A Series About Heart Failure: Vetmedin

Why is Vetmedin used in heart failure?

Heart failure is a very complicated disease in dogs and often requires multiple medications. The medications used in heart failure can be difficult to understand. This article aims to address one of the medications used in congestive heart failure, called Vetmedin. Vetmedin is the brand name product for the drug pimobendan but there is no generic currently available. It is important to thoroughly discuss all aspects of Vetmedin and the other medications used in heart failure, so the series will be broken up by class for each article.

Vetmedin for Congestive Heart Failure in Dogs

Vetmedin belongs to a class of drugs called phosphodiesterase III inhibitors (also known as PDE III inhibitors). Along with the human drug, milronone, it is used in dogs with congestive heart failure. PDE III is an enzyme found in the body that usually degrades cAMP. By inhibiting the breakdown of cAMP, PDE III inhibitors increase the force of contraction the heart has each time it beats, as well as relaxes the blood vessels  it pumps blood to. Vetmedin can also slow down the heart so the ventricles can fill with more blood. Vetmedin can help in two different ways;  helps the heart get more blood out to the rest of the body and decreases the resistance it has to pump against. By doing this, it helps with the symptoms of heart failure in dogs, but it does not cure it. Vetmedin has a benefit of not increasing the calcium levels inside the heart cells, making it safer compared to other drugs like milrinone. This is why Vetmedin is used much more commonly in dogs, and VetRxDirect does not carry milrinone.

What are some important things I should know about Vetmedin?

Since Vetmedin increases the force the heart has, it can also cause the heart to get off rhythm which is also called arrhythmias. Vetmedin also relaxes the arteries which may cause low blood pressure leading to falling or fainting. Less serious side effects of Vetmedin include hyperactivity, drooling, and constipation, rash, and anemia. There are also a few reports of Vetmedin causing diabetes. As with most drugs, but especially drugs for heart failure, it is important to weigh the benefits and risks of taking the medication. If you are concerned about the side effects of Vetmedin, consult your veterinarian to see if they think the side effects are likely to happen.

How should I monitor my dog while they’re on Vetmedin?

While your dog is on Vetmedin you should monitor their general mood. Often times, owners can tell if their pet isn’t feeling well. Since this could indicate worsening heart failure or side effects of Vetmedin, it is important to keep in contact with your veterinarian about their overall mood. Vetmedin has a narrow dosage range and overdosage can occur somewhat easier than other medications. Signs your dog may be overdosed on Vetmedin include vomiting, diarrhea, and loss of appetite. If your dog experiences any of these symptoms you need to call your dog’s veterinarian.

What’s new about Vetmedin?

Vetmedin is now available in more dosages from VetRxDirect to tailor to more dogs and thier needs. Vetmedin now comes in 1.25mg, 2.5mg, 5mg and 10mg doses!

This article only addresses one of the medications your dog might be on for congestive heart failure. Tune in for articles about all of the other medications used to better understand the medications your dog may use.

Is your dog on Vetmedin? How has it helped with his or her congestive heart failure? Please leave any remaining questions you have by leaving a reply below. Thank you.

Resources

  • Plumb, D. Pimobendan. Plumb’s Veterinary Drug Handbook 7th ed. Pharma Vet Inc. Stockholm, WI. 2011. Pages 637-638
  • Vetmedin www.Vetmedin.com. Accessed 05/01/2014.

Pet Dewormers and Preventatives

Warmer weather brings a season of critters including intestinal and heart worms. When your pet has intestinal worms, it can be alarming but there is a wide array of treatment options available to rid the worms from your pet. There are also many preventatives for heartworms and intestinal worms, making it easy to keep the infestations at bay. The large amount of different wormers available can be confusing and hard to evaluate. This article, along with your veterinarian’s recommendations, can help you choose between the various de-wormers and preventative treatments against worms.

