Westword.com is reporting that pet owners Christopher Cooper and Shelley Smith have filed suit against drug manufacturer giant Pfizer. The couple blame Rimadyl for the death of their six year old Golden Retriever Sophie.
The Westword.com story states that after knee surgery on June 5th, Sophie was prescribed several medications including Rimadyl. “Side effects were uncommon, the pair (owners) say they were told.” However just over a week later, Sophie began vomiting and stopped eating. The owners were directed to end all medications. But Sophie remained ill and tests “reportedly showed signs of Rimadyl toxicity”.
These pet parents went on a roller coaster ride of hospitalization, then home, signs of liver failure and finally took her to Colorado State University Veterinary Teaching Hospital trying to save Sophie’s life. More back and forth treatment but the story doesn’t end well. Sophie died on July 26th.
“According to attorney Edwards, Rimadyl was the subject of a class-action lawsuit in 1999, and ultimately, Pfizer, its manufacturer, was ordered to put out a series of warnings that Cooper and Smith say weren’t passed along to them. Shortly after Sophie’s death, they explored the possibility of a similar suit, and Edwards says she heard plenty of horror stories during that process. “We had almost 250 cases of people sending us information, vet records, filling out our questionnaires,” she notes. “Clearly, the figures Pfizer is giving out about its safety” — the company says it has been used on ten million dogs and is generally safe when precautions are followed — “don’t add up with the amount of notification we’re getting.”
I asked TruthaboutPetFood.com friend Dr. Cathy Alinovi to provide more information on Rimadyl and the potential risks involved. Here’s what she shares…
“In an article published in the American Journal of Medicine on July 27, 1998, the authors stated that each year 107,000 humans are hospitalized for NSAID (non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drug) related GI (gastrointestinal) disorders, and up to 16,500 deaths occur from these intestinal complications in human arthritis patients. So, it’s documented in human medicine that these medications are dangerous. Yet, NSAIDs are the most commonly purchased over-the-counter medication in the US.
Now, let’s take that to our pet patients. It’s about the same thing. Every time a veterinarian prescribes any NSAID, that dog is at risk of intestinal, kidney and even liver side effects. And Labradors are worse! (Why? Genetics.) This is why, most vets will recommend periodic bloodwork to “be sure” there aren’t complications. However, this isn’t fool proof. Cats are even more at risk – their liver just can’t detoxify the medications.
In this poor family’s case, the blood work didn’t save their dog. And it’s a terrible tragedy. One thing I caution all my pet owners about any medication: any body can be allergic to any thing. We have to be diligent. Sometimes less is more. Medication can be a blessing but sometimes it isn’t.”
Dr. Cathy also shares (on what we can do as an alternative)…
“I suggest some pain reduction strategies for patients. As usual, nutrition is the number one key to reducing inflammation in any body. This is why I harp on food – it’s the biggest thing we do to our pets. If their diet is inflammatory, medication isn’t going to counter the food.
Other nutritional aids are essential fatty acids, enzymes, and optimal levels of vitamin D.
Homeopathic remedies arnica and hypericum can sometimes help. And some herbal formulas can help decrease inflammation – whole herbs like skull cap and many herbal blends – ask your holistic veterinarian.
Movement is anti-inflammatory. Crazy as it sounds, muscle movement inhibits pain directly at the spinal cord level – the information doesn’t even have to go to the brain to reduce pain. So, let’s go for a walk with our dog. Even better, take your dog or cat to a qualified chiropractor so he or she can move better, and inhibit more pain.
There are many ways to decrease pain in any species. It’s time our society breaks the pharmaceutical habit and let’s try the basics, exercise and nutrition; then we might need to treat less.”
Couldn’t agree more Dr. Cathy!
Thank you to Sophie’s brave parents; taking on Pfizer will be no easy task.
On a similar note, below is some information from Alliance for Natural Health (ANH) regarding doggie Prozac…
“A humane society director warns that dogs addicted to Prozac become unadoptable. Shirley Moore, director of Save a Dog of Sudbury, Massachusetts, writes:
I’m not surprised that the pet-loving population is not warned about Prozac. I just took a call from a woman last week whose dog was biting the kids and of course, the dog was on Prozac and she was told nothing about the side effects. She wanted to turn the dog over to the humane society, but I had to tell her that we can’t take dogs who are on Prozac because you can’t get them off of it. It’s designed to keep you coming back for more, just like all the other pharmaceuticals foisted on the pet owners.”
Once again, I asked friend Dr. Cathy Alinovi for her feedback on the Prozac concern. She shares…
“I had several thoughts when I read the article
1. You can get them off the Prozac, carefully
2. The more important questions are why are the dogs on Prozac in the first place, and
3. Why are these dogs now being relinquished to a shelter?
Pet ownership is a huge responsibility. In my world, it’s for life. So, part of commitment is figuring out why the dog is misbehaving so badly. If the dog needs 1. Prozac and 2. to be turned in to a shelter, then something is missing from the pet parent’s side.
I work very closely with a fantastic trainer. This man specializes in the “tough” breeds but is sensitive to what is going on with the dog. In some cases, the dog needs a pack leader (top dog in my house). In some cases, the dog is in pain, therefore biting at whoever makes him or her move in such a way as to feel the pain. These patients need chiropractic. My friend the dog trainer refers patients to me, and I refer patients to him.
And, I’ve had some patients’ personalities change dramatically, and for the better by fixing (you guessed it) the food.
So, this article should make the responsible pet owner realize the “way out” is not drugs (that might not work) or dumping the dog on a shelter, but in finding a solution to the problem in a healthy way.”
Be cautious and ask the tough questions with regards to medications for your pet. In a quick search, I found the website Drugs.com provides some great information on a full list of veterinary drugs. Search by species, then by the name of the drug. As well, you can go to the drug manufacturer website and read the list of side effects for each medication.
Wishing you and your pet(s) the best,
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