Top 10 Game-Changing Dog Meds Pet Parents Need to Know About
What do an iPad and Vetmedin (a heart medication for dogs) have in common?
The answer is that life without them in our modern world is unthinkable. For people, the iPad makes life easier, whilst for dogs in heart failure, Vetmedin makes life possible by extending their life expectancy. If these aren’t game-changers, then we don’t know what are!
There are plenty of other examples of pet meds that, when launched, caused a real “Oh wow!” stir amongst vets. These meds are game-changers for the patients that need them. These sophisticated products have minimal side effects and offer hope for difficult-to-manage conditions such as itchy skin, atopy, or congestive heart failure. Indeed, the main disadvantage of these drugs is the price tag—which is where Canada Pharmacy Online can help.
So what are these wonder drugs, and how might they benefit your best buddy?
#1: Apoquel (Oclatinib)
- Used for: Dogs with itchy skin due to skin allergies (known as ‘atopy’).
- Why it’s a game-changer: Apoquel provides blissful relief for the itchy-and-scratchy dog, but without the unpleasant side effects of other anti-inflammatory meds.
When Apoquel first arrived, it was almost a miracle for long-suffering dogs with itchy skin due to atopy. In fact, the word spread so quickly about its effectiveness against skin allergies and pruritus that the manufacturer couldn’t keep up and the drug went into short supply. Vets had to ration it out, providing supplies for patients already using it and putting new clients on a waiting list.
Apoquel is so popular because it is an anti-inflammatory med that relieves itchy skin and is relatively side-effect-free. Compare this with other anti-inflammatories for pruritus such as steroids, which can nail the itchy skin no problem—but do so at the expense of a ravenous appetite and thirst so great it leads to house soiling.
#2: Frontline (Fipronil)
- Used for: An anti-parasite treatment that kills fleas, ticks, and lice (and relieves flea bite allergy)
- Why it’s a game-changer: It provides great protection against fleas and ticks and lasts for a month at a time.
Frontline has been around a while, which means it’s easy to forget just how revolutionary it was when it was new. Prior to Frontline, the conscientious owner whose pet suffered from flea bite allergy had to use organophosphate products to get rid of this pesky parasite, which were not only potentially dangerous, but most had to be reapplied weekly.
When Frontline emerged on the scene, pet owners let out a collective sigh of relief. Now they had the option for a parasite product that killed fleas, was relatively easy to apply, and worked for around four weeks at a time, making it great at preventing flea bite allergy.
Whilst other, more sophisticated parasite products (that treat a broader range of parasites) are now available, Frontline deserves its place as a game-changing pet med, as it continues to do what it promises on the label: create happy, flea-free pets and relief from itchy skin for pets with a flea bite allergy.
#3: Rimadyl (Carprofen)
- Used for: Non-addictive pain relief that can be given long-term
- Why it’s a game-changer: Rimadyl offered a new way to relieve long-term pain, such as arthritis.
Before the arrival of Rimadyl (a non-steroidal anti-inflammatory), the best vets could offer arthritic dogs was a combination of steroids and an old-fashioned painkiller developed in 1908. When Rimadyl arrived, it was quite simply revolutionary.
Rimadyl is an anti-inflammatory med designed for low to moderate pain, such as that caused by sprains, strains, and during the post-operative period. When given with food, it has a high safety margin, and there is no reason why most animals need suffer the discomfort of aching joints or sore muscles.
#4: Revolution (Selamectin)
- Used for: Treating a wide range of external and internal parasites
- Why it’s a game-changer: Revolution is a quantum leap forward in convenience for the prevention of common pet parasites and prevention of flea bite allergy.
Following in the footsteps of Frontline came Revolution. The difference between the two products is their breadth of activity against parasites. Frontline is great at what it does, but Revolution works more widely and gets rid of common internal worms as well as external parasites.
For a one-stop shop to keep unwanted visitors at bay and control flea bite allergy, Revolution is the solution! This product prevents not just flea infestations but works against other unwanted critters, too, such as mange mites and ear mites. Applied regularly, it also protects against heartworm and means you don’t have to worry about roundworms.
