What Pet Parents Need To Know About NSAID Medications

As a pet parent it's important for us to know about NSAID medications that may be prescribed to our pet whom is experiencing acute or chronic pain.

These medications are commonly used for acute and chronic pain management in pets . They are generally tolerated well and are highly effective and safe for pets receiving the recommended dose.  We test your pet's renal and liver functions every six months to be certain your pet is tolerating them and that there are no ill effects internally.

What are NSAIDS?

Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs, NSAIDS, are prescribed as pain, inflammation and fever relievers. NSAIDS are most commonly used for the symptomatic relief of arthritic pain in geriatric pets. Ask your veterinarian which pain reliever is right for your pet.

What are the benefits of NSAIDs?

A decade ago, few drugs were available to treat pets in pain. Today, veterinarian prescribed NSAIDs offer relief to pets, helping control symptoms such as, inflammation, swelling, stiffness and joint pain. In addition to providing pain control, veterinarians also believe that NSAIDs help pets heal better and faster.

Are NSAIDs safe?

The FDA considers NSAIDs to be "safe and effective when used according to the label and when pet owners are informed about common NSAID adverse reactions." The FDA also notes that "duration of use makes a difference in the safety" of NSAIDs as the risk of side effects can increase the longer a pet is given an NSAID.

What are the side effects of NSAIDs?

The following is a list of side effects, some more common than others, to watch for while giving NSAIDs to your pet:

  • Change or decrease in appetite
  • Vomiting
  • Change in bowel movements, such as diarrhea or black, tarry, or bloody stools
  • Change in behavior, such as activity levels, aggression or lack of coordination
  • Seizures
  • Yellowing of gums, skin or white of the eyes (jaundice)
  • Change in drinking habits - frequency or amount consumed
  • Change in urination habits - frequency, color or smell
  • Change in skin - redness, scabs or scratching
  • Lethargy and/or depression
  • More serious side effects include gastrointestinal bleeding, ulcers, perforations, and in rare cases, kidney and liver damage.

What should you do before your pet uses NSAIDs?

Ask your veterinarian about the benefits, risks and side effects of any medication, including NSAIDs. An informed pet owner is the best defense against serious side effects from NSAIDs.

Tell your veterinarian about your pet's symptoms and current medications, including prescriptions, over-the-counter drugs, vitamins, herbal supplements and flea control products. Giving NSAIDs in combination with any other medications/supplements could easily harm your pet.

All pets should receive thorough history and physical examinations, as well as appropriate blood and urine testing, before initiation of NSAID therapy. Ask your veterinarian about the testing protocols that are best for your pet.

What should you do while your pet is using NSAIDs?

Drugs used to control pain in pets, such as NSAIDs, should be given only when necessary and in the smallest effective dose. If your pet's condition seems to improve, you should discuss continued use of NSAIDs with your veterinarian. Never give NSAIDs to a pet or increase the dose or frequency without your veterinarian's instructions. Because each pet responds to NSAIDs differently, no one medication is considered more effective or safe than another. Blood and urine testing should be performed on a regular basis during the use of NSAIDs.

Watch for any NSAIDs side effects in your pet. If you suspect an adverse reaction, stop the use of the drug and contact your veterinarian immediately.

What you should NOT do if your pet is in pain: 

Do NOT give your dog or cat human-specific, over-the-counter pain relievers or prescription pain medicines; do NOT mix this medication with other NSAIDs; and do NOT give any NSAID along with prednisone or other steroid. Inform us of any over-the-counter nutritional supplements you may give your pet because there may be interactions with NSAIDs. Do not start any new over-the-counter supplements without our approval while your pet is on NSAIDs.

Feel free to give us a call with any questions or concerns regarding your pet and NSAIDS use.  We're always here for you and are happy to help. Give us a call at (845) 878-4833 or visit us online to schedule an appointment with our AAHA-Accredited team of doctors and technicians.

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