Over the past several months we have been confronted with many cases of pets exhibiting a wide variety of generalized symptoms of illness that most testing cannot find the causes. The challenge of finding causes and solutions has lead us down a path opening our eyes as well as those of pet owners and their veterinarians.
In doing a proper health check and evaluation, one must look at the whole body and everything that goes into it. This holistic approach is the only way to understand the delicate balances between the various systems of the body. Like your computer, if one small component doesn’t function properly, the whole system may not work or will simply crash. Likewise if the cells in the liver are not functioning properly, the whole body may not work or simply crash.
The area that caught our attention was the variety of different drugs that are being prescribed and the acceleration of more illness. A pet goes in for a limp. The test show nothing abnormal so drugs for pain and inflammation are prescribed. A week or so later, that same pet has an ear or urinary infection and needs another prescription. Then comes the diarrhea and vomiting with still more treatments and drugs. With all these treatments, why is this pet suffering and getting more ill?
While drug companies are required to inform us on the side effects of the drugs that are approved, most states do not require veterinarians to pass this along to you, the pets’ caregiver. As we started to look at the drugs that were being prescribed, we found several indications that are problematic.
First, the new illnesses are often listed as the side effects of the drugs prescribed. This is a problem because if you were not informed about these side effects, you can’t make the risk assessment necessary to protect your pet. You were also not instructed properly on what to do if a problem arises. We find this to be a challenge in the trust you must have in your vet and yourself as a care giver
Second, and even more distressing is what is referred to as “off label use” of drugs. We found that many of the drugs commonly prescribed are not being prescribed as approved and that most are also NOT approved for use on pets. The fact that they are not approved means that proper dosage, evaluation of adverse effect and events, and safety issues have never been addressed.
We are told to trust our doctors and veterinarians as they have been specially trained to be knowledgeable in these areas. If there is no approval, there can be no knowledge. Without the proper evaluation of these toxic drugs, all of which come with warnings, our pets are being exposed to serious risk.
The fact is we must insist on “informed consent,” meaning your prescriber must inform you of the risk and side effects of the drugs and procedures these administer, and instruct you on what you need to do if an event occurs. We must ask for options, and demand that they be knowledgeable in alternative therapies and solutions.
As we see it, we are responsible for our pet’s health and cannot allow unacceptable risks.
Bill Piechocki, nutritionist and Dr Diane Sudduth, DVM are partners in Fiesta Pet Deli in Pompano Beach, FL, the Pet Health Café, the Animal Hospital in Fort Lauderdale, and co-hosts of the PetHealthCafe.com radio show. Our 40 years in the animal field has provided us unparallel vision and information which we pass to our clients on a daily basis. We can be reached at www.PetHealthCafe.com or 800-940-7387.