Why being informed is so important

Why being an informed pet owner is so important

For over a month now, I’ve been working on a post about products that have killed many cats and dogs.  It’s taking much longer than I’d planned because I had no idea what I was opening myself up for when I decided to compile a list of the major offenders in one place for pet owners to find.  During all this research, I’m continuing to run across pet owner after pet owner who is putting their pets’ health in immense danger.  The reasons vary from the owner being too trusting of their vet, believing the risks are not worrisome enough, or they just don’t want to/care to spend the time or effort to even research the product or to go the safer, but longer route for curing an ailment.

So many sad, yet avoidable stories

In all my recent research to expose the deadliest cat and dog products, I’ve read so many heartbreaking and completely avoidable stories, I’m going to need therapy when I’m finally finished.  It’s THAT bad, folks.

As I’ve said before, there is NO worse feeling than being the one that gives your trusting pet the poison that seriously injures or kills them.  Whether it’s food, flea and tick medication, vaccines, or pills that the vet gives you (without any warning) to help your itchy, achy, or otherwise unhealthy pet, there are a number of potentially fatal products out there.

Not taking a few minutes to do some research can result in you severely injuring or killing your pet.  The internet is literally full of sad stories of people that trusted their vet or felt their pet was immune from side effects, or that the product wouldn’t be on the market if it was dangerous.  The stories are heartbreaking, and for those of us that have lived through a similar experience, it is maddening how often it continues to happen with so many products.

While we all know (or should) that all pharmaceutical products have the potential for side effects, many pet owners aren’t warned about them by their vet.  While death isn’t usually listed or mentioned anywhere as a possible side-effect, the internet is full of owners who have first-hand experience with it being one.

Sometimes it is indirect, but having to put your previously healthy pet down due to organ failure or cancer as a result of medication you believed was safe is still the end to a furry life that you thought you were making better, not worse.

How to research a product or medication

So how does a pet owner make sure they are not giving their pet a potentially fatal product?  The first step is to do a search for that product followed by the word killed and/or death.  For example, if I am going to look up Bravecto, the popular (and very dangerous) flea and tick medication, this is how I would plug it into my search bar:  “Bravecto killed my cat” or “Bravecto killed my dog”.

Because I don’t want to miss any possibly buried warnings out there on the internet, I usually do at least two searches because I want to catch any comment, blog post, article, etc. that even mentions a cat or dog ever dying from the product.  So in addition to the previous search format, I’d also do these searches:  “Bravecto”death”, “Bravecto”deadly”, and “Bravecto”killed”.  Make sure you use the quotes.

Always look for comments and negative reviews 

One thing I ALWAYS do and recommend everyone else do is to read the comments.  I’ve found a lot of valuable information there over the years.  As a matter of fact, I’ve sometimes gotten better information from the comments section than I have the article/post itself.  If you are looking for the truth about side effects and deaths, read the comments sections of the news stories, FDA press releases, etc., where those that have had negative experiences with a product or medication tend to comment.

Something interesting I’ve learned in my research is that you will probably never find any negative feedback about a product on the product’s or manufacturer’s Facebook page, most pet medication websites, or blogs that sell the product.  It’s sad that people will scrub any negative reviews, but they are out there, it just takes some digging sometimes.

A good starting point is the search method I told you about above to find blogs like mine where I specifically wrote about Previcox killing my dog with links to more data about other deaths.  Another good source for truthful information is Facebook where pages and groups dedicated to warning people about particular products are set up. Type the product name into the search bar and select ‘All’ to get all the mentions on Facebook for that product.

It seems to be all about the money

Sadly, the drug market is a BILLION dollar industry.  And it’s expected to get bigger as pet owners desperately try to heal sick pets due to poor quality food, too many vaccinations, poor breeding, and toxins they are being inundated with, including flea and tick medications.  Here’s an article I ran across recently that is frightening and should make every pet parent take notice, https://www.dogsnaturallymagazine.com/why-drug-makers-are-targeting-your-pet/.

Another thing I’ve found along the way in my extensive research is how many people just blindly follow what they are told.  Whether it’s the tv commercials or being assured by a (careless/uninformed/greedy?) vet that there is no harm in giving a medication to their pet, some people just believe what they are told by those they perceive as better educated.

Blind trust is beyond dangerous in this day and age.  The risk of letting people whose motives are questionable dictate the choices you make regarding the life of your pet without any pause for research can be disastrous.

Unfortunately, many vets nowadays are being swayed by money and kickbacks from the drug manufacturers.  For example, when I typed in ‘Bravecto’ in Twitter, I was shocked to see all the veterinary clinics offering chances for pet owners to win things like a Roomba vacuum, a turkey, or Yeti cooler by purchasing Bravecto for their cat or dog.

