How to Tell If Veterinary Products Advertised on the Internet Are Good Or Not

I often get asked questions about whether products available for cats and dogs on the internet really work. Here is a sample of what my clients have asked me:

  • Will Tripsy help my cat’s kidney disease?
  • Are NZymes a good product or is this a money making scam?
  • Is there a natural cure for cancer? Nuvet wafers claim to be able to cure my dog of cancer.
  • Can I treat my dog’s arthritis with Sasha’s Blend?

Rather than tell you which products are good and which are scams I’d like to teach you a few things to look for to determine this for yourself:

One of the best ways to determine if a product is really effective is to look for clinical trials. If studies have been done to determine the effectiveness of the product then it likely has some merit. A great way to research whether studies have been done is to look the product up on www.scholar.google.com

This is a search engine which gives research information. I went to this site and tried the following searches:

  • “Tripsy for cats kidneys” – I got lots of results containing those words but none that specifically mention the product I was looking for. This is not a good sign.
  • “Sasha’s blend” – The first result was a clinical trial for this product which showed that it had merit in treating canine arthritis. This is good!

Unfortunately there are a lot of products advertised on the internet that take advantage of people’s desperation. We all want our pets to live long, healthy lives and are devastated when we get a diagnosis of cancer, kidney disease, liver disease or something else that is serious.

Another good resource is your veterinarian. Many vets will be willing to research a product that you are interested in. If they are a member of Veterinary Information Network they have access to all of the latest research on almost any product advertised online. If your vet does not want to research this for you, you can always ask an online vet to do the research and they will give you an unbiased opinion.

The best piece of advice I can give though is, “If it sounds too good to be true, it probably is!!!”

Veterinary Products – Keeping Your Pets Tick Free

It’s important to keep your pets tick free for their own safety. But most of us have adventurous little critters that want to run and play in the grass, leaves, and wooded areas where ticks are just waiting to drop off their perch and right onto your pet! Here are a few things you should know about ticks and your pets.

Ticks Are Disease Carriers!

It’s easy to underestimate the dangers of ticks since they are such small insects, but they actually pose a great threat to us and our animals, since ticks often carry diseases. Diseases that ticks can transmit to animals include Lyme Disease, which is transmitted by the deer tick and causes symptoms similar to that of Rheumatoid Arthritis. Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever which is primarily found in New England and the West is a disease that causes depression, fever, rashes, skin hemorrhages, and joint disease. Dogs who live in wooded and mountainous areas often are at risk for this disease. Other possible diseases include Ehrlichiosis, a bacterial infection, and Babesoisis, a blood disorder.

Safe Tick Removal.

It’s important to check your pets often for ticks, especially during tick season and if they have been outdoors. The most common places ticks like to hide on animals are:

• Head
• Neck
• Ears
• feet

The following are the proper steps to help you safely remove and dispose of a tick you’ve found on your pet.

1. If you find a tick on your pet, remove it immediately! The longer it is attached to your pet, the greater the chance of disease. First to protect yourself, put on a pair of gloves so you do not have to touch the tick.

2. Use a pair of tweezers to carefully grasp the tick near the pet’s skin and gently pull until it lets go.

3. To help prevent inflammation and other infection, you may want to apply an antiseptic to the bitten area on your pet. Especially if it has left an open wound.

4. It’s important to properly dispose of the tick now that you have removed it from the animal. Acceptable methods include wrapping it in tissues and flushing it down the toilet or dropping it into a small container of rubbing alcohol. Don’t use water; ticks do not drown in water! And do not crush or burn them either, this may spread any infectious bacteria the tick may have.

Tick Prevention!

Pet owners should brush their pets often to check for ticks, especially after walks and trips outside in the woods or mountains. If you thoroughly comb and check your pet over within a few hours of being outside, you can greatly help prevent your pet from becoming infected by a disease from a tick. The best thing you can do for your pet is use some kind of tick prevention on them. Frontline is considered the #1 recommended tick and flea preventative by veterinarians. Frontline Plus will kill up to 100% of ticks on your pet within 48 hours and continue to keep them tick free for an entire month! (And the same product also keeps your pets protected from fleas too!) Many people enjoy ordering such products online because it’s so simple and reliable.

Animal Health Products and Veterinary Market (Developing Veterinary Drugs and Biologics)

Veterinary medicine is a multi-billion dollar market. In the United States, there are an estimated 150 million dogs and cats. In recent years, an increasing number of biomedical companies (biotech, pharmaceutical, biopharmaceutical, medical device, and diagnostic) have initiated efforts to advance their technologies and/or services into the animal health market. This serves two primary purposes, being to generate revenue and often obtain valuable data capture.

Misconceptions:

The process is simple. The process to get a veterinary product approved is not simple, and often requires years of work to obtain the necessary data to obtain an approval and support the product in the market.

The process is cheap. The costs do develop veterinary drugs or biologics is not cheap, and can range from several hundred thousand dollars to tens of millions, depending on the species, disease, etc.

The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) regulates all animal products: The FDA-Center for Veterinary Medicine regulates drugs. However, the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) – Center for Veterinary Biologics regulates diagnostics, vaccines, immune based products (immune modulators and immune stimulants), and immunoglobulin products. In addition, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) regulates topical ectoparasitic products like topical flea and tick control.

How to Develop and Animal Health Product:

We advise seeking an expert in the field. Far too often, someone tries to develop a product for veterinary medicine only to find out they did not have the expertise or understanding (regulatory, market, etc.) to effectively develop the product. There are several consulting groups that can advise on how to develop veterinary products or those for the pet market. Some consultants may limit their services to regulatory affairs, while others may focus more on clinical trials or marketing. Finding a group which satisfies your needs is important.

What are the Biggest Markets:

This is often hard to define. Companion animals (dogs, cats, horses) often represent the largest spending per species per visit. Livestock (cattle, swine, poultry) represent the largest volume but the economic pressures are often far greater per animal. Minor species (ferrets, rabbits, etc) is a growing market, and the FDA has recently enacted the Minor Use Minor Species Act (MUMS Act) to facilitate the develop of drugs for these species.

How to get Started:

1. Define the regulatory path: The first step is to understand which regulatory agency will oversee the development of the technology or service. Once this is defined, it will set the foundation for the necessary clinical trials, manufacturing, labeling, promotional materials, and other aspects that will define the product or service. If you are not certain of which group will have oversight of the regulations, you should consult with an expert to help define your regulatory strategy.

2. Define the clinical path: Next, determining which trials (GLP, GCP) in target species will be required to support label claims and the approval. Don’t assume that previous lab animal work or unapproved studies will support your approval process.

3. Define the market strategy and economics: After the regulatory path, clinical path, and timeline are estimated, it is very important to understand the economics of the market you are proposing to go into. The concept that pet owners will spend anything on their pets is a huge mistake. There is a limit, as with any market, on the cost of treatment. Constructing the financial justification will help avoid financial mistakes and raise the confidence that the project will meet financial metrics (ROI, NPV, etc.).