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Back to comfort?

Bowdu’s been really good the last few days! He’s even tilted towards spending more time without the cone, including romps at the dog park. I did have to yank him a couple times when he started chewing himself instead of moving along (by which I mean I grab him by his collar and firmly pull him up until he starts walking again), but for the most part, he’s been leaving himself alone since we went to the vet and got him all drugged up.

Aside from the Ketaconazole, which was surely needed, I think the injection of Convenia (cefovecin sodium) really did the trick. I’ve been poking around for information about it. I’ve learned that it’s pretty new, available only since 2008. I wonder if its newness explains why we got the relatively expensive injection for free; I’m guessing that our vet had received free samples from Pfizer, which is currently trying to push the antibiotic.

So here’s what I think, based on what I’ve read and our experience with the drug after the fourth day —

Pros:

  • Acts quickly (starts working almost immediately, and “peak plasma level” attained after 6.2 hours in dogs, 2.0 hours in cats). Indeed, Bowdu was able to go cone-free that very evening after his vet appointment (though he’ll still feel irritated and want to itch until he’s all healed back up, so he’s not completely free yet).
  • It lasts continuously for about 10-14 days, eliminating the need for repeat pill-popping.
  • Great for dogs and cats who are expert pill-spitters
  • Pets are less likely to develop bacterial resistance due to proper dosing

Cons:

  • If your pet has a bad reaction (which is supposedly rare), you’re screwed, because it’s having its merry way with your pet’s circulatory system.
  • It’s a bit expensive. The vet normally would have charged $78.60 for 1.4 mL for my 32 pound dog. This is comparable to a round of Baytril/Enrofloxacin, the toughest and most expensive oral antibiotic my previous vet prescribed at $67.50 for 20 pills. But compared to something like Clavamox ($40.60 for 14 pills) or other oral antibiotics, maybe it’s not as cost efficient.
  • Needs to be administered by injection, so if you and your pet are wary of needles…
  • It’s new, which means there are no studies yet on long-term use or effects; new is not always better

Things that are inbetween/neutral to me about this particular drug:

  • It’s labeled only for “secondary superficial pyoderma [skin infections], abscesses, and wounds” which limits its all-around applicability in a veterinary clinic, but it’s great for my exact concerns with Bowdu’s constant self-inflicted skin infections. Pfizer’s press kit claims the drug is suited for the most common infections needing antibiotic treatment.
  • The internet is awash with reports about cats who have suffered fatal reactions from Convenia, despite published findings that insist the drug is as safe as other antibiotics in current use (see the January 1, 2009 issue of the Journal of the American Veterinary Association for more information). While these online anecdotes are definitely disconcerting, problems seem mostly related to cats so far. It’s something to keep an eye on.
  • Relatedly, the vet called it a “wimpy” antibiotic, by which she meant that it was supposed to have fewer side effects and therefore would be tolerable given the other drugs and injections he received that day. So maybe it’s good if all he needs is a “wimpy” antibiotic, as opposed to a drug that aims to wipe out every bacteria that it can, to the detriment of the body’s natural balance.

Finally, the promised “convenience” of not having to administer oral medication isn’t a huge incentive for me, as I’m extremely reliable and Bowdu accepts his marshmallow-encased pills with no resistance. I’m most impressed by how quickly Convenia seems to act. And since he’s got plenty of other pills and marshmallows to swallow in the meantime, we may as well eliminate the need for another, lest he return to his pre-Soloxine Staypuff figure.

[This list compiled with help from Dogster Vet Blog posts dated 9 August 2008 and 9 January 2009, MyPetsDoctor.com post dated 21 April 2009, and Pfizer Animal Health’s online product information]