Tuesday

Are you Asking Your Veterinarian Enough Questions?

Recently an aquaintence said her dog was having seizures. She had greened her lifestyle and her dog was on Revolution to kill heartworm microfilaria,  parasites, and fleas. Now it doesn't take Einstein to realize that a chemical designed to kill all those parasites harbored in and on the body by different means, on a continuous basis isn't green. I mentioned to her that the main ingredient in Revolution is Selamectin, a manmade synthetic drug only slightly similiar to the relatively safer Ivermectin. Selamectin is a neurological poison. Her reply was the vet said it was safe...my reply was, how does your vet know that?
The only major testing done on Revolution is by Pfizer, the manufacturer. That is the vets only source of information on this product. Their own MSDS states it may cause liver damage. One of the ingredients is BHT, Butylated Hydroxytoluene, a chemical that used to be common in dog food until the pet owners  raised such a public outcry that dog food manufacturers removed it from the ingredient list. So..it is not o.k. to put BHT in your dogs' food but it IS o.k. to put it in the bloodstream? Does that make sense to you?
The amount of BHT used in Revolution is listed as a trade secret. Having sold pharmaceuticals to veterinarians I know that sometimes 'trade secret' is used to hide things that might cause general public concern. Remember that the testing has only been done by Pfizer, not by a veterinary institution research university. If  I had to guess, I would guess that BHT, an ingredient also found in embalmers fluid  that will 'pickle' the liver,combined with Selamectin, a neurotoxin,could easily contribute to the problems her little dog is having. This chemical combination has to travel though the bloodstream to kill heartworm microfilaria, then it goes through the liver and kidneys where it is NOT filtered out and  it lodges under the skin  to kill fleas and then starts the cycle of reentering the bloodstream all over again. She may have greened her home but she has not greened her dog. Her veterinarian said it was safe. Does that sound safe to you?
Obviously the word safe is relative.
If my vet said that to me ,my question would be ,"who said it was safe".."what studies have been done?" "How much have you used it in your practice"? "Have there been any specific breed studies?"
(  Pfizer did test it on Collies, but the dog in question is tiny and not a Collie) I am amazed at how few people question their veterinarian..even human doctors get questioned more. For example, your vet had ONLY  45 minutes of nutrition education in college. That is for all species, not just dogs. And I know people who feed Science Diet because the vet said it was the best.The sales rep may have convinced him that since he had little education on canine nutrition in school to rely on. I also know vets personally who have received kick back from Science Diet for the clients they put on the food. It wasn't about nutrition, it was about money. Kick back is huge in the medical world and that includes veterinarians so it is always in your dogs' best interest to question your vet. Of course they do their work because they love animals but they are busy and it is a lot easier to rely on a package insert and what the sales rep tells you than to take the time to do your own checking. We want to believe our vet is the best in the world but if we really want to do the best for our dogs we will ask questions..lots of them. I know veterinarians go crazy when clients read things on the internet but there are reliable sources such as Cornell online, UC Davis and UT Vet that provide much of the same information that your veterinarian should be accessing.
I say arm yourself with knowledge and ask questions to make the most informed decisions for your dog. You owe him that.