The right intestinal parasite ID is key:

An accurate identification of the worm is key in treating your pet’s infestation because most products are selective for certain worms. Heartworms will not be visible to you, but your pet will be experiencing serious symptoms such as cough, exercise intolerance, and abnormal lung sounds. These symptoms warrant an immediate visit to a veterinarian and possible hospitalization. When your pet has intestinal worms, you will likely notice the worms in their stools or surrounding fur.  Your veterinarian will probably be able to diagnose the intestinal worm with just a description, but some worms require an exam or stool sample for diagnosis.

Some of the most common worm infestations in dogs and cats include whipworms, heartworms, roundworms, hookworms, and tapeworms. Some of these worms are different in appearance and some are alike, making it hard to distinguish between them. This is especially true for the different types of tapeworms. There is a type called dipylidium caninum and they’re transmitted through infected fleas. They still resemble the appearance of other tapeworms, however these tapeworms are not always killed by the same medications as other tapeworms. It is important to talk to your veterinarian about any intestinal or heartworm infestation, because an accurate diagnosis and treatment is necessary to prevent complications and treatment failure.

More importantly, prevention:

The most important principle with worm infestations is preventing them from happening in the first place. There are several ways to keep worms at bay including keeping stools picked up, avoiding infested areas/pets, proper flea control, etc. You can also choose to use a preventative medication. These medications are usually administered monthly to your pet and can prevent and/or treat certain worm infestations. Heartworm preventative medications are necessary in almost all dogs because of the serious nature and frequency of heartworm infestation. All of the worm preventative medications work against heartworms for this reason but the products vary in what other worms they prevent or treat. You should also initiate worm prevention after an active infestation in your pet to reduce the chance of them coming back. Talk to your local veterinarian about specific ways to prevent worm infestations in your pet.

The two tables below display the various de wormers carried at VetRxDirect and what they are labeled to treat. The first table is the treatments we carry for pets with active intestinal worm infestations. Please note there are no heartworm treatment options from VetRxDirect because it’s an infestation requiring immediate and serious medical attention by your veterinarian. The second table shows the preventatives we carry for heartworms and intestinal worms. These tables can be used to supplement your veterinarian’s recommendations for purchasing worm treatments and preventatives.

Oral Dewormers for Active Parasite Infestation in Pets:

Oral Dewormers for Intestinal Parasites in Dogs and Cats

Click Anywhere on Table to Enlarge

Prescription Monthly Preventatives/Dewormers for Heartworms and Intestinal Parasites:

Prescription Monthly Preventatives/Dewormers for Dogs and Cats

Click Anywhere on Table to Enlarge

Take-home message about dewormers:

Prevention of worm infestations is one of the most important components for your pet’s healthy lifestyle. When prevention fails, the most effective way to treat your pet’s worm infestation is to have your veterinarian diagnose and prescribe medications specifically for your pet. OTC medications can be used with veterinarian approval or they may suggest a prescription product for your pet. Once the worms have been rid from your pet, it is important to initiate preventative measures or medications. Your veterinarian is a great resource to contact about preventing a re infestation in your pet.

What dewormers and worm preventatives have you given your pet? Did they work well? Let us know by leaving comments below or by clicking the ‘Reviews’ tab on any the dewormers or preventatives included in this post. Thank you.

Pet Eye Medications: Glaucoma

Pet Eye Medications Flickr Image

Courtesy of Eric Schmuttenmaer/Flickr

What is inflammation in your pet’s eye?

Many animals can suffer from allergies or diseases that affect their eyes. As a result, they may suffer from inflammation of the conjunctiva, the moist tissue that covers the eye. Eye inflammation can be caused by many different sources such as bacteria, viruses, allergies, cancer, and others. Conjunctivitis, or eye inflammation, can affect dogs and cats and may be detected according to many symptoms: squinting or frequent blinking, redness, discharge from the eye, swelling, etc. Talk with your veterinarian if you believe your pet may be suffering. There are many treatment options available depending on the source of the inflammation.

Blepharitis, inflammation of the eyelid, can also occur in pets. It can be detected as scaly, flaky skin near the eye with intense itching and scratching. Watery mucus or pus may drain from the eye. This can be seen with or without conjunctivitis and has similar causes.

