Efudex and Pets: How to Keep Yours Safe
Last updated: December 2021
If you are like many pet owners, your furry pals keep you on your toes. They bring a smile to your face each day and are one of your most trusted sources of comfort when you are feeling blue. Our dogs and cats give much-appreciated nuzzles when we are coping with health issues that can seem overwhelming and never-ending. Here's some information about the Efudex warning for pets.
Efudex: warning for pets
Five years ago, when I was first prescribed Efudex to treat actinic keratoses on my chest, I had dozens of questions. I wanted to know how my skin would react, how long I had to use it, what to do if I didn’t get a reaction, and if there would be any side effects. I thought of everything except how the cream might impact my pets.
Awareness of possible harm for pets
We have two indoor cats, and the thought that a medicated cream, topical chemotherapy, could cause my cats any measure of danger was far from my radar. In fact, I ran across the warning quite by accident while googling side effects. At the time, I had recently joined a Facebook support group for users of Efudex, and a member happened to ask a question about pets and Efudex. Many chimed in to warn him that his dog should be kept far away from the cream. I was taken completely by surprise.
FDA warning for pets
I’ve since researched exactly how intense a pet’s reaction can be to this topical chemotherapy. The FDA makes it painfully clear that Efudex is nothing to take lightly when pets are involved. Ingesting a very small amount of the cream can be deadly for a pet, and any cat or dog who has done so needs to be immediately seen by a veterinarian. In the event your pet is exposed to the cream or has punctured a tube, do not hesitate to call Animal Poison Control and follow their advice.
Taking precautions to keep my pets safe
Our cats are cuddly beyond measure. They want to be wherever we are and choose a spot as close to us as possible most days. In fact, it always seems that the worse I feel, the closer they want to snuggle. During that first round of Efudex, I made sure to keep the treated area far from them both. Many days that meant having my kids remove them from the couch or chair beside me as I was afraid of exposing them to the slightest bit of residue. Once the cream dried on my skin, I was much less fearful of direct exposure but continued to keep my distance whenever possible.
In the years since that first treatment, I exercise caution and always keep my tube of cream capped, wiped down, and stored away from curious noses. My routine includes making sure that when I toss the tissues or gloves I use to apply the cream, I place them in our covered trash can. In addition, any washrag I use to clean my skin is immediately placed in the washing machine and not left on a counter or in the shower.
Weighing the warnings and side effects of Efudex
Efudex is last on many people’s list of treatment options. It’s an incredibly rough route to take for most patients who use it. Some even opt for cryosurgery to avoid the side effects, the pain, and the recovery time. As a regular user, I understand their reservations, especially when it comes to the risks posed to pets. Our little crew manages nicely and has for five years now. We have a routine in place and are diligent about keeping our fur babies safe. It’s not easy to shun the snuggles, but it’s worth it in the end when I know they are out of harm’s way.
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