08 September 2018

My dog ate my statin tablet, is this dangerous? Will this hurt my dog?

Are statins toxic to dogs if swallowed? Common examples are atorvastatin (Lipitor), fluvastatin (Lescol, Lescol XL), lovastatin (Mevacor, Altoprev), pravastatin (Pravachol), rosuvastatin (Crestor), simvastatin (Zocor), and pitavastatin (Livalo).

statin statins dog toxic toxicity.
Lively pups often eat things they shouldn't have.

Statins are a very common class of drug which are prescribed by doctors to help lower blood cholesterol levels in humans. They help prevent such conditions as heart attacks and strokes. Since they are a very common drug that may well be left lying about the house it sometimes happens that dogs get hold of them and swallow them. Owners sometimes urgently ask me for advice in this sort of situation.

Well, the good news is that statin drugs are very safe indeed when accidentally swallowed by dogs, even where ingested in large quantities. The reason they are so safe is that dogs lack the enzyme which humans have which metabolizes cholesterol so that the statin drugs can exert their effect. In my experience, most accidental ingestions do not cause any noticeable adverse symptom of any sort, the worst that can happen in this sort of situation would normally only be a mild transient bout of vomiting and/or diarrhoea.

As confirmation of my clinical experience, I can tell you that the ASPCA poison control site says: "Zocor and the rest of statins (cholesterol-lowering agents) have very wide margins of safety when taken as a one time dose. Even large ingestions are likely to only cause mild vomiting."

So if you find yourself in the position where your dog has swallowed a statin drug there is probably nothing to worry about, the chances are you will not need to contact a local vet over this and you would be taking very little risk in just observing your dog for a few hours.