Vets wouldn’t be offering contests with expensive gifts as prizes if they didn’t make a lot of money on the sale of Bravecto.  That’s a very strong incentive to push it hard, like so many I have read about are doing, despite so many negative reactions, including death, being reported all around the world.

Flea and tick side effect numbers from the European Medicines Agency as of August 2018.
Official side effect and death numbers of the European Medicines Agency as of August 2018

Don’t forget to research your pet’s food

And remember all those Blue Buffalo tv ads about the sweet little Bishop family wanting good food for their beloved dog ‘Blue’ so they started the company and blah, blah, blah?  Those that are paying attention would know that Blue Buffalo has had several lawsuits against them for a number of things, including false advertising and high levels of lead in their food, which has sickened and killed many cats and dogs.

Blue Buffalo also sold out earlier in 2018 to General Mills for $8 Billion dollars.  Consumer Affairs currently gives Blue Buffalo a horrible rating of fewer than two stars out of five on their overall satisfaction rating.  Recently, new reviews posted every few days from verified customers complain about how sick the food has made their cat or dog.

It’s clear by some of the reviews that people just assume a food advertised as such high quality and so expensive could never have such a dark side requiring research confirmation.  Unfortunately, a good story and pretty packaging don’t make a product immune from deception and greed.

Blue Buffalo Pet Food Ratings
Lots of negative reviews of Blue Buffalo making pets sick.

Sorting through the jargon to get the facts

Another popular drug advertised on tv is Apoquel.  It claims to help stop the itch your dog has.  It helps do that by suppressing the immune system, shutting down the necessary receptors that fight cancer.  So instead of an itchy dog, you could wind up with a dog with cancer.  Somehow the manufacturer still calls it “….safe relief….” in their description.

Here’s what it says on the actual Apoquel bottle label:  “APOQUEL is not for use in dogs less than 12 months of age or in dogs with serious infections. APOQUEL may increase susceptibility to infection, including demodicosis, and exacerbate neoplastic conditions.”  To those without a medical degree that those terms are clearly meant to confuse and seem less ominous, here are the more understandable descriptions:

  • demodicosis – Canine demodicosis occurs when an altered immune response allows overproliferation of mites, leading to the development of clinical signs.
  • neoplastic – Neoplasia is the uncontrolled, abnormal growth of cells or tissues in the body, and the abnormal growth itself is called a neoplasm or tumor. It can be benign or malignant. Benign neoplasms tend to grow slowly; displace, but do not tend to invade, the surrounding body tissues; and do not spread throughout the body. Malignant neoplasms, on the other hand, can be unpredictable and grow at various rates (sometimes rapidly), invade the tissues around them, and spread, or metastasize, to other parts of the body.

The drug maker of Apoquel, Zoetis, actually lists tumors as side effects in their test groups on the package insert, but I’m not sure if vets are sending that insert home with pet owners or not.  I’m also not sure if they even did receive it if most pet owners would take the time to read it.

Even to someone not in the medical field, it’s pretty obvious if you read the insert, which is available online here, there were some serious issues popping up quickly in their trials that most people would probably decide were bad enough that they weren’t worth the risk if they actually received and read that insert before giving Apoquel to their dog..

While Apoquel is advertised as “safe” for your dog, make sure you read the ‘Human Warnings’ section, which basically says don’t ingest it or let it touch you.  No red flags there.

Only scratching the surface

While this post is only a very abbreviated version of some of the things I’ve uncovered while writing my more in-depth post on all the products I found that have killed so many cats and dogs, I still wanted to share it.  I feel like every day I delay getting what I’ve uncovered out, is another day a pet’s life is possibly put in danger or extinguished.

I’ve read many comments from people who have a dog on Bravecto or Apoquel and they are doing so much better that the owner is thrilled and is so happy to share their story with the world.

Meanwhile, having done so much research on both of those drugs and seeing firsthand how things can suddenly go bad, all I can think about is what that drug is doing internally.  I also worry if this owner is actually missing the subtle signs their pet is giving them that they are actually being affected by this medication and the next dose will only compound it, leading to more serious health issues or possibly death.

Probably the most frightening part of all the numbers you see and hear about regarding deaths and negative reactions from the drugs on the market is that it is estimated that they are ONLY 1% of the negative reactions and death that are reported.

You can partially blame vets and the pharmaceutical companies for hardly ever admitting the issue is related to the drug.  There is a lot of money to be lost if an expensive and very profitable drug like Bravecto or Apoquel loses its license and is pulled from the market due to side effects or death, so it benefits them to deny any correlation.

Most pet parents don’t seem to know the side effects of the drugs they are giving their pets and therefore don’t recognize them.  Either that or they don’t connect a negative reaction or the death of their pet to the medication the pet is on or has taken recently.

