Dr. April Knudson is an equine specialist with Merial Veterinary Services. She has a special interest in sport horse lameness and internal medicine. She holds a doctor of veterinary medicine degree from the University of California-Davis. Below, she answers a question about how to evaluate the products available to horse owners.
There are so many different versions of drugs available to purchase for my horse. How do I know which ones really work and are safe to use?
As with any other area of equine health care, it is always best to consult with your veterinarian about providing the best possible medicine, including the risks and benefits of any product before giving it to your horse. There are many companies out there making claims that their products are “just like” others you may have used, but this is often just not the case.
When you decide to buy a product – specifically a drug – for your horse, it’s important to make sure you really know what you are getting. Having a better understanding of a few definitions may help as you and your veterinarian evaluate and make decisions about your horse’s health care.
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Marketed under a proprietary, trademark-protected name and approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), brand-name drugs must comply with the agency’s strict testing, manufacturing and labeling guidelines. FDA approval of a drug means:
The product meets quality, purity and potency specifications.
Each unit is consistently manufactured under what is called “Good Manufacturing Practices.”¹
The safety and efficacy of the product is based on thorough scientific review prior to approval.¹
The drug is continually monitored by the FDA after it is on the market to ensure product performance, as well as identify any concerns or questions.¹
Even if these drugs are not manufactured in the United States, the facilities they are made at are still subject to FDA approval and inspection.²
These drugs are given a New Animal Drug Application number, and they can be found by searching a database accessed by doing an Internet search for “AnimalDrugs@FDA.”¹
Read the rest of this article, including information on generic drugs, compound drugs, nutraceuticals and more, at America's Horse Daily.