NSAIDs for Dogs: A Deep Dive into the Working of NSAIDs

Nonsteroidal Anti Inflammatory Drugs (NSAIDs) for Dogs

NSAIDs for Dogs are commonly used in veterinary medicine as anti-inflammatory drugs for dogs and to relieve pain, reduce fever. They are used to treat a variety of conditions such as arthritis, post-operative pain, and musculoskeletal pain in pets and in particular dogs.

NSAIDs for dogs work similarly as they do in human medication by blocking the production of prostaglandins. However, it is important to note that the dose and duration of treatment for NSAIDs in animals may differ from that in humans, and veterinary advice should always be sought before administering any medication to an animal.

It is also important to use NSAIDs specifically formulated for animals and not give human NSAIDs to pets, as they may be toxic to them in the wrong dose.

NSAIDs in Human Medicine

Nonsteroidal Anti-Inflammatory Drugs (NSAIDs) are widely used in human medicine for their ability to relieve pain, reduce fever, and decrease inflammation. They are commonly used to treat a variety of conditions, including arthritis, menstrual cramps, headache, and toothache. Every day more than 30 million Americans use them to soothe headaches, sprains, arthritis symptoms, and other daily discomforts, according to the American Gastroenterological Association (source: AGA)

Non Steroidal Anti-Inflammatory Drugs for Dogs like Rimadyl, Metacam, Deramaxx and Previcox are frequently prescribed by Veterinarians to treat inflammation and pain, both for long term diseases like arthritis, but also for injuries and other more acute conditions. The use of NSAIDs in dogs, however, might come with serious side effects like gastrointestinal problems (ulcers and/or bleeding) and possible liver and kidney damage (NSAIDs Side Effects)

In managing dog inflammation with NSAIDs, both therapeutic and adverse effects of NSAIDs are mainly attributed to the inhibition of COX enzymes.

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How do NSAIDs work

NSAIDs work by blocking the production of certain chemicals in the body that cause inflammation and pain. The exact way that NSAIDs do this varies depending on the specific drug, but the general idea is that they prevent the production of prostaglandins. Prostaglandins are chemicals that are produced by the body in response to injury or inflammation, and they play a key role in causing pain and swelling.

One of the most common types of NSAIDs used in veterinary medicine is meloxicam. This drug works by blocking the activity of an enzyme called cyclooxygenase (COX). This enzyme is responsible for the production of prostaglandins, so by blocking it, meloxicam helps to reduce the amount of prostaglandins in the body and, in turn, reduce pain and inflammation.

Another commonly used NSAID is carprofen. This drug works in a similar way to meloxicam, but it has a slightly different mechanism of action. Carprofen works by binding to COX enzymes, which prevents them from producing prostaglandins. This results in reduced pain and inflammation.

Finally, there’s deracoxib. This drug also works by blocking the production of prostaglandins, but it does so in a slightly different way than meloxicam or carprofen. Deracoxib works by blocking a specific type of COX enzyme called COX-2, which is responsible for producing prostaglandins in response to inflammation. By blocking COX-2, deracoxib helps to reduce pain and inflammation.

Although both Cox-1 and Cox-2 produce prostaglandins that are part of the body’s response to inflammation, pain, and fever, only the COX-1 enzyme will protect the stomach and intestinal lining. Consequently, any medication targeting COX-1 will result in thinning of the mucus that protects the stomach from gastric juices, often leading to the development of gastroenteritis problems like: ulcers, stomach bleeding, and, in some cases even, perforation of the stomach.

It’s important to note that while NSAIDs can be very helpful in reducing pain and inflammation, they can also have side effects. Some common side effects include upset stomach, vomiting, and diarrhea. In rare cases, more serious side effects like liver or kidney problems can occur. That’s why it’s so important to make sure you’re using these drugs only as directed by a veterinarian and to keep a close eye on your pet for any signs of adverse reactions.

Guidelines for Safe and Effective Use of NSAIDs in Dogs

Another thing to keep in mind is that not all pets are good candidates for NSAID treatment. Pets with certain health conditions, such as liver or kidney disease, may not be able to take NSAIDs safely. Additionally, some pets may be allergic to certain NSAIDs, so it’s important to discuss any potential risks or side effects with your vet before starting treatment.

So, what are some of the benefits of NSAIDs for pets? One of the main benefits is that they can provide relief from pain and inflammation caused by a variety of conditions, such as arthritis, sprains, and other injuries. By reducing pain and swelling, NSAIDs can help improve a pet’s quality of life and allow them to be more active and comfortable.

In addition to relieving pain and reducing inflammation, NSAIDs can also help with other conditions. For example, they can be used to control post-operative pain or to help manage certain types of cancer. In some cases, NSAIDs may even be used as a preventive measure, helping to reduce the risk of developing certain conditions like osteoarthritis.

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It is said that, compared to the earlier NSAIDs like Rimadyl, some of the newer NSAIDs – like Deramaxx – are designed to better discriminate between COX 2 and COX 1 and therefore should be less aggressive on the stomach and intestinal lining. In reality however, none of the available NSAID drugs are able to selectively target Cox-1 or Cox-2 at a satisfactory level.

Alternatives to Anti Inflammatory Drugs

In some cases, your pet may not be able to take NSAIDs or your vet may suggest alternative options. Some alternatives to NSAIDs include using natural remedies, such as herbal supplements or acupuncture, or implementing lifestyle changes, like providing a more supportive environment for your pet or adjusting their diet. In some cases, your vet may also prescribe other types of medications, such as opioids, corticosteroids, or tramadol, to help manage your pet’s pain. It’s important to remember that every pet is unique and what works for one may not work for another. That’s why it’s important to work closely with your veterinarian to determine the best course of treatment for your pet’s individual needs and health status.

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