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‘Online sale of veterinary drugs worrying’
Published on: Thursday, February 27, 2020
By: Bernama
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SHAH ALAM: Heard of a drug called ‘Magic All In One’ that is being touted as a cure-all for all ailments affecting pets?

Apparently, it is widely available online and according to the retailers’ advertising spiel, one tablet is all your sick pet needs to be cured of flu, diarrhoea and a host of other illnesses.

Not long ago, the product –  priced at RM50 a pack – as well as good reviews from netizens attracted the attention of a private-sector employee, who only wanted to be known as Amri, who bought it for his six-month-old cat named Brownie as it had been unwell for several days.

Unfortunately, after it was given the “magical” pill, Brownie’s condition took a turn for the worse and it even developed convulsions.

Amri then rushed the poor cat to the nearest veterinary clinic, where the doctor tried to stabilise the animal by administering fluids via an intravenous drip. The cat, however, could not be saved as its organs had failed.

Veterinary doctor Salehatul Khuzaimah Mohamad Ali said in her 11-year practice, she has handled many cases where pet owners like Amri had tried to treat their sick pets with veterinary drugs purchased online before their condition worsened.

 “It’s shocking when they tell me they bought the medications via the Internet. Usually, their pets are in a critical condition by the time they are brought to the clinic and there’s not much we can do to save them.

 “I had a case of a cat that went blind after its owner administered an eye drop that was purchased online,” she told Bernama.

Dr Salehatul Khuzaimah, who runs two veterinary clinics – one in Kota Kemuning and the other in Bandar Sri Damansara, Selangor – expressed her concern over the existence of online retailers that peddle controlled veterinary drugs such as antibiotics and anti-mange medication in the form of tablets and injections.

 “It’s not the competition we veterinary doctors are worried about but the fate of the animals. One’s pet cat, for instance, might only be having a normal fever but its condition may worsen if it is given medicine purchased online because the drug may have gone past its expiry date or may be fake or may have been administered in excessive doses,” she said.

Referring to the ‘Magic All In One’ product, she said in the field of veterinary medicine, there is no such thing as a single drug that can cure all diseases.

The treatment regime for sick animals varies from disease to disease. The animal must first be examined by a veterinary doctor who will enquire after its medical history, age, weight and other pertinent details before prescribing any medication.

 “Overdosage can damage the liver and kidneys as most medicines are processed by these organs,” she stressed, adding that ‘Magic All In One’ is actually a strong antibiotic that can only be administered in special cases.

As in the case of humans, antibiotics for animals should also be prescribed by a doctor.

 “Since not all diseases are caused by bacteria, antibiotics shouldn’t be used for just about any ailment. Some (diseases) are caused by viruses and fungi. Some are caused by allergies. For instance, if your cat’s flu is due to an allergy, it doesn’t need antibiotics,” she added.

Besides antibiotics, other veterinary drugs that are easily available via social media or online stores include drugs to get rid of ticks and mange and eye drops which, by right, should be prescribed by a veterinary doctor or pharmacist, said Dr Salehatul Khuzaimah.

Urging the authorities to monitor the web and take stern action against those retailing veterinary medications, she said misusing drugs to the point of causing harm to one’s pet is an offence under the Animal Welfare Act 2015 that was enforced in July 2017.

Meanwhile, Veterinary Association Malaysia president Datuk Dr Norlizan Mohd Noor said based on a survey by the association, none of its members were involved in selling veterinary drugs on the Internet.

 “Our association pays serious attention to the use of veterinary drugs, especially controlled medications, among our members, who are also constantly reminded to acquire and administer the drugs in a prudent and professional manner,” he said.

He also appealed to the public to lodge a report with the National Pharmaceutical Regulatory Agency (in the Ministry of Health) if they come across unqualified persons retailing veterinary drugs. – Bernama


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