Rimadyl has been around since 1997. It was originally developed as veterinary medicine to treat pain associated with arthritis or bone fractures. Now, it’s also being prescribed to dogs suffering from chronic hip dysplasia.
But over time, veterinarians began using Rimadyl for other conditions too, such as allergies, skin infections, ear infections, and even cancer. The drug became very popular because it worked well and had fewer side effects than some other medications.
However, after several years of widespread use, it was discovered that Rimadyl wasn’t safe for pets at high doses. In fact, it caused liver damage and death in dogs. This led to a number of lawsuits against Bayer Animal Health, the manufacturer of Rimadyl.
How Does Rimadyl Work?
You should ask your veterinarian if Rimadyl is safe for dogs if it has been prescribed for a medical reason. How does Rimadyl work and what is it used for? Can dogs take Rimadyl?
You may think Rimadyl is just a typical medication and not pay any attention to it when you receive your prescription. Before using it, you may be given a handout about its use or warned about its side effects by your vet. (1)
In order to make an informed decision about this medication and recognize the signs of trouble immediately, it’s essential to learn all you can about it.
Rimadyl: What You Need to Know
Carprofen, or Rimadyl, is a popular drug manufactured by Pfizer, the world’s largest research-based pharmaceutical company. In 1997, the drug was first offered to the public. Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs are often abbreviated as NSAIDs. Such drugs reduce inflammation and pain.
Inflammation is characterized by redness, warmth, swelling, and pain. Prostaglandins are chemicals that cause inflammation. NSAIDs block their production.
Poisoning by carprofen is what it is?
Dogs that suffer from osteoarthritis are commonly prescribed carprofen, which manages pain well and is very palatable, making it an ideal medicine for canine illnesses. It has been well documented that owners who give their dogs this medicine regularly see positive results.
This drug is also known to have anti-inflammatory properties. It is common to prescribe carprofen to dogs long-term, but the veterinarian must monitor the effects of the medication on these pets. (2)
Dogs on long-term Carprofen can develop toxicity; however, cases of poisoning are most common with accidental overdoses of the medication. If this medication is available, our canine companions will often help themselves to it.
There can be a wide range of symptoms depending on the amount of alcohol consumed, from vomiting to abdominal pain, and even gastrointestinal perforation in extreme cases.
Pain management in animals can be achieved with the help of nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs like carprofen. Ingesting more than the prescribed amount of this medication can cause serious consequences.
It is used to relieve inflammation and pain associated with arthritis, as well as to manage pain after surgery. (3)
What is Rimadyl Prescribed For
This drug is most likely prescribed by your veterinarian if your dog suffers from osteoarthritis or has recently undergone soft tissue or orthopedic surgery.
Rimadyl comes in caplets or tasty chewable your dog is likely to eagerly consume. Store the bottles safely out of reach of your pet. Three strengths are available: 25 mg, 75 mg, and 100 mg. Dogs’ weight and medical condition determine the dosage and frequency of administration. Results are usually observed within one to three hours.
Be sure to read all the information provided with your medication and follow your veterinarian’s advice carefully. Your veterinarian should always provide you with a Client Information Sheet for this medication.
Even though this drug may seem like it could ease pain and inflammation, there are a few things you need to know before taking it.
Rimadyl Side Effects in Dogs
A prescription of this kind is said to have been taken by approximately 15 million dogs suffering from joint pain, osteoarthritis, or degenerative joint disease.
It is true that NSAIDs are helpful in reducing inflammation and pain, but they have also caused the death of about 3,200 dogs, and some 19000 dogs suffer negative reactions.
In particular, the FDA received more reports of adverse effects associated with Rimadyl through November 2004 than with any other dog pain reliever.
According to Cactus Canyon, the FDA requested that Pfizer mention “death” in its ads after several reports of dogs dying, and Pfizer decided to stop running these ads altogether as a result.
