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Paws to Protect; The NOAH Campaign Promoting Responsible Medicine Use

As veterinary professionals we are acutely aware of the importance of responsible use of medicines to safeguard the efficacy of our veterinary medicinal products. But how often do we ensure that our pet owners are informed about the safe use, administration and disposal of the medicines that we prescribe? Vet Sustain and VetSalus recently caught up with NOAH, who launched their Paws to Protect campaign in 2023 designed to educate pet owners on the importance of responsible medicine use.

Vet Sustain

NOAH are taking strides to educate pet owners in the responsible use of veterinary medicines via their ‘Paws to Protect’ campaign. This one health focused campaign, with the strapline; ‘Protect you, protect your pet, protect our environment’, encourages pet owners to engage with the information and guidance provided with their pet prescriptions.

NOAH, the National Office of Animal Health are a trade association representing the UK animal health industry, promoting the responsible use and appropriate access to veterinary medicines in the UK. Their ‘Paws to Protect’ campaign focuses on educating pet owners in the safe and responsible handling, administration and disposal of veterinary medicinal products, outlining where information can be found on the packaging and why it is important to follow medicines instructions;

  • Keeping your pet safe – outlining the risk of medicines failing to work, or causing harm if not given correctly, at the correct dose and to the animal intended
  • Keeping you safe – emphasising the importance of following the instructions on how to safely give or apply the medicine in order to mitigate any risks to human health (e.g. wearing gloves or washing hands after administration)
  • Keeping the environment safe – highlighting the potential negative consequences that veterinary medicines can have on the environment and where owners can find information on the product packaging that may help to mitigate these impacts (e.g. preventing pets from swimming in watercourses for a specific time period after treatment with parasiticides)
NOAH explain that ‘Reading and following the information provided with your pet’s medicine helps ensure the product works as intended, so it can help keep your pet healthy. Your vet may also give you specific advice and instructions specifically tailored to your pet and its condition ’. Alongside this, they outline how pharmacovigilance, through monitoring and evaluation of adverse effects and efficacy, helps to promote the continued safety and efficacy of veterinary medicinal products.

The campaign outlines where information can be found within product packaging, highlighting five key areas of the datasheet for owners to familiarise themselves with:

  1. Target species
  2. Dosage and advice on correct administration
  3. Adverse reactions
  4. Specials warmings, storage and disposal instructions
  5. Expiry date

Alongside educating owners, the 'Paws to Protect' campaign highlights the vital role that the prescriber can take in this process. Not only can the prescriber consider the safe and responsible handling, administration and disposal of veterinary medicinal products, when creating treatment plans for the animals under their care, but they can also educate the owner at the point of prescribing in the risks, benefits and implications the chosen medicine may have on human, animal and environmental health.

This campaign is well aligned to all six of the Veterinary Sustainability Goals; promoting a good life for animals and health and happiness through safeguarding medicine efficacy; encouraging diverse and abundant wildlife and enough clean water for all through responsible use and disposal of medicines; and endorsing net zero warming and a no-waste society through efficiency.

You can find out more about the NOAH ‘Paws to Protect’ campaign here which includes a downloadable educational poster to share with clients: