Here’s an interesting piece on the evidence behind some common pet meds by a writer whose dog was taking Tramadol (which probably only got him high) and glucosamine (which probably doesn’t work) for hip problems:
If you have a pet, this should be a cautionary tale. Americans spent $14.2 billion on veterinary care for their pets in 2013—and that doesn’t include proprietary health diets and food supplements. Put another way, pet owners pay about $850 annually in veterinary expenses per dog, and about $575 per cat. Factor in the emotional energy we invest in keeping our companion animals healthy, and you’d hope for high confidence in the end results. But as I’ve learned, much of veterinary medicine is based on shaky scientific foundations: The drugs prescribed for your dog or cat may work no better than those we’ve been giving to Kaleb.
Before you get angry, realize that mostly this isn’t your vet’s fault. The biggest problem is that their medicine cabinets are relatively bare. Like it or not, most of what we know about whether drugs work and are safe comes from clinical trials conducted by pharmaceutical companies to win marketing approval. Even though the sums we spend on our pets’ health may seem lavish, they’re a fraction of the budgets involved in human medicine, making it hard for companies to justify the costs of developing new veterinary drugs. That’s why the U.S. Food and Drug Administration’s database of approved human drugs contains more then 6,500 entries, and the list for dogs fewer than 650.