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10 October 2007


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My vet has an excellent reputation, is very knowledgeable and I'm pleased with her care of my dog. But I've never received a package insert or care sheet. The bottles do have labels, but it is handwritten and sometimes difficult to read. Previous vet had prescribed Rimadyl for a foot injury and gave no information sheets and never mentioned the possible side effects. Luckily I mentioned the diarrhea to a knowledgeable person who told me to stop giving it to my dog and to call the vet. Thanks to you I now have the FDA brochure on NSAIDs. And I'll be asking for information sheets in the future. You can contact me for a future article.

Penny Leisch

My husband and I have over twenty years of rescue work and caring for special needs animals. I've had only one vet give me inserts without my asking and that was after I asked for them one time. No one else has given them to me without asking, although fewer remove them from the packages now. The pharmacies don't seem to think it's important to include the inserts for veterinary rx either. I understand that some people don't know how to interpret the statistics on the inserts and panic over one incident, when in reality there is not a single plant, food, or drug that would not cause a reaction for some specific person or animal. However, I'm for educating the consumer. Lack of knowledge doesn't protect anyone, but it may endanger their life.


Does your pets’ veterinarian give you package insert, label, and Client Information Sheets for the prescription medications they dispense to you at their practices?

My vet always labels her pill containers with the trade name of the drug, as well as the generic name, and hands us an info sheet listing directions for usage, potential side effects, and any other pertinent information.

Most importantly, she tries whenever possible to suggest an holistic, homeopathic alternative to medications that we try first. Obviously, there are some drugs this isn't applicable to, such as antibiotics, but we've used homeopathics recommended by her to treat hypothyroid, warts, fleas and ticks and various other conditions. When she doesn't stock the homeopathic conditions herself, she writes up a sheet which helps me to find them at a human health food store.

And yes, I am well aware of how lucky I am to have her as a vet :) She actually cares more about the well being of my animals than she does about earning the mark up on pet meds.

gail schellinger

When my dog was diagnosed with arthritis he was put on nsaids. No possible side effects were explained to me nor was an insert given to me. When I changed vets two more times I was not given any information by the new vets either. It wasn't until I attended a seminar given by Dr. J. Dodds that I became aware the pain meds he was taking could be very dangerous. Because of her advice I switched him to Metacam, which in her opinion had less side effects than Rimadyl (sorry sp). He was on nsaids for at least six years, maybe as long as eight. Recently we had to put him to sleep. He was seventeen years old, a chi/pom cross of unusually good temperment.

On another note, my immune mediated dog was given Metacam for an injury to her left rear leg and I was not informed of side effects or given an insert at that time either. Within three weeks she had a major immune mediated episode and needed to be treated with high dose steroids. Although I was not aware at the time that this drug could possibly be a trigger for an immune disorder, I would think that the vet should have been more cautious in using it on a dog with an extensive immune disease history.


I have never received a package insert or client information sheet for any meds any veterinarian ever gave me.


In my opinion, informed consent should be required! Some of the horror stories we hear. But as 'consumers/customers' it is up to us to become educated. For so many years the veterinary field was to be trusted, ask no questions. I know *I* was raised that way. I even had one woman ask me "don't we HAVE to do what our vet tells us?"

The information is out there, the chances of it being given with medication are slim (even if there are computer programs that could print it with a receipt).

The FDA also put out "Treating pain in your dog" with questions to ask your vet


Never-not once have I gotten an info sheet. I am at the vets a lot both with my dogs and my training client's dogs.Nancy

Randi H

I've had numerous animals over the years, so I've been to numerous different veterinarians. Not one of them has ever given me a package insert or even discussed side affects of a drug unless I specifically asked (and I always ask!). Even the large, ultra modern facility we go to now does not give out this information unless asked.

I'm finding that veterinarians and their staff (at least in my experience) are becoming more like our human doctor offices - get 'em in and get 'em out as quick as possible.


