I was watching a television show about a veterinary clinic the evening after completing an early draft of this article. One of the clients was a young man with a very sick dog, who lay at his feet, moaning softly. He's not himself
Purchasing prescription medicines for your dog from your veterinarian is definitely convenient and often necessary from a health standpoint (for example, when your pet urgently needs the drug), but it is usually the more expensive option. The mark-up at veterinary offices usually starts at 100 percent over wholesale prices but it can be 1,000 percent in some cases!
Most dog owners are aware that Collies and other herding breeds may be sensitive to ivermectin, used for heartworm prevention and to treat certain parasites. But did you know that these dogs can also be sensitive to a number of other drugs, and that other breeds can also be affected?
Novartis Animal Health suspended production at its Lincoln, Nebraska, plant in December 2011 following a series of warnings from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) regarding manufacturing and quality control violations. At that time, the only veterinary drugs affected were the heartworm and flea products Interceptor, Program, and Sentinel. Novartis said it hoped to return to full production in January. Instead, further problems were discovered when Novartis warned veterinarians about possible tablet mix-ups in bottles of Clomicalm, used to treat separation anxiety. On January 5th, Novartis sent a letter to veterinarians informing them that it was suspending production and shipments of Clomicalm and Milbemite (used to treat ear mites) in addition to the products listed above.
My Border Collie Daisy trained for the world record in the hack put" event. This soon-to-be Olympic sport involves hacking pills from the back of the throat as far as possible across the room. Her record is 1.2 meters
Enzymes given with food are used for digestion, but certain enzymes (proteases, which break down proteins) can also help with inflammation, pain, recovery from injury, and more when given apart from food. Systemic enzyme therapy, also called metabolic or proteolytic enzyme therapy, allows enzymes to enter the body where they can be used for healing rather than digestion. Examples of proteolytic enzymes include pancreatin, trypsin, and chymotrypsin (from the pancreas); bromelain (from pineapple); and papain (from papaya).
The supply of Immiticide (melarsomine dihydrochloride), the only drug approved to treat heartworm infections in dogs, has been low since December 2009, but now it’s completely gone. Merial confirmed that it was officially out of the drug on August 9, 2011. The current situation is due to a new and separate manufacturing challenge related to technical issues with the company who provides the finished product, according to a Merial spokesperson. Merial said the company is working hard to make the drug available again, but cannot speculate when that might happen.
In “Time to Step It Up” (WDJ July 2011), we described one small study that showed only Advantage Multi was 100 percent effective against the MP3 strain of resistant heartworms after a single dose. The report was true as far as it went, but new points have emerged that make this a more complex story and one for which we do not have all the answers yet.
Banfield Pet Hospital has issued a report analyzing the most common diseases in dogs and cats. The “State of Pet Health 2011 Report” collected data from 2.1 million dogs seen at Banfield’s 770 veterinary hospitals in 2010. Some of the more interesting findings included increases in diabetes, dental disease, ear infections, and flea infestations since 2006. Hookworms and whipworms in dogs also increased during that time period.
The lawsuit filed by Kari Blaho-Owens, PhD, against Merial, her former employer, contains a number of serious allegations regarding Heartgard’s decreased efficacy and Merial’s knowledge of the problem.We may never know whether all the details alleged in the suit are true. It might take years in court – or it might be settled out of court. But the suit makes for fascinating reading.
As we reported in Whole Dog Journal in March 2011, there is now ample evidence that at least one strain of heartworms has developed resistance to some of the market's best-known preventives. In addition, there is evidence to suggest that one of the most popular heartworm preventives, Heartgard, has an efficacy rate of less than 100 percent. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration's Center for Veterinary Medicine has sent at least one warning letter to Merial, the maker of Heartgard, asking the company to stop claiming 100 percent effectiveness for heartworm prevention. Given these developments, what should responsible dog owners do differently to better protect their dogs? The answer depends a bit on where you live and what you've already been doing to prevent heartworm infection.
Pfizer has announced plans to discontinue manufacture and sale of its flea and tick control product, ProMeris. Orders will continue to be filled until September 20, 2011. ProMeris was introduced in the fall of 2007, and touted as the first topical product to use metaflumizone. Pfizer gained control of ProMeris when it acquired Wyeth/Fort Dodge Animal Health in 2009. Pfizer is also the maker of Revolution, used to control fleas and one species of ticks, along with heartworm, ear mites, and sarcoptic mange.