The Press Newspaper

Toledo, Ohio & Lake Erie

The Press Newspaper

The Press Newspaper

Pets as Family

In December, 2004, Sue Draeger, of Curtice, noticed her black Labrador retriever, Murphy, was sore from arthritis. Eager to alleviate its pain, she took the dog to her veterinarian, who prescribed a common pain killer, Rimadyl (Carprofen). In the next three weeks, Murphy's health declined so rapidly that Draeger had the dog put to sleep.

"After three or four doses of Rimadyl over six days, all of a sudden, she started going downhill, fast," Draeger said of Murphy. "She was just not herself. She was laying down a lot. On Christmas Eve, she had a seizure. Before I gave her Rimadyl, she used to swim in my pond. She was a great dog.”

Draeger, a registered nurse, suspects Murphy may have had an adverse reaction to Rimadyl after she learned of the drug’s potentially dangerous side effects on the Internet.

Rimadyl, made by Pfizer Animal Health, belongs to a class of Non-Steroidal Anti-Inflammatory Drugs (NSAIDs) prescribed to control osteoarthritis and post-surgical pain in dogs. While they are proven in many instances to be effective, several dogs have suffered seizures, internal bleeding, and liver and kidney failure from the drugs. Many have died.

Draeger, and others whose pets have had adverse reactions to NSAIDs, share gut-wrenching guilt for unwittingly contributing to the injury or death of their dogs, unaware of the drugs’ possible side effects.

Sadly, Draeger's story is a familiar one.

Non-Steroidal Anti-Inflammatory Drugs (NSAIDS) are considered safer than aspirin for reducing pain in pets. But for many animals, the commonly prescribed pain killers can cause injury and death. Here are some cautionary tips to consider before giving NSAIDs to your pets, according to Dr. Bob Rogers, of Critter Fixer Pet Hospital, in Texas.

“There is risk of liver failure with all NSAIDs,” said Rogers. “Liver necrosis in Labrador Retrievers caused by Rimadyl has been reported in largest numbers.”

Pfizer Animal Health, which manufactures Rimadyl, an NSAID that has caused thousands of deaths, believes labs are affected the most because it is a popular breed, he said, “and Rimadyl was the first and most commonly prescribed NSAID.”

Blood tests before administration of NSAIDs cannot predict this liver reaction, said Rogers. “Until more information is available, the staff at Critter Fixer Pet Hospital prefers to exercise caution, and not use Rimadyl.”

NSAIDs are relatively new to veterinary medicine, he said. “Veterinarians have little clinical experience with these drugs. Although every manufacturer has data that alleges their drug is safer than others, no credible non-manufacturer sponsored data exists which accurately compares the safety or effectiveness of these drugs.”

NSAIDs are commonly prescribed to dogs after surgeries, such as spay and neutering, and for the relief of arthritis. It has caused massive gastro-intestinal hemorrhaging and bleeding in some dogs, followed by death.

Despite rigorous clinical trials required by the Food and Drug Administration’s Center for Veterinary Medicine (CVM) to prove an animal drug’s safety and effectiveness, potential side effects of drugs may not be obvious until after the drug has been approved and widely used, according to the CVM.

Pet owners are encouraged to report suspected Adverse Drug Events (ADEs) to the CVM, where the information is processed. The CVM has a hotline to report ADEs at 1-888-FDA-VETS (1-888-332-8387).

The Division of Surveillance is responsible for consolidating all ADE reports, necessary referrals, consultations, and preparation of summary reports, according to Linda Grassie, communications director at the FDA.

Pet owners can also report ADEs by obtaining a 1932a “Veterinary Adverse Experience, Lack of Effectiveness or Product Defect Report,” from the CVM, a pre-addressed, prepaid postage form which can be completed and dropped in the mail. To obtain the form, write to ADE Reporting System, Center for Veterinary Medicine, U.S. Food & Drug Administration, 7500 Standish Place, Rockville, MD 20855-2773.

The division, said Grassie, uses a modified Kramer scoring system to “score” ADEs. In the CVM system, each sign is separated from other signs and scored according to previous experiences with a drug, other causes, timing of the event, whether there was an overdose, whether the reaction continued or subsided with withdrawal of the drug, and whether a reaction recurred on re-introduction of the drug.

“Vets in the Division of Surveillance analyze the data provided to classify the suspected report as remotely drug related, or as possibly, probably or definitely related to the drug,” she said.


Universal Income

What do you think of presidential candidate Andrew Yang's proposal for a universal basic income of $1,000 per month for every adult?
728901008 [{"id":"323","title":"It will help millions of people who are increasingly losing their jobs to automation.","votes":"0","pct":"0","type":"x","order":"1","resources":[]},{"id":"324","title":"No, if the proposal is paid for by tax payers.","votes":"0","pct":"0","type":"x","order":"2","resources":[]},{"id":"325","title":"Yes, if billionaires pay for it, as labor costs disappear due to automation.","votes":"0","pct":"0","type":"x","order":"3","resources":[]}] ["#194e84","#3b6b9c","#1f242a","#37414a","#60bb22","#f2babb"] sbar 160 160 /component/communitypolls/vote/118-universal-income No answer selected. Please try again. Thank you for your vote. Answers Votes ...