Irish Water Spaniel Club of America

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Sulfa Drugs

Sulfa drugs are most commonly thought of as anti-biotics but the chemical component that can be toxic to IWS (sulfonamide) is also found in diuretics, eye medications, heart medications, and anti-seizure medications.

It is impossible to provide a list of medications that include the sulfonomide component since new drugs are always being introduced, and some older medications are withdrawn from the market.  An additional problem is that many drugs can be known by both their technical names and their brand names.  But below are a few things that can help you keep your IWS safe.

The most frequent use of a medication that might be toxic to IWS is a drug commonly used to treat coccidiosis, a parasitic disease, in puppies.  That medication is Sulfadimethoxine. There are effective alternatives that any veterinarian can use.

Many medications that have the sulfonamide component have “sulfa-“ or “sulfo-“ in their technical names (but often not in their brand names).  Some medications  having “thio-“ in their names are also sulfonamides.  But some medications with this component do not have anything in their names that would indicate a sulfonamide component.

We strongly suggest:

  1. Insist that your veterinarian(s) mark the outside of your IWS’s chart with  DO NOT PRESCRIBE SULFA MEDICATIONS
  2. Every time a medication is prescribed for your IWS ask “Does this medication contain sulfonamide?”
  3. Ask that all medications proscribed for your dog include the manufacturer’s information, and read that information before you begin to dose your dog; you may not understand most of it, but you can look yourself for “sulfa-“, “sulfo-“, “thio-“, or “sulfonamide”.  If you find it, call your veterinarian for consultation.

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