Misty, the 10-year-old Golden Retriever who inspired the Senior Dogs Project

The Senior Dogs Project
..........."Looking Out for Older Dogs" ...........

"Blessed is the person who has earned the love of an old dog."
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Sydney Jeanne Seward

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Rimadyl: News, Views & Advisories


January 2010: Generic Rimadyl -- "Carprofen" to be Available

From a Press Release distributed by pharmaceutical company Putney, Inc. and VetSource PORTLAND, Ore., Jan. 11, 2010 -- VetSource, a leading veterinarian-focused specialty pharmacy and home delivery company today announced a partnership with Putney, Inc., a pharmaceutical company focused on the development and sale of generic and specialty prescription drugs for dogs and cats. VetSource will now offer Putney's FDA approved generic Carprofen Caplets to provide veterinarians with a cost effective way for their pet patients to get this frequently prescribed drug. Carprofen is indicated in dogs for pain associated with canine osteoarthritis, and for controlling post-operative pain from certain surgeries. Putney's Carprofen Caplets are equivalent to Pfizer's Rimadyl® branded carprofen caplets but priced to cost veterinarians as much as 25% less. "In this economy we are pleased to add FDA approved, cost-effective generic prescribing options such as Putney's Carprofen Caplets to our specialty pharmacy portfolio," offered Andrew Bane, Ph.D., Vice President at VetSource. "This further cements our commitment to offer veterinarians a comprehensive inventory of FDA approved pharmaceuticals, as well as nutritional diets and specialty pharmacy items for their practices and their clients through veterinarian-sponsored home delivery." Putney says its affiliation with VetSource furthers its goal of getting quality, FDA approved, affordable generic drugs to companion animal veterinary practices. "Generic drugs help keep pharmacy revenues in the practice, permit veterinarians to make treatment decisions based on the animal's needs rather than on price, and enable pet owners to afford the recommended course of treatment especially in this tough economy," says Jean Hoffman, CEO of Putney. Moving forward Putney anticipates offering additional forms of carprofen, including a bioequivalent, palatable chew. Putney's Carprofen Caplets are available to any veterinary hospital that is enrolled in VetSource pharmacy programs nationwide.


October 2009: New Rimadyl Class Action Lawsuit

A new class action lawsuit is currently being considered by THE ANIMAL LAW CENTER, headquarters at 4465 Kipling Street, Suite 108, Wheat Ridge, CO 80033. As you may know, Pfizer, the makers of  Rimadyl, settled a class action lawsuit several years ago. Given the number of incidents of dogs harmed by the drug since that suit was brought, a new class action suit may be in order. If you believe your dog has suffered from the side effects of or been harmed by Rimadyl and you would like to be included in the suit, send an E-mail to: PfizerCase@TheAnimalLawCenter.com You may also call the law firm at 1-877-PET LAW 1, or locally at 303.322.4355. If you would like more information prior to contacting the law firm, send an E-mail to one of the principal complainants in the suit: brdsofparadise@aol.com


Summer 2009 -- Reports of Adverse Reactions Continue, No Warnings Given by Veterinarians......Ten Years Later!!!

Even though the FDA mandated revised labeling for Rimadyl and the distribution of a "Client Information Sheet" when Rimadyl is dispensed, problems continue with this drug. We discontinued the regular posting on this website of adverse events due to Rimadyl quite some time ago, but, in the past few days several new cases appeared in the space of 48 hours. Is this just coincidence, or is something going on here? If, after reading these latest case histories, you're concerned about your dog's possible adverse reaction to Rimadyl, please follow these guidelines.


From Roni Goldberg, Fort Lauderdale, FL, August 14, 2009:

"My beautiful Yorkie, Katy, was 13 years old when I noticed she seemed to be having problems with an imbalance when she walked. I took her into my vet and he said that, due to her age, it was probably arthritis. He didn't give her much of a check-up, but just walked out of the examining room and came back in and gave her a shot. He didn't describe why he was doing it or what it was. He mentioned that he would be prescribing medication for her that would help her, but again, didn't tell me what the medication would be. When I went to check out and they gave me the bill, I saw that the shot was Rimadyl and the medication he had prescribed was Rimadyl. I told the nurse he didn't tell me he was giving her a shot of Rimadyl. He argued with me and then said he would take it off my bill. I told him that wasn't the point. I thought I should have been informed about the treatment prior to its being administered. However, I also felt that, if the veterinarian thought it would help her, I would give Katy the Rimadyl and see whether, in fact, it did.

"After a few days of giving Katy the Rimadyl pills, she couldn't walk at all, her stomach was distended, and her breathing was very heavy. I had three other veterinarians look at her -- all of whom said it wasn't a Rimadyl reaction, but thought that it might be cancer -- a tumor on her spine, perhaps. Finally, I took her to a veterinarian who did an X-ray and CBC (complete blood count). The CBC showed high levels of CREA, BUN, ALT, ALK -- all signs of Rimadyl toxicity. In an adverse reaction to Rimadyl, you are most likely to see: 1) low red blood cells, 2) high white blood cells, 3) elevated creatinine and BUN indicating kidney damage, and 4) elevated AST, ALT, ALK. The veterinarian said the X-ray showed no tumor on her spine and sent us home with a prescription for prednisolone. When I found out that prednisolone should not be given without a rest period of a week or more after administration of Rimadyl, I called the veterinarian's office to point this out. They would not allow me to return the medication. I had asked for help from Pfizer, as well as from all these veterinarians, and no one came through for my beautiful little Katy. I lost her on June 25, 2009. My heart is forever broken." Roni Goldberg has established a site in memory of Katy where people can report on and discuss their experiences with the adverse effects of Rimadyl.

From Jo Rakowski, August 11, 2009:

Jo's Yorkie, Schnurek, 9 years and 7 months old, had been hospitalized in the Animal Emergency Referral Center, Northbrook, Il, over the preceding weekend. He had taken Rimadyl for nearly three days and almost died. The veterinarian attending to Schnurek wrote: "Diagnosis: Gastroenteritis -- secondary to Rimadyl use vs other cause." Ms. Rakowski writes, "The same day I received the hospital diagnosis about the drug's adverse effect, I contacted Pfizer and reported this case; I also have the form from the FDA website to fax in to the agency. Thank goodness Schnurek recovered from Rimadyl and he enjoys life as always with his two Yorkie-brothers, Linka (7 years) and Guzik (2 years, 7 months)."

From Chris (last name and location withheld due to privacy and legal issues), August 12, 2009:

"Unfortunately, we took our Golden in for knee surgery and they NEVER gave us any warning info for the Rimadyl they put her on. She went into acute liver failure and fought for six weeks before finally losing her battle on July 26, 2009. "We did everything right in trying to be a good advocate for our poor puppy but the vet was negligent in not giving us the info as mandated by law. So now I have to sue my vet and maybe Pfizer, too. As soon as it was determined that Rimadyl was the cause of her condition, Pfizer offered us $1000, which I saw as blood money since that's what they paid on average to the plaintiff's in the class action suit. I sent the check back! I spent $25,000 trying to save her, and she fought so hard and all the doctors thought she might make it but even Pfizer had no data on any dog that was that sick that lived for more then a few days with her off-the-chart liver function numbers. I feel like I poisoned her and will carry that guilt forever."

