What are the Different Uses of Rimadyl&Reg; for Dogs?

Sara Schmidt
Sara Schmidt

Using Rimadyl® for dogs can be an effective way to combat canine arthritis pain. The prescription medicine can be used as a part of a pain treatment plan for canine joint disease. This pain killer for dogs is also sometimes used as a post-operative medication.

Rimadyl® affects dogs and cats differently.
Rimadyl® affects dogs and cats differently.

Canine arthritis pain affects many dogs. Sufferers are often elderly dogs whose bones ache from general wear and tear. Other dogs, however, may suffer from disease or other causes of joint pain, as well as general inflammation following an injury. Rimadyl® can help dog owners manage their companions' pain from these and other conditions. Rather than giving pets pain medication every few hours, this drug may allow owners to administer a single dose each day. The pill can be broken up into two daily dosages if desired.

Rimadyl is a prescription medicine used to treat arthritis pain in dogs.
Rimadyl is a prescription medicine used to treat arthritis pain in dogs.

Some hormones in the body can cause inflammation and pain. Rimadyl® for dogs works by reducing the excess hormones in the dog's body, effectively stopping the cause of the pain at its source. Since the medication may be purchased in both chewable and non-chewable form, it is simple to administer to most dogs. Chewable pills are typically liver-flavored to enhance the dog's desire to chew and swallow the medicine.

Though Rimadyl® for dogs is non-steroidal in origin, and generally considered safe, it is only available by veterinary prescription. It may be purchased in small amounts for post-surgical or other temporary uses. Larger containers of the medication are available for dogs who will require the medicine for longer-term uses, such as lifelong management of arthritis pain.

Dogs under six weeks of age should not be given Rimadyl®. Dogs used for breeding should not be given this pain remedy, either. Rimadyl® for dogs is not intended for dogs that are pregnant or lactating. Cats should not be given this medication. Dosage is determined by weight, and is generally 2 milligrams per pound (.45 kg) of the dog's total body weight.

Generic alternatives to Rimadyl® for dogs are also available. Veterinarians can obtain such alternatives for a fraction of the cost, and pass the savings to their customers when requested. People who have pets with arthritis pain may wish to inquire about this discount medicine. Veterinarians may recommend additional medications or treatments to help ailing or aging dogs as well, such as the use of the supplements glucosamine and condroitin.

Studies have indicated that the medicine may not be completely safe for use, and several dog deaths may be attributed to the drug. Some symptoms of a bad reaction to the drug can include diarrhea, loss of appetite, and seizures. If side effects occur, a veterinarian should immediately be contacted. It may also exacerbate other, previously undetected conditions within older dogs.

Sara Schmidt
Sara Schmidt

A graduate of Southeast Missouri State University, Sara has a Master’s Degree in English, which she puts to use writing for wiseGEEK and several magazines, websites, and nonprofit organizations. She has published her own novella, and has other literary projects currently in progress. Sara’s varied interests have also led her to teach children in Spain, tutor college students, run CPR and first aid classes, and organize student retreats.

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Discussion Comments


Be careful of Rimadyl. It can kill your dog!

Our eight year old Bichon/Shih Tsu mix, Bailey, just died in February 2012 from Rimadyl. The vet gave us the Rimadyl because Bailey seemed to be suffering from a stiff or arthritic shoulder and said it would help. The vet never did any blood work, and never gave us any kind of warning or indication whatsoever that the medication even had any side effects, let alone the possibility of death!

We started the medication i early January. The first couple days after taking the Rimadyl, Bailey was like a puppy again - full of vigor and energy. We continued to give him Rimadyl every two or three days, but after a couple weeks or so, it didn't seem to be quite as effective. In retrospect, there may have been some small, subtle signs that he might not be reacting well to the medication, but since we did not know to look for them, we were not especially concerned when he seemed a little thirsty or hungry, or when he panted a little more than usual. We live in Mesa, AZ, so dogs often get thirsty and pant from the heat here.

Then one evening, he refused to eat his dinner, and refused his morning meal the next day. He also vomited once during the night, so we thought he had an upset stomach, maybe ate some grass, and if he wasn't better by the afternoon we would call the vet - we did not even consider the possibility of side effects from the arthritis medicine, we had no idea.

We did not get a chance to make an appointment with the vet because our beloved Bailey died at 1:15 p.m. that afternoon -- less than 24 hours after refusing his dinner the night before, and only about 15 minutes after he'd found enough energy to meet me at the door when I returned home from some appointments. He lay down on the tile in a bathroom and a few minutes later let out a loud human-like scream, accompanied by a full-body spasm, then he was gone.

We were heartbroken and confused as to what could cause such a sudden death in an otherwise healthy, happy, eight year old dog. An autopsy showed elevated kidney and liver functions.

I urge anybody considering Rimadyl for their dog to consider the possibility of death or severe liver or kidney failure a possibility, and weigh that against the dog's condition. Is his quality of life suffering so much that the potential risk is worth the benefit?

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