Why is this drug so dangerous? Injured or aging joints are prone to inflammation caused by prostaglandins, which are inhibited by Rimadyl and other NSAIDs. Several of the body’s functions are dependent on prostaglandins, and when their production is interrupted, the digestive system, liver, and kidneys are impacted. (4)
Carprofen poisoning in dogs: causes and symptoms
It is common for dogs to consume high amounts of the drug due to access to their medicine supplies, even though adverse reactions are rare.
An overdose of chewable pills or capsules can cause your pet’s stomach to upset, gastrointestinal irritation, or even perforation if the poisoning is severe. (5)
NSAID’s in general can cause gastrointestinal issues with prolonged use; therefore, an overdose of these products causes your pet to experience stomach upset.
It is possible to suffer from a reduction of gastric acid secretion and reduced blood flow to the mucosa, resulting in hemorrhaging and renal and liver failure.
In addition to severe carprofen poisoning, other risk factors include: Von Willebrand’s disease affects dogs with coagulation disorders, Glucocorticoids and sulfonamides are other medications prescribed concurrently, Dehydration, Increased risk of liver and kidney disease, Aging compromises liver and kidney function.
- Muscle twitching
- Abdominal pain
Also Read: Vetmedin killed my dog – How To Handle It?
Rimadyl and How to Lessen the Risk of Reaction
NSAIDs should never be combined with corticosteroids or aspirin. David Stansfield, a Novartis spokesperson, explains that this could pose a serious risk.
Prior to starting NSAIDs, make sure your dog undergoes a thorough physical examination.
NSAIDs should be given to your dog before, during, and after they are used. Your vet should run blood tests to ensure your dog’s liver and kidneys remain healthy. A reaction can be caught before irreversible damage occurs. Identifying problems as soon as possible increases the likelihood of recovery. (6)
If Labrador retrievers are taking carprofen for more than three weeks, they seem more vulnerable to liver problems; however, Labradors are prone to joint problems, and other dog breeds can also be affected, regardless of breed.
Approximately 70% of Pfizer’s reports of possible adverse drug events concern older dogs. It should be noted, however, that adverse effects have occurred in dogs as young as 15 months old!
It is important to inform your vet if you are also giving turmeric or other homeopathic remedies, which may interact with NSAIDs.
When a veterinarian prescribes Tramadol along with Rimadyl, Rimadyl is not given as much. A Nutraceutical supplement may be taken along with Rimadyl to reduce its dosage.
Rimadyl interferes with proper blood clotting, so report any bleeding problems to your veterinarian. It is therefore essential to stop Rimadyl a few days before surgery.
The University of California at Davis recommends a two-week “rest” period when switching from one NSAID to another or switching from one form of NSAID to another.
Be sure to report any side effects to your veterinarian immediately. Listed below are some common ones.
You should keep an eye out for signs of gastrointestinal upset, such as loss of appetite, vomiting, or diarrhea.
While some dogs may develop digestive upsets regardless of whether Rimadyl is given with food, giving it with food may lower the chances.
Due to its mucous-thinning properties, Rimadyl can cause ulcers in the stomach. Blood can be seen in stool (usually as black, tarry feces) and in vomit as flecks of blood.
Shock and internal bleeding may occur when ulcers bleed profusely. Gums that are pale and white may indicate life-threatening problems.
Kidney problems may be indicated by changes in drinking habits or urination patterns.
Yellow gums, skin, or whites of the eyes may indicate liver damage. Jaundice is an accumulation of yellow pigment in the tissues. Due to their potential to reduce the flow of blood to the liver, NSAIDs can decrease this organ’s capacity to eliminate toxins.
The liver may already be irreversibly damaged if the medication is not stopped within a certain time frame.
If you notice behavioral changes such as a decrease or increase in activity level, uncoordinated gait, seizures, or aggression, please report it.
There are several signs that point to an allergy to the product, including itching, scabs, swelling, hives, and redness.
The safety of Rimadyl during pregnancy or lactation has not been established yet.
Read the Rimadyl summary carefully for more information about side effects. You should have received it from your veterinarian. The Food and Drug Administration suggests stopping the medication and contacting your veterinarian if your dog develops any side effects.
