If your dog is suffering from pain or inflammation caused by arthritis, or various other health issues, you will want to ease their suffering in any way you can. If you go to the vet, they may prescribe a drug called Carprofen. What is Carprofen for dogs, are there any side effects, what is the correct dosage, and is it safe? We will cover all of these topics in this blog and will also recommend some possible natural alternatives to Carprofen for your dog.
Carprofen (brand names: Rimadyl®, Zinecarp®, Canidryl®, Aventicarp®, Rycarfa®, Rimifin®, Carpox®, Tergive®, Carprodyl®, Carprieve®, Norocarp®, Novox®, quellin®, Rovera®, Vetprofen®, Levafen®) is a non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drug (NSAID) used to treat pain and inflammation in a variety of animals.
In the United States, it is only FDA approved to treat dogs. Its use in cats, birds, reptiles, other small mammals, and large animals to treat pain and inflammation is ‘off label’ or ‘extra label’. Many drugs are commonly prescribed for off label use in veterinary medicine. In these instances, follow your veterinarian’s directions and cautions very carefully as their directions may be significantly different from those on the label.
Uses/benefits of Carprofen For Dogs
Carprofen is commonly known for treating conditions related to pain and inflammation, such as Osteoarthritis. It functions by blocking messenger molecules involved in inflammation and pain. You can give it to various animals, but it is mainly used in dogs. Cats tend to respond poorly to this medication. You should only give carprofen under a vet’s guidance, as getting the right dosage is very important.
As a class, cyclooxygenase inhibitory NSAIDs may be associated with gastrointestinal, renal and hepatic toxicity. Effects may result from decreased prostaglandin production and inhibition of the enzyme cyclooxygenase which is responsible for the formation of prostaglandins from arachidonic acid.11-14 When NSAlDs inhibit prostaglandins that cause inflammation they may also inhibit those prostaglandins which maintain normal homeostatic function. These anti-prostaglandin effects may result in clinically significant disease in patients with underlying or pre-existing disease more often than in healthy patients.12,14 NSAID therapy could unmask occult disease which has previously been undiagnosed due to the absence of apparent clinical signs. Patients with underlying renal disease for example, may experience exacerbation or decompensation of their renal disease while on NSAID therapy.11-14 The use of parenteral fluids during surgery should be considered to reduce the potential risk of renal complications when using NSAlDs perioperatively.
Possible Side Effects
Carprofen is tolerated well in the vast majority of dogs, and the risk for side effects occurring appears to be less than 1%. But rarely, serious side effects (stomach ulcers, liver, or kidney problems) and sometimes death have been reported.
Side effects that may be serious or indicate a serious problem:
Decrease or increase in appetite (eating less or more than normal), vomiting, changes in bowel movements (such as diarrhea, or black, tarry or bloody stools).
Changes in behavior or activity levels (more or less active than normal), incoordination/weakness (eg, stumbling, clumsiness), seizure (convulsions) or aggression (threatening behavior/actions).
Yellowing of gums, skin, or whites of the eyes (jaundice).
Changes in drinking habits (frequency, amount consumed) or urination habits (frequency, color, or smell).