My name is Debra and I have worked and taught in the human health field for 28 years. I am currently teaching adjunct professor courses on health and fitness at a local community college here in Michigan. I also personal train and teach fitness classes to the elderly including those with Alzheimerâ€™s and Parkinsonâ€™s disease at a local senior center. I have seen the positive benefits of properly prescribed medications in improving the quality of life in humans and on occasion I have seen the negative impact of interactions of prescription medications and understand the disastrous consequences that can arise from misinformed or in this case totally uninformed individuals.
I am a dog lover and a dog owner and am shocked and dismayed at the relatively poor quality of the information given to myself and other pet owners in regards to prescription medication for animals. I recently lost my sweet two year old black Labrador Captain Jack Sparrow Lane to the side effects of Deramaxx, a drug developed for the regulation of pain in dogs with osteoarthritis. Jack had to have ACL repair and has been placed on Deramaxx prior to the surgery and afterwards. Four days after his surgery we rushed him back to the emergency clinic and he was diagnosed with a stomach perforation. Emergency surgery was performed; Jack had two liters of fluid in his abdomen but he never showed us he was in pain. Our entire family rallied around him and we took him home.
Little did we know that the rollercoaster ride was just beginning; Jack was back at the vetâ€™s office in two weeks unable to pass stool. His intestines had telescoped due to the effects of his stomach contents creating scar tissue and another surgery was performed trying to save Jack. Afterwards, Jack didnâ€™t want to eat and he barely drank. Three days later he was again leaking internally, another surgery was required. In a desperate attempt to save him the vet left him slightly open to drain; three days later he was closed up with two external drains in place. A few days later a barium test was run to make sure he wasnâ€™t leaking and the barium showed up in the drains. On July 12th after spending nearly ten thousand dollars trying to save his life Jack was euthanized because he was again leaking and nothing more could be done to spare him the pain of these numerous surgeries and complications. The attending veterinarians and surgeons were absolutely clear that they believed Jack was a victim of Deramaxx. Our entire family rode the rollercoaster for weeks loving, encouraging and supporting Jack and we are still grieving the senseless loss of this gentle soul.
This was a senseless loss because after his death I researched on the internet and was overcome by the postings and stories of the numerous dogs that have suffered similar fates from being prescribed this drug or similar types of this medication. I am sure Novartis â€“ the company that created Deramaxx â€“ will downplay my claim that Jack suffered and died as a result of their medication but I recommend that other animals lovers, veterinarians and vet techs do their research on the internet because the fact is that a portion of the animals given Deramaxx are dying senseless deaths.
Just as it is important for the FDA to regulate the design, development, testing and prescribing of drugs in humans, it is critical that stronger measures be instituted in the drugs used on animals. One thing I have been asked numerous times is whether or not the veterinarian who prescribed Deramaxx for Jack gave us any verbal or written warnings about the drug and I can emphatically state an absolute â€œNOâ€. Unlike the brochures that I receive each and every time I obtain a human prescription describing the potential side effects, we received nothing. For animal medications there is no mandate to require that information be given to pet owners. In the case of Jack, the consequences were fatal.
There must be something done! I clearly realize that a dog is an animal and not a human. I do believe as a human being I have a responsibility and sacred trust to care for the animals that are a part of my family. There needs to be a serious review and updates for animal drug regulations including mandatory written warnings and cautions on any and all medications prescribed by veterinarians. Pet owners would be able to make an informed decision by weighing the risk versus the benefits of their petâ€™s prescriptions.
For Jack, it is too late. There must be better mandatory controls and communication of drugs being prescribed to our pets to help prevent senseless deaths.
Justice for Jack
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