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Animal Drug Investigation Reveals Pet Medication Often Doesn't Work 279

KentuckyFC writes: "Americans spent an estimated $14.2 billion on veterinary care for their pets in 2013 — and that doesn't even include proprietary health diets and food supplements. Put another way, pet owners pay about $850 annually in veterinary expenses per dog, and about $575 per cat. Factor in the emotional energy we invest in keeping our companion animals healthy, and you'd hope for high confidence in the end results. But when one journalist investigated the science behind the meds being used to treat his aging dog's osteoarthritis, he was in for a nasty surprise. Glucosamine and chondroitin food supplements? Next to useless. Tramadol to kill pain? It's probably just getting dogs high. The one treatment that's been proven to help, a non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drug called carprofen, is often left on the shelf because of fears — likely overblown — that it might damage dogs' kidneys. In part, you can blame this sorry state of affairs on a lack of financial incentives for drug companies to run clinical trials on animals. But often, vets aren't paying attention to the studies that have been done. If we want our dogs and cats to receive the best possible medical care, we need to ask our vets some tougher questions about why they think the drugs will work."
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Animal Drug Investigation Reveals Pet Medication Often Doesn't Work

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  • by GodfatherofSoul ( 174979 ) on Friday January 31, 2014 @05:15PM (#46123435)

    I felt like our initial visit was almost like getting cased by a grifter; like they wanted to see how much I was willing to shell out. They started me out with a sample of a deworming med then asked for a stool sample from the pup which of course showed some parasite that had to be treated with another med. So, I've had her 2 weeks and besides vaccinations she's already been exposed to 2 medications. And, each visit has been a setup for another visit in the weeks to come. I just feel like i'm getting sucked into a merry-go-round of perpetual medication and unnecessary care. But, I'm not a professional so I don't have much ability to make judgements.

    A human doesn't need that much attention if he's healthy.

  • Yikes. (Score:3, Insightful)

    by mythosaz ( 572040 ) on Friday January 31, 2014 @05:20PM (#46123485)

    I'm not sure I spend $850/year on my own medical care.... ....although I'm sure that'll go up as I get older -- before ending abruptly.

    "A woman in England paid over $17,000 for her cat to spend six days in an oxygen tent to cure its paralyzed larynx. The cat showed its gratitude by briefly holding eye contact."

  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday January 31, 2014 @05:24PM (#46123525)

    Um what are you talking about? A human absolutely DOES need that same kind of attention if they're healthy. You're talking about the equivalent of a child in the first year of life, not a 20-year-old college kid. Kids go in to see the pediatrician about 4 or 5 times in their first year for routine check-ups, vaccinations, boosters, and more. Then, after that, they pretty much see the doctor for a checkup each year indefinitely. How is that different from what you're seeing with your puppy? You also have to remember, for a dog seeing the vet once a year, that's equivalent to a human going every 4 or 5 years or so based on how rapidly their body ages in relation to a human's lifespan.

    Also, most human children don't come from a puppy mill or spend time eating dirt, plants, and bugs outdoors- if they did they'd also be tested and treated for parasites as necessary.

    If you're feeling like you're being grifted at this point when your vet is just offering you appropriate and practical medical care for your pet, you're setting yourself up to be a difficult, irresponsible pet owner. Please don't go that route and at least, as this poorly though-out original article mentions, at least ASK your vet why you need to do something and how/why it works if you're not sure rather than just assuming you're being scammed and doing a disservice to your pet.

  • by gurps_npc ( 621217 ) on Friday January 31, 2014 @05:27PM (#46123561) Homepage
    Humans that live like most dogs do in fact need that much attention.

    The typical human living in an area that is poor enough to never use toilet paper has multiple parasites living in it. Often the human gets it by eating whatever food is in front of it.

    Now, some dogs do in fact only eat gourmet meals. But quite a few eat anything they can - including things that used to be in their body but are no longer.

    I am not saying the Vet you saw was not pulling a fast one on you.

    But there is at least a chance he was being a good vet.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday January 31, 2014 @05:44PM (#46123767)

    This is a perfect example of knowing enough to be dangerous. You're making all these blanket statements decrying prescribed drugs that are well understood while promoting drugs that are not prescribed based upon some unproven beliefs, and creating and promoting a cocktail of vitamins and supplements that you believe might counteract negative effects of these drugs that no doctor prescribes for what you're doing... Danger, Will Robinson! I sense someone about to fall off the cliff into quack-land!

  • by lancelet ( 898272 ) on Friday January 31, 2014 @06:46PM (#46124331) Homepage Journal
    So wait, you're advocating going to people with even less knowledge than an average vet?

    The main problem with your suggestion is that, in the early stages of virtually every disease, you and your farm supply store buddies will have no idea whether a condition is serious or not. In fact, in many cases, neither will a vet without the aid of special equipment or serial monitoring. Are your cats "goopy eyes" an infection or a corneal ulcer? Is your supply store dude just gonna whip out his ophthalmoscope and some staining compound to check that for you? What about lumps on your dog? Gonna change its diet, or actually get a biopsy done to check for cancer? How about grass seed injuries? You just gonna whip out a flick knife and cut that bastard out, or do you think your dog might want some pain killers with its skin incision? Etc, etc, etc.

    On another topic, your advice won't work in countries like Australia or the UK, where antibiotics are unavailable without prescription (you know, because of this annoying thing called antibiotic resistance).
  • by Arkham ( 10779 ) on Friday January 31, 2014 @09:06PM (#46125277)

    My wife is a veterinarian and I cringe when I see stories like this. Some sensationalist with no medical knowledge skims a few studies or reports and makes a sensationalist article that has no basis in science or fact.

    Tramadol is a good drug that helps a lot of animals with chronic pain. Cosequin helped my dog with hip dysplasia to be more comfortable for his last few years. Like many human drugs, efficacy varies by the patient, but the reality is that veterinarians as a whole are great people who truly love animals and would not prescribe things that did not work.

Research is what I'm doing when I don't know what I'm doing. -- Wernher von Braun