me September 1992 -- I lost him October 13, 1997
held my beloved Chocolate Lab, George, in my arms for the
While he was administered a fatal overdose to end his ordeal.
George was a stray. I
found him, or sometimes I like to think he found me.
had nine other dogs at the time, and George was the tenth. George
was probably four to five years old. I had him for five wonderful
years. When he began developing arthritis (along with my Yellow
Lab, Willie) I put them both on Arquel. It did not seem to help,
so on a trip with George to the vet's office, I asked if I could
please get Rimadyl for George. I had read the brochures in the vet's
office and it did indeed sound like a miracle. I could not afford
Rimadyl for both dogs, so, since George seemed worse off, I decided
to make him feel better. That was in September, 1997. I was given
a 10-day supply. It helped; George WAS better, so I returned to
have the prescription refilled. I was given a month's supply (some
$60.00 worth, I believe). And I proceeded to give George his .75
mg. twice a day.
On a Sunday
night, I was watching TV in the living room; George was lying by
my side. I got up to go to bed and George did not follow. I didn't
think anything of it. I got into bed and turned out the light. Next
thing I heard was a horrible scratching sound in the hallway. I
got up to inspect. It was George! He was crawling to the bedroom;
he could not walk! I immediately thought, my God, he's pulled a
muscle. He had been playing so hard with the other dogs. So I helped
him into the bedroom and he lay right down by my bed. The next morning
(Monday), he seemed better. I went on to work.That night he was
not eating. I fixed him boiled chicken and rice. He would not touch
is where my guilt really takes hold! I KEPT ON GIVING HIM THE RIMADYL!!!
And it was not until the next morning, Tuesday, after he had vomited
a clear, slightly browish liquid, that I rushed him to the vet's
office. My vet came out, look at George and said, 'Jean, some drug
reps were just here a few days ago. They told me that six dogs across
the country had had bad reactions to Rimadyl. They were all labs,
and they all recovered! So George is the seventh.' (At that time
Koda, a St. Bernard, had died in July. I found that out later.)
an awful feeling about the whole situation. Deep inside, I knew
that George was in serious trouble. I went on to work. My computer
was down, so I borrowed someone else's who had America On Line and
I began searching for Rimadyl. That was when I found a post from
a senior vet student at the University of Minnesota (I believe)
who warned about Rimadyl. I visited George every day except Sunday,
morning I arrived at the vet's at 8:00 a.m. The receptionist said,
'You can't go back just yet. Dr. Hentges wants to talk with you
about George, and he will be calling shortly.' I learned George
had had a blood-filled bowel movement that morning. I waited; then
they let me in to see him. What I saw was not my dog. He was a shadow
of the George I had known. The whites of his eyes were still that
horrid yellow, his gums were yellow, his skin was yellow. He could
not hold up his head. I went to his cage, opened it and began stroking
him. Another vet came in. She was on the phone with the Pfizer vet;
Pfizer wanted her to take some more blood samples. Dr. Hentges called
in the meanwhile, and they relayed the message that he could try
a blood transfusion. The vet techs reached into the cage to lift
George out. It was more than I could stand.
knew then and there that nothing could save him.
was suffering untold agony.
will never forget the look in his eyes -- such hurt, such despair!
was then that I said, 'No, no more. I have to let him go.'
my beloved Chocolate Lab, George, in my arms for the last time while
he was administered a fatal overdose to end his ordeal.
placed him on Rimadyl (2 tablets, .75 mg. daily) about 23 days previously.
Company paid for the autopsy. Their vet suggested I write a letter
to him which he would present to his Board to see if they would
pay for my expenses. This vet wrote back that the Board saw fit:
' . . .to reimburse you in the amount of $28.37 for diagnostic procedures.
In addition, as a gesture of good will, the Board has recommended
further payment of $220.96. Your signature on the enclosed release
will confirm acceptance. Once the signed release has been returned
to us, we will send you Pfizer's check in the total sum of $249.33.'
to say it was not acceptable. Of course, no amount of money can
bring my George back to me or replace his companionship and utter
devotion to me.
memory, I am trying my best to alert as many people as I can about
the experience George had. It seems that vets are not being warned
adequately. I have spoken with many people whose beloved pets are
on Rimadyl. None have said their vets suggested prior workups before
the drug was administered.
is my story. I did not mean to make it so long. It should have been
quick and to the point; but I feel I will have to bear the guilt
for the rest of my life. I killed my dog. And I will not stop trying
to alert people of the serious and deadly side effects of this sinister
drug. It can strike a dog in a few days or it can strike months
say that people have contacted me and said it has indeed been a
miracle for their dogs. For them, I think that is wonderful. But
just keep your eyes open and you and your vet be aware of all of
the side effects to look for.
it is wrong for a vet to prescribe this medicine to any dog without
doing preliminary testing and blood workups.
was almost unbearable after I lost George. I wrote a poem
(Based on my personal experience,
George's necropsy report, Pfizer's ADR Report to the FDA and
(In loving memory of my Chocolate
lab, George, who died October 13, 1997.)