From Pam (last name and location withheld due to privacy and legal issues), August 12, 2009:

"My dog, Nikki, just died last night and it appears it may have been related to a Rimadyl reaction. She was a very happy, high energy Australian Shepherd that I got from the local animal shelter seven years ago. She recently had her teeth cleaned and had a tooth pulled. At that time, they gave her an injection of Rimadyl and sent seven 100mg tablets home for me to give her ½ twice a day. I thought it was antibiotics that they sent home with me, and noticed three dats after her dental work that it was Rimadyl. I went online for information and saw that it was for inflammation and pain. She was obviously not in pain, and the spot where her tooth had been pulled looked fine, so I didn't give her anymore Rimadyl. Last Friday, she didn't want her breakfast or dinner (dry food), she still didn't want dry food on Saturday, but ate some canned. She seemed depressed and lethargic, but we have had some awful thunderstorms. She was terrified of thunder, so I thought that may have been what had her upset. In hindsight (and I am beating myself up over this), I should have taken her in to the vet first thing Monday, but I called Tuesday (yesterday) morning to get her in to see the vet early afternoon. Sometime during the morning, while I was at work, she vomited on the bed and it was a mixture of grass and blood. When I took her in, she was anemic, so they put her on an I.V. and gave her something to coat her stomach and try to stop the bleeding. She was still alive at 10:30 last night when the last person was at the vet clinic. When they went in this morning, she was gone. "I am extremely sad and upset (and my other two dogs are as well—especially my Cocker Spaniel, Hope, as she and Nikki were best buds) and can't help but wonder if I had known about the potential issues with Rimadyl, and would have ended up taking her in sooner, if she would still be with us."

June 2009 -- Is Pfizer making false claims about Rimadyl?.....

Apparently, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA), Center for Veterinary Medicine (CVM), Division of Surveillance, thinks so! In a letter dated November 24, 2008, to Dr. M. Elizabeth McKenzie, Director, US Regulatory Affairs at Pfizer Animal Health, the CVM wrote that Pfizer was guilty of violations in the form of false, misleading, or unsubstantiated safety claims about Rimadyl in their advertising of the drug. In addition, the CVM found Pfizer's Duration of Efficacy chart to contain unsubstantiated efficacy claims regarding Rimadyl. The letter states, "For these reasons, Rimadyl is misbranded within the meaning of section 502(n) of the Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act (the Act) [21 U.S.C. 352(n)]." The letter is signed by Lynn O. Post, DVM, Ph.D., Director of the Division of Surveillance and ends with the following Conclusion and Requested Action:

"The misleading statements in your advertisements misbrand Rimadyl within the meaning of section 502(n) of the Act, 21 U.S.C. 352(n).

"The Center for Veterinary Medicine requests that Pfizer Animal Health immediately cease the dissemination of the Rimadyl promotional items described above, and any other materials that may contain similar unsubstantiated promotional claims. Please submit a written response within thirty (30) days of receipt of this letter describing whether you intend to comply with this request, and listing all violative promotional materials for Rimadyl the same as or identical to those described above, and explaining your plan for discontinuing use of such materials. Please direct your response to me at the Food and Drug Administration, Center for Veterinary Medicine, Division of Surveillance, HFV-210, 7519 Standish Place, Rockville, MD 20855. We remind you that only written communications are official.

"The violations discussed in this letter do not necessarily constitute an exhaustive list. It is your responsibility to see that your promotional materials for Rimadyl, as well as other Pfizer Animal Health products, comply with the requirements of the Act and FDA implementing regulations."


January 2008 -- Rimadyl's Side Effects Continue to Wreak Havoc....a recent case history:

An e-mail message received in January 20008: "In October of last year (2007) I took Tiffany to her vet because she was due for her distemper vaccine. I also wanted her right rear leg and joint examined, for she seemed a little slow. Moreover, she was pulling up a bit short on her walks, something she didn't do before. The examination was about the middle of the month and was conducted, I thought, thoroughly. The vet's opinion was that she was suffering some mild arthritis (she is 12), though everything else appeared normal. She was prescribed 50mg of Rimadyl 2x daily, w/ a five day trial. After the trial period Tiffany appeared somewhat improved, and I filled the prescription. After 10 days to two weeks she appeared almost normal and seemed livelier. At the end of the month I took her w/ me to the family cottage in northern MI to close it for the season. On October 31 we went on a short walk and she was doing very well. I was satisfied w/ her progress. Everything was nominal. The next morning I went out for about an hour and left Tiffany on the bed. When I got back I went to get her out of the bedroom but found her lying down waiting for me. She got up stumbling and falling about and favoring her right shoulder. (It now seems likely that she attempted to jump off the bed--as usual--and may have fallen on her shoulder due to the immobility she was experiencing from the drug.) Frankly, she was a mess and could barely make it to the back door. Her legs couldn't support her and her hind quarters would just splay and flop. This was the beginning of a nightmarish 2 1/2 months for her, a period she very nearly failed to survive. I was immediately suspicious of the medication. I checked the Internet for more information and spent hours and hours looking into the Rimadyl connection, which is how I found your site. I was struck by how similar the circumstances of the case histories, appearing on srdogs.com, were to those experienced by Tiffany. Here she was, twelve years old, complaining slightly about a seemingly impaired gait (a walk that seemed like heaven in retrospect), being placed on Rimadyl, then finding herself stumbling, collapsing, and, just a little later, experiencing partial paralysys of the hind quarters. I felt that time away from the drug would result in her regaining her original form. The profiles on srdogs.com convinced me of this, and those stories lent me the confidence to persevere w/ her. But she seemed to deteriorate. I read extensively on the NSAID "blood brain barrier", about the active ingredient, carprofen, and its role as a COX-2 inhibitor; about Rimadyl belonging to a class of drugs called propionic acids (of which Aleve is one and the strong injunction NEVER to administer Aleve to a canine); about the wrenching, devastating side effects and possible fatal complications of the drug's use; and, finally, about the prognosis for a dog on the drug and the long struggle to endure its administration and aftermath. She also began to lose her spirit. She would sleep endlessly and I would have to massage her awake then carry her outside and in, to and from her food--just everywhere. Then, on one occasion when I carried her from outside and placed her just inside the door, she stumbled a few feet and collapsed. I was on her in a second and held her head in my arms. She didn't respond, and I called her name again and again. I thought she was gone, and I was, too. Just then her eyes flicked open, and she looked at me--as she had done so often at the time--as if to ask what was going on, what had happened to her life. Her condition was so bad that I knew that she would probably have to return to the vet. She was pushing three weeks off the drug, but it wasn't enough. And, while she could walk a bit, she would hop while doing it. The stress was showing throughout her body and spirit. Once back at the vet, my Rimadyl hypothesis was rejected. I was told that Rimadyl reactions are exceedingly rare, certainly nothing like imbalance, partial paralysis, and uncoordinated stumbling could be the consequence of such a thoroughly "vetted" medication. I was given a temporary supply of another medicine, Deramaxx, and told to go slow w/ it. After one day on Deramaxx Tiffany seemed somewhat improved. Then, but 36 hours on the same dosage as the Rimadyl (50mg), she collapsed again, in worse condition than ever. I took her to the vet again, and, this time, he agreed that the NSAIDS were intolerable for her. Now the prescription was a simple one for Tramadol for her aching shoulder--the shoulder she probably injured falling from the bed those weeks earlier. (Also, complete body x-rays revealed no joint abnormalities.) Only now is Tiffany rejoining her condition in early October. Her personality is reviving, and she is starting to climb stairs on her own. I am taking her for walks and she can go about a half mile. She still has shoulder discomfort, but we are working on that via a new diet and MSM\glucosamine supplements (no Tramadol), as well as ground flaxseed and other additives to her food. This will be quite a journey. I wouldn't have found the confidence to persevere w/ her recovery by alternate means and may well have accepted the company line about the Pfizer and Novartis miracle drugs had srdogs.com not been there to inform me of the case histories--those both happy and tragic. I am relating Tiffany's story as a recent addition to that store of knowledge; her story is not a mere anecdote as the drug and veterinary medicine establishment would have us believe. Tiffany is my companion and my friend. We have traveled and explored and lived as one. She has retrieved driftwood in turbulent Lake Superior in November. She has run the rims of sand dunes along Lake Michigan. She has chased deer in the snow-covered woods. We have played endless soccer and fought blinding winter storms. And we are sharing this rock together. Still. Sincerely, R. F. Whitmer"


