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I Killed My Dog
A story I wish I didn't have to tell but if it can save a dog's life, it will be well worth it. I don't want any dog owner to have to go through what I did and lose a family member.
My dog trusted me to give him the best care. I raised Deli since he was only 8 weeks old.
Gave him everything he wanted. Toys, food, love, companionship... he had it all. But one day a couple years ago, I gave him something that will ultimately end his life in 2006. I was his guardian since 1994 and made all his choices so I take full responsibility for his death.
Deli was a very active German Shepherd since he was a little puppy. Always alert and ready to do anything (even taking baths). Whether it be just to play a game of fetch in the house or go for a 5 mile outdoor run, he was ready. He lived life and enjoyed it to the fullest. Eat, play, train, and protect. That's what he lived for. In his prime years, he even did Schutzhund training and the Endurance run.
But as the years started to add on, I began to notice little things like: getting in cars was getting hard for him, couldn't walk as fast as he used to, getting up from a sit or down position was also difficult for him. He would always come when I called him, but you could see in his eyes and movement that he wasn't as young as he used to be. Because he was a lot less active, I thought it was just a sign of getting old.
My wife and I decided to take him to our veterinarian to see if there was anything we could do to make him feel more comfortable. Our veterinarian examined him and he was diagnosed with arthritis in his hind legs and one of his front elbows. The veterinarian then recommended us to give him a drug called Rimadyl. Since she was the so called "Expert," we trusted her completely. (This soon was to become our biggest mistake.) She did a complete blood work and both his liver and kidneys tested normal.
Within 2-3 days of taking Rimadyl as prescribed by our vet, Deli started to improve. It was like a miracle drug. Although he still had a slight limp, he was getting much better. As any dog owners would be, we were very happy just to see him begin to be active again.
Our veterinarian was a genius! (I thought.)
Then one day something just made me do a research on this miracle drug, Rimadyl. I was thinking in my head, if Rimadyl worked so well, why isn't everyone using it on their dogs who have arthritis. What I was able to find and read on the message boards and government websites just horrified me. I couldn't believe my eyes,
1000's of dogs were dying because of Rimadyl.
How could a little pill designed to make my dog feel better, at the same time be killing him?
The more I read and discovered, the more shocked I was. The FDA knew there were serious adverse side effects (including death) to Rimadyl, but were still keeping it on the market for veterinarians to prescribe. They approved of Rimadyl in 1996 with it only being tested on 297 dogs. Makes me wonder if my dog and thousands of others were just test guinea pigs. No drugs for humans would have ever been approved by the FDA with such a small sample.
But once I did my research, I immediately took Deli off of Rimadyl completely. But it was a little too late, the damage was already done.
In retrospect, his behavior made sense. He was slowly losing control of his bladder and bowel movements which I had contributed to age. I could see the stress in his eyes when this happens because he's never made a mess in the house before. He always looked sad and sorry. But there would be good days and bad days.
Deli lives to eat and never misses a meal...snack....or treat, so I knew something was wrong the day when he started to avoid eating. He avoided his dog food for about 3 days. Anything he ate, which was very little, he would vomit it all back up. It was sad to watch. At times, his face would just look confused and dazed.
My wife and I took him to our veterinarian for some lab work and x-rays to find out what was going on. After the test results came back the following day, our vet said he had
My wife and I were totally DEVASTATED. How could this be? Before he was put on Rimadyl, both his liver and kidneys were tested and he had no problems at all. How could it be kidney failure? Then I realize at that moment, everyday I was giving him Rimadyl, I was basically poisoning him to death.
The Rimadyl got him.
Had I known kidney problems was one of the side effects of Rimadyl in some dogs, I would have never given him Rimadyl and would have definitely tried a natural alternative instead. Giving him Rimadyl was like playing Russian Roulette with his life.
After reviewing the x-rays in depth, the vet said he was suffering inside bad enough that it was best to let him go but it was still our decision on what to do.
