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Archive for June, 2010

FDA – 10 Questions to Ask Your Vet About Medication for Your Pet

Wednesday, June 23rd, 2010
Kevin Fitzgerald, a veterinarian at the Alamed...
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The following is good advice from the FDA on questions you should ask when your pet is prescribed medication:

To prevent or treat an illness in your pet, your veterinarian may prescribe a medication.

Understanding important information about the medication and how to treat your pet can help your animal’s recovery or continued good health.

“Just as you would talk to your doctor about a medicine prescribed for you or your children, you should talk to your veterinarian about your pet’s medications,” says Bernadette Dunham, D.V.M., Ph.D., director of the Center for Veterinary Medicine at the Food and Drug Administration (FDA). “And if you have any questions after you leave the animal clinic, don’t be afraid to contact and follow-up with your veterinarian.”

Here are 10 questions you should ask your vet when medication is prescribed.

1. Why has my pet been prescribed this medication and how long do I need to give it?

Your veterinarian can tell you what the medication is expected to do for your pet and how many days to give it.

2. How do I give the medication to my pet? Should it be given with food?

Your pet may have fewer side effects, like an upset stomach, from some drugs if they are taken with food. Other medications are best to give on an empty stomach.

3. How often should the medication be given and how much should I give each time? If it is a liquid, should I shake it first?

Giving the right dose at the right time of the day will help your pet get better more quickly.

4. How do I store the medication?

Some medications should be stored in a cool, dry place. Others may require refrigeration.

5. What should I do if my pet vomits or spits out the medication?

Your veterinarian may want to hear from you if your pet vomits. You may be told to stop giving the drug or to switch your pet to another drug.

6. If I forget to give the medication, should I give it as soon as I remember or wait until the next scheduled dose? What if I accidentally give too much?

Giving your pet too much of certain medications can cause serious side effects. You’ll want to know if giving too much is a cause for concern and a trip to the animal emergency room.

7. Should I finish giving all of the medication, even if my pet seems to be back to normal?

Some medications, such as antibiotics, should be given for a certain length of time, even if your pet is feeling better.

8. Could this medication interact with other medications my pet is taking?

Always tell your veterinarian what other medications your pet is taking, including prescription medications, over-the-counter medicines, and herbs or other dietary supplements. You may want to write these down and take the list with you to the vet’s office.

9. What reactions should I watch for, and what should I do if I see any side effects?

Your veterinarian can tell you if a reaction is normal or if it signals a serious problem. You may be asked to call your vet immediately if certain side effects occur.

FDA encourages veterinarians and animal owners to report serious side effects from medications to FDA’s Center for Veterinary Medicine at 1-800-FDA-VETS. For a copy of the reporting form and more information on how to report problems, visit the Web site, How to Report An Adverse Drug Experience4.

10. When should I bring my pet back for a recheck? Will you be calling me to check on my pet’s progress, or should I call you?

Your vet may want to examine your pet or perform laboratory tests to make sure the medication is working as it should.

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This is good advice to follow.  Just as in humans, mixing medications and doing something that is ‘off label’ (not following instructions, etc.) can compromise your pet’s health.

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Afraid you might be prone to prostate cancer? Get a dog

Wednesday, June 2nd, 2010
Belgian Malinois
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French study says dogs can detect prostate cancer

There is new research that suggests dogs can sniff out signs of prostate cancer in human urine.

The lead author of this latest study said the findings are promising and could lead to better cancer-sensing technology.

“The dogs are certainly recognizing the odor of a molecule that is produced by cancer cells,” said French researcher Jean-Nicolas Cornu, who works at Hospital Tenon in Paris.

The problem, he said, is that “we do not know what this molecule is, and the dog cannot tell us.”

Still, the report could represent a significant development since cancer often goes undetected until it is too late to treat.

The detection of prostate cancer has been particularly controversial. Some researchers think many patients are treated unnecessarily because existing tests of prostate-specific antigen (PSA) aren’t accurate enough and fail to distinguish between dangerous and harmless cancers.

Urine tests can turn up signs of prostate cancer, Cornu said, but miss some cases. Some types of molecules give a distinct odor to urine, “but today there is no means to screen odors from urine and separate them,” he said, and no way to link them to cancer.

Enter the dog, whose powers of smell are far greater than those of humans.

For this study, two researchers spent a year training a Belgian Malinois shepherd, a breed already used to detect drugs and bombs.

The dog was trained to differentiate between urine samples from men with prostate cancer and men without. Ultimately, researchers placed groups of five urine samples in front of the dog to see if it could identify the sole sample from a man with prostate cancer.

The dog correctly classified 63 out of 66 specimens.

If the findings hold up in other studies, they’ll be “pretty impressive,” said urologist Dr. Anthony Y. Smith, who was to moderate a discussion on the findings Tuesday at the American Urological Association annual meeting in San Francisco.

Skeptical researchers are concerned about factors that could throw off the results, said Smith, chief of urology at the University of New Mexico. Among other things, scientists wonder if the animals used in such studies pick up on subconscious signals from researchers.

Still, in this study, it’s hard to imagine anything “other than the dogs somehow being able to smell something that we don’t smell,” Smith said.

If these findings are valid, they could lead to the development of more accurate tests that don’t require unnecessary biopsies, Smith said.

The next steps are to determine precisely what the dogs are sniffing and to develop an “electronic nose” to detect it, Cornu said. Other dogs are already being trained, he said.

Could doctors and hospitals employ dogs and researchers to detect prostate cancer? Cornu said that’s possible, but it could cost as much as hiring two full-time scientists.

This is a story from HealthDay, a service of ScoutNews, LLC.
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