Skin cancer cream could harm your pet, FDA warns

The Food and Drug Administration warned pet owners that dogs, cats and other animals may die if exposed to skin cancer creams. It may be sold under the names Carac, Efudex and Fluoroplex, all of which contain the active ingredient fluorouracil, also known as 5-FU, and it may be a danger to pets. The FDA received reports of five dogs becoming ill and dying after consuming skin creams containing fluorouracil.  In one case, a playful dog punctured a tube of fluorouracil cream. Within two hours, the animal began vomiting, experienced seizures and died 12 hours later.  In another case, a dog ingested a tube of the cream. Though the owner rushed the dog to a veterinarian, who immediately began to treat the animal, the dog’s condition worsened and after three days, the owner deemed it necessary to euthanize the pet. Fluorouracil is considered an “essential medicine” by the World Health Organization, meaning it is one of the drugs every basic health care system should have on hand to treat common conditions. The medication was originally developed by Roche. The company has not yet responded to CNN’s request for comment. Doctors use the drug in cases of squamous cell carcinoma and basal cell carcinoma, two different types of common skin cancers, according to Dr. Jill Waibel, owner of the Miami Dermatology and Laser Institute. The chemotherapy medicine is “used as an injection or a topical cream.” Dr. Tom Rohrer, a dermatologic surgeon and board member of national organizations including the American Society for Dermatologic Surgery and the American Society for Laser Medicine and Surgery, said the drug is “a very safe, very effective medication that prevents skin cancer — stops the pre-skin cancerous lesions before they become skin cancer — in lots of Americans.”

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