What is glaucoma in the pet’s eye?

Glaucoma is different than eye inflammation but also can occur in dogs and cats. Glaucoma is a disease of the eye with excess pressure in the eye. Excess pressure is a result of too much fluid known as the aqueous humor within the eye. Aqueous humor is a fluid that the eye makes in order to transport nutrients and to maintain the shape of the eye. Glaucoma may be caused by a blocked drainage of the fluid which can lead to a buildup of pressure within the eye. Bulging eyes are often a sign of this pressure buildup. Other signs may include excess squinting or rubbing, watery discharge that is usually clear, or a cloudy or bluish color to the eye. Unfortunately, glaucoma is not a curable disease. Glaucoma often begins in one eye and may spread to the other eye over time and eventually may lead to blindness if the pressure isn’t reduced. Contact your vet immediately if you notice any bulging or signs of glaucoma in your pet’s eyes.

What tests will your pet’s veterinarian perform?

It is important to talk to your veterinarian if you suspect your pet is suffering from inflammation of the eye. They can help determine the cause of inflammation by doing a full examination of your pet’s eyes. The veterinarian can detect foreign materials, test any discharge for bacteria, and also detect any scratches to the eye using a fluorescein stain. He may also need a biochemistry profile, urinalysis, and complete blood count to rule out certain infections. Glaucoma is detected by measuring the intraocular pressure (IOP) within the eye and an internal eye examination using special instruments. There are many treatment options available.

What treatment options are available for your pet?

The treatment option will be selected after the source of the inflammation is determined and will be based on the cause of inflammation. If your pet has a bacterial infection, the veterinarian may prescribe antibiotics. If the source of inflammation is due to allergies, avoidance of the allergen is the recommended solution. If there is a blockage causing increased pressure in your pet’s eye, surgery may be necessary to reverse the cause. Below are some of the common medications used to treat numerous types of inflammation.

Prednisolone is a corticosteroid used for short periods of time to reduce inflammation, itching, and redness in the eyes of dogs and cats. Long-term topical application of this medication may result in glaucoma. Only use this medication as directed by your veterinarian. It comes in many forms: tablets, oral liquid, eye drops, or injections. Some side effects seen when using prednisolone ophthalmic solution may include blurred vision, eye irritation, and excess discharge from the eyes.

Flurbiprofen is a non-steroidal eye drop that can be used in dogs and cats to treat certain kinds of eye inflammation by reducing puffiness in your pet’s eyes. This medication is not used for the treatment of glaucoma.

Latanoprost can be used to help reduce eye pressure caused by glaucoma. It helps by increasing the drainage from the eye and reducing excess pressure. It is important to use this medication as directed because overuse can lead to development of tolerance. Tolerance to latanoprost may make the medication ineffective in treating glaucoma.

Diclofenac sodium is a product used to treat inflammation of the eye belonging to the nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drug class, also known as NSAIDs. It inhibits an enzyme called cyclooxygenase (COX) which is needed for the production of prostaglandins. These prostaglandins can cause excess inflammation and pressure buildup in the eye. Damage to the tissues can lead to the production of prostaglandins, but by using diclofenac sodium, you can inhibit this overproduction.

Some pets may experience a large amount of discharge coming from the eyes. Before using any products, gently clean your pet’s eyes. If using multiple products, it is important to wait a few minutes between each application in order to ensure the medication remains in the eye and is not washed out by the next medication or excess tear production. Apply any ointments after applying solutions. Ointments may make it difficult to get the solution into the eye and allow the drug to reach its target area.

When will your pet’s veterinarian prescribe other pet eye medications?

The medications listed above are just a few of the options available for inflammation of the eye. Your veterinarian is the expert about what medication option is best for your pet. If you notice any changes in your pet’s eyes, schedule an appointment today with your veterinarian.

How to apply eye drops and eye ointments to pets?

