Animal Law Center: Pfizer settles over Sophie the dog's death, vets gave her Rimadyl and other meds

The owners of a dog who used the anti-inflammatory drug Rimadyl have settled their lawsuit with the drug manufacturer, Pfizer.

Shelley Smith and Christopher Cooper said they took Sophie the dog to a Longmont veterinarian for treatment of a cranial cruciate ligament rupture, or a tear in the knee. Smith and Cooper said following surgery, their veterinarian prescribed several medications, including Rimadyl.

Eleven days after surgery, Sophie began experiencing symptoms described by two Pfizer veterinarians as Rimadyl toxicity, according to the Animal Law Center in Wheat Ridge, whose attorneys are representing Smith and Cooper.

Sophie's owners said both corporate vets suggested Sophie be hospitalized and that she should recover from the toxicity within 3 to 7 days. She was hospitalized for 13 days and her suffering continued, Smith and Copper said.

Weeks later, Sophie was suffering from liver failure. She died July 26, 2009.

Smith and Cooper sued Pfizer. Pfizer settled with the two. While the settlement terms are not being released, Cooper said they will use the money to help others.

“We plan to use our settlement funds to launch an education campaign that will inform pet owners about the risks associated with this medication," said Cooper in a statement to 7NEWS.

Conduct an Internet search, and you'’ll find many websites devoted to pet owners sharing their stories of death or near-death experiences with their pets after taking Rimadyl," said Jennifer Edwards, a lawyer and founder of The Animal Law Center.

"Many animals do well on this drug, but you don'’t know how your pet will react until it dies," she said.