The Press Newspaper

Toledo, Ohio & Lake Erie

The Press Newspaper

The Press Newspaper

Pets as Family

Do you know about the drugs your pet will get? Does your vet use drugs in ways unapproved by the Food and Drug Administration? You may be surprised by the answer.

Veterinarians commonly administer or prescribe drugs “extra-label,” or in ways unapproved by the FDA’s Center for Veterinary Medicine (CVM), to treat a variety of conditions and diseases. The FDA, the government agency responsible for overseeing drug safety, allows the widespread practice because it does not want to interfere with medical decision-making. Indeed, the extra-label use of drugs has saved the lives of many pets, particularly when there are no alternatives for treatment of severe and chronic illnesses.

While vets are allowed to use drugs in ways beyond what’s listed on their FDA approved labels, drug companies and their representatives cannot promote or recommend such use.

Why?

New drugs must undergo rigorous clinical trials to prove they’re safe before the FDA will approve them. The agency bans drug manufacturers from promoting or recommending drugs to vets for any use not on their FDA approved labels to keep companies from skirting requirements to test the drugs’ safety and efficiency before they go to market.

So how do veterinarians get extra-label information to use on our pets? One way is through Continuing Medical Education (CME) seminars - oftentimes sponsored and paid for by drug companies.

“In general, the FDA does not intend to interfere with…continuing medical education of veterinary practitioners,” said Linda Grassie, communications director at the FDA. “However,” she added, “continuing medical education events are frequently paid for by drug sponsors.”

Not long ago, older pets had a higher risk of dying from general anesthesia. Today, medical advances have improved their chances of survival.

"The safety of anesthesia has been drastically improved," said Jeff Ko, a board certified veterinary anesthesiologist and professor at Purdue University.

Newer anesthesia allows pets to wake up more quickly, and free from pain, he said.

"The standard of care has been raised. Anesthesia in veterinary medicine is relatively safe, though we still have fatalities," he said. "But owners should not worry about it as much."

More caution is used when treating older pets, he said, because underlying health conditions can cause complications.

"There are more situations that tend to make anesthesia a bit more complicated, in a sense, because geriatric (senior) animals have liver and cardiac conditions, are diabetic, or have other problems associated with the aging process, just like humans. They do carry higher risk than younger patients," he said.

Last October, I took my dog, Mattie, to the Sylvania Veterinary Hospital for the first time for surgery following a brief illness. I was reluctant, at first, because I would be taking her from her long-time veterinarian, who knew her well, and handing her off to strangers. Yet I was drawn by the hospital's claim of being the only facility in northwest Ohio to offer round the clock care.

Following surgery, the prognosis was guarded, but good. Masses on her spleen, which later proved to be cancerous, had not spread. She was alert and standing a few hours later. By 7 p.m., I was told she was not moving, and perhaps still groggy from surgery. At 9 p.m., according to her records, Mattie started breathing heavily. Four-and-a-half-hours later, employees who had left the building returned to find Mattie had stopped breathing, according to Dr. Kirsten Love, the vet on call at the hospital.

A necropsy (autopsy) failed to show a cause of death.

Korea

Do you think North Korea is a threat to the United States?
1849232449 [{"id":"182","title":"Yes, they have missles that can reach the U.S.","votes":"2","pct":40,"type":"x","order":"1","resources":[]},{"id":"183","title":"No, Kim Jong-un is just full of hot air","votes":"3","pct":60,"type":"x","order":"2","resources":[]}] ["#194e84","#3b6b9c","#1f242a","#37414a","#60bb22","#f2babb"] sbar 160 160 /component/communitypolls/vote/70-korea No answer selected. Please try again. Thank you for your vote. Answers Votes ...