Beware, Big Pharma can kill your pet too
By Martin Hill
October 22, 2013

Most people have become aware of the dangers of Big Pharma. As recently reported, "Prescription drugs are currently responsible for more deaths annually than illegal drugs. According to Tom Frieden, the CDC director himself, "it's a big problem, and it's getting worse." Out of the 783,936 annual deaths from conventional medicine mistakes, approximately 106,000 of those are the result of prescription drug use. According to the Journal of the American Medical Association, two-hundred and ninety people in the United States are killed by prescription drugs every day." The L.A. Times reported in March, Prescription drug-related deaths continue to rise in U.S. Dr. Joseph Mercola reported"For the first time ever in the US, more people were killed by drugs than motor vehicle accidents..."

However, this danger also applies to our furry friends: our dogs, cats and other pets. In particular, one commonly prescribed arthritis drug which has been surrounded by controversy and has caused a lot of deaths in canines is RIMADYL. As the Wall Street Journal reported in 2000, Rimadyl had netted Pfizer Inc. tens of millions of dollars in sales in the 3 billion dollar pet-med industry. After numerous reports of dog deaths after taking the drug, however, the FDA said Pfizer must mention "death" as a potential side effect on their TV ads. Instead, the company opted to drop the TV ads altogether.

I had an experience with this drug and thought I'd share it along with pictures of my dog a few days after she started taking Rimadyl.

My dog Maxine was a beautiful girl. A Samoyed-mix who grew up in the mountains, she was with me nearly half my life and lived to a ripe old age of 18. During the course of her long and adventurous life, Maxine had a few close calls. One time she chased a cat down an alley and got lost for over an hour. I couldn't find her anywhere. Another time, while jogging on the beach at Newport late one night, she came across a seal and tried to pick a fight with it. That was a close call. But the worst thing that ever happened to Maxine was in 2007 when she was given the prescription drug Rimadyl by her veternarian for arthritis and joint pain. A few days after she starting taking the drug, my wife went into the kitchen late one night and and found Maxine unresponsive and lying in a pool of blood on the kitchen floor. Horrified, we rushed her to the emergency 24 hour pet hospital. After the examination, the doctor then came out and somberly told us that Maxine had terminal cancer and was going to die. This was devastating, because she had been perfectly fine, other than her painful joints, just days prior. How could she have developed terminal cancer overnight?!

We immediately ceased the rimadyl, sought a second opinion and took her to the Canine Cancer specialists in Tustin CA. They refuted the initial diagnosis, and confirmed that she didn't have cancer at all.

We were initially told that it was uncertain if Maxine would survive this ordeal. I took pictures to document the progress and healing. This garbage had nearly killed her! With a lot of care, rest and immediate cessation of the drug, Maxine had a slow but steady and eventually a full recovery. I was always leery of canine prescription medicine after that. Note that the FDA Fact Sheet about Rimadyl states "The most common NSAID-related side effects generally involve the stomach (such as bleeding ulcers), and liver or kidney problems." Here are some of the photos, from 2007. Warning, they are graphic:

Keep in mind that the first horrid photo was AFTER her visit to the second doctor, so you can imagine what it looked like when we first found her bleeding on the kitchen floor. The skin had literally 'died' on large portion of her stomach and had left her with huge gaping holes leaving open, oozing flesh wounds. Thank God she had a full recovery and lived six more years, dying in January 2013 of unrelated causes.
After the 2nd vet
You can see her skin healing, turning all black and scabbing up.
Later in healing process

On the way to 2nd vet- you can tell by the look on her face that she doesn't feel good.

In the final years of her life, we gave Maxine 'MOVE FREE' glucosamine chondroitin tablets. These were recommended by a veternarian in Mexico. I can tell you that Maxine loved her move free tablets and so did we. Never one to take pills, for some reason maxine loved to chomp down these move free tablets every day as if they were candy! It helped her a lot and when we didn't give her the tablets she had a noticably harder time getting around. Eventually she lost interest in eating the tablets and we bought a pill crusher and ground it up, and put it in her wet food.

The Senior Dog Project, 'Looking out for older dogs,' focuses on many issues including the dangers of Rimadyl. They note a recent story about a Seaford, NY, couple filing lawsuit against a veterinarian, claiming Rimadyl caused death of their 3-year-old labrador.

"VMCLI prescribed Rimadyl to Buoy without providing the Tischlers with any warning that the medication was well-known to cause serious adverse side effects in dogs, including kidney damage and death. Buoy allegedly suffered acute kidney failure as a result of taking Rimadyl and underwent several weeks of dialysis treatments in an attempt to save his life, which cost the Tischlers more than $25,000, according to the complaint. After Buoy's condition did not improve, the Tischlers had to have him put to sleep on March 2, 2013, the lawsuit states...."By filing this lawsuit, we hope to raise public awareness of the risks associated with this drug, so that other pet owners can make informed decisions before administering Rimadyl to their own pets. Buoy's passing has left a huge void in our lives that will never be filled."

The Advisory Highlights for the drug notes "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)."

Earlier this year after Maxine died, I wrote a tribute to her life and put together a very poignant tribute video with music, videos and photos throughout her life: We Love You Maxine! A Tribute To A Great American Dog's Life September 1995 - January 2, 2013. I hope you enjoy my tribute video to Maxine, it was a labor of love. :-)

See also the following links about Rimadyl:

Here is Maxine when she was 16, so happy and running after a bath:

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Martin Hill is a Catholic paleoconservative and civil rights advocate. His work has been featured in the Los Angeles Daily News, San Gabriel Valley Tribune, The Orange County Register, KNBC4 TV Los Angeles, The Press Enterprise,,,,, Economic Policy Journal, FreedomsPhoenix, Haaretz, TMZ, Veterans Today, Jonathan Turley blog, The Dr. Katherine Albrecht Show, National Motorists Association,, WorldNetDaily,,, Dr. Kevin Barrett's Truth Jihad radio show,,, Los Angeles Catholic Lay Mission Newspaper, KFI AM 640,, Redlands Daily Facts, BlackBoxVoting, The Michael Badnarik Show, The Wayne Madsen Report,,, The Contra Costa Times, Pasadena Star News, Silicon Valley Mercury News, Long Beach Press Telegram, Inland Valley Daily Bulletin, L.A. Harbor Daily Breeze,,, Whittier Daily News, KCLA FM Hollywood, The Fullerton Observer,, From The Trenches World Report, and many others. Archives can be found at and DontWakeMeUp.Org.

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