Controlling your dog’s pain is essential to his/her overall well-being. Non-Steroidal Anti-Inflammatory Drugs (NSAIDS) are a class of drugs commonly used to control pain and inflammation in dogs. NSAIDS help many dogs lead more comfortable lives.
What are NSAIDs?
NSAIDs help to control signs of arthritis, including inflammation, swelling, stiffness, and joint pain. Inflammation–the bodies response to irritation or injury–is characterized by redness, warth, swelling, and pain. NSAIDs work by blocking the production of prostaglandins, chemicals produced by the body that cause inflammation. Some NSAIDs may also be used to control the pain and inflammation following surgery.
What should you discuss with your veterinarian?
NSAIDs offer pain relief and improved quality of life to many dogs. However, before giving an NSAID, or any other drug, you should first talk to your veterinarian. You should discuss:
- what the NSAID is being prescribed for
- how much to give
- how long to give it
- possible side effects
- what to avoid while your dog is taking an NSAID
- what tests are needed before giving an NSAID to your dog
- how often should your dog be re-examined
- your dog’s previous medical history and any other previous drug reactions
- all medications and products your dog currently receives
What should you know before giving your dog an NSAID?
- Never give aspirin or corticosteroids along with an NSAID to your dog.
- NSAIDs should be approached cautiously in dogs with kidney, liver, heart and intestinal problems.
- Never give your dog an NSAID unless directed by your veterinarian.
- Don’t assume an NSAID safe for one dog is safe to give another. Always consult your veterinarian before using any medication in your pet.
- Only give the NSAID as prescribed by your veterinarian. Do not increase the dose, the frequency, or the length of time you use the drug unless first discussing this with your veterinarian.
What side effects should you watch for?
Most NSAID side effects are mild, but some can be serious, including death in rare situations. Common side effects seen with the use of NSAIDs in dogs may affect the kidney, liver, and gastrointestinal tract and may include:
- Not eating or eating less
- Lethargy, depression, changes in behavior
- Diarrhea, black tarry-colored stool
- Yellowing of gums, skin, or the whites of the eyes
- Change in drinking
- Changes in skin (scabs, redness, or scratching)
What to do?
If you suspect a possible side effect to an NSAID, STOP giving the drug to your dog and call your veterinarian immediately!