Tools of the trade: Pill popper 


by Rebecca Poppett VN, Yandina Vet Clinic, QLD

This is a handy gadget to give tablets to dogs and cats when putting your fingers in their mouth is an unfavourable option! It’s basically a syringe with a silicone end. To operate, you put the pill in the silicone end, place on the back of the tongue and depress the plunger.

What’s good about it

This is a useful tool to use with uncooperative cats. You can be swift without being concerned about injuring the patient thanks to the blunt soft end. Once the tablet is placed on the back of the tongue, they generally have no choice but to swallow it.

This tool allows swift administration which requires less restraint and less stress for the patient. This is beneficial to veterinary staff as the likelihood of cat scratch or bite is reduced.

Clients see the ease of use in clinic and often purchase one for home use. This is great for clients who have to regularly give tablets to their pet.

The design of the applicator allows it to be used with one hand so it’s possible to hold the animal and give the tablet without assistance.

I’ve used lots of different versions of the Pill Popper during my 20 years as a veterinary nurse and it’s saved me from many bites and scratches.

What’s not so good

Sometimes a particularly determined animal will manage to spit out the pill. They move their head from side to side which makes it difficult to position and then use their tongue to push the tablet out again. In most cases, a second attempt will successfully administer the pill.

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