Pros & Cons of Non-Steroidal Anti-Inflammatory Drugs for Dogs
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Non-Steroidal Anti-Inflammatory Drugs (NSAIDS) for Dogs

Drs. Foster & Smith Educational Staff
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There are numerous non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) on the market today for use in dogs. They are commonly used to treat the pain and inflammation associated with arthritis, post surgery discomfort, or other pain.

They include:

  • Carprofen (Quellin™, Rimadyl®, Novox®)
  • Deracoxib (Deramaxx®)
  • Etodolac
  • Meloxicam (Metacam®)

These drugs are strong and effective painkillers and anti-inflammatory agents. They are prescription products and because of their potential side effects, careful adherence to dosing quantity and frequency must be followed. The manufacturers recommend periodic blood work to be done on animals that are being treated with these products to monitor any developing liver problems or other complications resulting from their use. Any NSAID should not be used with aspirin, corticosteroids, or other NSAIDs. Acetaminophen (Tylenol®) and ibuprofen have many more potentially serious side effects and are not recommended for use in dogs without very careful veterinary supervision. NSAIDs can be safely used with products containing glucosamine or chondroitin.

Although there are health risks associated with using NSAIDs in dogs, especially if not used according to directions or the animal has other health problems, you can reduce the possibility of these risks by taking the following actions:

  • Provide a complete medical history about your dog to your veterinarian, including any other medications or any supplements your pet may be taking.
  • Follow your veterinarian's advice regarding the need for laboratory testing prior to and during therapy.
  • Do not use with aspirin, other NSAIDs or corticosteroids, or the risk of stomach ulcers is greatly increased.
  • Follow the prescribed dosage schedule.
  • Give the medication with food, if possible.
  • Provide fresh, clean water at all times and monitor water intake. Dehydration greatly increases the risk of side effects.
  • If you observe any side effects, contact your veterinarian.

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