September 2006 -- FDA Issues Extensive New Guidelines for Prescription and Use of NSAIDs for Dogs

The Food and Drug Administration has issued new guidelines covering the prescription and use of NSAIDs such as Rimadyl. Please review them, and be certain your veterinarian has seen them, before administering them to your dog. Also see "Pain Drugs for Dogs: Be an Informed Pet Owner," an excellent article published by the FDA.

  • Pennsylvania Legislature Considers Law Governing Veterinary Prescription Medication -- April 2006

    The Food and Drug Administration has determined that certain drugs can only be used safely when patients and owners are provided with critical information on the safe use of the drug. For humans, this information is provided in the form of a Medication Guide. The veterinary equivalent is known as the Client Information Sheet.

    Owners of pets who have suffered adverse reactions to veterinary drugs have reported to the FDA that they were not provided Client Information Sheets by their veterinarians. For the past six years, owners have appealed to no avail to state veterinary boards to mandate that vets provide this critical information to owners. Similarly hundreds of complaints have been filed against vets for not providing owners with Client Information Sheets and not one case has said that this was required.

    To remedy this situation in Pennsylvania, Senators Stack, Browne, Fontana, Rafferty, Boscola, Costa and Ferlo have introduced legislation mandating that veterinarians provide clients with Client Information Sheets for the drugs that have them.

    It is anticipated that similar legislation will be introduced in most other
    states over the next few months.

    Detailed background on this legislation is available at:
    http://www.fda.gov/ohrms/dockets/dockets/04n0559/04N-0559_emc-000003-01.pdf


    THE GENERAL ASSEMBLY OF PENNSYLVANIA
    SENATE BILL
    No. 1144 Session of 2006

    INTRODUCED BY STACK, BROWNE, FONTANA, RAFFERTY, BOSCOLA, COSTA AND FERLO,
    MARCH 20, 2006

    REFERRED TO CONSUMER PROTECTION AND PROFESSIONAL LICENSURE, MARCH 20, 2006

    AN ACT

    Amending the act of December 27, 1974 (P.L.995, No.326), entitled "An act regulating the practice of veterinary medicine and imposing penalties," further providing for definitions.

    The General Assembly of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania hereby enacts as follows:

    Section 1. Section 3(15) of the act of December 27, 1974 8 (P.L.995, No.326), known as the Veterinary Medicine Practice 9 Act, amended December 9, 2002 (P.L.1370, No.167), is amended and 10 the section is amended by adding a paragraph to read:

    Section 3. Definitions.--As used in this act:
    * * *
    (15) "Veterinarian-client-patient relationship" means a relationship satisfying all of the following conditions: (i) the veterinarian has assumed the responsibility for making veterinary medical judgments regarding the health of an animal and the need for veterinary medical treatment, and the client, owner or caretaker of the animal has agreed to follow the instructions of the veterinarian; (ii) the veterinarian has sufficient
    knowledge of the animal to initiate at least a general, preliminary or tentative diagnosis of the medical condition of the animal; (iii) the veterinarian is acquainted with the keeping and care of the animal by virtue of an examination of the animal or medically appropriate and timely visits to the premises where the animal is kept; (iv) the veterinarian is available for consultation in cases of adverse reactions to or failure of the regimen of therapy; (v) the veterinarian maintains records on the animal examined in accordance with regulations established by the board[.]; and

    (vi) the veterinarian provides a client information sheet to the owner of the animal in cases of dispensing prescription drugs that will be administered by the owner in an outpatient setting.

    (16) "Client information sheet" means a paper required by the Center for Veterinary Medicine of the Food and Drug Administration for the purpose of communicating important risk information to clients and that is given to a veterinarian by a prescription drug manufacturer so that owners of an animal are provided with vital product safety information including precautions, contraindications, signs of a possible adverse reaction, and steps to take in the event of an adverse reaction to the prescription drug.

    Section 2. This act shall take effect in 60 days.

    Warnings about NSAIDS from a Veterinarian

    We were recently forwarded a letter by Bob Rogers, DVM, Critter Fixer Hospital, Spring, TX, in which he states his policy on Rimadyl and offers a handout warning of the side effects of NSAIDs (non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs). Here is an excerpt:

    "I have never used Rimadyl in my practice. I never buy drugs the first year they come out. I wait to see the number of reactions reported to the FDA.  Unfortunately, most vets get all their information from the sales people. I have asked a Senator in Texas to introduce a bill to prohibit the approval of Continuing Education Credits for a seminar where the speaker is a paid employee of a drug company or where a conflict of interest exists. Speakers should reveal all financial ties to any products discussed. I feel this is central to the problem with Rimadyl and many other drugs. To follow is the handout I give to all clients to warn them about side effects of all NSAIDs. All the information came from Dr Dawn Boothe, pharmacology professor at Auburn." 

    Bob Rogers, DVM, Critter Fixer Pet Hospital, Spring, TX

    Selected Reports on Experiences with Rimadyl

    While the Senior Dogs Project no longer post reports of experiences with Rimadyl on a regular basis, the following seemed especially important to make available to anyone using or considering the use of Rimadyl.

    August 2004

    Coco, a beautiful, ten-year-old Chocolate Lab mix, died in July, shortly after she was given Rimadyl for pain associated with an ear infection. According to Coco's guardian, no client information sheet was ever offered to her and the veterinarian assured her Rimadyl would help her dog.

    She says, "I would never have given this drug to my dog had I seen the information on Labrador Retriever responses to it." She writes further, "I feel she died too young due to incompetent care. I still believe that what was ailing her could have been dealt with because she had been peppy, happy, and mostly in good health. I believe the symptoms that led to her collapse implicate Rimadyl as the cause of her death and of the distressing quality of her life in her last three days. . . . Even though everyone tells me I should stop feeling guilt that I killed my dog, I still can't help but blame myself for not looking up the drug. And then I wonder if she might have survived once she got past the toxicity, but I don't think we could have watched her suffer anymore. All I know is there seem to be so many empty spaces in my home, places where she was always beside me. I have decided to channel my grief and anger by informing everyone I know about this assault on all of our animals' dignity and quality of life. Would these vets prescribe a drug to their family members if there were even the slightest possibility that it could kill them? I doubt it. . . . Let's all decide to do at least one thing a day to honor our beloved companions. If it's telling one other person, or posting information somewhere or filing complaints with any and every state and federal agency, we can change the world -- one message at a time. But in between this let us all take the time to remember our companions for the happiness we shared and how much they gave us. For Coco."

