Tips on administering medication


Instructions must be concise, clear and are best demonstrated. All therapeutic options eg administering ear drops, are performed while clients watch to ensure correct techniques are used.


  • "Easy" ear drops: always have your patient on a stable table with no wobbles (prevents restling on the ground). This is usually much easily with an assistant to hold the head and help lift them. Hold ear erect so the ear canal opens (care in early treatment when ears are painful!). Add the drops into the ear space. DO NOT LET GO OF THE EAR! and massage the base of the ear for at least 1 minute. The characteristic squelching noise usually means the drops have passed into the TARGET AREA - The Horizontal canal. Let them shake their heads AFTER the massage is completed. Repeat in the other ear if required. Wash your hands!

  • Tips for tableting: Many clever pets sense (smell) the prescence of a foreign substance in their food. So try covering the tablet in butter, then freezing it. Providing the packaging is small enough it will be readily accepted and slip straight down! Feed immediately after administration (check the instructions on the tablet label). Crushing tablets into vegemite and peanut paste then smeared onto furr can help with our feline fussies. However you must observe them afterwards to ensure it isn't smeared onto the lounge setting!

  • Bathing drains: Penrose and other rubber drains are used extensively in our practice to enhance healing of large surgical incisions and the healing of wounds from tearing type trauma e.g. dog bites. Be careful in the first 2-3 days as these areas are bruised and painful. It may be prudent to use a muzzle if concerned about getting bitten. Prepare your salt solution by dissolving a teaspoon of salt into a cup of cooled boiled water. Wiggle the end of the drain and with soaked cotton wool balls clean away any solid material blocking drainage. Massage all the fluid from the tissue by gently running from the top drain hole directly toward the bottom drain hole. This clears any excess. Wash your hands!

    When no material is present at the drain holes the drain can be removed. We always like to recheck these drains before we remove them. Remember to bath the wounds for another 24 hours following removal.

  • Eye ointment administration: It easier to use apply the ointment dose to the flat end of your finger. Opening the eyelids with the other hand. In a gentle wiping motion from inside to outside, deposit the ointment. Let them blink away any access. Apply to the least affected eye first (if both are involved). Wash your hands! Warning: if you observe excessive eye weeping or a refusal to open a painful eye, arrange a revisit ASAP. Care with eye ulcers - as they can be very painful, it may be prudent to use a muzzle to prevent a bite. Also some pets need a lift onto a table (to prevent a wrestling match!) so an assistant is required.

  • Cleaning teeth: some pets will NEVER tolerate teeth cleaning. Unless confident they won't bite then do not attempt this procedure! Initially, handle the mouth until your pet is comfortable with your fingers around the muzzle and inside its lips. Then dip your index finger into tuna broth or flavoured soup and massage the teeth and gums. Once or twice a week is usually sufficient to gain trust and get them used to this. After a couple of weeks, dip a brush (a finger brush or pet tooth brush) into the broth and gently use along the teeth and gums. Finally after a month or two, graduate to pet tooth paste (chicken and meat flavoured- yummy!) We have had excellent results, even with removing tartar build up, using this procedure.

  • Nail clipping: this is a true test of your pets tolerance to handling. Once you take hold of a paw, you have invaded personal space to large degree, and most pets don't like it. So using good equipment and good technique is vital to your pets acceptance of you having a second go. Use scissor action nail clippers with cutting edges on both surfaces (NOT guillotine action clippers which squeeze the nail and can hurt!)

    Hold each nail with your thumb under the pad and your index and middle finger over the top of the toe. Extend the nails are far as they can go. Hold your clippers horizontal with the pad, and clip the nail at this level (parallel to the ground). In my experience even in aged pets which have the longest "quicks" can tolerate this technique, and very rarely do they experience the pain of cutting into the quick.

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