Letters: 08/02

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MSM Comments
With regard to “MSM and Performance Horses,” Horse Journal, March 2002: The reported cases of musculoskeletal problems in two horses were inconsistent with most experience of MSM in veterinary medicine. While co-authoring a book on MSM, I reviewed numerous equine case studies of MSM from the estate of the late John Metcalf, DVM. Dr. Metcalf used high-dose MSM in his practice for years with outstanding success, treating many causes of lameness in horses, including bicipital bursitis, laminitis, myositis, and back pain.

The best evidence suggests that MSM is both safe and efficacious for inflammatory conditions. Several studies have shown that MSM is an anti-inflammatory agent. The theory that excessive sulfur might interfere with minerals needed for anti-inflammatory activities is unproven. MSM is not known to interfere with copper or other mineral metabolism in any way. MSM supplementation does not typically cause lethargy. Pain relief and increased energy are its most commonly reported effects.

Although no long-term clinical trials have proved MSM’s safety in horses, a 90-day toxicity study in rats found no ill effects from 1,500 mg/kg/day (equivalent to 750 grams per day for a 1,100 pound horse). Gastrointestinal upset occasionally occurs if too much MSM is taken initially. I suggest starting MSM at 10 grams/day for horses, increasing gradually until the desired effects are achieved. I also advise buying only MSM purified by distillation and made in the U.S.A. Inferior, crystallized MSM from China may contain adulterants like heavy metals or microbiological contaminants that could make your horse sick.

-Jeremy Appleton, ND
Director of Scientific Affairs
Cardinal Nutrition
Washington

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Meeting Overhead
The writer of the letter??“Prescription Drug Prices” (June 2002) states that they know of no vet who will write prescriptions,??and??the vets??they are established with would rather gouge their customers by selling medications at a 100% markup. I am not a veterinarian, but my husband was and I worked with him.??

The reasons veterinarians mark up the medications they dispense 100%, which is customary, includes having to keep up the inventory, ordering, shipping, labeling, dispensing, malpractice insurance, paying for license to practice, paying off years of veterinary school tuition, and putting food on the table.

And you probably already know that the medications you buy at your local pharmacy for yourself are marked up often 100% and more. The difference here is that you usually have medical insurance to defray the costs.

The bottom line is that, if your vet can’t work with you to help you afford a prescription medication that your animal must remain on for its comfort and well being, or won’t write a prescription for you to acquire that medication through a wholesale company at a cost you can afford, you need to thank them for their time,??tell them their services are no longer needed, and use a different??vet.??

-Mary M. Haarer
Georgia

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Legislation Needed
I read with interest the letter from the reader in California about price gouging by vets selling prescriptions for horses (June 2002). My vet prescribed SM2-TMP for our mare that had cow-like manure. He charged me $1 per pill for 100 of them. I thought this was a bit high, so I got on my computer and the Internet for www.dairypharm.com and found they offer the same pills for $35.33 for 500 pills.

I know they have to make money, but this is way out of line. I’ve been told there is no control on the prices the vets charge. Then, when I had a mare given a shot to short-cycle her, I checked prices between two vets. One charged $3.75 for a shot, but the other was almost $23.

Perhaps we need someone to initiate legislation to have a ceiling on the allowed markup they can charge on prescription medications.

-Name Withheld
Illinois

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Vaccine Awareness
In the West Nile vaccine results article (June 2002), you state, “Half of those (new cases of WNV) became symptomatic within 10 days of receiving the second dose. ??The WNV vaccine probably didn’t have time to become effective in some of these horses.”??On the next page in that issue, in the article on possible links between vaccine administration and EEE, you suggest, “If a horse with little likelihood of exposure shows signs of disease shortly after vaccination, a link with the vaccine should be investigated.”

Recent public statements by many entities in the veterinary community report that some states require excessive vaccine protocols for rabies in dogs, given that these vaccines are shown to be effective for a minimum of three years. ??I applaud your efforts and encourage increased awareness of possible vaccine side effects, including cases of WNV, for all animals, with all vaccines.

-Sinead Lancaster
Texas

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Clarification
The complete information for Flint Saddlery was left out of the June 2002 article on Western cinches. You can visit the Flint Saddlery website at www.flints.ca or call them toll-free at 866/562-2626.

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