    January 2004

    An e-mail message from labs2love@comcast.net 1/3/02, reports a death, with Rimadyl suspected as the cause: "I am writing this in a great deal of grief. I lost my 14-year-old Yellow Lab, Chestnut, yesterday, New Years Day, 2004, from a massive stroke, after she had been on Rimadyl for twelve days. She was a healthy dog -- only some arthritis. While waiting for surgery to be done on Monday, January 5, 2004 (the earliest possible appointment I could get), my vet gave me Rimadyl to 'make her feel better' until he could remove a lymphoma, that he assured me was harmless, from under her left front leg. She started the Rimadyl on Saturday, December 20, and I gave it to her twice a day until yesterday morning, January 1, 2004, twelve days later. Her appetite had diminished, but she ate to make me happy. I had to spoon feed her. Chestnut's abdomen had swollen in the previous three days also, even though she was eating less and not finishing her meals. I had to decide to put Chestnut to sleep after this massive stroke, as she could not walk, she had to have surgery and there did not seem to be any alternatives. Money was no object, but there was no answer!! I said good-bye to her....she really was not there, as I felt her pass in my arms at home before I got her to my vet. One and one-half hours after her lunch and last Rimadyl, Chestnut was gone. When I got home something made me look up Rimadyl on the internet and I could not believe what I was reading. I am lost without her. I pray I did the right thing for her. She had so much pride. I could not bear to see her suffer any longer. "

    E-mail received from sisterohio2002@adelphia.net ,11/16/03, reports a positive experience with Rimadyl: "We recently put our 12+-year-old, 60-lb. Redbone Hound on Rimadyl. We cautiously watch him for signs of side effects. So far, after 45 days, nothing is amiss. Twice a day, before each feeding, we give him 750/600 mg. glucosamine/chondroitin, one-half capsule plant digestive enzyme ('Now' brand), one Lactaid tablet (9,000 units), 500 mg. ester C, 75 mg. Ranitidine, 1000 mg MSM, two tablespoons flaxseed oil, and one tablespoon nutritional yeast, crushed and mixed with two tablespoons full-fat yogurt. He was on this program for about a year, and it seemed to help his hypertrophic arthritis for a while (the MSM particularly helped to reduce joint swelling), but, about six weeks ago, he became lethargic -- had sunken eyes, would not drink much water, and seemed to be in a downward spiral. When the vet recommended Rimadyl, we were concerned about the side effects, but, at the rate he was going, it seemed as though he wouldn't be with us much longer. Since he's been on the Rimadyl, we have a lively, vibrant, and once-again very strong family pet. He is walking better, can drag a short piece of railroad tie around the yard again, as he did when he was a pup, he is happy, hungry all the time, friendly, and back to his old 'self.' With his stomach problems and his arthritis, we know he won't be with us much longer, but we feel it is worth giving Rimadyl a try."

    December 2003 -- According to Damian Adams of South Australia, whose dog suffered a fatal reaction to Rimadyl (see October 2003 report below), "New scientific information shows that Rimadyl can cause clotting conditions such as thrombosis, ischaemia and infarctions. These conditions have been previously excluded as a Rimadyl adverse reaction and Pfizer does not acknowledge the evidence (yet). An infarction caused the death of my 6-year-old Newfie Baxter while on Rimadyl and I am trying to draw Pfizer Australia's attention to this evidence as they have previously concluded that Rimadyl did not cause his death. Rimadyl (Carprofen) is a cyclooxygenase-2 (COX-2) selective inhibitor in canine cells (Pfizer's own printed publications including studies of Ricketts et al.) Prostacyclin is a product of COX-2; it increases blood flow, reduces leukocyte adherence and inhibits platelet aggregation. Its inhibition increases the risk of acute vascular events in canines receiving COX-2 inhibitors (Hennan et al., 2001), and could promote thrombosis (Widlansky et al., 2003) which could lead to an infarction. Selective COX-2 inhibition blocks prostacyclin (PGI-2) formation without inhibiting TXA2 (thromboxane)(McAdam et al., 1999, and Catell-Lawson and Crofford, 2001), thereby increasing platelet activation, adhesion and aggregation with a resultant possibility for thrombosis and ISCHAEMIC events (Pitt et al., 2002). Non-concomitant inhibition of COX-1 (for which Rimadyl does not inhibit) which mediates the actions of TXA2 (a platelet aggregating promoter) may increase the risk of thrombosis with selective COX-2 inhibitors (Christopher Jones, Veterinarian, Gulf Coast Veterinary Specialists, Houston, Texas). This is but a brief sample of the scientific data, peer reviewed journal articles and publications by both scientists and veterinarians that point to the distinct possibilty of an clotting condition arising from the use of selective COX-2 inhibitors such as Rimadyl.

    References:
    Ricketts AP, Lundy KM, Seibel SB 1998. Evaluation of selective inhibition of cyclooxygenase 1 and 2 by carprofen and other nonsteroidal anti- inflammatories. J. Vet. Res. 59(11): 1441-1446.
    Hennan JK, Huang J, Barrett TD, Driscoll EM, Willens DE, Park AM, Crofford LJ and Lucchesi BR 2001. Effects of selective cyclooxygenase-2 inhibition on vascular responses and thrombosis in canine coronary arteries. Circulation 104 (7): 820-825.
    Widlansky ME, Price DT, Gokce N, Eberhardt RT, Duffy SJ, Holbrook M, Maxwell C, Palmisano J, Keaney JF Jr, Morrow JD and Vita JA 2003. Short and long-term COX-2 inhibition reverses endothelial dysfunction in patients with hypertension. Hypertension 42(3): 310-315.
    McAdam BF, Catella-Lawson F, Mardini IA et al. 1999. Systemic biosysnthesis of prostacyclin by cyclooxygenase (COX-2); the human pharmacology of a selective inhibitor of COX-2. Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci. USA 96: 272-277.
    Catella-Lawson F and Crofford LJ 2001. Cyclooxygenase inhibition and thrombogenecity. Am. J. Med. 110: 28S-32S.
    Pitt B, Pepine C and Willerson JT 2002. Cyclooxygenase-2 inhibition and cardiovascular events. Circulation 106(2): 167-174.
    Jones C. Practical COX-1 and COX-2 pharmacology: What's it all about?

    October 2003: A Report from South Australia -- Baxter, a six-year-old Newfie experiences negative side effects following low dose of Rimadyl

    We are keeping in our thoughts a dog named "Baxter," who is fighting to recover from side effects of Rimadyl. Here is Baxter's story as reported to us by Damian Adams of South Australia:

