Q. I have a 19-year-old cat to whom I am very attached. I know her time will come soon. I don't want to take her to the vet to be put down because she is terrified of both vets and needles. I would like to give her medication myself that would put her to sleep. My wife and I have prescriptions for Serax and lorazepam. Would either of these work? What dose would I need?
A. Please do not attempt to put your cat to sleep yourself. Cats react quite differently from humans to many medications. The sleeping pills you have on hand could cause your cat needless suffering.
Many veterinarians are willing to make a house call to euthanize an animal they have cared for. That way, your cat will not have the distress of going to the veterinary office, and there will be no risk of her suffering as a result of getting the wrong dose. The veterinarian has the appropriate medication and training to do this humanely.
Q. What is the value of the "enteric" form of aspirin? I need to take aspirin for my heart, and I'm aware it can cause gastric ulcers. I thought the enteric aspirin would be safer than regular aspirin, but my pharmacist told me it, too, can cause ulcers.
A. Aspirin in any form can cause ulcers in susceptible individuals. Enteric-coated aspirin is designed to dissolve in the lower intestine instead of the stomach. But once aspirin starts circulating in the blood stream, ulcers are a potential complication.
In their column, Joe and Teresa Graedon answer letters from readers. Write to them in care of King Features Syndicate, 888 Seventh Ave., New York, NY 10019, or e-mail them via their Web site, www.peoplespharmacy.org.