Warning: These graphic photos will break your heart. We know they did ours, when we spotted them on our Facebook feed. In the shots, which have been circulating on social media for quite some time but recently resurfaced, a dog lies near a pool of blood in a veterinary office. Why? It turns out, his owner had given him ibuprofen. As gruesome as the images may be, they contain an important message about why you should never do that.
The post, shared by Roxy the PTSD Service Dog, who is not the original poster, reads, “This owner was told in a Facebook group [ibuprofen] was safe to give, then brought the dog in for ‘bleeding from the mouth.'”
Sure enough, once in the treatment area, the dog apparently began vomiting the blood you see in the photos.
“Even in humans ibuprofen at high or prolonged dosages damages kidneys and causes gastrointestinal bleeding (hence the warnings on it),” Dr. Tiffany Margolin DVM, CVA, a vet who has specialized in pet nutrition and holistic medicine for over 25 years, tells CountryLiving.com. “Dogs and more so, cats, are much more sensitive at much lower dosages—thus it’s toxic to dogs at the minimum levels it does any good—so not a drug we can use for them.”
We asked Dr. Tiffany to break down exactly what ibuprofen can do to dogs: “At very high levels it affects the central nervous system like lethargy, depression, seizures etc.,” she says. “Lower levels when there’s toxicity, you will see things like gastrointestinal bleeding which is the most common effect (hence the bloody vomit), and there is varying damage to the tubes of the kidneys.”
Other side effects include bloody or black stools, temporary or permanent damage to kidney function, and at high levels, brain effects.
The Facebook post continues, “The dog lived (barely), but the bill was a hefty one, and we all know that usually drives a point home with owners, too.”
The bottom line: Don’t ever give your dog medications meant for humans unless you are specifically instructed to do so by a veterinarian.
“They have different metabolic pathways for drugs, just as we do for their drugs,” Dr. Tiffany explains. “If we took some of the things that we prescribe the dogs, it can cause problems with our liver or kidneys. That is why we consult our own doctors when taking medications. Someone may not always have to go to the veterinarian to get a question answered, because we have low doses for aspirin available to give patients by phone. But it is never ever wise to take advice from anyone other than a veterinarian regarding the administration of over-the-counter medications for your pet.”