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Monday, March 14, 2011

Give a Dog a Bone(r)

Can you say, "dog Viagra"?

Nope, this is not one of my usual "creative posts"; this for real. Say "Viagra" and most humans will think of impotence, but doctors have discovered that the drug is good at boosting other parts of the body as well, such as the blood vessels of the heart and lungs.  This fact is not altogether surprising, given that Viagra (sildenafil citrate) was originally designed to lower blood pressure and treat angina.

It was during early testing that Pfitzer, its developer, noticed that the drug aided in male erection, a lucrative side effect. They therefore decided to market Viagra for this purpose, rather than as a heart drug. Viagra was licensed as an impotence treatment in 1998.

Years later, doctors are re-exploring Viagra's benefits in treating circulatory heart and lung-related problems.

Talisker, a three-year-old border collie from England,  developed a dangerously enlarged heart after a lung infection. Talisker would pass out whenever he got excited because his blood wasn't pumping vest enough. His vet, Nat Whitley, prescribed . . . Viagra.

Yet another pup, this one in Long Island, New York, had 14lbs of abdominal fluid and an advanced stage of heart worms. Her vets at Little Shelter in Hungington, Long Island, put Ingrid, on a daily Viagra regiment that has her romping and zooming around healthfully. This rescue pup was given yet another chance in life, since when she was taken in by the shelter in the first place she was malnourished and neglected.

In 2008, a springer spaniel from London, Bentley, made the news when his vet, Ben Harris,  treated him for lungworm that had spread to his heart artery using Viagra. As the seven-year-old canine went into heart failure, his vet turned to Viagra hoping to relax the blood vessels. Bentley will need to remain on Viagra for the rest of his life, but it shouldn't really affect his life in any other way. He was neutered when he was a puppy.
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