Is It Safe To Use Dog Carprofen For Pain Management?

Carprofen is a non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drug used in animals to relieve inflammation and pain caused due to arthritis and other joint problems. This medication also improves regular activity levels and the quality of life. It can further lower the pain associated with orthopedic surgeries in dogs and postoperative pain linked to soft tissues.

Carprofen has been approved by the FDA for treatment in dogs. Its usage in small mammals, reptiles, birds, and cats is off label. Following a veterinarian’s advice in this regard would be the best decision.

It is popular under various brand names including Rimadyl. This drug has fewer negative side effects in comparison to steroids. This is the reason why it is considered to be suitable for long-term use.

It is safe for use in dogs and is the most commonly prescribed canine pain killers by veterinarians. Carprofen is generally available in three forms: injections, chewable tablets, and caplets.

Uses of Carprofen

Generally, Carprofen is prescribed for two main reasons for a dog.

  • Used for chronic pain management in dogs with osteoarthritis
  • Post-operative medication to treat inflammation and pain in dogs post-surgery

The drug also treats inflammation, lowers fever, and pain. It is this reason why it is highly effective in the treatment of osteoarthritis. The anti-inflammatory property of this drug helps in reducing joint inflammation linked to the condition of osteoarthritis.

The analgesic property of this drug further lowers pain. Click here to learn how this drug helps with pain management. As this drug is tolerated by most of the canine patients, it is great for long term pain management.

How should Carprofen be taken?

Carprofen is available in the form of a tablet and is given by mouth. It is usually given with food for minimizing the chances of stomach upset. This medication is quite effective and acts quickly. The results can be experienced in one to two hours.

If you miss a dosage, then it is better to skip it and give it at the next scheduled time. It is suggested by the experts not to give extra or two doses at once.

Are there any side effects of giving Carprofen to dogs?

The most common side effects noted in dogs include mild vomiting, constipation, diarrhea, tiredness, lack of appetite, and other gastrointestinal conditions. The more serious side effects observed are kidney, gastrointestinal, and liver damage.

Lack of appetite, severe lethargy, increased drinking and bloody stools are also noted. These effects are quite rare and appear only when the condition of the canine patient is quite serious. Taking drugs such as Carprofen can also impact lab tests such as blood cell counts, liver enzymes, thyroid levels, kidney values, and potassium levels.

This drug should also not be used in pets with bleeding disorders and in those who are allergic to NSAIDs. Also, it should be used in pets younger than six weeks of age, lactating, or pregnant pets. It should be cautiously used in cats or in pets that are already on corticosteroids or NSAIDs.

If you notice these symptoms in your dog after taking this drug, then it is an indication of an adverse reaction. You need to contact your vet immediately if you notice any of these symptoms.

  • Vomiting
  • Change in appetite
  • Bloody or black stool
  • Seizure
  • Yellowing of skin and gums
  • Urinary symptoms such as a change in frequency or color of urine

Are there any drug interactions with Carprofen?  

The following medications have to be used with caution while administering with Carprofen. You need to be sure to inform your veterinarian about any other medications your pet is on during the treatment.

  • Any NSAIDs
  • Anticoagulants
  • ACE inhibitors
  • Corticosteroids and nephrotoxic medications
  • Oral antidiabetics and loop diuretics

Is it essential to monitor the pet while on this drug?

Before starting treatment of your pet with this medication, your vet would perform urinalysis and bloodwork to determine the suitability of this drug. Kidney and liver values are checked before prescribing this drug for long-term use.

Regular monitoring is done during the therapy once in two to four months. Follow this link to learn more about managing arthritis in dogs: Combining medicine with other therapies such as massage and weight loss treatment can help your dog lead a better quality of life.

You need to monitor your pet carefully for any side effects while giving painkillers. If you notice any unpleasant effects, then you should discontinue and use and consult your veterinarian immediately. Most importantly, you need to follow all the precautions mentioned on the drug label or by your veterinarian if your dog already has some other health conditions along with arthritis.

How to store Carprofen?

This drug can be stored at room temperature between 59ºF to 86ºF. It is better to read the label and follow the instructions mentioned on the label by the manufacturer.

In summary

Carprofen is one of the safest NSAID prescribed by vets for dogs. If care is taken when it comes to dosing and schedule, then it is quite safe for treating pain and inflammation in your canine friend.

Vets usually do certain tests before prescribing this medicine for treatment. Some side effects are noticed only in certain cases. Overall, it poses a relatively low risk during treatment. Speaking to a vet will help you address your concerns about this medication.


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