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Medications used in Treating Canine Arthritis - Part 1
By: Tippy

Around ten years ago there were very few medicines available
for canines to take for pain. For instance, the procedure
for neutering or spaying your dog was done and then the dog
was sent home with no pain medicine. Dogs with canine
arthritis suffered through excruciating pain in their joints
with no pain medicine that was safe to take long term.

Now there are nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs known as
NSAID's that bring relief from serious debilitating pain for
canines with arthritis or any long term pain. NSAID's are
still dangerous and need to be given or taken with care but
they are safer than most pain medicines to be taken long

"NSAIDs are extremely effective for controlling pain and
inflammation in dogs," says Stephen F. Sundlof, D.V.M., and
Ph.D., "These are very valuable drugs that help many pets
live to a ripe old age."

There are side effects and adverse reactions reported from
taking NSAID's. Most reactions are mild in nature but there
are some serious side effects that can happen to your dog
from taking NSAID's. NSAID's if not properly taken have been
known to cause permanent liver damage and death.

"It's important for pet owners to be aware of the risks and
benefits of all drugs, including NSAIDs, so that they can
make informed decisions about their pets' health care," says
Sundlof. "Owners who give their dog NSAIDs need to know the
side effects to watch for that indicate their pet needs
medical attention."

Side effects associates with NSAID's:

- Depression
- Diarrhea
- Lethargy
- Loss of appetite
- Vomiting

Here is a list of Serious Side effects associated with NSAID's:

- Gastrointestinal bleeding
- Kidney damage
- Liver problems
- Perforations
- Ulcers

"The side effects of NSAIDs are very well known and very
well documented," says Michele Sharkey, D.V.M. But this
information is not always getting to the pet owner, she
says. "If the pet owner can recognize a possible reaction,
stop the medication, and get veterinary help, it could mean
the difference between a good outcome and a disaster."

Safety and effectiveness of NSAID's over time:

The FDA center for Veterinary Medicine also known as the CVM
regulates medicines that are used for animals. NSAID's have
been approved to treat dogs with serious pain from
osteoarthritis or for pain post surgery.

The medications that have been approved for these uses are
listed below:

- Deramaxx (deracoxib)
- Etogesic (etodolac)
- Metacam (meloxicam)
- Novox (generic carprofen)
- Previcox (firocoxib)
- Rimadyl (carprofen)
- Zubrin (tepoxalin)

These NSAID's control these symptoms of pain:

- inflammation
- joint pain
- stiffness
- swelling

When the body becomes inflamed it is caused by an immune
system response to an injury or irritation. Inflammation
causes warmth, redness, swelling and pain. NSAIDs block
prostaglandins, a chemical that the body produces that
causes inflammation.

The FDA has approved NSAIDs for use and considers them to be
an effective and safe way to control inflammation and pain
when used as prescribed. Pet owners, however, should be
notified and aware of side effects that are associated with
adverse reactions to NSAIDs.

Veterinarians are becoming more and more aware of the
benefits of NSAIDs in controlling pain for certain
conditions, says Charles Lemme, D.V.M., "We recognize that
pets are healing better and faster with pain control."

Doctor Charles Lemme has noted that NSAIDs have been
instrumental in getting veterinarians to treat pain and
manage pain because of the availability of these drugs. "The
NSAIDs we have available now are a lot safer than what we've
had before and we're seeing far fewer side effects than before."

Before these medications were produced, "people were using
NSAIDs such as aspirin in an attempt to mitigate arthritic
pain in their dogs," says Michael Andrews, D.V.M., "We saw
the consequence of their use," adds Andrews, who recalls
seeing a client who gave her dog aspirin for six weeks, two
times a day. "The dog had a bleeding nose that wouldn't

"NSAIDs are used in many, many dogs and the frequency of
problems is quite low," says Andrews. "The duration of use
makes a difference in safety. If used for a day or two, the
risks often are much lower than when used over long periods
of time for a chronic arthritic condition."

Medication that controls pain should only be given in
effective small doses and only when necessary, says Sharkey.
"Arthritis waxes and wanes. Some animals get worse in cold
weather. If the dog seems to improve to the point of not
needing the drug, the owner should discuss continued use of
the NSAID with a veterinarian."

NSAID's should never be given to a pet without being
prescribed by the dog's veterinarian. Dosages and
frequencies should never be increased or decreased by the
owner of said dog without prior authorization of the
veterinarian, adds Sharkey. "Just like different people
respond differently to a drug, the way each dog responds to
an NSAID varies."

Because every dog responds differently to medications no
NSAID is considered to be more effective than another NSAID.
And no NSAID is considered to be safer than any other NSAID
for the same reason.

If your dog is given a prescription for an NSAID from your
veterinarian the CVM recommends that you be sure to be aware
of all of the side effects associated with the NSAID and you
monitor your dog for adverse side effects. If you notice any
adverse reactions then you are to notify your veterinarian

Here is a list of NSAIDS and how they are usually administered:

Deramaxx (deracoxib)(chewable tablets)
Etogesic (etodolac)(tablets)
Metacam (meloxicam)(drops given by mouth; injection)
Novox (generic carprofen)(caplets)
Previcox (firocoxib)(chewable tablets)
Rimadyl (carprofen)(caplets and chewable tablets; injection)
Zubrin (tepoxalin)(rapidly disintegrating tablets)

An Excellent way to Keep your Dog Healthy

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