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Drugs to avoid for your Irish Wolfhound
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Drugs to avoid for your Irish Wolfhound Print
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Irish Wolfhound - Health Issues
Written by Hugh McManus   

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Friday, 05 September 2008 07:00

All drugs have side effects.  These side effects, adverse events if serious enough, aren't necessarily identical for each person.  When it comes to dogs, there is variety among different breeds.  Wolfhounds have quirks and there are some drugs that should, if possible, be avoided.  Listed below is information taken from various breeders about drugs that might trigger adverse events in the Irish Wolfhound.  As always, it's important–actually critical–to follow the advice of your informed veterinarian.  This list should be viewed as something for information only–a starting point for discussion.

About Veterinarians

It should go without saying that veterinarians are experts when it comes to treating animals.  In fact, a defensible argument could be made that veterinarians are more skilled healthcare providers than are physicians.  Veterinarians train for many years, but see perhaps dozens of different species of animals in scores of appointments in a given week.  As such, they often have a systems or high level approach to dealing with problems that physicians often lack.  This higher level approach can mean that they focus in quickly on a given ailment thinking through a host of other possibilities.

Having such a broad knowledge base is challenging too and it's possible to forget the idiosyncrasies of a particular species or, in the case of dogs, the sharp differences that exist between and among breeds.  Breeders can be a trove of specialized information with a wealth of anecdotal evidence about the Irish Wolfhounds.  While tension sometimes exists between veterinarians and breeders, good vets, grounded in sound science, know and appreciate the power of systematic observation–empiricism.

Listed below are some concerns expressed by breeders.  It is possible that, unless your veterinarian has extensive experience with the breed, that he or she may not be aware of some of the particular issues that Irish Wolfhounds face.  Many good vets are open to new information.

Analgesics

Aspirin

Aspirin is a drug that is potentially fatal to Irish Wolfhounds.   While this Bayer drug is truly a wonder drug, it doesn't work wonders on the Wolfhound.  Like all dogs, the Wolfhound stomach is sensitive; consumption of Aspirin can lead to bleeding.  Typically, if an unwitting owner gives Aspirin to a dog, the first thing a veterinarian will do, when then a dog is presented, is to pump its stomach.  A stomach pump is something to be avoided.

While Aspirin is harmful, there are varieties of the drug that can work.  There's a buffered form called Ascriptin: it's Aspirin buffered with Malox.  Ascriptin is a lot less harmful for a Wolfhound that are other forms of Aspirin.  Having said that, it's always important to have a discussion with your veterinarian before giving any medication containing Aspirin to your dog.

Anesthetics

A discussion on anesthetics and Irish Wolfhounds is in order.  If possible, avoid putting your Wolfhound (or any sighthound) under general anesthesia.  There are, inevitably, times when your hounds has to be put under.  Make sure that it's not for an extended period of time.  If your veterinarian doesn't know about the risks associated with prolonged anesthesia, find another vet.   Never use a barbiturate

Anesthetics are normally administered by weight.  So, the dose for your hound depends on the weight of the animal.  Wolfhounds are heavy animals, but the weight can be deceptive.  They're lean, or should be lean.  They have high bone mass.  The dose the dog requires is often somewhat lower than the figure that one would calculate from the mass of the animal.  Overdosing in hounds happens.  While barbiturates should be avoided, there are other anesthetics that work wonderfully with the animals.  Examples include isoflurane and propofol.  Putting your Wolfhound under a general anesthetic, while often necessary, shouldn't be taken lightly.  Make sure your veterinarian knows about the idiosyncrasies prevalent in sighthounds.

Ketamine

The drug is also marketed as Ketanest, Ketaset and Ketalar and is approved for both human and animal use in the US.   The drug is used to induce dissociative anesthesia.  Its in the class of NMDA receptor antagonist as they inhibit the action of the N-methyl d-aspartate receptor.  The drug is a DEA Schedule III compound.

In general, Ketamine should be avoided for Irish Wolfhounds that are prone to epilepsy or seizure.  In humans, the drug is an hallucinogen.

Antibiotics

Baytril

Baytril or Enrofloxacin is an antibiotic discovered and marketed by Bayer.  It is in the fluoroquinalone class of antibiotics.  Baytril is a broad spectrum antibiotic effective against a range of different bacteria.

The drug is known to induce seizure in cats.  Wolfhound breeders have cautioned that this drug should be avoided in dogs that are prone to seizure or epilepsy.

Chloramphenicol

It is also marketed as Thiamphenicol in veterinary medicine in Europe and the US.  Chlorampenicol is one of the oldest classes of antibiotics having been produced widely in the early 1950s.   Adverse events have been reported in Irish Wolfhounds, so to the extent possible, this antibiotic should be avoided.

Keflex

Keflex is an antibiotic in the cephalosporin class.   Its generic name is Cefalexin or Cephalexin; it is also marketed as Sporidex.  The drug is most commonly administered to treat urinary tract infections.  Some breeders have cautioned that this drug should be administered sparingly with Wolfhounds that are prone to seizure or epilepsy.

Anti-inflammatory Drugs

Rimadyl

Rimadyl, also called Carprofen is a non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drug produced by Pfizer.  The drug may be prescribed for symptoms associated with arthritis, joint pain, hip dysplasia, post-operative inflammation, and other forms of joint deterioration such as degenerative myelopathy and related ailments.   Rimadyl is a COX-2 inhibitor.  For dogs it's often formulated as a chewable, flavored pill.

Rimadyl can cause liver toxicity, so if prescribed, regular assessment of the liver function is advised, particularly if the condition is chronic and requires daily dosage of the drug.  In some cases, monthly blood tests are advised.  Pfizer, under pressure from the FDA, has included death as a possible side effect in dogs.  Breeders often suggest that Rimadyl should be avoided for Wolfhounds that are prone to seizure or epilepsy.   The drug is highly effective at relieving pain; if the Wolfhound has no other liver problems or a history of seizure, administering the drug should be fine if there is also  constant monitoring for adverse events.

Sedatives

Acepromazine or Acetylpromazine

This drug is also called Acezine 2, Atravet or simply ACE is seldom used in humans anymore and is mostly prescribed for dogs.   The drug can have cardiac effects; it's a psychotropic compound.  There are well documented problems with Boxers and cardiac problems when given this drug.  The drug is sometimes administered for its antiemetic (prevention of nausea and vomiting) effects.  There are reports of the drug triggering seizures in dogs with a predisposition to epilepsy.    The drug should be administered with extreme caution to Irish Wolfhounds, in fact, sighthounds in general.  If possible, the drug should be avoided completely for dogs prone to epilepsy.