(Ali Papademetriou)   On Wednesday, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) announced their approval of three new medications for dogs. Among the three is a transdermal fentanyl solution, or in other words, a post-checkup painkiller, an antibiotic to treat artificial bacterial pyoderma, and also a designer version of Novartis Animal Health’s Inceptor heartworm preventative.

Introducing new drugs marketed for our pets is nothing new though, the FDA has been approving pharmaceuticals for animals since the 80’s. Similar to medications prescribed to millions of Americans every day, animal drugs also hold long lists of dangerous side effects that are easily disguised in small print on the side of the box.

Some common medications prescribed for dogs such as Prednisone, Prednisolone, and Dexamethazone that are used to treat autoimmune diseases in the form of synthetic steroid hormones may appear as safe and helpful drugs, but actually contain more harmful side effects than beneficial treatments.

Dogs are prescribed these disease-fighting drugs in order to medicate ailments like itching, allergies, and kidney dysfunction. Even when used for short periods of time, dogs can develop serious harmful side effects such as diabetes, skin thinning, high blood sugar, muscle degeneration, and behavioral and liver changes.

When used for more than a week’s span, the drugs can permanently alter adrenal gland function as well as result in drug dependency, a similar effect on humans when prescribed a medication for an extended period of time. The most dangerous side effect caused by overdose is death, another serious similarity in human-drug correlation.

In 2010, the United States spent 307 billion dollars on prescription drugs, not to mention the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s latest statistic showing that in 2008, there were over 20,000 deaths from overdosing on prescription drugs, with 14,800 of that being from narcotic painkillers. As the prescription drug industry for humans continues to flourish, the dog drug industry does as well.



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