Eye Solutions and Suspensions:

  1.  Wash your hands.
  2.  Shake your container. Suspensions need to be shaken in order to assure uniform distribution of the drugs in the container. Suspension tend to settle over time.
  3.  Tilt your pet’s head backwards.
  4.  Hold the dropper tip directly over the eye. Make sure not to touch the dropper tip to your pet’s eye. It will help to keep the medication sterile and to prevent contamination.
  5.  Gently pull the lower lid away from the eye to form a pocket.
  6.  Place 1 drop into the pocket.
  7.  Release the eyelid slowly.
  8.  Wait several minutes before administering a second drop or medication. If drops are placed too quickly into the eye. Most of the medication will be blinked out of the eye. The medication will not be as efficacious as needed for the treatment.
  9.  Replace the cap on the container and store according to the package guidelines. Some medications may need to be refrigerated or protected from light. Contact your veterinarian regarding storage requirements.
  1.  Wash hands
  2.  Gently pull the lower lid away from the eye to form a pocket.
  3.  Gently squeeze a small amount of ointment inside the lower lid. Do not touch the tip of the tube to the eye or your fingers.
  4.  Close the eye gently.
  5.  Replace the cap on the container and store according to the package guidelines. Some medications may need to be refrigerated or protected from light. Contact your veterinarian regarding storage requirements.

Helpful tip when applying multiple pet eye medications:

If your pet is using multiple eye products, solutions and suspensions are generally applied first. Applying an ointment before a solution or suspension product will make it difficult for the drop to come in contact with the eye. It is important to remember to always follow the directions given to you by your veterinarian.

What pet eye medications are you currently giving your cat or dog. Can you share any secrets with us on how you manage to apply the medications? Please let comments below or leave a product review on any of our pet eye med product pages. Thank you.

Erika Bitschura

Student Pharmacist

 

Pet Lovers Guide to OTC Pet Meds

Those of us fortunate enough to have pets in our lives often will do anything to keep them healthy. This frequently leads to using some kind of over the counter (OTC) product. These are products purchased and administered without a prescription and include medications, vitamins, herbals, and more. It is important to be well educated about the products, their contents, and conditions they truly help with. This article discusses the crucial element to proper OTC use: communication with a veterinarian.

Examples of OTC Pet Meds Available at VetRxDirect

OTC Pet Meds:

A few examples of OTC medications include diphenhydramine (Vetadryl), Panacur, and Zymox Otic. OTC medications are available without a prescription because they are generally recognized as safe and effective (GRASE). However, this does not mean they are safe for every pet or situation. OTC medications are generally safe in dogs and cats when they are used for the right purpose, at a safe dose, and for an appropriate length of time. As a pet owner myself, I can attest to how I think I know what’s wrong with my pet but am not always correct. I personally make it a priority to ask my pet’s veterinarian for their recommendation before inquiring about a specific OTC product, and this always gives me comfort that my pet is receiving quality care at home.

It is important to at least give your pet’s veterinarian a call and talk to them when we are considering an OTC medication. They may note a disease or another drug which makes your pet a poor candidate for certain OTC treatments. It is also important to contact a veterinarian prior to starting an OTC medication because certain breeds react differently to medications. Veterinarians will know if your pet can handle the suggested dose, and how long they can be treated for. Sometimes OTC medications can cover up underlying diseases needing more rigorous treatment. If the veterinarian is unaware of your pet’s OTC medications(s), it can lead to inaccurate or delayed diagnosis. In summary, it doesn’t hurt to call your dog or cat’s veterinarian for recommendations about OTC medications and it may help prevent unnecessary complications.

Herbals, Vitamins and Supplement OTC Pet Meds:

Vitamin and herbal supplements can be tricky because it’s difficult to evaluate their quality and if a pet truly needs them. There is a major difference in quality between different supplements. Herbal products can be made from various parts of the plants, which can affect the amount and quality of the extract included in the product. There is also a difference in quality of the seed that is planted and how it’s grown, including if any chemicals were sprayed on it. Unfortunately there isn’t a real good indicator for animal supplements and their quality like there is in humans (the USP logo). This is where veterinarians play a key role because they have experience with various manufacturers and they can differentiate between the good and bad products.

