Monday, May 17, 2010

Introducing a New Med - Bethanchol

This is a photo of Sidney chewing on Michael Vick

After seeing several people speak highly of Bethanechol on the Yahoo group site and doing my own research online, we started the Bethanechol on Friday by giving 10 mg before the morning and evening meals, when he gets his Metachlopromide. Costs were prohibiting it because I was told by my vet that it was about $66 for a month supply. But I found out that Costco has the prescription for $25 for a 12 week supply. Worth the 2 hour round trip for that since Sid has been having episodes every morning.

It was difficult to try and find a way to get it into his tummy, since water usually doesn't stay down too well. First I tried to crush it and mix it with some fish oil, but that didn't stay down too long and I was cleaning it up off of the floor in no time. It needs to be taken on an empty stomach, so I finally ended up hiding it in a Knox Blox (the Jell-O cube that we give him to eat in his chair to keep him hydrated) and that seemed to work. Kind of like a make-shift Pill Pocket. We may need to put him in his Bailey Chair for his pre-meal meds now to get this done correctly.

Bethanechol is used in people to treat urinary retention after surgery. The thought in ME dogs is that it can help with the nerve function in the esophagus, hopefully giving it some of its life back. Here's some medical info I found online. It is a cholinergic agonist, so it binds to cholinergic receptors and causes smooth muscle contraction. For it to work the nerves that connect to the smooth muscle do not have to be functioning. We were really concerned that there would be urinary or intestinal side effects of the Bethanechol, since these tissues are also smooth muscle with the same receptors. Basically we're worried he's going to start peeing all over the place and lose control of his bladder. So, the first morning Sid received 10 mg. He had no bladder accidents, so he received another 10 mg that night. He usually RGs right when he wakes up in the morning, but he didn't this time. Good news. We continued with 10 mg twice a day. He didn't RG again until this morning, all over the bed and carpet. I think it's because I let him sleep in my bed as opposed to his cage we rigged up to keep his head elevated, or he ate something at the dog park or on our hike this weekend. Sorry Sid. We didn't notice a dramatic effect and not sure if this will take more time to do what it is supposed to do, but he did RG much less than normal. Not going to get too excited just yet.

It is still early in this test, but I will continue to try and evaluate if it is making a difference, but you never know if he ate something he shouldn't have behind my back.

There are several believers that the Bethanechol can reduce the symptoms of Congenital Megaesophagus in dogs. But, there is NO cure, so if this helps him RG less then it will be worth it. STAY TUNED.

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