Thursday, March 3, 2011

Medicine, Shotgun Blast Style

Karen, a dog friend of mine, had a recent bad experience. A small dog she sold as a puppy developed a seizure issue as an adult, so the new owner (a veterinary technician) contacted Karen. Karen suggested testing for liver shunt as a possible cause of the seizures. Yes, owner reports, the bile acid test is positive. Next thing Karen hears, the dog is DEAD. Put to sleep, supposedly for seizures? Karen writes:
"I am not denying the dog had a liver shunt, according to the bile acid test and the vet statement she did, however, my concern was how fast she went to having a few "Hypoglycemic" issues a couple times over the last year, to having muliple issues on a daily basis, following all those vaccinations.  According to the bills (she hasn't asked me to pay them), she paid for a CBC, metabolic profile and bile acid test, Heartworm, lyme, DHLPP, Bordetella and Rabies vaccine and it says a free frontline Dose?  This was all done on the 14th of Feb and the dog went downhill on the 18th."
Free Frontline? Hope they also threw in a free cremation.
All the vaccine literature instructs that vaccines should ONLY to be used in healthy animals, not when they are stressed or sick. And hypoglycemic seizures, with a possible liver issue should have been warning flags to "proceed with caution". And who puts down a dog for hypoglycemic seizures? Things are not adding up here.
Lepto, lyme, bordetella and rabies all at once? All four of these have a high incidence of adverse reactions as they are all adjuvanted. And those are not "core" vaccines and are therefore are not a standard part of veterinary practice to administer, they should only be given to "at-risk" dogs (with the exception of rabies). And then to throw in frontline and heartworm treatment on top of it all on the same visit.....I can hardly believe a vet would be that stupid. Oh wait, yes, I can believe it. Maybe she was already heartworm positive; bet they didn't check. Who knows.
Spot-on flea products come with their own set of concerns:
One year ago, the EPA issued an advisory about spot-on products similar to the new Bayer formulas. These products are for application to the neck or back of dogs and cats as a flea/tick preventive.
The advisory was issued in response to a significant increase in adverse reactions to spot-on products in 2008 over prior years.
Among the EPA's findings:
  • The majority of adverse reactions were seen with the first application in 10- to 20-pound dogs under 3 years old.
  • Especially at risk were the following breeds: Chihuahua, Shih Tzu, Miniature Poodle, Pomeranian, Dachshund, Maltese, Yorkshire Terrier, Bichon Frise.
  •  Nervous system symptoms included lethargy, nervousness, movement problems, tremors and seizure.
Another thing that bothers me about the spot-on flea products like Frontline is the fact that the prepackaged dose for small dogs is the same whether the dog is 22 lbs or 3 lbs. And the vets generally advise you to use the whole thing on your three pound dog! When in actuality you don't need to do that. A 22 lb dog is 7 times bigger than a 3 lb dog!
A 3 lb dog has an approximate body surface area of 0.21 sq meter, while a 22 lb dog has a body surface area of 0.79 sq meter. And it is the body surface area that matters with Frontline as it is meant to spread over the body surface and enter the hair follicles. So considering BSA, would a 3 lb dog need the same dose as a 22 lb has nearly four times less BSA than the other! So there is a concern that a small dog could easilyi be overdosed on this stuff.
And how would pet owners know not to put a whole dose on their small dog?? We are trusting the company to give us the correct information and it seems to me that they don't.
Mostly I am sad that people who are supposed to use their brain as part of being in a "caring" profession, don't do it, resulting in a careless accident, and the, I mean the patient....pays the ultimate price.

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