Dogs poisoned with carprofen: Diagnosis
You should not wait for the results of your pet’s consumption of carprofen tablets if you have observed him consuming them. Your pet needs to see a veterinarian right away. If your pet is taking other medications, bring the empty packaging with you.
Your veterinarian will make his diagnosis based on clinical signs exhibited by your dog (e.g., vomiting, abdominal pain) as well as the information you provide.
While examining your pet’s mucus membranes and eyes and taking his vital signs, the veterinarian may ask you questions.
Have you been giving him carprofen for a long time?
Why was it prescribed to him?
What is the longest time since you realized he may have consumed an overdose?
What symptoms have you noticed so far?
Is the intensity of the symptoms getting worse or staying the same?
Does he drink much water or urinate much?
An evaluation of levels such as BUN (blood urea nitrogen), creatinine, electrolytes, and liver enzymes will be carried out by a veterinary team through complete blood counts and blood serum chemistry tests. An analysis of urine will reveal whether the urine is concentrated or diluted.
The treatment of dog carprofen poisoning
Decontamination – It may be necessary for the veterinary team to induce vomiting and administer active charcoal (to bind the remaining medication) depending on the timing of ingestion and hospitalization.
Supportive Care – The use of intravenous fluids will be supportive and helpful. While supportive therapy is being administered, nausea medications, antibiotics, gastro protectants, vitamin K1 for the liver, and diazepam for seizures can be administered.
In addition to assisting kidney function and liver function, intravenous fluids will also assist urine outflow. Until blood levels and organ function have returned to normal, your furry family member will be monitored carefully by the hospital.
The recovery of dogs poisoned with carprofen
With timely medical intervention, carprofen poisoning in dogs can be treated successfully. The chances of recovery become much lower if the kidney or liver are severely damaged or if ulceration and hemorrhaging in the gastrointestinal tract or stomach are severe.
Once your pet has recovered from treatment, he will need special care and reassessment with your veterinarian to determine whether he needs further treatment. Keeping carprofen out of reach of children and pets is the same as with any other type of medication.
Other alternatives to Rimadyl
If a veterinarian prescribes Rimadyl or another NSAID to their beloved pets, dog owners can’t be blamed for getting cold feet. In addition to Deramaxx, Metacam, and Etodolac, there are other NSAIDs that might also cause side effects.
What natural alternatives are there? These do exist, but they aren’t as popular because they don’t work as quickly or efficiently as prescription anti-inflammatories. Furthermore, they aren’t likely to work well in cases of acute injuries, such as torn ligaments. However, they may be effective in chronic conditions like arthritis.
Dr. Fiona, a veterinarian, and Just Answer expert suggests three Rimadyl alternatives for dogs.
Turmeric (Curcumin) – In grocery stores, you can often find this spice in a powder form. It is often used to treat arthritis in humans. You can purchase empty capsules and fill them with the spice to make it easier to administer.
Another option is to sprinkle it over or mix it with food. Due to turmeric’s difficulty in absorption, it is frequently combined with bromelein.
The “Get up and Go” product by Only Natural contains turmeric, bromelein, boswellia, and other helpful herbs. For more information on turmeric’s benefits and risks, please read this article.
Tramadol – When dogs have painful chronic joint conditions, such as arthritis, some veterinarians recommend tramadol for pain relief.
It is important to consult your veterinarian before giving your dog this type of medication, and you should also consider natural remedies such as turmeric before using medications.
Fatty acids omega 3 and omega 6 – Omega 3 and omega 6 fatty acids take a while to work, just as glucosamine does. Results should be evident after 8 weeks.
As a result of this supplement, inflammation is decreased, and pain and stiffness are decreased. Some owners have reported good results with these ingredients alone. There is only one drawback: they take time to work.
Chondroitin and glucosamine supplements – do not pose any health risks. Glucosamine is derived from the shell of crustaceans, while chondroitin is derived from cow cartilage, shark cartilage, and whale cartilage. The purpose of this supplement is to reduce pain and promote cartilage healing.
