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The following article is an excerpt from the book,

It's For The Animals! Natural Care & Resources

by Helen L. McKinnon 


"Do veterinarians create these [health] problems by over-vaccinating puppies or kittens, endorsing monotonous diets of dry pet food, and suppressing the signs of disease with drugs?

 While their treatment plan is medicine, the outcome is not health!"       

----- Konrad Kruesi, DVM


It's been stated on Internet Discussion Groups that "Veterinarians are the weak link" when it comes to animal owners/guardian being informed of the possible health problems our Companion Animals could have as a result of taking the prescribed drug / medications.   As you will read below, too many vets are NOT providing this vital information!

Be CERTAIN to receive the Client Information Sheet and /or drug manufacturer's "package insert" in order to be fully informed of the adverse reactions to prescribed medications -- including heartworm and flea products.


To follow-up on Dr. Krusi's quote above regarding DRUGS, PLEASE READ the IMPORTANT information below:


"Emerging Issues Regarding Informed Consent"

Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Assoc. (AVMA) FDA Surveillance News  January 15, 2004 [excerpt]

"......The staff at the Food and Drug Administration's Center for Veterinary Medicine has conducted a two-year review of consumer messages to our adverse drug experience hotline. The review indicates increasing concern by consumers about risk and benefit of commonly prescribed, approved animal drugs.

The CVM established the hotline, (888) FDA-VETS, in 1996 to receive calls about adverse experiences to approved animal drugs. "We expected many of these reports to come from practicing veterinarians, but our review indicates that a majority of the calls in the past few years have come from consumers, particularly dog owners who find our link on the Internet." --Dr. Victoria Hampshire

Frequent comments from pet owners who contact the CVM hotline include these:

  • They did not receive a client information sheet when one was available for a drug that was prescribed for their pet.
  • The medication they received from their veterinarian was not dispensed in the CVM-approved container but was broken into aliquots that were taken home without the client information sheet or approved label.
  • The veterinarian did not conduct or recommend blood testing before and after prescribing the drug, even though baseline testing and/or periodic monitoring was recommended on the label.  Common examples include heartworm products and nonsteroidal, anti-inflammatory drugs.
  • After reading client information sheets and labels on the Internet about a drug prescribed for their pet, they discovered that their pet may have fallen into a category of animal for which a precaution or contraindication existed.........."


* "Informed Consent"

"Much as they do in managing their own health-care, people need to weigh the benefits and risks of a drug prescribed for their pet. It's the veterinarian's responsibility to explain the risks and benefits of each drug to clients, and give them printed information, particularly for the drugs that aren't approved for animal use, says Karen Overall, VMD, Ph.D., professor of behavioral medicine and director of the small animal behavior clinic at the Veterinary School of the University of Pennsylvania. "It's important that we have the informed consent of our clients."

Pet owners should ask their vet questions about any drug being prescribed for their animal--especially in the absence of printed information. Although manufacturers provide a label, or printed information, with each drug they give to veterinarians, says Bataller, "in repackaging the drug at a veterinary facility, the label often does not get passed on to clients. And if the drug is prescribed extra label, the label would be of limited value to the pet owner."

FDA has helped two animal pharmaceutical companies develop consumer-friendly labels that explain the benefits and risks of their osteoarthritis drugs for dogs. Fort Dodge Animal Health of Overland Park, Kan., distributes a "client information sheet" with EtoGesic (the generic drug etodolac). Pfizer Animal Health, Inc., of Exton, Pa., gives out a client information sheet with Rimadyl (carprofen). Both drugs are non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs).

Pfizer provided the Rimadyl information at CVM's request following a high volume of adverse events, including
deaths, reported by owners whose dogs were treated with the drug. The angry owners, who were not properly informed of the drug's risk, prompted the new labeling that will better help other pet owners decide if the drug is appropriate for their dogs.

Although pet owners are becoming better educated and informed about animal treatments, it is still unwise for them to medicate their animals without veterinary supervision, warns Bataller. "Different species metabolize drugs differently. A dog is not a small human, and a cat is not a small dog," he says. "Some drugs may be better tolerated in a dog than in a human, while other drugs may have the reverse effect. Dogs are generally more sensitive to aspirin than humans, and Tylenol (acetaminophen) can readily kill a cat."


Copyright 1995 Helen L. McKinnon All Rights Reserved

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