The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) is warning pet owners to exhibit precautions when administering a new skin cancer cream after 5 dogs who ingested it suddenly died.
The cancer cream, fluorouracil, is sold under the brand names Carac, Efudex and Fluoroplex. It is a topical cream not marketed for oral ingestion.
Fluorouracil is a topical medication used in humans and dogs to treat and prevent certain types of skin cancers. It works by killing the cells which are growing too quickly and causing, or could cause, cancer.
The FDA is warning pet owners to keep this product out of reach. In one instance, two dogs were playing with a tube of the medication when it burst open and got into the mouth of one dog. Within two hours, that dog experienced vomiting and seizures. The dog died 12 hours later.
Another dog ingested the contents of the tube of medication. Though his owner realized it and quickly rushed him to the veterinarian, the dog got sick and had to be euthanized anyway.
While there have been no reports of cats ingesting fluorouracil, the FDA warns that they could also be at risk. Owners are encouraged to remember that if they use the cream on their dog and then touch their cat, the cat could ingest the cream upon grooming.
Owners are encouraged to wash their hands immediately after using this cream, and to store all medications away from where pets can access them.
If you have fluorouracil in your home and think your pet may have ingested any of it, you should contact your emergency veterinarian immediately. If applicable, you may also call Animal Poison Control at 1-800-222-1222.