What is Rimadyl?
Rimadyl, manufactured by Pfizer, is a non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drug (NSAID) used for the relief of pain and inflammation associated with osteoarthritis (degenerative arthritis) in dogs. It is commonly prescribed for older dogs. Other commonly known drugs in the same class include Deramaxx, Aspirin and Advil. Carprofen is the active ingredient in Rimadyl. Although it may provide relief to some dogs, it has been connected with serious side effects that include decreased blood supply to the kidney, platelet deactivation and stomach ulceration, occasionally resulting in death.
For a little more background please check out the FDA report update: CVM Update – Update on Rimadyl and also The Senior Dogs Project – Rimadyl: News, Views, & Advisories.
Rimadyl has made the headlines several times. See several relevant news articles at:
What are the symptoms of osteoarthritis?
The symptoms for which Rimadyl might be prescribed include:
- a reduction in the dog’s activity level (early sign)
- less playful
- less interest in his/her favorite games
- reluctance to climb stairs
- lameness or limping
The treatment of animals as well as the manufacture of pharmaceuticals are businesses. When risks are attributed with a drug or medication, that risk information should follow a communication path from the manufacturer to the veterinarian (in the case of Rimadyl) and finally to the consumer, on behalf of the companion animal. To the consumer this should come in the form of an information sheet and hopefully a verbal explanation. When this communication path fails, be it for Rimadyl or other drugs such as Deramaxx, the dog is at risk. Much information can be found on the internet regarding Rimadyl, Deramaxx, and even Proheart 6. See Rimadyl on Google.
Labeling and repackaging
Manufacturers are responsible for providing a label or printed information describing a drug and possible associated risks. It sometimes happens that veterinarians repackage drugs into smaller containers and the label does not get passed on to the consumer. In this case the companion animal owner should be asking about the information sheet as well as the drug itself.
Selecting a veterinarian
If you are a new companion animal owner and have not yet selected a vet, ask how he/she treats pain. Try to get a feel for whether your future vet is knowledgeable about Rimadyl, Deramaxx and some of the other drugs which have received undesirable reviews. When in doubt, Google it.
If you have had a dog treated by a vet who prescribed Rimadyl, think back to how the interaction went. Did the veterinarian communicate to you the risk information and/or provide for you a fact sheet concerning the drug?. Be informed of generic names such as carprofen. If your veterinarian has prescribed Rimadyl, did he/she also do a pre-screen for preexisting conditions, such as inflammatory bowel disease, liver disease or tendency towards gastrointestinal ulceration? Just as these are red lights, there should also have been a discussion around performing regular blood work to ensure that organs are working correctly and the dosage is appropriate for your companion’s metabolic rate.