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Find information on animal health topics, written for the veterinary professional.

* This is the Veterinary Version. *

Effect of Drug Treatment on the Fetus or Newborn Pet

By Philip T. Reeves, BVSc (Hons), PhD, FANZCVS, Chief Regulatory Scientist, Veterinary Medicines and Nanotechnology, Australian Pesticides and Veterinary Medicines Authority ; Dawn Merton Boothe, DVM, PhD, Professor, Department of Anatomy, Physiology, and Pharmacology, College of Veterinary Medicine, Auburn University ; Maya M. Scott, BS, DVM, Resident, Clinical Pharmacology, Department of Veterinary Physiology and Pharmacology, College of Veterinary Medicine, Texas A&M University ; Ian Tizard, BVMS, PhD, DACVM, University Distinguished Professor of Immunology; Director, Richard M. Schubot Exotic Bird Health Center, Department of Veterinary Pathobiology, College of Veterinary Medicine and Biomedical Sciences, Texas A&M University ; Jozef Vercruysse, DVM, Professor, Faculty of Veterinary Medicine, Ghent University ; Jörg M. Steiner, DrMedVet, PhD, DACVIM, DECVIM-CA, AGAF, Associate Professor and Director, Gastrointestinal Laboratory, Department of Small Animal Clinical Sciences, College of Veterinary Medicine and Biomedical Sciences, Texas A & M University

An important aspect of medical treatment is the effect the treatment will have on the fetus or newborn when given to a pregnant or lactating animal. Many drugs are capable of crossing the placenta and affecting the fetus. Certain antibiotic drugs are toxic to a fetus, while others may affect developing cartilage, bones, and teeth. Some antifungal drugs and all cancer chemotherapeutic drugs are potentially harmful to a developing fetus. Glucocorticoids may cause cleft palate or other defects in puppies.

When medications are given to lactating animals, the excretion of the drug or its byproducts in milk and the possible effects on the suckling newborn must be taken into consideration.

* This is the Veterinary Version. *