    "Baxter, our six year old Newfie, was always a picture of health and the most gentle soul we had ever met. He developed a sore/inflammed disk in his neck which made it painful for him to feed from his bowl or to lie down. Our vet prescribed Rimadyl at a dose lower than the maximum allowable. After four days Baxter was much better and we removed him from the drug on the Tuesday morning, giving him his last dose with his breakfast. Within an hour he was vomiting, couldn't pass any faeces, was depressed and had a swollen, painful belly. His behaviour became erratic -- at times he was unwilling to move and at others he had enough energy to dig up the entire garden, something he has never done. He even refused all food and treats, which is very un-Newfoundland like. Baxter was rushed to another vet closer to our home who could find no reason for his illness -- no elevated temperature and no bowel/stomach blockage. He was given an injection to stop the vomiting and was sent home. I mentioned that he was on Rimadyl, but the vet did not bat an eyelid. The next morning he vomited blood and was rushed back to the first vet who took blood and put him on a drip. The blood tests showed stomach inflammation and mild pancreatitis, none of which pointed to how sick he actually was. Knowing that it was too coincidental, I did a web search and found your very informative site as well as others, including Pfizer who now admit that it can cause such gastrointestinal problems such as pancreatitis and present the symptoms we were seeing. I have since mentioned the possibility of Rimadyl being a cause to the vet who did concur that he had thought about the possibility but that he had also not had any problems with the drug in all of the years he has administered it. Now I sit and wait to see how Baxter does on the drip, being completely distressed about the fact that something I have given him could kill him. Baxter weighed 80kgs (176 lbs) and started on a dose of 200mg per day (1x 100mg tablet in the morning and one at night) for the first three days; then we reduced it down to 100mg per day for the next three days (including the day he became extremely ill). This dosage is well below the maximum allowable, according to Pfizer the initial dose is only 57% of what we could give him. In the first 30 hours of sickness, Baxter lost 3kgs of body weight." Yours faithfully, Damian Adams. South Australia. September 17, 2003. Update October 30, 2003: "Baxter was euthanised on September 19 due to small intestine necrosis that could not be treated with surgery. This necrosis was most likely caused by mesentry ischaemia -- blood clots that stopped the supply of blood to his small intestine (according to the pathologist's report). While neither the vet nor pathologist acknowledge Rimadyl to be the cause of this, it is known that gastrointestinal bleeding can occur when using Rimadyl. The mesentry arteries belong to the GI system. I have contacted Pfizer Australia and have notified them of an adverse reaction. They have contacted me to obtain information on Baxter and the treating vets. I am yet to hear back as to their conclusions."

    September 2003: One Positive and Several Negative Reports

    On a positive note, an e-mail message from Val T.: "We have a 16-year-old American Eskimo Dog named Frosty. He has been on Rimadyl for almost three years for arthritic hips and spine. We give him the pill with a small piece of cheese to help him get it down. He receives 1/2 pill in the morning and 1/2 pill in the evening, totaling 25mg a day. Frosty weighs 15 lbs. and was as healthy as a horse until the arthritis. Our vet does a blood chemistry on him every six months. He is just now starting to show high urea levels in his blood. The most important thing is to keep up the blood work, since Rimadyl can damage the kidneys. At this time he still has a wonderful quality of life...thanks to Rimadyl. Without Rimadyl, we would have lost him."

    Negative reports: A 5 1/2-year-old Bichon Frisee named Molly underwent surgery for bladder stones on June 12, 2003. The night after surgery, when she exhibited pain, her guardian called the vet; he prescribed Rimadyl. The veterinarian did not advise the client of the potential side effects, thus, the client did not recognize them when they appeared (after the initial dose) and she continued to administer Rimadyl. After the third dose, she withdrew Rimadyl, but, by then, it was apparently too late. She writes: "On June 17, I woke to find Molly's little belly bulging. It was apparent she was in acute renal failure. She had not urinated since the morning of June 14. I kept asking the vet if this was all right, but I never was given an answer. I brought her into the vet that morning; he catheterized her and did a blood test. He said the numbers were extremely high and that, if she came out of this, she would have 25% kidney function. ... Molly had always been a healthy dog other than the bladder stones. The only answer I was given when I asked the vet if it could be the Rimadyl was, 'I didn't send her home with it; you called and asked for it.' I was shocked and could not believe what I was hearing. I took Molly home and she grew larger and her heart beat was becoming more intense. On June 19, shortly after midnight, Molly passed away in my daughter's arms while having a violent seizure. It was the most heart-wrenching experience either one of us has ever endured." -- Reported by Candy S.

    Duchess, a 7-year-old Great Dane with slight lameness was given Rimadyl for about a week, during which she collapsed with a GI hemorrhage. After a week of intensive care, she was euthanized. Since she was in good health up to this time, Rimadyl is suspected as the cause of her death. The same person reports that her 2-year-old Great Dane was also given Rimadyl for lameness, but that it became worse, not better while on the drug. The veterinarian then increased the dosage, and she became worse still. When she was unable to get up or stand, blood work was done, but showed no problem. The vet suggested it was a brain tumor. After withdrawing the Rimadyl, the dog was able to stand and walk and improved significantly. -- Reported by Ann V.L.

    Food & Drug Administration/Center for Veterinary Medicine reports of deaths associated with Rimadyl (Carprofen) -- cumulative:

    May 1, 2003 - 2,133 dogs have died
    June 4, 2003 - 2,153 dogs have died
    July 8, 2003 - 2,182 dogs have died

    Previous annual reports of deaths associated with Rimadyl (Carprofen):

    Year 1997: 195 dogs
    Year 1998: 456 dogs
    Year 1999: 371 dogs
    Year 2000: 470 dogs
    Year 2001: 537 dogs

    September 2002: ALERT!!! Four-year-old Peke-a-Poo Almost Dies While on Rimadyl

    From B. Kemp, Dickson, TN "Last week, we almost lost our 4-year-old Peke-a-Poo due to Rimadyl. We were never told of any side effects or that he should have had bloodwork done during the year he was on it. I started the research on Rimadyl, trying to save him. He started bleeding profusely from the rectum and throwing up blood. We rushed him to the vet, who operated on him and found all his organs enlarged. His stomach was bleeding, his gallbladder was 30 times its normal size and full of blood, and the kidneys were slowing down. He was in the hospital eight days and, thanks to prayers, we have him home and on the mend. I will never trust another vet to give medicine without doing research myself. This was a terrible way to learn that lesson. I hope someone learns from our mistake."

    Twelve-year-old Lab/Boxer Mix Thrives On Rimadyl

    From an E-mail received March 15, 2002:

    "I have a Black Lab Boxer mix named Buster and he is 12 years old. He has been on Rimadyl for six (sic) years. He had a knee problem that they could not solve. We had surgery (exploratory). As he aged, he became stiffer. Once we put him on the Rimadyl, it made such a huge difference; he could run and play again. His arthritis has progressed so much that we (my husband, myself and our vet) just recently (about six weeks ago) adjusted his dosage to two 100 mg tablets twice a day. He still gets around pretty good. We have always had his liver and kidney functions checked and they have been fine. I believe that Buster would not have lasted this long if not for Rimadyl." (Editor's note: Rimadyl has been available only since January 1997. If the dog began Rimadyl therapy at the drug's introduction, he would now be in the first quarter of the sixth year.)
    LoriJRCamp@aol.com

    Communication between Client and Veterinarian a Critical Element in Good Pet Care

    From Dr. Kristi Fisher, DVM, February 2, 2002:

    "I was directed to your website by a client who was sure we were guilty of malpractice for prescribing Rimadyl and prednisone together. This is a dog with severe burns over most of his body, so he is on an extremely low dose of prednisone for two weeks while on the Rimadyl as needed for arthritis. I assured the client that this was ok, and gave him signs of ulceration to watch for.

    "I was rather dismayed by the Rimadyl reports, however. I have seen two adverse reactions in two Laboradors which, when treated, the dogs responded just fine. So many of the symptoms people were describing in the reports fit that of many other diseases common to old age. One person complained about blood panels not being done and the chart not being read to see what the dog was taking, etc. I agree that this presents a problem. I require blood panels every three months on patients on Rimadyl. In most cases, I require some sort of blood panel before starting it. However, what pet owners need to realize is that reactions to Rimadyl are very infrequent. Unfortunately, when an adverse reaction occurs to your pet, it is goes from infrequent to 100%.

