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Using Rimadyl for a Dog With Arthritis

Top Medication for Treating Your Dog's Arthritis

By Madeleine Burry. January 30, 2014 | See Comments

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Arthritis is very common in dogs as they age and can be painful and debilitating. Rimadyl can offer your dog the relief they need.

One in five adult dogs is estimated to have arthritis, which causes pain and discomfort, and makes moving around a challenge. If your dog is one of the many to have this disease, it’s possible that Rimadyl, also sold under the generic name of carprofen, will be helpful. Rimadyl is an FDA-approved treatment for the pain caused by arthritis. It works by alleviating inflammation in your dog’s joints.

As well as being helpful long-term for older dogs suffering from arthritis, it can also be helpful on a short-term basis for dogs who are recovering from surgery, since it reduces swelling and aches. Find out more about Rimadyl (carprofen) to see if it’s the right option for your dog.

How Does Rimadyl Work?

Rimadyl is only available with a prescription, so the first step is to visit the veterinarian to describe your dog’s symptoms and provide a complete medical history. Since Rimadyl is a NSAID -- non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drug -- it’s important for your vet to have a full list of any other medications that your dog might be taking, since interactions between Rimadyl and other NSAID drugs or steroids are problematic.

Rimadyl works by limiting the ability of COX-2 enzymes, which generate prostaglandins, or lipid compounds, leading to inflammation within the joints.

How and When Do Dogs Take Rimadyl?

Rimadyl is available as a capsule, a chewable tablet, or liquid, and can be given either with food, or on its own. In general, giving the medication alongside food can help limit potential tummy upsets. It’s available in the following dosages: 25, 75, or 100 mg tablets, or bottles of liquid. Tablets are scored, so that you can give you dog smaller doses if necessary. Rimadyl should be given at around the same time each day.

As well as treating pain and inflammation from arthritis, Rimadyl can also be useful at reducing swelling and pain following an operation. Once your vet prescribes Rimadyl, you may see results within days, although the results vary from dog to dog.

While the positive impact of the drug is generally seen quickly, Rimadyl is not a cure; dogs prescribed Rimadyl must continue to take the medication in order to have reduced pain.

Side Effects of Rimadyl

While Rimadyl can be tremendously effective at helping elderly dogs rebound from the symptoms of arthritis, giving them the ability to move around like younger dogs, it is not without its risks.

In particular, be on the lookout for the following symptoms:

  • Jaundice
  • Vomiting or bloody stools
  • Changes in habits, particularly frequency of drinking and urination

If you notice any of these symptoms or other symptoms of unwellness, talk to your vet. They may be able to prescribe and alternate medication or help you find out what’s causing the problem.

More on Arthritis

The Complete Guide to Dog Arthritis
How to Help Dogs With Arthritis
Nutrition for Arthritic Dogs and Cats

This information is for informational purposes only and is not meant as a substitute for the professional advice of, or diagnosis or treatment by, your veterinarian with respect to your pet. It has, however, been verified by a licensed veterinarian for accuracy.

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Rimadyl at a glance

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  • 1This drug is used to treat the symptoms of arthritis, including pain and inflammation.
  • 2Rimadyl is also sometimes used post-surgery.
  • 3Rimadyl is available as a caplet, a chewable, or a liquid.
  • 4Rimadyl is not a cure, although it is generally effective at reducing a dog’s pain from arthritis.