Letters August 2003 Issue

Supplements and NSAIDs for Dogs

Dog’s Health and Vitality Gained from Supplements

I read “Securing Seacure” in the April 2003 issue with great interest. Our 10-year-old Lab, Annie, was diagnosed with mast cell cancer in February. Once we received the diagnosis, we brought Annie to a specialist to see if there was any treatment available. The doctor told us that there is really no effective treatment for her type of cancer for many reasons, including the stage to which her cancer had developed.

In your article on Seacure®, it was stated that Seacure alleviates nausea and vomiting, and possibly helps prevent or reverse cancer. We decided to try this product as we felt we had nothing to lose. We have gained two wonderful months with very limited vomiting, and lots of energy and enthusiasm from our Annie.

I have ordered another supply from Proper Nutrition. This company could not be more helpful and responsive. Ordering through their toll-free number is easy and the shipping is fast. I know that this is not a cure for Annie’s cancer, but so far, Seacure has improved her quality of life.

In the past, I have purchased many of the products that you have recommended and have not been disappointed in any of them, but Seacure is the one that has really made a difference in all of our lives.

-Linda King
via e-mail

My brother’s Lab retriever-mix was diagnosed with extensive cancer about a month ago. One vet estimated that she only had three weeks to live. My brother is not a very “alternative health” type of guy, but I remembered your recent articles about cancer (“New Hope for Treating Cancer,” May 2003) and the nutritional supplement, Seacure (“Securing Seacure,” April 2003). We put the dog on both Seacure and artemisinin. She got the runs at first, but now she’s almost back to her old self! Her appetite and activity levels are back!

We’re not going to venture to say that the cancer is in remission or anything, but she’s so much more happy and comfortable. Her arthritis even seems better. Thank you so much for your wonderful publication. Please keep on spreading the word!

-Donna Gatewood
Elkins Park, PA

I am a faithful reader of WDJ and I know that our pets have healthier lives as a result of your articles. In March we lost our 19-year-old, 65-pound mixed breed rescue, but he had been on somazymes and other supplements recommended in your articles. He lived a long rich life due to supplements that kept him healthy.

My most recent miracle was Candy, our 16-year-old rescue. She went in for her annual physical and her ALT liver enzymes were elevated. We tested again in a week and they were escalating at an alarming rate. We did a bile duct study, which was normal. And we were getting ready to have an ultrasound performed to determine whether there was liver cancer.

I went back to my archives of your articles, and saw that you discussed toxins in the liver in the July 2002 issue (“Milk Thistle”). My husband and I take milk thistle but I had never given it to our pets. We consulted our vet and gave her the article to read. She was very receptive, so we gave Candy 175 mg twice a day. She weighs about 45 pounds.

The wonderful news is two weeks later, Candy’s ALT liver enzymes were normal at 38 after being in the thousands. We will monitor her on a monthly basis, keeping her on the same dosage of milk thistle.

There was an obvious toxin in her liver, but the milk thistle has promoted new cells, and for now we have a healthy, happy dog. She has occasionally taken Rimadyl on cold, damp, winter days. If Rimadyl was the culprit, it would be wonderful to know milk thistle could combat any damage done to the liver by this medication.

I thank you for your wonderful guidance, as our pets are such treasures in our lives.

-Beth Hannon
Greer, SC


The Truth About NSAIDs

How I wish “Administer With Care” (June 2003) would have been published three months earlier. If it had been, I would have read the information that could have prevented my four-year-old Beagle, K.C., from a dangerous reaction to a combination of NSAIDs, as well as an expensive hospitalization.

K.C. was being treated for a ruptured disc in March. An emergency room veterinarian prescribed EtoGesic and the next day her regular veterinarian prescribed Deramaxx, knowing full well that she was already on the EtoGesic. He did tell me to cut the EtoGesic dosage in half because the combination may cause ulcers.

Two days later K.C. was at the University of Minnesota because her condition had deteriorated significantly and she was scheduled for surgery. The veterinarian at UMN immediately took her off these two drugs, saying they never should have been used at the same time. Because of [the combination of] the two drugs, K.C. was in intensive care for three days, vomiting continually. After five days in the hospital, she came home and is still recovering from her ordeal. It if weren’t for the quick thinking and knowledgeable vets at UMN, K.C. might not be with us today.

Thank you for your wonderful and informative publication. You tell us what so many others won’t.

-Sue Marinkov & K.C.
Woodbury, MN

I enjoyed reading “Administer with Care,” about NSAIDs (non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs), in the June issue of WDJ. I found it to be extremely accurate, informative, and well-written.

I have practiced veterinary medicine with a boarded specialty in small animal medicine and surgery, since 1981. In these 22 years I have seen significant advancements in the treatment of canine osteoarthritis.

