By Leo Stevens
Two-thirds of vets have revealed they are treating an increasing number of animals who have been given medication designed specifically for humans.
The vast majority of vets quizzed for the Sainsbury's Pet Insurance survey revealed they believe that more pet owners are giving their animals human medication because they cannot afford the cost of vet consultations and medicines.
More often than not, this practice can make an animal worse and cause long-term illnesses that cannot be reversed.
One surgery revealed that it typically fields two or three queries a day from worried pet owners whose animals have reacted badly to being given medication such as paracetamol, which can cause irreversible liver and kidney damage.
Other surgeries have received calls from people who have given their hyperactive pets anti-depressants to calm then down, and have become worried when they have vomited, become lethargic or even suffered violent tremors and seizures.
Some pet owners are giving their sick animals Ibuprofen, which can lead to ulcers and kidney problems.
Helen Williams, head of Sainsbury's Pet Insurance said: "Administering human medication to a cat or a dog could seriously damage its health and although owners doing this may feel like they have its best interests at heart, they could actually be causing it more pain and suffering."