changed..... and I'm not even sure when it happened, it has
been a slow transition over decades.
... we always had dogs! The house that my parents built five
decades ago has our own pet cemetery in the back yard (yes
it is legal in that area). They were all mixed breeds, but
they were all greatly loved!
It may have
started with the rabies vaccines and licenses to prove it
was current. Then the rest of the vaccines 'to keep our pets
healthy' to 'prevent them from getting a disease' we were
told. The majority of us grew up with not only rabies vaccines,
but distemper, parvo, corona, Bordetella, leptospirosis, kennel
cough vaccines and now Lyme vaccine, heartworm preventives
and West Nile.
treated not only dogs and cats, but frogs, turtles, horses,
ducks, cows, goats and sheep! Any animal, there was no limit.
Growing up, I know I wanted to be a vet. It would be fantastic
to take care of all these creatures that you loved! Then I
discovered the years of college that was required, it was
no wonder my vet knew so much!
How I loved
my vet.... we could call him anytime ..... for anything. If
he felt it was necessary ... he would come to the house. If
treatment was necessary and you couldn't afford it, he allowed
payments. He didn't pull any punches though, he told you like
it was! Several times one of us left there in tears. But he
didn't put our feelings first...... it was the pets health!
Unfortunately we lost a great man a few years back .......
why? because keeping a dog alive was more important to him
then taking the time to put his gloves back on. His business
continues today ..... with other vets, 'new' vets, 'new' policies,
course! times have changed!
I guess because
of him, I expect more from the professionals I take my companions
to today. At least more then what they appear use to giving,
for 'today's age.'
have heard that a lot of us are referred to as "DONKS"?
Stands for 'Dog Owners with No Kids.' Guess we qualify, our
kids are grown and have kids of their own now. Then the Guardian
Campaign... we aren't 'owners' we are Guardians and Caregivers,
our dogs are not 'property' like a piece of furniture ...
they are our companions. Here all this time people thought
my pets owned me! Yes, times have changed.
to the APPMA (American Pet Product Manufacturer Association)
there are more Pets then People in the US! What else is changing
with the times? Pet Expenditures. (please note Published Facts
I don't know
what these figures were like 30 years ago. I know I snuck
my dog into bed when ever I could. I shared my food with them,
hoping not to get caught. I was told many times: "Stop
it! It's unhealthy to let a dog lick you." My dog kisses
me on the nose all the time now and I'm still alive.
Changing times ......
Why do we
do all this? Because of our love for them... yes, but it has
also been proven that medically, pets help lower blood pressure,
help relieve stress and depression, and help prevent heart
disease... by doing all of that, these non-humans also lower
health care costs for humans. Don't we owe it to them?
I could go
on stating data and facts from what others have written, but
I think most of us have already read them. Guardians and Caregivers
realize how times have changed in regards to our feelings
towards our companions. Has anyone else?
rather give you some other not so well published information.
In a report
to the World Small Animal Veterinary Association World Congress
in 2001 called 'Vaccines of the Present and Future' Dr. Alice
Wolf of the United States, states: "The recommendation
for annual revaccination is a practice that was “officially”
started in 1978. This recommendation was made without any
scientific validation of the need to booster immunity so frequently".
Changing times ......
has been talk about 'over vaccinating' the last few years
.... but this was advised with NO Scientific Validation? in
1978? Who advised it? For what purpose? How much have we spent
the report stating: "The objective of vaccination should
be to prevent or limit infection and disease caused by clinically
significant infectious agents. The operative words here are
clinically significant." She concluded her report with:
"Many biologics manufacturers are currently working on
other vaccine products for the companion animal market. When
these vaccines are introduced, there will undoubtedly be a
barrage of fancy advertising brochures flooding your office
and sales representatives working very hard to sell you these
products. I encourage you to think carefully about whether
there is a real and honest need for these products. Will these
new vaccines protect your patients against diseases that you
diagnose frequently and that cause them significant morbidity
or mortality? Or do you have to search the literature for
references because you never heard of this problem before?
Please carefully examine the risk/benefit ratio for your patients
before jumping on the bandwagon when new products are introduced.
When it comes to vaccination, we are discovering that less...
may be more... and that the same old thing... may be too much."
say, her report included a lot more ......
but I believe she summed it up very well.
At the same
World Congress Dr. Lauren Trepanier of the United States gave
a report on 'Avoiding Adverse Reactions.' Dr. Trepanier starts
off with: "Adverse drug reactions are defined as any
undesired response to therapy and may involve either therapeutic
failure or toxicity. Although the overall incidence of these
reactions in veterinary patients is unknown, dogs and particularly
cats are susceptible to adverse drug reactions for several
in drug disposition or action compared to humans.
|Lack of suitable
drug formulations for small patients.
drug dose requirements because of age or disease state."
incidence is unknown? Wonder if she meant what a survivor
of an adverse reaction might encounter later in life, that
they wouldn't have if they hadn't had the adverse reaction
in the first place?
to the FDA/CVM: "In
common terms, an adverse drug experience (ADE) is either
an undesired side effect, or the lack of a desired effect.
The Center for Veterinary Medicine (CVM) defines an ADE
as 'any side effect, injury, toxicity, or sensitivity reaction
(or failure to perform as expected) associated with use
of an animal drug, whether or not determined to be attributable
to the drug."
I've noticed, it seems the top two symptoms of adverse reactions
is vomiting and diarrhea. Years ago when dogs were allowed
to run lose, yes..... they may have gotten into something.
But not today, it's illegal to let them run lose in most
areas ....... even though some may still escape.