Vitamins are controversial for OTC use because we often don’t know if our pet is truly deficient. While most vitamin supplements are unlikely to cause major problems, certain vitamins like vitamins A, D, and E have maximum limits that should not be exceeded due to toxicity. Piling vitamin supplements on top of nutritious food can cause a pet to have side effects, possibly even vitamin toxicity. Veterinarians are well equipped to decide if your pet is a good candidate for vitamin supplements. They can perform blood tests if you are concerned about a deficiency and recommend specific products for your pet. There is a possibility of a medication causing a nutrient deficiency, and a veterinarian can identify that. They also can evaluate your pet’s current diet and suggest a more natural way to incorporate vitamins and nutrients. The key to preventing nutrient deficiencies and some diseases is feeding our pets a quality, well-balanced diet, not adding supplements to a lesser quality diet.

Last, but not least, is the concern of cost for OTC herbals and supplements. Many supplements can be expensive, even the cheap ones can add up after a few years of use. The expenses can be worth their costs if they truly help your pet, which is questionable in most cases. Contacting a veterinarian before trying a supplement can save you money that could be dedicated towards more effective therapies which are proven to help your pet’s condition.

The take-home message about OTC Pet Meds:

Veterinarians are one of the most valuable resources and it is important to utilize them. Contacting a veterinarian before starting an OTC product in your pet can prevent complications, minor or severe. It can also provide your pet with a greater benefit because of the experience and knowledge your veterinarian has with animals and OTC use. The cost of an exam or consult with your veterinarian is likely to be tiny in comparison to the cumulative cost of ineffective therapies or having a veterinarian fix a problem caused by OTC use. In conclusion, it is important to view your veterinarian as a trusted resource, and appreciate their valuable input when using OTC products in your pet.

What OTC pet meds, herbals or samples have your pets tried? Did they seem to help the condition? Let us know which OTC products your pet’s veterinarian has recommended.

Ocu-GLO Rx Giveaway from VetRxDirect.

Ocu-GLO Rx, the natural canine vision supplement containing an optimal blend of antioxidants not previously available until veterinary ophthalmologists developed this high quality nutraceutical, is now on sale for first time users. Enter our Facebook contest by clicking the image below to acquire your coupon code and start your dog on Ocu-GLO Rx today!

When you enter our contest, you are automatically signed up for a chance to win a year’s supply of Ocu-GLO Rx for your dog. Increase your chances of winning when your referred friends sign up for the giveaway through your contest invite.

Sign up today to increase your chances of winning. Both the contest and the coupon expire on June 8, 2014.

Ocu-GLO Rx Giveaway Brought to you by VetRxDirect

Ocu-GLO Rx Giveaway from VetRxDirect

OFFICIAL OCU-GLO Rx® GIVEAWAY CONTEST RULES

Contest Name: Ocu-GLO Rx Giveaway

NO PURCHASE NECESSARY. A PURCHASE OR PAYMENT OF ANY KIND WILL NOT INCREASE YOUR CHANCES OF WINNING. This Promotion is in no way sponsored, endorsed or administered by, or associated with Facebook, Inc. The information you provide as detailed below will only be used for promotion administration purposes. This Contest is open only to legal residents who are at least fourteen (14) years old at the time of entry. Odds of winning depend upon the number of eligible entries collectively received during the Contest Period.

Participation: 
The Ocu-GLO Rx Giveaway Contest is open to everyone. You may participate in the contest by completing the information fields on the entry form. After submitting the data, you will be given a promo code to use for 20% off your next purchase of Ocu-GLO Rx.

Winning: 
By June 12th, 2014, the winner will be chosen at random. The winning entry will receive a year’s supply of Ocu-GLO Rx (max of 4 bottles — $300 value) to be supplied by VetRxDirect.com. Winner will be notified two days after the winner has been selected. Winners will be informed via direct message or email, and prizes will be released within two weeks of announcement.

Thank you in participating in our Ocu-GLO Rx Giveaway and good luck!

Feline Asthma – What is it, and how can you help?