    "Rimadyl is an excellent drug for providing comfort for dogs with arthritis. Routine monitoring should be done (as with any long term medications). Especially in older pets, do not let signs of disease go unchecked before bringing them in to be examined like you can usually do in a younger animal. Also, do not be quick to blame the medication. I see MANY older patients go downhill very quickly that are not on any medications. Most of all, owners should be sure to discuss any and all concerns with their veterinarian. If they are not satisfied, find another vet. This profession is based on client communication to best serve the pet." kristina@mvah.com

    Newfoundland with Osteosarcoma Would Not Be Alive without Rimadyl

    Received February 14, 2002:

    "I just wanted to share a brief story with those seeking comfort in knowing that your pet CAN live longer and pain free being on Rimadyl. We have two beautiful male Newfoundlands. To our greatest grief, our youngest one (Otis, three years old) was diagnosed with the devastating and rapidly spreading bone cancer 'osteosarcoma.' He was in a lot of pain and we just did not know what to do other than follow our vet's advice, which was to either amputate or seek relief through the help of medication. Being that he's too big a dog to be limping on three legs, we opted for the medication. He is currently on twice the allowed amount (500mg) and he is doing fantastic. If it wasn't for Rimadyl we would have had to put him down a long time ago. He probably has at best three more months to live. He was diagnosed about four months ago, and this disease is fatal 100% of the time in six to eight months, with or without treatment. We opted for quality and a pain-free life style for him. Hence the Rimadyl. Only problem is the price of the medication! Hope this help anybody going through the same thing. Robert_Zeepvat@sentrixhealth.com

    Senior Golden Retriever Derives Comfort and Is More Energetic on Rimadyl

    Received February 21, 2002:

    "I read with horror the February newsletter and the story of Ginger (report shown below) and her Rimadyl experience. I also have a senior Golden Retriever. He has hip displaysia and has been on Rimadyl for almost two years. At the time I started him on it, there were no stories of adverse effects other than the potential kidney problems. I decided that it was worth a try to make my old boy more comfortable. I am happy to say that within about three weeks he appeared much more comfortable and had fewer problems getting up after lying down. With steady doses of Rimadyl, glucosamine-chondroitin and exercise, he appears much better. He has also lost about seven pounds, due to the exercise he can now endure. I just want to be sure that everyone isn't scared off by the Rimadyl horror stories. There will always be cases of adverse effects to every drug due to the uniqueness of every living thing on Earth. The additional comfort and energy that Rikko has gained from Rimadyl is something that every senior dog plagued by arthritic or other mobility problems deserves a shot at. Rikko will be 10 on March 6, and his health is much better because of Rimadyl. Just wanted to be sure that both sides of the story were represented on your site. sherryi@microsoft.com

    Rimadyl Prescribed in Complicated Case May Have Accelerated Death

    Received February 27, 2002:

    "I wanted to contact you because I felt the need to share with you our painful experience with Rimadyl and the subsequent (untimely) death of our beloved little man 'Bushky' on November 30th, 2001. What had started as a simple visit to the vets for an ear infection ended up with a diagnosis of hypothyroid and the subsequent administering of a series of drugs (which included Rimadyl, later Etogesic and Prednisone) that never really got to the root of my dog's problem until it was too late. Bushky we learned, after a month-long series of tests, misdiagnoses and mismedication, had Cushings disease. At one point during this painful ordeal, my vets believed that Bushky's now less-than-peppy spirit was probably due to arthritis . Although the x-rays showed no signs of osteoarthritis, the vets administered Rimadyl. A couple of days afterwards, Bushky began a steady and marked decline. . . . He died on Friday morning at 4:30 am. His sudden and swift deterioration had been a piercing question mark. It was not until I happened to come across the Senior Dogs project site and read the experience of others with Rimadyl did I start to understand. I had turned to other vets to ask them about Cushings to confirm whether this could be the underlying cause and their response was always the same: this disease is not known to cause paralysis and is in itself rarely life threatening. All I know is that Bushky was his usual chipper self that morning I took him in for his ear infection, and that he had never demonstrated any other serious ailments before. I truly believe that he would have been alive today had I been warned of the side effects of this drug. In my case, as in many others I have read, it is very true that the treatment was worse than the (suspected) illness. Thank you for your efforts in warning others about this drug and making those accountable live up to their responsibility." EMinoso@aol.com

    German Shepherd Succumbs to Suspected Rimadyl Toxicity

    Received February 22, 2002:

    "I just lost my German Shepherd about two hours ago due to what I believe is an adverse reaction to Rimadyl. He was 11 years old, in great health except for recently diagnosed arthritis. He was on Rimadyl for four days. This morning, after going out, he was having trouble walking and getting up, and kept drinking tons of water. My husband took him back out, and he collapsed. He took him to the emergency animal clinic and they started him on glucose and diagnosed internal bleeding. He even needed oxygen to breathe. He made it to the vet's office, and they decided to do exploratory surgery to find out what was causing the bleeding; they thought maybe a tumor or ruptured spleen. He didn't make it through the surgery; he had already lost too much blood. Our hearts are broken. What can we do to prevent this from happening to someone else, and how can we hold Pfizer responsible? I wouldn't care how much it cost me, if he had pulled through; now we have no dog and a huge bill from two animal hospitals. What do we do now?" tarheelmom@hotmail.com

    AIHA Surfaces in Dog Following Four Days of Rimadyl Therapy

    From an E-mail received from B.A.R.K.S. campaign headquarters, February 2002:

    "After four doses of Rimadyl, my dog nearly died from hemolytic anemia. Her PVC was down to a count of 6! I unfortunately did not research the drug beforehand. My dog is not quite five years old and was suffering some stiffness, for which the vet prescribed Rimadyl. On New Years Day, she started lying around and did not want to eat...I wasn't alarmed at the time...wondered if the drug could cause nausea. Had it not been New Years Day, I would have called my vet. Instead, that night I logged onto the Internet. I luckily found the Senior Dog site. I printed out the symptoms. That saved her life, I have no doubt. I looked at the list of symptoms and then looked at my poor little Sheltie. I realized something was drastically wrong when she nearly fell over. (I did not have enough sense to look at her gums, which I later discovered were white.) Thanks to the Senior Dogs site, I realized she could be seriously ill. I rushed to the vet, he wasn't there yet, but I just waited in the parking lot...trying to decide what to do. Fortunately they finally showed up. By noon, they were giving her a transfusion. I took her home two days later, but had to take her back after a little over 24 hours. This time they kept her about 5 days. I feel my vet has done a wonderful job of handling this. It has been 30 days at this point, and her PVC is only 29, and she is still on prednisone. So I guess she is not out of the woods completely. But I have hope now, anyway, which I didn't have before."

