Safe Alternatives to Rimadyl for Dogs

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If your dog is suffering from arthritis, your veterinarian might prescribe Rimadyl, also known as carprofen. This medication has been shown to alleviate arthritis symptoms in dogs, but it is always important to discuss any potential side effects with your veterinarian before you administer the drug to your pet. As an alternative to or in combination with Rimadyl, look into nutraceuticals and complementary therapies, such as acupuncture after consulting with your veterinarian.


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Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatories (NSAIDs) for treating arthritis in dogs

Rimadyl is a nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drug (NSAID). It is often prescribed for pain and inflammation associated with arthritis. It works similarly to certain NSAIDs people might take but are designed specifically for canines. Dogs should never receive human NSAIDs.


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Can Rimadyl cause diarrhea in dogs? While generally effective, Rimadyl can cause gastrointestinal side effects in dogs. These include diarrhea, vomiting, constipation or appetite loss. More seriously, some dogs develop gastrointestinal ulcers, kidney or liver disease. If your dog experiences side effects to Rimadyl, ask your veterinarian about Rimadyl alternatives.


Other NSAIDs available for dogs include deracoxib, sold under the brand name Deramaxx; firocoxib, sold under the brand name Previcox: and meloxicam, marketed as Metacam and Orocam. Some dogs may tolerate certain NSAIDs better than others. However as a caution, know that two different NSAIDs should never be given to your pet at the same time, as this can cause serious side effects.


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Canine nutraceuticals for arthritis

Basically foods with medicinal benefits, nutraceuticals aren't regulated by the Food and Drug Administration. These supplements — such as methyl-sulfonyl-methane (MSM), glucosamine and chondroitin sulfate — are found naturally in the body. While generally safe, these supplements require a long lead time, perhaps two months or more of daily administration, before you might notice any change in your dog's movement or behavior. The amounts of MSM or glucosamine and chondroitin sulfate must build up in your dog's system to begin showing benefits. Although these products are readily available over the counter, ask your veterinarian for a recommended brand and the right dose for your dog.


Adequan for dogs with arthritis pain

Your veterinarian might prescribe Adequan to relieve your dog's arthritis pain. Generally, the initial series consists of twice-weekly injections for four weeks. After that, your dog receives a monthly injection, if needed. Adequan's active ingredient is polysulfated glycosaminoglycan, developed from cattle tracheal cartilage. Any side effects are usually mild. Some dogs might experience a brief bout of diarrhea after an injection, or pain at the site of the injection.



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Multimodal treatment for arthritis in dogs

Oftentimes, using several treatments together creates more benefits for the dog. Treating arthritis should be multimodal, including supplements, Adequan injections, exercise, physical interventions like acupuncture, massage, weight loss/weight management and physical therapy. These treatments can all be combined to help your dog with his arthritis pain management. When multimodal therapy is used, it helps to keep your dog on the lowest effective dose of NSAIDs, if they are still needed. Your veterinarian can design the best treatment and management plan for your dog's arthritis care.


Be sure to attend all follow up veterinary appointments. If your dog does need to be on an NSAID, he will need to have his bloodwork checked periodically to monitor for any side effects.

Contact your veterinarian immediately if your dog develops diarrhea, vomiting, decreased appetite, bloody stool, or sticky, black colored stool (called melena, which indicates bleeding in the upper gastrointestinal tract). NSAIDs can worsen underlying conditions like liver or kidney disease.


Keeping your dog healthier and safer at home

It is important to manage your dog's weight so he can be healthier and move about more easily. Talk to your veterinarian about a safe diet plan and exercise routine for your dog to aid in alleviating their arthritis pain and help prevent it from potentially worsening. If your home has stairs, consider modifying the environment with ramps as well as nonslip rugs and carpets so your dog has more traction.


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