To end his misery, we decided that morning to put him to sleep that very same evening. It was a hard decision, but with his quality of life gone and knowing that he would be unable to do all of his favorite things in life especially eating, we knew that it would be the right decision. He was a tough guy, but I couldn't bear seeing him in pain any longer. We drove him home so he could have his very last meal with the family.
We bought him McDonalds (his favorite) which he ate but very slowly. I really think he ate it just to make us happy. But within 15 minutes he would vomit it all back up again. His stomach couldn't hold any food down. It was hard to see your own dog that used to love to eat to now vomit all his food up. He was truly suffering from within.
My wife, mother, and I took him back to the veterinarian office one last time at 5:30 p.m that day to put him down. It's one of the saddest and hardest things I have ever done in my life. He wanted to stay in his crate in our car. Seemed like he knew what was going to happen. Eventually we got him out. A few steps into the vet doors, he just stopped and sat. I didn't want to do it, but letting him go with the least amount of pain was the least I could do after what I've done to him with Rimadyl. He was just too miserable.
We went into a room where a vet assistant had laid out a quilt. Deli laid on the quilt and tipped his head to the side. I then sat down right next to him with his head resting on my lap as the vet assistant came in to give him his first injection to sedate him.
My mom rubbed his stomach and massaged his legs.
My big boy was ready to go to the Rainbow Bridge. As my family and I cried, the vet then came in and gave him the lethal euthanasia injection. This was to slow down his heart. He didn't feel a thing.
For 12 ½ years, Deli brought joy to my family's life and protected us. All I could do to return the favor was protect his, but I failed. His last day on earth, I felt like I killed him. Everyday I was giving him Rimadyl, I was basically in my opinion, giving him the poison that ruined his kidneys. Deli trusted me with his life, and I felt like I betrayed him by not doing the research on Rimadyl first before I gave it to him.
As I said my last good-byes, I saw his chest rise to take his very last breath of air and then suddenly he left this world. 12 years and 228 days, on this planet earth and now his life has ended. I felt powerless and helpless as there was nothing I could do. Money was not a problem, it's just money couldn't take back what I did.
About 2 minutes later, the veterinarian came in again and took his pulse and said it's over. His body just went limp. My boy was gone. His last week was tough, but at least he is no longer in pain. He died peacefully - November 1, 2006.
I cried, and even as I write this, it brings back tears to my eyes. It's been a couple years since his death but it's still sad to know that it all could have been prevented if I had known the side effects of Rimadyl to look for.
""Why did I not do more research before giving him Rimadyl?"
I have asked that question thousands of times in my head. When I put together the www.dog-arthritis-resource.com website, I wanted to make sure anyone giving their dog Rimadyl to at least know the precautions and not go through what I did. Had I had access to this similar information early on, Deli most likely would be here today. You don't want to be like me. PLEASE... PLEASE..., learn from my mistakes.
Veterinarians and Pfizer say it's safe, and that may be the case for some dogs, but tell that to the thousands of dog owners who lost their dog because of Rimadyl.
Please understand, as I write this, I am not 100% against the use of Rimadyl as it has helped many dogs relieve pain. If my Deli were alive today and had arthritis or joint pain, I would personally try exhausting all natural alternatives first, and only as a LAST RESORT, use Rimadyl.
Whether you decide to give your dog Rimadyl or not, just make sure to weigh the benefits and all the risks involved. Be informed. I hope this site gives you the necessary resources to make the right decision for your best friend. They can't talk to you so they hope that you make the best decision for them.
P.S. - I know this website won't ever bring my Deli back, but if it can save a dog and an owner's grief, it's worth it. I won't let my Deli's death go in vain. Help me spread the word and tell a friend about the adverse side effects of Rimadyl. Odds are, there's thousands of dog owners out there giving their dog Rimadyl without doing any blood work and not knowing the side effects to look for. I call it Rimadyl Roulette.
For more information and ongoing 'blog':
May my beloved partner ROMI rest in peace - no matter wherever her bits and pieces/frozen carcass may be held hostage.
[what's in YOUR "urn" ?]
Copyright: 2004 Ginger Sanchez. All Rights Reserved.
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