I've been going to my vet for the past 20 years and never got a sheet. When I went to the emergency vet, they gave me a sheet with all the information on it -- what to look for with the pet, what the side effects of meds could be, what was important to call back.

My regular vet just hand-writes stuff on the bottle. I'm going to start asking for sheets -- I always get them for me -- why not the dog and cat. You can contact me if you want.


I've never received a fact sheet about drugs prescribed or given to my dogs or cats. However, I always look them up on the internet before I start giving the drug(s) to them. My question: to the best of anyone's knowledge, can you recommend websites that you generally trust for this information?

Christie Keith

I don't recommend a website, I recommend the book Plumb's Veterinary Drug Handbook.


I use RX List for my meds -- does it include the pet drugs? I never take a drug without looking it up here -- it's updated more often than the Physician's Desk Reference.

Here's the URL if someone wants to look up a "pet drug" -- right now, all of my pets are drug-free (knock on wood!)

Susan in Vermont

Hi - I am a volunteer with Col. Potter Cairn Rescue Network. I often have to get compounded medications for my own dogs and for my foster dogs and the compounding company which is used exclusvely by my vet - always provides very detailed instructions, side-effects, etc in a photocopied form - often these are several pages front and back. For medications I get directly from my vet, I do not receive these type of instructions but I am sure they would provide them if I asked. I have no problems asking my vet about possible side effects, drug interactions, etc. and they are always willing to answer my questions. They are a smaller two-person vet office - I switched vets when I moved and I have been very happy as my previous vet was bought out by VCA and their attention to their clients suffered after that (in my opinion). However I did want to mention this local company that does the compounding - I have been very happy and impressed by the care they take with the medications they dispense.

Bonnie Becker

I'm a rescuer and I've fostered over 40 Cairns. I love my vet but I've never had a package insert or client information sheet. I do get printed labels but they don't cover much. This is way different from medications I get which come with very clearly detailed client information sheets and the pharmacist asks if I have any questions.

I search out information online before I go to the vet and after I come home with meds and/or I might ask questions on K9Nutrition list or of Mary Straus in order to be properly informed on pet prescription meds.

Jennifer in Indiana

I took my American bulldog to the vet just last week because he was limping and was told he may have a torn ACL. Dr gave me Rimadyl and told me to try and keep him calm and controlled exercise only. She said it was an anti-inflammatory and pain-reliever. She didn't say one word or provide any written info about side effects, what to expect, warnings, etc. After four days, my dog has vomited, had diarrhea, noxious gas and is generally worn-out. I checked the internet and found out much info that Dr probably should have shared with me! It made me frustrated but determined to talk to my vet like I talk to my own doc...list of questions before I even walk in the door.


I have never received extra information about a drug other than what I'm told in the vet office. Since it's usually stressful, who remembers everything.

I do rely on the internet. I have the drug's name and go straight there to read everything I can. Usually the manufacturer's site is my first choice. After the recall, I really question things now and rely on myself to get that information. I know the vets are smart but after finding out how few have any nutritional education, I do question what else they are missing too.


I have never received inserts or fact sheets for any meds prescribed by my current or past vets.

Danielle Rackstraw

Hello. As President/Founder of a NATIONAL Cairn Terrier rescue organization [] we spend tens of thousands of dollars yearly on prescreption drugs and medications, and NO, we DO NOT get inserts of any type with these medications, as we now do with human medications, even though many drugs prescribed are ALSO for human use. We have approximately 400 homes a year who have our foster dogs all thoughout the nation, and since we take in dogs with ALL TYPES of health issues, many are major health issues where no one else would take the dog, this would be a tremendous help.

ALSO, when our foster dogs are first picked up and vetted, they ten travel to a home where they are fostered. EVEN with the most wonderful vet who may take time to review the medications the dog is getting upon entry into rescue . . . this is lost to ONLY the person the vet talked to in most cases once the dog is transferred to their foster home.