Sometimes it seems pet parents’ lack of putting together any sort of connection is because the animal has been on the medication for a while without any issue, or in some cases, I think it’s just naivete from the pet parent believing the product is “safe” and therefore not possibly the reason their pet has suddenly begun suffering or died.

Any of these scenarios is unfortunate, as not being sure how to or if to report any negative side effects, including death, means numbers will continue to be low for products that are causing negative side effects or killing pets and may create a false sense of safety to those that see them, feel they aren’t that bad,  and continue to use the medication.

The sad truth about veterinarians and pet care

When private equity firms and big corporations are buying pet food companies and vet hospitals for up to billions of dollars, that should tell you that the landscape of veterinary medicine is changing.  It seems to have gone from the focus on truly caring about our pets to making a profit from our willingness to spend whatever it takes to have healthy pets.

Make no mistake, these business people all know the pet sector is a booming market and is projected to continue, so they want a piece of the pie.  Unfortunately, when any type of health care becomes so profit motivated, things tend to become worse for the patients.

Add in greedy unscrupulous pharmaceutical companies rushing to get drugs on the market as quickly as possible, a lax governing body over them, vets that apparently don’t do any independent research or thinking of their own regarding the drugs they are quick to recommend and administer, and you have a recipe for disaster.

Being diligent pet owners

The sad truth is that our lack of research is somewhat to blame for what I almost consider an epidemic regarding the general sad state of health of our pets.  From all the vaccinations pushed on us and our pets starting at a very young age, to toxic food and then on to poisonous flea and tick medication leading to skin and digestive issues.  Later, it’s anti-itch medication followed by cancer medication, in a vicious cycle of the drug companies getting richer as our pets get sicker.

All the while, we’ve been blindly trusting our vets and these companies to provide us with quality care and what we’ve believed to be safe products.  That has to end.

While I do believe there is a time and place for veterinary treatment, I believe being informed and keeping our pets as toxic-free as possible is vital for their health.  Feeding good quality food and minimizing all toxins to keep them healthy is much easier than trying to undo the damage and get them healthy.

All that starts with research.  Research the breed and any health issues associated with it or them so you are prepared for a possible lifetime of always having to monitor your pet.  Research the breeder and their record for only breeding genetically sound animals to ward off potentially genetically inferior cats and dogs that are prone to health problems.

Research all recommended medical treatment, including recommended vaccinations by those not affiliated in any way with making money from them, as well as all medications prescribed and safe alternatives and treatments.

If you are ready to get on the road to having a healthier pet family and being better informed, I recommend you start by signing up for some holistic vet and natural pet newsletters.  They will help keep you in the know about dangerous medications, latest treatments, and other helpful information that will ultimately help you make better decisions in regards to your pet’s health.

Two that I follow closely for my cats and dogs and recommend are https://www.dogsnaturallymagazine.com/ and https://healthypets.mercola.com/.  I’ve run across many more during my years of research, but I honestly don’t have time to read through so many e-mails, so I’ve just narrowed my recommendation down to those two as being probably the most helpful and keeping me up to date on things regarding pet care.

 

If you have a warning or story to share that could help others, please share it in the comments section below.

 

Sources:

https://www.wideopenpets.com/bravecto-flea-medication-suspected-in-numerous-dog-deaths-worldwide/#fb-comments-wrapper

https://www.aol.com/article/news/2018/09/21/fda-warns-about-flea-pills-for-dogs-and-cats/23534826/#

https://www.dogsnaturallymagazine.com/wouldnt-give-dog-new-allergy-drug/

https://topclassactions.com/page/1/?s=blue+buffalo

https://www.consumeraffairs.com/pets/blue_buffalo.html

http://www.vetfolio.com/dermatology/canine-demodicosis

https://www.avma.org/public/PetCare/Pages/Cancer-in-Pets.aspx

https://www.vetidealist.com/who-is-buying-veterinary-hospitals/

 

 


Want to know what products I use and/or recommend for keeping my crew happy and healthy as well as myself?  Visit my Amazon page for products and my notes about why I love them here: https://www.amazon.com/shop/savingscatsanddogswhilesavingcash

 

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5 thoughts on “Why being informed is so important

  1. I really liked this article because it is exactly what I find every day on the internet and no one wants to listen. I want to link this to my facebook page but do not know how. I am subscribed to your page but this article is not on it for me to share. Help?

    1. Chris, copy the URL – what you see in the search bar at the top of your window – and paste into FB. That is what I did.

    2. Chris,

      I’m glad you liked the article and appreciate your trying to share it. I’m showing the social ‘Share’ buttons on my laptop screen on the left-hand side of the article. Do you not have those? I also just posted it on my Facebook page, if that helps make it easier to share as well. Let me know if you continue to have problems and I’ll try to get it fixed as I really want people to be able to share this information. Thanks!

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