The chances of side effects are extremely low. Despite selling tens of thousands of doses of this supplement, Drs Foster and Smith believe that the risk of severe side effects is extremely low and they’ve yet to see a case of one.
Some dogs may develop vomiting and diarrhea when taking the supplement, but these symptoms usually go away when the supplement is given with food.
Fortunately, this medication is safe to be used for a long time due to its long-term safety. It has been found that cartilage degeneration restarts in 4 to 6 months after supplementation is stopped. In addition, glucosamine and chondroitin are available at health food stores, veterinarian clinics, and online.
Due to the fact that it is a supplement, it does not require a prescription, even though it is important to always consult a veterinarian before adding any new supplements.
High-quality human-grade glucosamine is often available in a purer form and is often of a higher quality. Ascorbic acid or manganese, both of which enhance glucosamine absorption, are added to glucosamine and chondroitin products for dogs.
Additionally, they can be flavored or fortified with other minerals to make them more appealing. Cosequin, Dasaquin, and Glycoflex are popular vet products.
It may take several weeks for NSAID alternatives to begin working. The effects of glucosamine will be apparent within 6 to 8 weeks.
Glucosamine and chondroitin sulfate alone can provide similar pain control to glucosamine and chondroitin combined, according to a study conducted by PetMD.
Also Read: Can Cerenia Cause Death in Dogs?
Dogs can take Rimadyl without any side effects?
The controversy surrounding Rimadyl is likely to continue. Rimadyl is often compared to Vioxx, only that it is still available and is aggressively marketed, making it one of the most prescribed medications for dogs.
It seems that some dogs eventually get side effects, and in some cases, some may eventually die, after taking this drug (such as those who cannot walk or sleep without it).
The drug Rimadyl is not the only one known to cause problems. There are also Rimadyl horror stories, but perhaps not nearly as widespread as with Previcox, Derammax, Zubrin, and Metacam since they aren’t prescribed as frequently.
Rimadyl does come with risks, that’s for sure. Owners should be informed of them and always receive an accompanying Client Information Sheet from their veterinarians.
Knowing about these risks is critical if your vet determines that the benefits of the drug outweigh the risks. Making the best, informed decisions regarding your pet’s health comes down to knowledge.
Do Other Medications Interact With Rimadyl?
A combination of Rimadyl and NSAIDs or steroids is not recommended. You should tell your veterinarian about all the medications and supplements that your dog is currently taking or planning to give them.
Rimadyl should be taken along with these medications after consulting your veterinarian. Rimadyl is commonly used in certain combinations among pet parents.
Rimadyl vs Previcox for dogs
Rimadyl is not the only NSAID prescribed to animals for pain relief. Previcox (firocoxib) is another popular veterinary option. All NSAIDs have similar potential side effects, but different medications affect dogs differently.
Talk to your veterinarian about switching to Previcox if your dog does not tolerate Rimadyl well, or you aren’t satisfied with how it manages their pain.
Is it safe to take Rimadyl and Gabapentin together?
It is a type of anticonvulsant drug available under the brand names Neurontin & Gralise. This anti-seizure and pain medication for dogs is commonly prescribed by veterinarians in an off-label version (not FDA-approved for veterinary use).
A combination of Rimadyl and gabapentin has been found to be highly effective as a pain relief therapy for dogs. Consult your veterinarian to see if this medication combo would be beneficial for your pup.
Rimadyl vs Aspirin for dogs
Rimadyl is a human NSAID that is similar to Aspirin in many aspects (and with some side effects). Rimadyl is, however, recommended as an alternative to aspirin by most veterinarians.
Can turmeric be given with Rimadyl?
Dog owners give their pets turmeric supplements to ease the pain of arthritis in their pets. Does Rimadyl interact with turmeric? Rimadyl’s effectiveness can be hindered by turmeric and other supplements, and side effects may even worsen.
You should always discuss Rimadyl use with your veterinarian before taking any supplement.
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