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23 March 2009


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I am always eager to do such research, but less than eager to fix what's not broken. For example, my bulldog was on rimadyl for many years -- followed by my vet's blood tests, etc. Yet over and over again, people SWORE to me that rimadyl was a "killer" drug and that they "personally knew" dozens of dogs which died as a result. Oh, bushwah. Only if they "personally" shoved a rimadyl overdose down those dogs' throats. Researchers have to learn to read with a discerning eye and sort between the crap and the truth. This not-without-its-risks medication helped my dog. Responsibly used, I'm sure it will help many others in future.

Original Lori

Thank you for this! I'm actually going to print this out and keep it in Kasey's med file to remind me.


Excellent article Christie. The only thing I'd quibble with is that most people have no idea the side effects - or even the name - of a drug they're taking themselves. While I know what drugs my dogs are taking, usually both the generic and trade names, and what I might watch for as side effects - most of my coworkers never would consider asking their physician for the name of the antibiotic their child is taking. (They're on "medicine" or "antibiotics" and asking which one draws a blank stare.) They may have the insert, but they don't look at it. And in my experience, my doctor is far less forthcoming than my vet - the doctor assumes it's over my head and the vet knows it's not. I wonder if more physicians were better at this, people would come to expect it from their vets as well.

Christie Keith

Good point, Chris, but even the human drugs are in Plumb's.... with contraindications, known interactions, and side effects for dogs, cats, and usually other animal species, too.


Great job with this article, Christie.

I've often wondered why drug inserts and/or info on side-effects isn't required to be distributed with prescriptions filled at veterinary offices—and my wife is a vet. Presumably it's a matter of what's required by the various state licensing boards.

One point to keep in mind, though, is that while information on drug side-effects is widely available, that info is not necessarily available for every species a vet might have to treat, and side-effects that are experienced by one species won't necessarily be experienced by another. Also many vets use human medications because a veterinary analogue doesn't exist. Enough might be known about a human drug to suggest that it can fill a gap in the veterinary armamentarium, but the full range of side-effects likely isn't known. In such cases, a vet's "I've never had any problems with this" might be the best reassurance available.

Still, few human drugs achieve widespread use in vet med without some understanding of the risks and benefits, which vets should be explaining to clients. It's all about informed consent!

Scott Moore

Thanks for articulating a concern of mine. It actually started when moving from Vet to Vet and problems in care,treatment or attitude became apparent.

I haven't actually had the wherewithal to cause a Vet to change treatment but instead have spoken to other Vets until finding one with a better sounding plan.

The hardest thing about researching on the web is the overwhelming BS, especially those that promise miracles when only a miracle will do. Thanks again for your clarity and wide ranging interests.

Christie Keith

I agree we make many of the same mistakes for our own drugs as for our pets, LOL, but when I fill a prescription for myself, I'm offered a consult with the pharmacist and they give me the inserts and warnings. If I choose not to avail myself of those, it's on me. But it's still the norm, unlike in vet med.


I've learned a lot here, thanks Christie. You make the understanding of these types of things so much clearer.

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