Feline Lower Airway Disease (FLAD)

Feline lower airway disease is used to describe conditions that affect the lower respiratory tract in cats. These conditions include bronchial diseases, chronic bronchitis, feline asthma, bronchial asthma, and allergic asthma. Distinction between the conditions can be done by specific testing available at your veterinarian clinic.

What is feline asthma?

It is estimated that 1% of cats suffer from asthma which occurs more frequently in female cats.[1] Asthma is reversible inflammation of the small airways in the lungs (i.e. bronchioles). It is similar to asthma in humans and begins with a mild cough. If not treated, it may progress to your cat being in distress with coughing, wheezing, loud and rapid breathing, and exercise intolerance. Symptoms, generally noticed between the ages of 2 to 6, are often overlooked and mistaken for hairballs due to the coughing and wheezing. Asthma is often associated with inflammation due to irritants or allergens in the environment which causes an increase in mucus in the lungs constricting the small airways. As a result, your cat will have trouble breathing.

What triggers a feline asthma attack?

Asthma attacks can be caused by a variety of sources. Allergens in the air, temperature changes, and exercise can all trigger attacks. Some allergens that are frequently associated with asthma include grass, tree pollen, fumes, cigarettes, dust, smoke, perfumes, and various sprays. Attacks may also be worse in cats that are overweight.

How is asthma in cats diagnosed?

It is important to take your cat to the veterinarian if you think your cat may have asthma. The veterinarian can listen to your cat’s lungs using a stethoscope to detect crackling and whistling due to excess mucus or inflamed airways. They will also need to know as much information about your cat and his environment as possible. The veterinarian may identify the cause or trigger of your cat’s asthma with the information you provide him. A chest x-ray can also be done to view the chest wall and lungs of your cat.

Preventative measures to decrease the chance of asthma attacks in cats

There are many changes that can be made to your home to prevent an asthma attack in your cat. Dust-free cat litter is a great first step in removing a source of allergens. Replacing filters on heating units and air conditioners can also help keep the air in your home clean. The winter season can be troublesome for your cat’s asthma due to the extreme temperature and dry air. Limit outdoor exposure during winter months in order to avoid these and use a humidifier inside during dry seasons to help prevent attacks. Many cat owners never identify the allergen responsible for triggering asthma attacks. If you can find the trigger, try to remove it as best as possible, but there are treatment options available if needed.

How to treat feline asthma

The goals of treating feline asthma are to reduce inflammation, airway constriction, and mucus production while trying to identify and remove the allergen(s) causing the asthma symptoms in order to prevent airway damage.[2] Feline asthma is often treated with bronchodilators and corticosteroids.

Bronchodilators

Aminophylline and terbutaline are two medications that are taken by mouth which act as bronchodilators to open the airways in the lungs. Albuterol (Proair® or Ventolin®) are popular inhaled bronchodilators. These medications are fast-acting and can help relax the muscles causing the closed airways. These are often used when your cat is having an asthma attack.

Albuterol will help your cat during an asthma attack within 5 to 10 minutes of use. If the attack reoccurs, the medication can be used every half-hour or as needed for your cat. Albuterol can cause increased heart rate, excitability, weight loss, and tremors; however, these occur infrequently in most cats. If your cat is having asthma attacks often, your cat may need a medication such as a glucocorticoid to prevent or reduce the frequency of asthma attacks.

Glucocorticoids

Glucocorticoids are used to decrease the inflammation in your cat’s lungs in order to prevent asthma attacks. Prednisone, prednisolone, and methylprednisolone are common examples of oral glucocorticoids. Fluticasone (Flovent®) is an example of an inhaled corticosteroid.

Fluticasone is commonly used every 12 hours to maintain healthy airways in your cat. It is used with a breathing mask, such as an AeroKat Feline Aerosol Chamber, to ensure the medication is inhaled. Fluticasone can be found as 44, 110, and 220 mcg per actuation, but the 110 mcg strength is most commonly used in feline asthma. Unlike albuterol, fluticasone can take 10 to 14 days to achieve the full benefits.1 Prednisolone can be given during this time until the fluticasone is fully effective.