#5: Vetmedin (Pimobendan)
- Used for: The treatment of heart disease and congestive heart failure in dogs.
- Why it’s a game-changer: Vetmedin is clinically proven to significantly extend the life expectancy of dogs in early-stage heart failure
It’s difficult to explain the importance of Vetmedin, but this may help. Clinical trials with Vetmedin vs a placebo for dogs in congestive heart failure had to be halted. Why? It was considered unethical to continue because the heart failure dogs on Vetmedin significantly outlived those on the placebo, and it was wrong to carry on withholding life-saving medication from them.
Vetmedin was originally used to treat dogs in congestive heart failure, to help their heart work more effectively. However, we now know it is also beneficial to healthy dogs that happen to have a heart murmur and show early stages of heart enlargement on an ultrasound scan. For these guys, taking Vetmedin can help delay going into heart failure and give them more years (yes, years) of happy, active life. If that isn’t a game-changer, what is!
#6: HeartGard (Ivermectin/ pyrantel)
- Used for: Prevention of heartworm infection
- Why it’s a game-changer: At last, an effective and easy-to-administer way of protecting pets against this devastating parasite.
All it takes is a monthly tablet to save your dog (and yourself) the heartache of heartworm. What’s not to like?
#7: Neoral (Cyclosporine)
- Used to: Relieve itchy skin and treat anal furunculosis
- Why it’s a game-changer: Neoral provides hope for dogs afflicted by the painful condition anal furunculosis.
Neoral, which contains cyclosporine, is an option for treating skin allergies that cause itchy skin (arguably superseded by Apoquel). However, where Neoral is a true hero is for dogs such as the German Shepherd that are prone to anal furunculosis.
To understand why, it helps to know that cyclosporine was an offshoot of organ transplant research. It was developed as a drug that altered how the immune system works so as to prevent organ rejection in transplant patients. Somewhere along the line, however, it was discovered that German Shepherds suffering from the previously intractable condition anal furunculosis started to get better upon taking this drug. Now it’s a go-to treatment, ahead of surgery or other invasive procedures. A tablet vs surgery with a significant failure rate is a no-brainer for most dog owners.
#8: Keppra (Levetiracetam)
- Used to: Treat epilepsy in dogs and control difficult seizures
- Why it’s a game-changer: Helps control fits in dogs that fail to respond to first-line therapies
Keppra is a little different from our other hero products in that it’s designed for people rather than pets. However, vets may prescribe Keppra under certain circumstances, like when licensed animal products don’t work.
Keppra is an anti-convulsant medication and a breath of fresh air for some patients in that it reduces their seizure activity and is relatively side-effect-free. Some epilepsy in dogs is poorly controlled with licensed veterinary medications, but the addition of Keppra offers seizure control plus an improved quality of life.
#9: Optimmune (topical cyclosporine)
- Used for: The treatment of dry eye in dogs
- Why it’s a game-changer: Optimmune (cyclosporine topical ointment) treats the cause, rather than the symptoms, of dry eye in dogs.
Dry eye is simply the result of an eye that doesn’t produce enough tear fluid. In the early stages, this causes itchy eyes, which may become extremely uncomfortable and even lead to blindness. This is another condition particularly prevalent in the German Shepherd breed.
Topical cyclosporine applied to the eye twice daily helps relieve the symptoms and treat the cause. Optimmune helps stop the immune system from destroying the glands that produce tear fluid, and when used early, can even reverse the problem.
#10: Sporanox (Itraconazole)
- Used for: The treatment of ringworm
- Why it’s a game-changer: Sporanox is both safer and more effective than earlier meds used to treat ringworm.
The fungal infection ringworm can be passed from pets to people, which means effective treatment is vital. Earlier-generation meds were potentially more toxic, had to be given for longer, and weren’t always effective compared to Sporanox.
Whilst Sporanox is not completely without disadvantages, it’s head-and-shoulders above the alternatives in terms of effectiveness and safety when it comes to the treatment of ringworm.
So there we have it: ten game-changing pet meds. Which one could benefit your pet and be a game-changer for their health and well-being?
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