Rimadyl, made by Pfizer, is the brand name of a prescription pain medication for dogs called carprofen. Carprofen is one of the most commonly prescribed pet medications to treat osteoarthritis in dogs. Pain medications are essential for dogs that are suffering from debilitating arthritis or recently underwent orthopedic surgery. Rimadyl is a non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drug (or NSAID) that works by decreasing the chemicals that cause pain and inflammation when the body is injured. There are thousands of dogs in the United States currently taking Rimadyl to treat osteoarthritis.
As this pet medication does require a prescription, you must consult with your veterinarian before your pet can start taking Rimadyl. Your veterinarian may want to check your dog’s blood or urine before starting this medication because it is metabolized by the liver and kidneys. Additionally, your veterinarian will likely counsel you regarding the possible side effects of carprofen. Some dogs, particularly Labrador Retrievers, develop liver toxicity while taking Rimadyl. Veterinary scientists are continuing to test this drug and at this time have not established a direct connection between liver disease and carprofen. If your dog is taking carprofen and displays loss of appetite, vomiting, diarrhea, increased thirst and urination or has seizures, contact your veterinarian immediately.
Rimadyl is dispensed in convenient caplets as well as chewable tablets. Make sure you store this medication out of your dog’s reach, as some dogs can overdose by snacking on an entire bottle of tasty chewable tablets. Even at normal prescribed doses, this drug can cause gastrointestinal upset and ulcers, just like aspirin does in humans. In the event of an overdose, kidney or liver failure may occur.
Medication for canine pain relief is one of the mainstays of treatment for osteoarthritis in dogs. Weight control, special diets, exercise and joint supplements can also help your dog experience life with less pain. Medications like Rimadyl and proper care can substantially improve quality of life for dogs suffering from osteoarthritis.