Rimadyl is a prescription medication for dogs. It is one of the brand names for carprofen, a nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drug (NSAID) approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for reducing pain and inflammation caused by canine osteoarthritis as well as other types of pain in dogs. It is five times more potent than ibuprofen, which is a comparable anti-inflammatory and analgesic NSAID made for humans. Ibuprofen is not safe for dogs, but NSAIDs such as Rimadyl are designed specifically to address canine pain and inflammation.
Uses of Rimadyl for dogs
Rimadyl is used to provide pain relief in dogs. It is prescribed to treat inflammation, joint pain and discomfort, and hip dysplasia among other conditions, and it is often prescribed to treat chronic pain, stiffness, and limping in older dogs suffering from osteoarthritis. Additionally, Rimadyl may be prescribed for dogs recovering from surgical procedures, as it helps to minimize post-operative pain and inflammation.
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To minimize the risk of gastrointestinal issues, Rimadyl should always be given with food.
Rimadyl formulations for dogs
Rimadyl is available in an oral form, is prescribed as caplets or chewable tablets, or is given as an injectable solution. The injectable product provides the same medication as the carprofen caplets but is used when a dog is in pain and unable to take oral medication. Veterinarians may also administer injectable Rimadyl during an appointment or for post-operative pain after coming out of surgery.
Rimadyl dosage for dogs
For caplets or chewable tablets, the recommended dosage for dogs is 2 milligrams per pound of dog body weight and is administered every 24 hours.
Here's an easy way to determine the proper dosage based on a dog's weight.
- Dogs 5-10 pounds would get half of a 25 mg tablet every 24 hours.
- Dogs 11-15 pounds would get one 25 mg tablet every 24 hours.
- Dogs 16-20 pounds would get half of a 75 mg tablet every 24 hours.
- Dogs 21-30 pounds would get half of a 100 mg tablet every 24 hours.
- Dogs 31-40 pounds would get one 75 mg tablet every 24 hours.
- Dogs 41-60 pounds would get one 100 mg tablet every 24 hours.
- Dogs 61-90 pounds would get one-and-a-half 100 mg tablets every 24 hours.
- Dogs 91-120 pounds would get two 100 mg tablets every 24 hours.
Most veterinarians recommend dividing this dose and giving half every 12 hours. The tablets are scored so they're easy to break into smaller doses. If the medicine is being given only once a day, the daily dose should be given at roughly the same time each day to ensure that the dog is getting it once every 24 hours.
The dosage of injectable Rimadyl is 0.2 milliliters for every 5 pounds of dog weight per 24 hours. For example:
- Dogs 5 pounds would get 0.2 ml every 24 hours.
- Dogs 10 pounds would get 0.4 ml every 24 hours.
- Dogs 15 pounds would get 0.6 ml every 24 hours.
- Dogs 20 pounds would get 0.8 ml every 24 hours.
- Dogs 25 pounds would get 1 ml every 24 hours.
- Dogs 50 pounds would get 2 ml every 24 hours.
- Dogs 75 pounds would get 3 ml every 24 hours.
- Dogs 100 pounds would get 4 ml every 24 hours.
It's important to note that Rimadyl is a prescription medicine and should not be shared among dog owners; it should never be given to a dog for whom it wasn't originally prescribed.
Rimadyl side effects in dogs
Some dogs do not tolerate Rimadyl or other NSAIDs well. Potential side effects of Rimadyl include:
- Mild vomiting
- Mild gastrointestinal issues, such as diarrhea
- Temporary constipation
- Short-term loss of appetite
More serious side effects may include:
- Severe vomiting
- Vomiting up blood
- Black, tarry stool or bloody stool
- Severe lethargy
- Ongoing loss of appetite
- Jaundice (yellowing of eyes, skin, or gums)
- Increased thirst
- Increased urination or change in color or smell of urine
- Itchy skin or redness
- Behavioral changes
Pet parents should know that in rare cases, Rimadyl can cause liver or kidney damage or ulceration of the stomach due to gastrointestinal damage, particularly with long-term use. If adverse reactions occur, stop administering the medicine and call a veterinarian immediately. Dogs with liver disease, kidney disease, and bleeding disorders like von Willebrand disease should not take Rimadyl.
Additionally, chewable Rimadyl is designed to be tasty for dogs, so it's important to store it well out of reach so the dog does not have access to more than the prescribed amount. Dogs have been known to chew through the bottle to get to what they view as a tasty treat, and Rimadyl can be life-threatening in higher-than-prescribed doses.
Can Rimadyl be used with other medications for dogs?
As an NSAID, Rimadyl may interact with other medications. These include but are not limited to:
- ACE inhibitors
- Aspirin or other NSAIDs
- Cyclosporine or other nephrotoxic medications
- Highly protein bound medications
- Oral antidiabetics
- Loop diuretics
- Tricyclic antidepressants
Always be sure the prescribing veterinarian is aware of any medications, supplements, vitamins, or herbal remedies that the dog is taking and report any unusual symptoms or reactions to the veterinarian.
Cost of Rimadyl for dogs
Rimadyl costs vary based on the number of caplets and the strength. For 30 tablets, the price generally ranges from $35 to $55. For dogs who are on Rimadyl long term, there are often volume and autoship discounts. Pet insurance generally covers the cost of drugs such as Rimadyl if the condition is not preexisting.
Alternatives to Rimadyl for dogs
While Rimadyl is generally considered safe, some dogs may not be candidates for Rimadyl.
Other prescription alternatives that help with pain and inflammation in dogs include Previcox, Deramaxx, Galliprant, Metacam, and Onsior. Adequan injections may also help with pain caused by arthritis.
For dogs sensitive to prescription medications, there are a variety of nonprescription joint supplements that may help, including glucosamine, chondroitin, fish oil, hyaluronic acid, methylsulfonylmethane (MSM), and turmeric. Always be sure your veterinarian knows what supplements your dog is taking, as even "safe" supplements like glucosamine can have side effects and drug interactions.
Licensed veterinarians can provide other therapies such as cold laser treatments, hydrotherapy, or water treadmill therapy that may provide additional options for dogs suffering from arthritis pain and inflammation.
The bottom line
Rimadyl is a prescription NSAID pain medication for dogs that is designed to treat inflammation. It is commonly prescribed for short-term use after surgery or for longer-term use in older dogs battling osteoarthritis or dogs in need of general pain management. Recommended dosing is 2 milligrams per pound of dog body weight, administered every 24 hours. While generally considered safe, the side effects should be reviewed carefully and any adverse effects reported to the veterinarian.