Wednesday, January 13, 2010 (SF Gate)
Major veterinary drug recall gets bigger/Animal anesthetic drug pulled off market, but questions remain
By Christie Keith, Special to SF Gate
What if your veterinarian was using a recalled drug — and didn’t know it?
That’s not a hypothetical question. On Sept. 4, at least two veterinary drugs made by Teva Animal Health, Inc., a division of Israeli-based Teva Pharmaceutical Industries, were recalled by the FDA, which shut the company down in July. But few veterinarians or pet owners were aware of the recall until the end of December.
Although the reported deaths of five cats led the FDA to issue public recall notices on Dec. 22 and Dec. 29, just what products are involved, and over what time period they were manufactured and sold, remains unclear.
The recalls involve two commonly used injectable veterinary drugs:
butorphanol, a fast-acting opioid used to control pain from surgical procedures in dogs and cats, and the anesthetic agent ketamine.
Ketamine is part of a “cocktail” of drugs that induces anesthesia in animals, including dogs and cats. It can be used, usually with valium, prior to surgery, a dental cleaning and sometimes as a form of restraint for procedures such as an imaging scan. It’s not the only drug that can be used in this way, but it’s one of the most common.
The only explanation so far given as to just what’s wrong with the recalled ketamine came in a press release issued by the FDA on Dec. 22, which said, “This recall is being conducted as a result of an increased trend in serious adverse events associated with this product, including lack of effect, prolonged effect, and death.”
Timeline of a recall
Because pets are anesthetized more often than humans — for example, nearly all dogs and cats are spayed and neutered at a young age — the potential number of affected animals is huge. You’d expect, then, that veterinarians, the people who are buying and administering these drugs, would have been the first to learn that they were being recalled.
You’d be wrong.
Read the entire article here: SFGate.com