I BELIEVE that this should be mandatory as it is now with human medications. We cannot expect the vet to pick up this expense. Many vets we deal with in more rural area don't even have a fax machine, never mind a photo copy machine OR computer [all invoice are still hand written]. This should be something that is supplied free of charge by the vendor and the amount of copies based on the size of jar that the vet fills from [i.e. a 24 ounce jar of pills that would normally be used for 24 dogs, should have 24 or more flyers on use.

This is a wonderful question, and we appreciate your asking this.

Danielle Rackstraw

Demitry Herman

I've got a few comments to ALL the comments on this topic. Our group has been working for years to put in place a regulation that REQUIRES a vet to give to his client a copy of the drug CIS, explain it, answer questions, and have the cient sign off that they did receive the CIS and do understand the adverse reactions. This covers the client so they have the latest safe use and adverse reaction information, as well as covering the vet for any professional liability related to unsafe drug use with a patient. Basically, he told you, you need to listen and read. In addition, the pre-screen blood test for suitability that the CIS recommends (I hate the word 'recommend'), needs to be REQUIRED for safe use in order to screen out any dogs with existing hepatic problems, and others problems, which an NSAID could worsen. Also, the pre-screen blood work would be available to compare old readings and new readings should diagnostic means be needed with an adverse reaction.


And, in my learned opinion over the past 4+ years on this issue, that is why a large number of dogs are dieing sometimes undisclosed deaths. 100% of the dog owners asked if a blood test would help eliminate your dog with a bad kidney from using an NSAID and it would become worse...would you pay for it? 100% said yes without a doubt. CIS sheets are being provided directly to the vet by their drug distributors...the FDA requires it. stops there. In addition, ALL NSAID drug manufacturers have a 1-800 number for vets to call and request X amount of NSAID CIS of charge via US Mail. There should be NO excuse. Vets are keeping this safe use information from their clients and in the FDA's estimate, 300,000 dogs...and their guardians...have paid for it. In PA we have two bills pending law that will require the above. Our PA campaign by far has recognized the problem, approached the state vet board for help about it, was rebuffed by the state vet board, but is by no means backing off the issue. Our campaign and website have close to a half millions hits with people looking for help and to help with this campaign. I urge you all to write, call, or go to your state vet board meetings and demand a regulation be set in place that requires vets to comply in order to develope a more open and honest vet/client/patient relationship as IS required by state law. For anyone that has lost a dog to an NSAID, or currently has a dog on an NSAID for pain management, I ask that you view our website for more information. We've come a long way in four years, with the FDA CVM and many professional vet associations behind us. Now we need to set regulation for safer NSAID use. We've lost way to many dogs to a preventable death. We know the problem. We know one of the solutions. We just need to bring them together.

Demi~ Herman


You are correct Demi. I just found this also: "The right dose for the right patient"

The World Small Animal Veterinary Association stated in August 2007 that drugs may react differently due to breed, age, and even sex of animal!


Demitry, I was looking for some sort of "Mission Statement" - or even a description of your group's legislative objectives - on your website, and failed to find it. It would make the purpose of the website more understandable to people I might pass the URL along to.

Were they there somewhere and I just missed them?

Demitry Herman

Hi Pat.

Our mission statement is here:

The link was located at the very bottom of our home page in the grid. Our mission statement does not necessarily tout a legislative objective, rather our goal is one of overall awareness and education, which includes any legislative actions required to achieve our goal.

The two bills that we currently have pending in the PA Senate are 2007 SB504 and SB505, located here:

We have listed on our website under the 'NSAID section' the old bill numbers, SB1144 and SB1145 from 2006 under the Legislation heading. Those bill numbers and links will be updated to 2007 numbers.

BJ Thurman

No, I did not receive verbal warning nor the Client Information Sheet when my dog was prescribed Rimadyl in November of 2003. Last year when discussing spay procedure at an AAHA clinic where Rimadyl was part of the protocol, I was given Rimadyl information, but it was not FDA material. It was a Rimadyl promotional brochure from Pfizer.

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