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JoAnna Lou
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Inadvertent Toxin, UPDATE
Human hormone treatments have a negative effect on pets
Could you spread unintended medication to your dog with a simple hug?

[Editor's Note, 7/30/10: The Food and Drug Administration has published a warning urging that children and pets not be exposed to Evamist, a hormone spray used to treat hot flashes in menopausal women.]

 

Most pet lovers are careful about keeping medicine bottles locked away in a cabinet, far from the reach of little ones. But this may not be enough to guard your pups against the effects of some topical medications.

According to the Veterinary Information Network (VIN), the popularity of human topical hormone treatments, often used for menopause, is having an unintended negative effect on pets. The hormone replacement treatments are available in a lotion, gel, or spray that is applied to the arms or legs. Apparently the hormone can be spread to pets simply through contact.

In recent years, veterinarians have started to see spayed dogs and young female puppies with swollen vulvas as if they are in heat, male dogs with enlarged mammary glands and abnormally small penises, and loss of fur in both sexes.

VIN reports that dogs will often go undiagnosed for months because veterinarians aren’t familiar with this problem. Human doctors are also unfamiliar with the situation and therefore do not know to warn people with pets. It’s important to create a greater awareness since the effects of these medications worsen over time and can lead to other serious conditions associated with high hormone levels. 

Before reading about this, it wouldn’t have even crossed my mind that any topical medications I use could be inadvertently spread to my pets. And apparently the FDA already knew this was a potential problem. The government organization has documented cases of children being accidently exposed to hormones through topical therapies. As a result, the FDA now requires two manufacturers of testosterone treatments to put warnings on their packaging

Whether you use hormone therapies or not, this is an important reminder that you can never be too careful when using medication.

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JoAnna Lou is a New York City-based researcher, writer and agility enthusiast.

Photo by sleepyneko, Flickr.

CommentsPost a Comment
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Submitted by Lisa Wogan | October 26 2010 |

Tara Parker-Pope connects more of the dots linking the use of hormone-replacement gels and creams with incidents of hormonal reactions in pets in her Oct. 25 story for The New York Times. With an estimated 1.5 million women using prescription topical estrogen products or compounded hormone alternatives, it's important to spread the word so dogs can be spared unnecessary vet visits, testing and even surgeries.

Submitted by Anonymous | October 27 2010 |

Of course that crap would bother your animal; have people lost all common sense? Just like putting Advantage or Frontline will absorb through your skin when you go to pet your animal...duh....use your head people. Now you got tick medicine in your system, happy cancer...

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