Veterinarians often prescribe Rimadyl (carprofen) to dogs enduring post-operative pain from soft tissue surgery — such as spaying or neutering — and arthritis, according to the medication’s manufacturer, Pfizer Animal Health. Available in caplets, injections or chewable pills, Rimadyl’s convenience appeals to pet owner’s caring for a dog in pain. However, this medication can have serious side effects.
What is Rimadyl?
Rimadyl is a non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drug (NSAID) developed specifically for canine use. Veterinarians have been prescribing this medication for pain control since 1997. The common daily dosage is 2mg of Rimadyl per pound of dog weight.
A Warning to Pet Owners
Rimadyl may damage a dog’s digestive tract, liver or kidneys, according to Pfizer Animal Health. Other possible side effects of this medication include vomiting, diarrhea and loss of appetite.
From 1997 to 2000, the United States Food and Drug Administration (FDA) received reports of 1,000 dogs that died or were euthanized after taking Rimadyl, according to an article by Chris Adams of The Wall Street Journal. An additional 7,000 pet owners complained to the FDA their pets had “bad reactions” after taking Rimadyl.
Benefits of the Medication
Rimadyl can control inflammation and reduce pain for dogs. This will encourage the dog to be more active, maintain its weight, slow the progress of arthritis and heal faster from surgeries.
My Personal Experience
After receiving a bottle of prescription Rimadyl for my dog with arthritis, I researched the product thoroughly. Personally, I didn’t feel comfortable giving this medication to my pet; the Rimadyl went into the garbage. I now medicate my dog with over the counter dog-grade aspirin on occasion and have him examined annually by a veterinarian for any health changes.
The dog is now 7 years old, happy, healthy and as mobile as the day we brought him home six and half years ago.
Sources and Suggested Further Reading:
Pfizer Animal Health, “Managing Pain with Rimadyl”, Pfizer Animal Health
Pfizer Animal Health, “Frequently Asked Questions”, Pfizer Animal Health
Mike Richards, DVM, “Medication-Rimadyl”, VetInfo
Chris Adams, “Dog Logic: Most Arthritic Dogs Do Very Well On This Pill, Except Ones That Die “, Dog Logic
Pfizer Animal Health, “Product Information”, Pfizer Animal Health