FDA/CVM does produce electronically the Cumulative/Annual
Report which lists 'reported adverse reactions' possibly
related to the chemical name. Unfortunately, we don't know
how far behind it is.
avoid adverse reactions,
change in drug dose requirements because of age."
warnings for puppies, but SELDOM for older dogs. So when
is a dog 'old?" I've researched and found - that can
depend on breed and size (note chart to right I found).
I know our companions live a lot longer. When I was growing
up, 6-7-8 years old was normal, now it is double! It is
nothing to see dogs 10-12-14-16 years old!
from all of the vaccines? New medications? Newer technology?
Or is it because WE treat them different?
That they aren't 'just dogs' anymore - they are our Companions!
Times have changed!
who is involved in our companions health: President Bush!
November 18, 2003 he signed the "Animal Drug Users
Fee Act". "this law establishes a funding system
for the new animal drug review process that is similar to
that established for the human drug review process over
a decade ago." They go on to say: "The fees collected
for these services will be directed toward the FDA Center
for Veterinary Medicine (CVM) and will be used to provide
additional resources for its animal drug review program.
The goal is to achieve shorter, more predictable review
times by increasing the review staff at CVM and building
better management systems. As a result, FDA anticipates
substantial savings to the industry in regulatory review
and developmental expenses-without compromising FDA's high
standards for safe and effective products."
to achieve shorter review times?
Substantial Savings to the industry?
I for one, would prefer putting it to HIGHER standards for
safe and effective products.
Then maybe, we can get accurate death rates ...
to doses 'given' not doses 'sold.'
Then we have: Guardians,
vets, vet boards, drug manufacturers, their sales representatives,
and the FDA. We also have other manufacturers for food and
supplies, breeders, and groomers. All of them have Mission
Statements and Vision Statements, (besides the Veterinary
Oath on the side that vets promise) that include words like:
'well-being of companion animals', 'protecting', 'assuring',
'improve safety and quality', 'value and integrity', 'effective',
'longer', 'healthier', 'values and respect.'
really what our companions health is about today? or is
it more about money? Dogs don't know about money, could
care less about it. They just want love ....and they trust
us to take care of them.
our dog, our pet, our companion better then we, as Guardians
do? The sales rep that goes to tell the vets everything
they have been taught to say by the manufacturer? So the
rep can make a living? The drug manufacturers, who tend
to make a lot? or the FDA, who has been educated and trained
to know how to read reports? Maybe .... our vet! .........
if you find one that takes the time to listen to what we,
the Guardians have to say rather then anyone else. Where
is the respect? where is the integrity? Where is the value?
Not where it use to be ..... or where it should be.
it use to be that we the consumers and Guardians didn't
question what we were told. Maybe we trusted 'professionals'
to know. Maybe..... The FDA claims to approve only safe
drugs, but what was the recent number on the Cumulative/Annual
report? it doesn't matter what drug..... pick one! I wonder
what happens to all of the tests that fail, before a drug
is presented to FDA for approval, do they get reported also?
We seem to have some difficulty getting some answers even
from our FDA.
Times have changed .....
Now in 2004
and the years leading up to it, what as companion Guardians
and Caregivers do we expect? The Companion Petition with all
of the signatures shows part of what we expect. How do we
go about it to get them?
no short cuts, at least no safe ones.
We, as Guardians
and Caregivers have the right to ask questions, we have the
right to ask for tests, we have the right to file reports
........ *I* for one will never go back to being an 'owner.'
Times have changed ......
In this day
and age we can make arrangements for our companions in case
something should happen to us. We can even leave them our
estate if we want to! But we can't be trusted with knowing
the 'truth' of drugs and Adverse Reactions?
Times have changed ......
We walk into
a professionals office and we expect to be given answers,
not 'maybe', 'possibly,' 'probably,' or 'I think.' It was
only while thinking about writing this that I thought back
to how many times I've been told that in the last 8 years.
How many times I've heard, that others have been told those
same words. If we start to ask questions, we may be told they
are going to charge us double for taking up so much of their
time. We may be told 'they know their job' and to 'trust them'.
Then they 'assume' we don't want to spend extra money for
tests. They 'assume' what we want for our pets. It is 'assumed'
that we believe what ever we are told .... like we use to
...when we could trust them.
Times have changed ......
It is not
safe for them to 'assume' anymore. Thanks to modern technology
and the Internet ...... we can learn ourselves, it just may
take longer. Knowledge is power and knowledge is safety.
Times have changed .....
The FDA came
out with an article called "Emerging Issues." Stating
that it use to be (in old days) it was the vet that reported
adverse reactions, today it is from the public. They say it
is because of the Internet. Yes.... maybe...... or MAYBE ...
because the vets aren't doing it and we have to! Our dog gets
ill or dies after a new medication, our vet says he doesn't
believe it was from the medication. We call a manufacturer
to file a complaint and get a case number ourselves and can
be treated rudely! Questions like: How do you know it was
from our drug? do you have proof? wasn't your dog ill when
you took him to vet? Excuse me, do your job, fill out the
complaint and give me a case number PLEASE.
Times HAVE changed!
ARE part of our family. People are spending thousands of dollars
trying to save a member of their family from adverse reactions.
Adverse reactions which could have been avoided in the first
place with just a little bit more time, a little bit more
money for a little more testing to PROVE, and not guess.
Times HAVE changed!
Let US decide
if we want to take a chance after knowing the possibility
of reactions. Let US decide if we would rather run some tests
to see what shape our companion is in. Let US decide!
We pay 'professionals'
to KNOW the diagnosis and then RECOMMEND the treatment and
then let US decide!
heard the saying, what GOD is spelled backwards......
Well it isn't VET orMANUFACTURER or REP or FDA.
It's still DOG!
time to get with the times!