or gets the wrong medicine, or what to do when a pet owner accidentally takes a pet’s medicine.
When your pet eats or gets into something she shouldn’t, what should you do? Some pet owners call or email CVM first. While CVM employs many veterinarians, the center is a regulatory agency and our veterinarians do not give veterinary treatment, advice, or diagnoses. So, who do you call?
Your Vet Knows Best
Whenever your pet has a situation like one of those above, your best resource is your veterinarian. Why? Your veterinarian knows your pet’s medical history and can give you the most appropriate medical advice for your pet. In some cases, if your pet gets into something potentially dangerous, like a product containing xylitol, you may only have minutes to spare before your pet becomes seriously ill. So, call your veterinarian quickly!
If you can’t reach your regular veterinarian, you have other options for getting urgent veterinary advice. One option is to contact your local emergency animal hospital. The emergency veterinarians may be able to give you advice over the phone or they may recommend that you bring your pet in for an exam.
Another good option is to contact one of the two animal poison control centers in the U.S. These centers charge a fee for their services, but their veterinarians can immediately give you expert veterinary advice.
What if I Need Help?
Sometimes pet owners accidentally take their pet’s medicine, especially if it is stored near their own medicine. What if this happens to you or one of your other human family members?
- Call 911 if it’s an emergency
- Call your doctor
- Call Poison Control: 1-800-222-1222.
Accidents happen to pets and people; sometimes, minutes matter. You can save precious time by knowing who to call, first, when you or your pet needs help. The table, below, has helpful contact information.
How Do I Report an Emergency?
|If your situation is:||Contact:|
|A problem with an FDA-regulated product
FDA regulates the following products:
|If it’s a pet emergency:
|A food-borne illness from meat or poultry||Contact the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Meat & Poultry Hotline at 1-888-MPHotline, 1-888-674-6854, or firstname.lastname@example.org.|
|A food-borne illness from food other than meat or poultry||Contact your local health department|
|An accidental poisoning involving a person||Call Poison Control at 1-800-222-1222|
|An adverse event due to a vaccine for a pet||Call your veterinarian if your pet is having a reaction to a vaccine.
Submit a report to the U. S. Department of Agriculture’s online adverse event reporting system.
|An adverse event due to a vaccine for people||Call your healthcare provider if you’re having a reaction to a vaccine.
Submit a report using the FDA’s online Vaccine Adverse Event Reporting System (VAERS).