Inflammation occurs as a result of the body's natural response towards irritation or injury. Inflammation is characterized by redness, warmth, swelling and pain. Vets usually prescribe Non-Steroidal Anti-Inflammatory Drugs (NSAIDs) to dogs diagnosed with arthritis, because they help lower inflammation and associated symptoms like pain and stiffness.
NSAIDs work great for arthritis, as they block the production of prostaglandins, the body chemicals that cause inflammation. They also help alleviate pain. On the contrary, an analgesic can lower pain but won't be able to reduce inflammation or high body temperature. Pain and inflammation is a common symptom in various types of dog illnesses. There are risks and benefits with all commonly prescribed veterinary drugs, including anti-inflammatory for dogs.
Non Steroidal Anti-Inflammatory Medication for Dogs
Today, several non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs are available for dogs. Approved veterinary NSAIDs are usually used to treat arthritis in dogs. Sometimes, veterinary NSAIDs are prescribed to control postoperative pain or pain due to severe injury. NSAIDs are commonly used to treat pain, inflammation and discomfort due to various reasons. Pet owners should be aware of the following facts.
- NSAIDs for dogs and cats would be different. Do not use any NSAID other than the one prescribed for your dog.
- You can use NSAIDs when using the products containing glucosamine or chondroitin that help lower the symptoms of arthritis. As far as possible, you should try to give NSAIDs along with food.
- You should not start feeding NSAIDs without describing the medical history of the dog to your vet and without a thorough physical examination of the dog.
- When NSAIDs are being administered to the dog, you should check the blood/urine reports periodically. These reports should be always taken into consideration before giving NSAIDs.
- Veterinary NSAIDS may lead to stomach or intestinal bleeding, gastrointestinal ulcers or perforations, liver and kidney toxicity. Therefore, it is necessary to follow instructions of the doctor regarding dosage and frequency.
- NSAIDs should not be given to dogs diagnosed with kidney, heart, and/or liver problems, to dehydrated dogs or to dogs on diuretic treatment. You should carefully watch daily water intake of the dog. Dehydration can further lead to several health problems.
- NSAIDs should not be combined with other anti-inflammatory medication, such as corticosteroids and aspirin. As suggested by the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals, NSAIDS meant for human beings, like acetaminophen (Tylenol), ketoprofen (Orudis) and ibuprofen (Advil, Motrin) should never be given to dogs as they can lead to serious side effects like development of stomach ulcers, liver problems, etc. Acetaminophen, in fact, does not carry any anti-inflammatory properties.
You should always read the information which comes with the drugs packages. Always consult your vet before administering any drug to your beloved dog.
Anti-Inflammatory Medication for Dogs
Anti-inflammatory prescription drugs for dogs include Meloxicam (Metacam), Deracoxib (Celebrex, Deramaxx), Etodolac (EtoGesic), Carprofen (Rimadyl, Novox), Tepoxalin (Zubrin), etc. Like all other drugs, these drugs also come with side effects.
Some dogs are hypersensitive to Deracoxib while some are allergic to Tepoxalin. So these drugs are to be administered with extreme caution. You should consult your vet before giving any drug to your dog, especially if the dog is suffering from heart disease, gastrointestinal ulcers, kidney disease, liver problems, hypoproteinemia, or dehydration.
The manufacturer (Pfizer) has included "death" as a possible side effect on the label of the drug Carprofen. The FDA has received more than 6,000 reports of serious side effects of the drug and dog owners should know that the drug can even kill their dog; if it is not prescribed by your vet and if it is not administered under the guidance of your vet.
There are quite a few effective herbal pain remedies or anti-inflammatory medication for dogs.
- High doses (1000 mg/10 lb) of fish oil are suggested for dogs with arthritis, as the oil carries anti-inflammatory properties.
- If you wish to give your dog fish oil, you should also give him extra vitamin E, as increased level of oil in the diet increases body's need for vitamin E.
- 'Ginger' has antispasmodic property and it works great for stomach pain, and lower back pain. You can also apply it topically to treat muscle pain and strain.
- 'Turmeric' is known for its anti-inflammatory effect which is as good as that of cortisone. You can easily feed turmeric by sprinkling it over the dog food.
- The chemical compound present in 'cayenne' is able to block pain and increase blood circulation. Cayenne also activates body's own anti-inflammatory agents when applied at the site of inflammation.
- 'Yucca' contains saponin that works great for inflammation. It triggers the production of corticosteroids and corticosteroid-related hormones. Yucca is more effective when used in combination with alfalfa and licorice.
- High doses of vitamin C (first check for bowel tolerance) also help in relieving arthritis pain and inflammation. If you want to add vitamin C to the dog diet, it is better to use Calcium Ascorbate or Ester C, rather than Ascorbic Acid, which is more likely to cause stomach upset.
- You can apply an oil infusion of 'licorice' topically on the affected areas. This can help alleviate pain and reduce joint swelling resulting from arthritis. Elements in licorice have a similar chemical structure to that of natural corticosteroids released by the adrenal glands.
Natural anti-inflammatory for dogs are always safer than other medicines. Homeopathic remedies are also considered safe for dogs. If the symptoms are mild, you may arrange for acupuncture therapy, magnetic therapy or aroma therapy instead of anti-inflammatory medication. These therapies help relieve pain naturally, without any side effects. You don't have to worry about the health of your dog; when you opt for such safe therapies.
Anti-inflammatory medication for dogs, natural or NSAIDs, should be used very carefully. Exact doses should be given and instructions regarding the frequency should be strictly followed. Every dog owner loves his dog and treats the dog as a family member. Even a slight change in the behavior of the dog can be immediately noticed if you really love your dog. Dog care is not limited to timely feeding, taking the dog out for a walk, regular checkup and medication, but it also involves lots of love and affection.