Five Simple Rules When Using Rimadyl and other NSAIDs for Dog Arthritis
by: Chris Durin
Dog arthritis can now be treated by non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs). One example is Rimadyl. Although, NSAIDs, such as Rimadyl, are quite successful in subduing the symptoms of dog arthritis; improper use of such drugs may compromise the health of your dogs. To prevent this from happening, it is helpful then to have some information on how to use the NSAIDs properly.
The first rule in using NSAIDs is to make sure that they are necessary. Most vets would advise dog owners not to use Rimadyl or other NSAIDs as the first option in treating dog arthritis. A better way of treating the disease is to opt for joint protectors such as Adequan injections to be done weekly for 4-6 weeks after which Dasuquin or Cosequin can be given. For pain relief, there are non-NSAIDs alternatives. One such is Tramadol.
For a more natural approach, fish oils can be paired with the mentioned treatments.
The second rule is that giving NSAIDs and other anti-inflammatory drugs at the same time may cause harmful side effects especially to the dog’s digestive tract. Two anti-inflammatory drugs that should be taken at the same with NSAIDs are aspirin and cortisone.
When aspirin and NSAIDs are taken simultaneously, this will result in the formation of ulcers that can easily worsen into a perforated stomach. A dog should be given a two-week washout before NSAIDs can be safely administered. Meanwhile, giving cortisone and NSAIDs at the same time will irritate a dog’s gastrointestinal tract. For cortisone, a washout of five days should be observed.
Nonetheless, dog owners should not be worried when their dog has taken other anti-inflammatory drugs since there is myriad of alternative medications for dog arthritis. It is therefore important that dog owners should be aware of dog’s medications and inform their vet about it so as their vet can safely recommend the proper dog arthritis drugs.
The third rule is simple. NSAIDs formulated for humans are not safe to use on dogs.
The fourth rule is blood testing during treatment is a good precautionary option. Not many people know that NSAIDs kill 16,000 people a year. NSAIDs are effective drugs but they are also strong. This remains true for NSAIDs formulated for dogs. As strong drugs, NSAIDs may cause liver or kidney damage. Having your dog’s blood tested before and during treatment will help in the early detection of NSAIDs harmful side effects. Blood tests should be done 2 weeks into treatments, and once every 3 to 6 months after.
The last rule is to observe your dog closely on NSAID treatment for dog arthritis. The first month is crucial since any side effects will usually appear during this time. Vomiting, diarrhea, not eating, not drinking, and yellowing of the eyes and gums should be noted. If the dog is suffering from any of these symptoms, you should take your dog to your vet. Don't worry, in most cases it s not usually anything serious; rather, there is just a need for a change in treatment.