Ibuprofen is popular human pain reliever that can be potentially lethal in dogs and cats. Common brand names for this over-the-counter non-steroidal anti-inflammatory include Motrin and Advil. Ibuprofen is a common toxicity in pets because of its accessibility in the household. Dogs and cats are more sensitive to the side effects of ibuprofen and exposure could result in stomach ulceration, kidney failure, liver failure, and neurological signs. Signs of poisoning are dose-dependent, meaning that the more ibuprofen ingested, the more severe and widespread the effects on the body. As a general rule with NSAIDs, cats are more sensitive to the side effects and require lesser doses to achieve same level of toxicity in dogs.
With as little as 10 mg of ibuprofen per pound of body weight, stomach ulceration can occur, causing vomiting, stomach bleeding, and dark tarry stool. At moderate doses (>50 mg per pound), the kidneys can be damaged and possible liver injury could result. At high doses (>200 mg per pound), the neurological system is affected; the outcome of severe toxicity is depression, seizures, coma, or death.
The prognosis is good if the pet is treated promptly and appropriately. Treatment of recent ingestion involves inducing vomiting, gastric protectants, and activated charcoal to absorb the toxins. Depending on the amount your pet has ingested, your veterinarian may recommend bloodwork to monitor kidney and liver function. Hospitalization including IV fluids and close monitoring may be required if the kidneys have been affected. Even if your pet recovers, they may be susceptible to kidney problems in the future. If your pet develops neurological signs, the prognosis is poor and it is almost always fatal.
Never give your pet ibuprofen. There is no established therapeutic dose for dogs or cats. Always contact your veterinarian before giving any medication to your pet and remember to keep human medications out of reach. If your pet is experiencing pain, your veterinarian can prescribe a pain medication for dogs or cats.