    Seven-year-old Golden Retreiver "Ginger" Dies Eighteen Days after Beginning Rimadyl Therapy

    From an E-mail received January 28, 2002:

    "Our family's beautiful 7-year-old Golden Retriever, Ginger, had to be euthanized 1/24/02. She had been taking Rimadyl for about 18 days. She was fine and healthy when we took her to the vet for minor stiffness, and now she's dead. We did not receive any warning of the potential side effects of Rimadyl, and followed the veterinarian's instructions in administering it. We gave it to her until we started to notice some unusual behavior. First, she stopped eating.... then stopped drinking water....different urine patterns and urine accidents in the house....then vomiting....diarrhea....then jaundice. We stopped the medicine and went to see the vet. He said she was having an adverse reaction to Rimadyl and to keep a close eye on her. A day later, we had to take her to an emergency veterinary hospital because our regular vet was closed for the week-end. She was given intravenous fluids. On Monday, we transferred her back to our vet for continued care at his facility. He said she was hanging on, and they were doing everything they could for her. Finally, after being on IV's for six days with no success, the vet called and said she was not responding and slowly deteriorating and dying, and they had nothing else they could do. We went to the vet to see her for the last time. She just lay in her kennel. We started to pet her and she put her head up a little. She started to gag and tried to vomit, but it was just dry heaving. Her one eye was swollen and she couldn't even wag her tail. We all cried and hugged her. She was the love of our life and truly a member of our family. She brought us so much joy. If only we had known all the facts about Rimadyl. We have sent her body to Colorado State University for an autopsy to prove that Pfizer's Rimadyl killed our beloved Ginger." grodgers@umd.umich.edu


    Insights from the FDA's Center for Veterinary Medicine


    The following is excerpted from an article that appeared in FDA Consumer magazine November-December 2000 entitled, "Prescriptions for Healthier Animals: Pets and People Frequently Fight Disease with Similar Drugs," by Linda Bren

    Much as they do in managing their own health-care, people need to weigh the benefits and risks of a drug prescribed for their pet. It's the veterinarian's responsibility to explain the risks and benefits of each drug to clients, and give them printed information, particularly for the drugs that aren't approved for animal use, says Karen Overall, VMD, Ph.D., professor of behavioral medicine and director of the small animal behavior clinic at the Veterinary School of the University of Pennsylvania. "It's important that we have the informed consent of our clients."

    Pet owners should ask their vet questions about any drug being prescribed for their animal--especially in the absence of printed information. Although manufacturers provide a label, or printed information, with each drug they give to veterinarians, says Bataller, "in repackaging the drug at a veterinary facility, the label often does not get passed on to clients. And if the drug is prescribed extralabel, the label would be of limited value to the pet owner."

    FDA has helped two animal pharmaceutical companies develop consumer-friendly labels that explain the benefits and risks of their osteoarthritis drugs for dogs. Fort Dodge Animal Health of Overland Park, Kan., distributes a "client information sheet" with EtoGesic (the generic drug etodolac). Pfizer Animal Health, Inc., of Exton, Pa., gives out a client information sheet with Rimadyl (carprofen). Both drugs are non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs).

    Pfizer provided the Rimadyl information at CVM's request following a high volume of adverse events, including deaths, reported by owners whose dogs were treated with the drug. The angry owners, who were not properly informed of the drug's risk, prompted the new labeling that will better help other pet owners decide if the drug is appropriate for their dogs.

    Although pet owners are becoming better educated and informed about animal treatments, it is still unwise for them to medicate their animals without veterinary supervision, warns Bataller. "Different species metabolize drugs differently. A dog is not a small human, and a cat is not a small dog," he says. "Some drugs may be better tolerated in a dog than in a human, while other drugs may have the reverse effect. Dogs are generally more sensitive to aspirin than humans, and Tylenol (acetaminophen) can readily kill a cat."

    The article in its entirety may be read online at: http://www.fda.gov/fdac/features/2000/600_pets.html


    Negative Reactions to Rimadyl Continue to Occur; Consumer Information Sheet Not Being Distributed


    October 2000 -- Incidents of negative reactions to Rimadyl continue to appear on various bulletin boards and E-mail lists on the internet. These are the common themes that continue to surface:

    (1) Even though Pfizer has supposedly distributed them to veterinarians and instructed that they be dispensed along with any Rimadyl prescription, consumers are still not being given information sheets describing the potential side effects of the drug.

    You may recall that in April 2000, Pfizer issued this statement in a press release:

    "EXTON, Pa., April 20 /PRNewswire/ -- A trip to the veterinarian just became more like a visit to the neighborhood pharmacy. Pfizer Animal Health is leading the industry as the first animal health company to provide pet owners with easy-to-read pet medication information sheets. The Owner Information Sheets (OIS), containing important medical information about veterinary prescriptions in a reader-friendly, question-and-answer format, will debut this month with prescriptions of Rimadyl(R) (carprofen) Caplets and Rimadyl(R) Chewable tablets."

    (2) Veterinarians still seems unaware that Pfizer advises against the concurrent use of Rimadyl and corticosteroids such as Prednisone.

    (3) Blood panels are not being advised or offered as a choice to consumers whose dogs are being prescribed Rimadyl.


    Chicago Pet Program Host's Coverage of Rimadyl

    In a serialized format, Steve Dale, host of Chicago's "Pet World" show has written an excellent article on Rimadyl. It is in four-parts and it is worth reading

    E-mail: Steve Dale: PetWorld@AOL.COM


    Informational Video on Rimadyl

    B.A.R.K.S. ("Be Aware of Rimadyl's Known Side Effects"), the consumer group that has organized a massive educational campaign about Rimadyl, has produced a very professional and informative video. It brings the updated story of Rimadyl to life in a highly visual and interesting format.

    The tape is an overview of Rimadyl from when it first came on the market through March 2000. It's an easy way to learn about Rimadyl and to share the information with others. Those who are interested can seek out details and full documents.

    Among the statistics cited in the video are the following:

    Total ADEs (Adverse Drug Events) for Rimadyl reported to the FDA's Center for Veterinary Medicine in 1997 and 1998: 4,596 including 651 deaths.

    Also very startling to note is that it is generally agreed among statisticians that most figures reflect only 10 to 15% of actual cases. This would mean that, in reallity, there may have been as many as 31,000 to 47,000 ADEs to Rimadyl in the two years reported.

    To order the video, mail a check for $4.00 made payable to "Jane Sinclair" to:

    Cheryl Watton
    Advance Multimedia
    29374 Northwestern Highway
    Southfield, MI 48034

    Phone: 248.350.2130

    E-mail: advmm@earthlink.net


    B.A.R.K.S. Campaign Alert -- Fraudulent Practices


    Organizers and representatives of the B.A.R.K.S. campaign have reported unauthorized use of the campaign slogan and fraudulent practices pertaining to the sale and distribution of campaign materials on the Internet.

    If you wish to sign up for B.A.R.K.S., please do so only by using the link to "B.A.R.K.S. and the doghealth2 E-mail list," in the navigation bar at the left. If you wish to order the B.A.R.K.S. informational videotape, please do so only by sending a check for $4.00 made payable to "Jane Sinclair" along with your name and mailing address to:

    Cheryl Watton
    Advance Multimedia
    26600 Telegraph Road, Suite 181
    Southfield, MI 48034

    No other person or website is authorized to represent, speak for -- or to sell or distribute materials pertaining to -- the B.A.R.K.S. campaign. We have been asked by B.A.R.K.S. organizers to post the following notice:

    "B.A.R.K.S." is a campaign slogan for exclusive use by registered B.A.R.K.S. representatives. Anyone using this slogan or acting as an agent or representative of the B.A.R.K.S campaign without express written permission of the owner of the doghealth2 E-group will be prosecuted to the full extent of the law.


    An Editorial Note

    This site presents approximately 200 reports of adverse experiences with Rimadyl. Also presented are approximately 90 testimonials and reports from people who have used Rimadyl successfully, including those from proponents of the drug who say their dogs were saved from euthanasia by Rimadyl. It is not our intention to discourage the use of Rimadyl. Clearly, it has helped a great many dogs and is unquestionably preferable to euthanasia.

