Safety of Anti Inflammatory Medications, NSAIDs

What are NSAIDs?

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NSAID stands for non-steroidal anti inflammatory drugs. These medications are most often prescribed to dogs for pain, inflammation and to aid in fever reduction. NSAIDs are most commonly used for the symptomatic relief of arthritic pain in geriatric pets. Aspirin and ibuprofen are well-recognized human NSAIDs, and the Food and Drug Administration’s (FDA) Center for Veterinary Medicine (CVM) has approved specific NSAIDs for use in pets with osteoarthritis. NSAIDs work by blocking the production of prostaglandins, the body chemicals that cause inflammation, and can be highly effective for controlling discomfort in arthritic and post op pets.

Are NSAIDs safe for my dog?

The FDA considers NSAIDs to be “safe and effective when used according to the label and when pet owners are informed about common NSAID adverse reactions.” According to the American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA), the NSAIDs are available today are much safer than they have ever been in the past and cause far fewer side effects. The FDA also notes that “duration of use makes a difference in the safety” of NSAIDs as the risk of side effects can increase the longer a pet is given an NSAID. The FDA considers approved NSAIDs to be safe and effective when used according to the label and when dog owners are informed about common NSAID adverse reactions.

What are possible adverse reactions/side effects to NSAID use?

  • Change in appetite
  • Vomiting
  • Change in bowel movements
  • Change in behavior
  • Seizures
  • Yellowing of gums, skin or whites of the eyes
  • Change in drinking habits
  • Change in urination habits
  • Change in skin – redness, scabs or scratching
  • Lethargy and/or depression

More serious side effects included gastro-
intestinal bleeding, ulcers, perforations, and in
rare cases, kidney and liver damage, and death.

What NSAIDs are approved for use in my dog?

  • Etogesic (etodolac)
  • Rimadyl (carprofen)
  • Metacam (meloxicam)
  • Zubrin (tepoxalin)
  • Deramaxx (deracoxib)
  • Previcox (firocoxib)
  • Novox (generic carprofen)

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