The U.S. Food and Drug Administration is alerting pet owners, veterinarians, health care providers and pharmacists that pets are at risk of illness and death when exposed to the topical cancer medication Fluorouracil Cream USP 5% (5-FU.) intended for use in people. Fluorouracil may also be marketed under the brand names Carac, Effudex and Fluoroplex. People using this medication should use care when applying and storing the medication if they are also in a household with pets, as even very small amounts could be dangerous to these animals.
The FDA has received reports of five dogs that became ill and died after accidentally ingesting the topical cream. In one case, two dogs began playing with a tube of Fluorouracil and one punctured the tube before their owner could retrieve it. Within 2 hours, the dog that punctured the tube began vomiting, experienced seizures, and died 12 hours later. In a separate case, a dog located his owner’s tube of Fluorouracil and ingested its contents. The owner realized the dog had ingested the medication and rushed him to the veterinarian. The veterinarian attempted treatment, but the dog’s condition declined over three days and he was ultimately euthanized.
Visit the FDA website for the complete alert and details on how to properly handle and store Fluorouracil to prevent pets from accidental exposure to the medication.