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May Be Prescribed by Vets for:
Familial Renal Amyloidosis in Shar-Pei dogs and hepatic or renal fibrosis
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Colchicine is a plant-derived anti-inflammatory that is used in human medicine for the treatment of gout and Familial Mediterranean Fever. It was originally extracted from the autumn crocus Colchicum autumnale and reportedly was used in human medicine in ancient Egypt. The anti-inflammatory effects of colchicine are due to inhibition of neutrophil motility and activity.
Colchicine also inhibits a key stage of cellular mitosis (microtubule polymerization), and blocks the hepatic synthesis and secretion of serum amyloid. Colchicine is absorbed via the GI tract and is partially metabolized by the liver. It is excreted primarily in the feces with some additional urinary excretion.
Colchicine is used in the early stages of familial renal amyloidosis in Shar-Pei dogs. This inherited inflammatory disease is also called familial Shar-Pei fever (FSF). FSF was once thought to be an animal model for Familial Mediterranean Fever in humans. Research has shown that this is not the case, although both of these inherited diseases are treated with colchicine.
Clinical signs of FSF include fever, with swelling and joint pain, particularly of the hocks. In order to be effective in preventing renal amyloidosis, colchicine therapy must be instituted before any significant kidney damage occurs. Because there is no diagnostic test for FSF, it is recommended that an affected animal begins treatment at the time of the first episode of fever and joint swelling in order to prevent amyloid deposition and to moderate the course of the disease.
Colchicine is also used to prevent hepatic and renal fibrosis in dogs. When used for this purpose, it is thought to decrease fibroblast proliferation and fibrogenesis. The use of colchicine for hepatic cirrhosis or fibrosis is considered somewhat experimental and not all clinicians agree on its use for this purpose.
Dr. Barbara Forney is a veterinary practitioner in Chester County, Pennsylvania. She has a master's degree in animal science from the University of Delaware and graduated from the University of Pennsylvania School of Veterinary Medicine in 1982.
She began to develop her interest in client education and medical writing in 1997. Recent publications include portions of The Pill Book Guide to Medication for Your Dog and Cat, and most recently Understanding Equine Medications published by the Bloodhorse.
Dr. Forney is an FEI veterinarian and an active member of the AAEP, AVMA, and AMWA.
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