I found this wonderful article I wanted to share about some of the major dangers of pharmaceutic treatments for your Dog.
http://www.2ndchance.info/ in the URL box or find all my articles at ACC.htm.
One of the greatest heartaches a dog owner can have is a persistently itchy, uncomfortable pet. The skin of our pets just wasn’t designed to hold up to hours of chewing and scratching. In that situation, it doesn’t take long for your pet’s coat to thin and look moth-eaten. Invariable, soon after that, your pet’s natural skin barriers to bacteria and fungi infection are breached. When that occurs, pets develop that typical seborrheic skin odor, sores and scabs.
It is the itch that comes first – the bacteria, fungi and yeast are just opportunistic freeloaders.
When pet owners and their veterinarians are lucky, the problem is due to fleas. Vets have great ways to deal with that. But more likely than not, when fleas are not the problem, your pet has developed atopic skin disease aka canine allergies. If you are very fortunate, those allergies will be due to ingredients in your dog’s diet.
But in most cases they are not or food allergies are only a small part of the pet’s allergic condition. The most common form of allergic skin disease in dogs is caused by allergies to ordinary contaminants in your pet’s environment – contaminants that are nearly impossible to eliminate.
When humans develop allergies to environmental contaminants, the target is your respiratory system. That is because most of the chemical agents (histamines, etc.) are released by the cells that line your respiratory system causing inflammation there. (ref) That is why your eyes will itch, you will sniffle and you might even cough. But dogs are different. When they have allergies, these same inflammatory chemicals are released primarily in their skin. That is what causes them to itch. (ref)
When veterinarians are faced with allergic/atopic pets, the first things they usually dispense are soothing medicated shampoos and lotions. Itching is a self-perpetuating habit. If your pet’s problem was a one-time thing, if it is relatively minor or if it is seasonal , perhaps that, along with some oral antihistamines, will take care of the problem. But with time, itching problems that are related to allergy tend to return and become worse. In those cases, your vet might suggest blood-based allergy testing or special low-antigen diets. Occasionally, that approach is successful – often, it is not.
Your veterinarian may then have dispensed an oral corticosteroids or given a corticosteroids injection to your pet. That probably produced a dramatic improvement. Your dog stopped itching – for a while. But it may have also peed more and gained weight. Your veterinarian was probably reluctant to repeat the therapy, telling you of the serious side effects of prolonged corticosteroid use and you probably already knew that anyway. But it is so terribly difficult to live with a scratchy, itchy, uncomfortable dog. So you probably talked the vet into repeating the steroid treatment now and then.
Veterinarians all know that the desirable effects of corticosteroids against allergic itching is very dramatic. These drugs mimic the effects of the natural corticosteroids produced every day in your pet’s adrenal glands. But they also know that corticosteroids have many undesirable side effects when they are given too frequently. Prolonged corticosteroid use leads to weight gain, decreased strength of the binding proteins (collagen) that hold the body together as well as increased blood glucose and circulating lipids (fats) that can affect your pet’s liver and pancreas. And those are only a few of the undesirable results that can occur.
You can see why most veterinarians were desperate to offer their clients’ pets other options.
The body’s allergic process is extremely complicated. It involves many different cells, transmitter chemicals and processes. But here is my simplified explanation: Allergies are caused by unnecessary antibodies – antibodies your dog produces against compounds in its environment (like mold, house, dust mites or pollen) that would ordinarily be ignored. Your dog itches because those antibodies cause mast cells in its skin to release histamines. Those histamines produce inflammation that irritates the nerve endings in your dog’s skin. Mildly irritated nerve endings itch – severely irritated nerve endings are painful. It does not cause the skin damage, hair loss and skin infections that you observe – the dog does that to itself.
Cyclosporine (= Atopica) interferes with this extremely complex process. It prevents a certain specific group of lymphocytes (immune system cells) the helper T- lymphocytes , from transmitting chemical messages (calcineurin / interleukins) that result in histamine release from your dog’s skin mast cells. Without released histamine, your pet does not itch. You can think of helper T-lymphocytes as the policemen of the body – always looking for intruders and blowing their whistle when they find them.
A second problem with Atopica is that the calcineurin messenger compounds that it blocks are also found in your pet’s kidneys. Something to seriously consider.