Why use inhaled medication for feline asthma?

Medications given by mouth are not ideal for the treatment and prevention of asthma in cats due to the increased risk of side effects. Oral medications can alter blood sugars, which may be problematic with cats who have diabetes. They can also increase the risk of inflammation of the pancreas and are poorly tolerated. Inhaled medications help avoid some of these side effects by acting directly on the lungs and airways.

AeroKat for Feline Asthma

Courtesy of www.todaysveterinarypractice.com

Optimize your cat’s treatment using the AeroKat Feline Aerosol Chamber

AeroKat Feline Aerosol Chamber for cats is an easy-to-use device that helps deliver medications for the treatment of asthma, allergic rhinitis, or chronic bronchitis. The chamber is used with a metered-dose inhaler like albuterol or fluticasone. The chamber is used to hold the puff of medication while your cat breathes normally to inhale all of the medication. Without the chamber, the medication can be lost in the air, and your cat may not get the full benefit of the medication needed. The AeroKat Feline Aerosol Chamber can help your cat get the medication he needs to feel better and breathe normally.

References:

[1] Tasi, A. (2014, April 13). Another furball? It might be feline asthma. 

[2] Sharp, C. (2014, March/April). Treatment of feline lower airway disease. Today’s Veterinary Practice, 4(2), 28-32.

 

Important Information on NSAIDs for Pets

Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs, also known as NSAIDs, are one of the most frequently prescribed pain relievers from veterinarians. With this high frequency of prescribing comes a proportional amount of side effects. This article aims to educate the public about the safe use of NSAIDs in pets: when they’re appropriate, when to avoid using them, and how to watch for dangerous side effects.

What are NSAIDs for pets indicated for and what benefits do they provide:

NSAIDs aren’t commonly used in cats because they cannot clear the drugs from their body very well. They should be avoided, especially in long term use, in cats for this reason. NSAIDs are indicated for two reasons in dogs: osteoarthritis and for pain relief after an operation. They can be used off label for many other reasons including an injury or pain when a veterinarian thinks they would be beneficial. They can benefit dogs by decreasing their pain and improving their quality of life. Let’s face it; no one wants to see their companion in pain and these drugs are proven to help reduce it.

How do NSAIDs for pets decrease inflammation:

All of the NSAIDs inhibit cyclooxygenase enzymes (COX enzymes). There are two major COX enzymes and are labeled COX-1 and COX-2. Both of the enzymes are involved in the pathways of inflammation, fever, blood clotting, and pain. However, COX-2 is found in inflamed cells only, and COX-1 is found all throughout the body, including the stomach. By inhibiting these enzymes, NSAIDs decrease the effects that the enzyme would normally have on the body. This will decrease the pain and inflammation associated with certain conditions such as osteoarthritis. Below is a table of all the NSAIDs that are available through VetRxDirect.

Drug

Active Ingredient

Dosage Form

Generic or Brand Name?

VetRxDirect Unit Price

Extra Notes About the Product

RimadylCarprofenCaplets or Chewable TabletsBrand Name$0.79-$1.40Only Chewable Carprofen Product
Norocarp/CarprieveCarprofenCapletsBrand Name$0.47-$0.82
VetprofenCarprofenCapletsBrand Name$0.49-$0.82Can Get 240 Count Bottles
NovoxCarprofenCapletsBrand Name$0.55-$0.97
Carprofen (Putney)CarprofenCapletsGeneric$0.49-$0.78Only Generic Carprofen Product
MetacamMeloxicamOral Suspension (liquid)Brand Name$1.57-$2.50Only Commercial Oral Liquid NSAD For Dogs
MeloxicamMeloxicamTabletsGeneric$0.34-$0.69Only Human Tablets Are Available
PiroxicamPiroxicamCapsulesGeneric$1.09-$2.69VetRxDirect Compounds Suspensions And Multiple Doses That Aren’t Commercially Available
EtogesicEtodolacTabletsBrand Name$1.57-$1.95
EtodolacEtodolacCapsulesGeneric$1.89-$1.56The Only Generic Is the Human Capsules

Deramaxx

DeracoxibChewable TabletsBrand Name$1.59-$3.53COX-2 Selective. No Generic Available
PrevicoxFirocoxibChewable TabletsBrand Name$1.48-$3.75COX-2 Selective. No Generic Available
Onsior (robenacoxib) for CatsOnsiorRobenacoxibTabletsBrand Name$3.33For Use In Cats Only For Upto Three Days.

