Posted on Monday, December 08, 2003 - 4:26 am:
I am a veterinarian that has stumbled across this thread after
finding a link on the srdogs.com website. I think I am the only
one that has dared pipe up (although I think a few techs did a
long time ago). I've read this entire thread - 4 hours and I stayed
up 'til 3am last night. I'll tell you my point of view. I know
vets generally inhabit the other side of the exam table from your
perspective, but these types of things can be tough on us too.
(Although nothing can compare to the loss/injury of a beloved
I found my way here while Google-researching adverse reactions
to a new anti-inflammatory med called Deramaxx, which some people
claim is leading to side effects in a large number of dogs (much
like PH6). My psyche got a big bruising in the last few days because
I may have contributed to the death of a client's beloved pet.
This is a veterinarian's worse nightmare, believe me. You may
distrust some vets because of you horrible personal experiences,
but 90% of the vets I know lose sleep over the thought of harming
a patient. (You can find 10% bad apples in any group).
I prescribed Deramaxx to a limping dog and 5 days later that
pet developed severe hemorrhagic diarrhea with sloughing of the
intestinal lining and shock. I cannot prove the Deramaxx was the
culprit, because the documented Deramaxx reaction on the GI tract
is ulceration, not sloughing (a subtle but important distinction),
however I do think it’s highly likely the Deramaxx was to
Now, my clinic started carrying this new medication about 3 months
ago because we believed it would be safer than EtoGesic and Rimadyl.
The manufacturer, Novartis, held a dinner lecture for the vets
in our area and presented their research information at length
showing that the GI side-effects were much reduced with Deramaxx.
This sounded believable, since Deramaxx is almost identical to
Celebrex and Vioxx, which are the “new and improved”
prescription drugs for human arthritis. The FDA, which is notoriously
hard to please (how many times do you hear people clamoring for
the FDA to hurry up and approve some new wonder drug being used
in Europe?) had signed off on it. And the research all sounded
plausible and encouraging. We were excited to have a safer drug
in our arsenal against canine pain.
I only prescribed the medication about 10 times over the last
month, but in that short time I seriously injured a patient I
was trying to help. Another vet where I work had 2 other patients
die suspiciously after being prescribed Deramaxx, although these
cases cannot be proved as adverse reactions either. We have, however,
reported all three cases to the FDA and Novartis, and we have
taken the Deramaxx off our shelves.
What does this have to do with ProHeart6? Our clinic has never
used PH6; we prescribe Interceptor. But after my Deramaxx debacle,
I have learned a painful lesson:
I will not prescribe any new medication before it has been on
the market for a few years, and I will sniff around on the Internet
as well before making a final decision on safety.
I am a scientist, and I believe that well-designed statistical
research is vastly superior to anecdotal evidence found on the
Web. But: ProHeart6 is still fairly new and there is not enough
good research at this time. Because it may have a higher, potentially
devastating complication rate, I will not use it. If we did not
have perfectly good, tried and true heartworm prevention out there,
then yes, I would advocate use of PH6 because heartworm is a serious
risk in many areas of the country. But we do have Heartgard and
Interceptor, so there is no good reason to incur extra risk on
my patients. Because I love them. And I never want to have to
face another grieving client and tell them that I was instrumental
in the death of their dear dog.
VetMama (unregistered guest)