    By presenting information on this website, we hope to increase awareness of Rimadyl's potential side effects so that informed decisions can be made and appropriate monitoring pursued when the drug is used. We hope that this information will eventually eliminate any dog's suffering the potentially serious side effects of Rimadyl because symptoms of an adverse reaction were not recognized and the drug not withdrawn in a timely manner; or because recommendations for baseline testing and regular monitoring were not followed, and the drug was not withdrawn in time to avoid causing irreparable organ damage.

    How common are side effects to Rimadyl? According to Pfizer Animal Health, the manufacturers of Rimadyl, side effects from the drug occur in less than 2/10ths of 1% of all dogs. They also state, "Approximately 70% of the Rimadyl-associated adverse drug event reports received by Pfizer Animal Health have been in older dogs (i.e., older than eight years)."

    The article on Reports of Adverse Drug Experiences in the January/February 1999 issue of "FDA Veterinarian" offers statistics showing that Rimadyl accounted for approximately 30% of all Adverse Drug Experience reports for 1997 and ranks at the top of the list of ten drugs for which ADE's are most often reported. Rimadyl led the group of the "top ten" by a large margin: ADE's reported for Rimadyl in 1997 = 1,270; ADE's for the second drug in the list, "Domitor" = 291. Rimadyl = 33.3% of all ADE reports; the next highest percentage for all ten drugs = 7.6%.

    The December 1999 update from the Center for Veterinary Medication (CVM) stated: "Of all the ADE reports CVM received in 1998, thirty-nine percent (39%) or 3,626 involved Rimadyl. The number of ADE reports received by CVM for Rimadyl is considerably more than that received for other animal drugs. For any one ADE report, there is no absolute certainty that the suspected drug caused the effect. The adverse effects in these reports are consistent with those expected for NSAIDs. They typically involve the gastrointestinal system, renal/urinary system, hematopoietic (blood) system, neurological system, and the liver. Approximately 13% of the 1998 Rimadyl ADE reports for dogs involved death of the dog, either on their own or by means of euthanasia."

    How accurately do the statistics reflect the real world? This is a question that the Senior Dogs Project feels requires further investigation. The FDA itself has stated that incidents of adverse experiences are underreported. And, as we noted above, it is generally agreed among statisticians that most figures reflect only 10 to 15% of actual cases. This would mean that, in reallity, there may have been as many as 31,000 to 47,000 ADEs to Rimadyl in 1997 and 1998.

    It has been pointed out that aspirin, which is widely used, also has side effects in humans including death (from bleeding ulcers -- over 7,000 annually in the U.S., according to one report). In general, aspirin is considered a safe, effective drug, however. Further, in a recent article by David J. Morrow in the New York Times (January 4, 1999) the statistics quoted were as follows: 13,000,000 Americans take non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs annually; 20,000 are hospitalized and 2,600 die while taking the drugs.

    Particularly pertaining to senior dogs is the issue of correct diagnosis and reporting of adverse drug events. It is often assumed that an older dog is simply manifesting the signs of aging, and appears to "die of old age," when, in fact, it was a drug reaction that precipitated a chain of events that caused or accelerated the death. There may be a substantial number of cases of adverse reactions to Rimadyl that go unreported for this reason, and also cases in which dogs are euthanized because the symptoms of their adverse drug reaction mimic those of a condition, such as liver failure, that is considered irreversible. (See "Barney's" case, # 18, in 1999 Reports.)

    It is important to note that, in all but a few of the reports of adverse events presented on this website, the veterinarian prescribing Rimadyl either failed to give warnings about the drug's potential side effects or told the client they were insignificant. Before making the decision to give your dog Rimadyl, we encourage you to become fully informed about the drug's benefits and risks, to evaluate whether your veterinarian is fully informed about potential side effects and recommended pre-testing and monitoring, and then to review with your veterinarian the benefits of the drug versus the risks for your dog in particular.

    We encourage you to read as many of the case histories and as much of the information posted on this site as you can (all accessible via the navigation bar at the left.) You will most definitely want to read the most recent edition of the Rimadyl package insert. Pfizer has amended the insert to include new warnings required by the FDA due to the growing number of reports of adverse experiences with Rimadyl. Now that Pfizer has begun its program of providing an "Owner Information Sheet" (OIS) with each prescription for Rimadyl, the discussion of side effects and benefits should be easily accessible. If your veterinarian fails to provide the OIS with your prescription, ask for it.

    Keep in mind, as you read the case histories on this website, that the normal tendency is for people to report negative experiences rather than positive. Many of the side effects reports are also "anecdotal," in that neither Pfizer nor the FDA has established a clear causal relationship between taking Rimadyl and the observed effects. We recognize that every report presented on this website does not scientifically establish that Rimadyl caused the adverse experiences described. We make no scientific judgment, but rather present the cases as part of an unbiased attempt to add to the growing body of information that may ultimately form a more complete picture of how Rimadyl works and how it may best be prescribed and administered. A number of the case histories have, however, been verified by Pfizer and/or the FDA as incidents of Rimadyl toxicity. In all but a few of the cases presented, the adverse events are those named in the Rimadyl package insert, owner information sheet, or technical bulletins as potential side effects of the drug.

    Also keep in mind that the fact that testimonials to Rimadyl have been voluntarily contributed speaks to the perceived effectiveness of the drug, although it is also true that all these benefits reports are "anecdotal."

    You can help in the effort to insure Rimadyl's safety by reporting any suspected ADE's to Pfizer at: 1-800-366-5288 and to the FDA at: 1-888-332-8387 (or 1-888-FDA-VETS). For step-by-step instructions, click on "If You Suspect Your Dog Has Had a Toxic Reaction to Rimadyl" in the navigation bar at the left.


    Highlights of Recent Advisories


    The Center for Veterinary Medicine recommends monthly blood panels while a dog is taking Rimadyl to check for liver and kidney damage.

    When using chewable Rimadyl, keep the container out of reach of any animals. The enticing aroma -- dogs are known to chew through the container to get to it -- has caused a number of dogs to ingest a potentially fatal amount of the drug. Pfizer has under consideration a warning label concerning this issue; however, veterinarians often dispense the drug in a plain container that may not have the warning label

    Approximately 70% of the Rimadyl-associated adverse drug event reports received by Pfizer Animal Health have been in older dogs (over 8 years of age).

    Therapies that may interact with Rimadyl include other NSAIDs, corticosteroids, phenobarbital, medications for cardiac disease such as ACE inhibitors and furosemide, and drugs that bind to protein in the blood.

    A review of important issues related to Rimadyl: (1) Is Pfizer doing enough to inform and educate veterinarians and the public about the administration and possible side effects of Rimadyl? (2) Are the potential side effects too serious for any situations but those in which there seems to be no safer alternative? (3) A new drug often produces side effects that were not evident in the clinical trials that led to its FDA approval. However, is the incidence of deaths and other severe debilitation seemingly attributable to Rimadyl within acceptable FDA limits? (4) Is Pfizer consistent in recognizing when Rimadyl is implicated and in reimbursing for related medical expenses? (5) Is it appropriate for Pfizer to require that "gag" orders (Confidentiality Agreements) be signed in exchange for payment of medical expenses to people whose dogs have taken Rimadyl and had adverse drug experiences?