I first started to use Rimadyl in 1997 or thereabouts. I was aware of the side effects at the time, and always recommended a complete blood panel prior to its use. I also continued blood monitoring every three months while the patient was on this therapy.

I have numerous arthritic-type drugs and supplements on my shelves, from aspirin, glucocorticoids, and phenylbutazone (a horse remedy) to Arthri-Nu, Glycoflex, Cosequin, EtoGesic, Adequan, Osteocare, and now Deramaxx. When I first graduated from veterinary school, buffered aspirin and phenylbutazone were the only available NSAIDs, and corticosteroids were used for severe cases. There were no neutraceutical remedies that were used at the time.

In 2002, Time magazine published an article on osteoarthritis in humans. The authors analyzed the current rave in Cox-2 inhibitors, and also the non-drug or nutraceutical route. They ascertained that Cox-2 inhibitors were indeed functional in pain relief but had significant side effects, including many of the ones mentioned in your article. Of all the neutraceutical, herbal, and homeopathic remedies out there, the writer’s research found only the glucosamine and chondroitin supplements to be truly effective in both pain relief and maintenance of joint space width and functional mobility.

I have done significant research in this area and I have found that NSAIDs (including aspirin, ibuprofen, Rimadyl, EtoGesic, and the new Cox-2 inhibitors such as Deramaxx) definitely relieve pain – but they may also potentially damage the cartilage in the joint. The makers of Rimadyl, Etogesic, and Deramaxx claim that this isn’t true with Cox-2 inhibitors. They emphasize that as long as the recommended package dose (or lower) is maintained, their studies have not shown damage to the cartilage.

I have not seen those studies, but I have seen the human studies that show that although NSAIDs relieve pain and provide some anti-inflammatory effects, there is no evidence illustrating their role in arresting the progression of the disease. In fact, they may actually accelerate disease progression by slowing the rate of proteoglycan synthesis and exacerbating the loss of cartilage. Basically all this means is that the building blocks of joints are actually slowed in their rates of joining and that the cartilage in turn can break down easier.

I recommend NSAIDs for my clients as a very last resort, or prednisolone when the animal no longer responds to any of the neutraceutical remedies I use first. I use NSAIDs only when the patient’s blood panels are normal, and when the owner agrees to do monthly blood testing, has read the package labels regarding adverse reactions, and knows all the risks involved.

If I have a young or old patient with osteoarthritis or any congenital or hereditary disease, I generally start them out on Breeder’s Choice Active Care treats or biscuits or Breeder’s Choice’s Active Care diet. I talk to the owner about the need for the dog’s weight loss and slowly increasing activity and walking for increasing time periods daily to help build up the supporting muscles to the joint that is afflicted with osteorarthritis.

I recommend Cosequin, too, but I don’t always use this as my first neutraceutical because of the high levels of salt in the product. Most of my canine patients with osteoarthritis are older, and may have cardiac or renal disease. Salt levels need to be kept at a minimum in these patients.

I tell my clients not to use one of the generic glucosamine or chondroitin sulfate products because university studies have shown that when these pills are tested for levels of glucosamine or chondroitin they are often not there or nowhere near the levels stated on the label. Furthermore, shelf stability is poor with these products.

Cartilage foods, treats, and biscuits (such as those found in the Active Care products) are offered in their natural form and are not chemically manipulated to extract one or more glycosaminoglycan. I offer this line of nutritional therapy regularly and early in my patients’ lives. Cartilage has little or no fat or salt, which makes it an excellent supplement for all ages and breeds of dogs, especially when trying to minimize caloric intake for obese patients where weight contributes to osteorarthritis.

If the dog is in severe pain I will prescribe EtoGesic (or now Deramaxx) with a meal, along with a cartilage-based food or treat, until the dog’s symptoms improve. I have also had tremendous success with Adequan, an injectable form of glycosaminoglycans (GAGs). This involves twice weekly injections for three weeks, then one injection every two to three weeks as needed. Generally I will use EtoGesic and a GAG product simultaneously for the rest of the pet’s life and recommend monthly blood testing or sooner if any adverse signs develop. In extreme cases, I still resort to glucocorticoids.

Putting dogs (especially those breeds that are most likely to experience osteorarthritis) on cartilage-based foods, treats, and supplements to help mitigate the potential onset of osteoarthritis is highly recommended and very good nutritional therapy, and illustrates yet another alternative to treating osteoarthritis in companion animals.

-Katalin Grant, DVM
Long Beach, CA

[Editor’s note: Dr. Grant is the consulting veterinarian for Breeder’s Choice, and is affiliated with Active Life Pet Products, maker of Osteocare, a GAG supplement. Active Life licenses its cartilage technology to Breeder’s Choice.]

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