*The price is listed as per tablet, caplet, chewable tablet, or capsule. It is listed as per mL for the suspensions. Prices between suspension and tablets of the same product are only comparable when accounting for dose. Prices are subject to change and ultimately depend on the dosage form, strength and quantity ordered.

Sometimes old dogs need NSAIDs for Pets.

Courtesy of Roman Boed/Flickr

What is the difference between all the NSAIDs for pets?

The majority of the NSAIDs inhibit both COX-1 and COX-2, but there are a few that only inhibit COX-2. In humans, this selectivity for COX-2 helps prevent some side effects, mainly the risk for stomach bleeding. The two COX-2 selective products that we carry for dogs only have no evidence that shows a decreased risk of the severe side effects. There is also one COX-2 selective NSAID that is indicated for cats only, called Onsior. The NSAIDs carried by VetRxDirect that are sometimes used in cats are carprofen, meloxicam, and piroxicam. NSAID medications should always be used with extreme caution and for very short periods of time in cats.

There are multiple carprofen products available, and their prices can vary. The only one that isn’t comparable to the generic is the Rimadyl Chewable, as there is no chewable generic carprofen available at this time. When picking a product to buy, the generic is an acceptable choice because it will contain the same active ingredient as the brand name product, but will cost less. The liquid formulations of the products may be easier for you to give your pet, but they carry a larger price tag. Some of the NSAIDs work better for certain diseases and have varying side effect profiles. Your veterinarian will know which active ingredient is appropriate for your pet, when choosing between the different products.

What are the risks associated with NSAIDs for pets?

The more frequently reported side effects of NSAIDs include vomiting, diarrhea, depression, and decreased appetite. The use of NSAIDs carry a risk for stomach bleeding, ulcers, perforations (holes), kidney damage, and liver damage. The main problem with NSAID use is the population that they are targeted towards usually has an increased risk for experiencing these side effects from them. If used at the lowest effective doses for short periods of time, they have relatively low risk of these side effects. However, when they are used for osteoarthritis, they are often used for long periods of time which increases the risk of serious side effects. Pets with osteoarthritis are also often older in age, and using an NSAID in elderly animals can increase their risk for serious side effects. When dogs and cats are dehydrated they have an increased risk for kidney damage when using an NSAID.

How to use an NSAID for pets safely in dogs and cats:

Using an NSAID safely in your pet requires a good relationship with your veterinarian. You know your animal best and can tell if they have had any recent changes in health. Things that you need to watch for when your pet takes an NSAID are black tarry stools, dark urine, bloody vomit, and depression. If your pet has any of those symptoms, you need to call your vet right away. Giving an NSAID with their meal can help reduce the risk for stomach upset and irritation.You should also make sure they are well hydrated because of the risk for kidney damage. Educating yourself about your pet’s NSAID medication can reduce the life threatening risk that they carry and help keep them healthy!

Has your pet taken a NSAID before? Which one did your veterinarian prescribe and did your pet experience any side effects?

Please ask any remaining questions in the ‘Leave a Reply’ section of this post, or on the product’s ‘Question and Answer’ tab.

References:

  • United States. Food and Drug Administration. FDA Center for Veterinary Medicine. Canine NSAIDs- What Dog Owners Should Know. By Carmela Stamper. FDA, n.d. Web. 15 Apr. 2014.
  • Plumb, D. Etodolac. Plumb’s Veterinary Drug Handbook 7th ed. Pharma Vet Inc. Stockholm, WI. 2011.