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What Are NSAIDs for Dogs?

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    What Are NSAIDs for Dogs?

    NSAID stands for nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drug and as the name suggests, is a pain reliever that reduces inflammation and fever. NSAIDs allow your pet to move and play with less discomfort by inhibiting the chemicals that cause pain and inflammation. They are available as oral medication or given intravenously.

    How Do NSAIDs Work?

    Pain is induced by prostaglandin molecules, which are inhibited by nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory medications (NSAID). In addition to relieving pain, NSAIDs allow dogs to move, which helps their heart, lungs and digestive system operate correctly. Exercise helps pets maintain their muscles, which helps them keep their joints aligned, resulting in reduced pain.

    What Do NSAIDs Treat in Dogs?

    NSAIDs are used to treat numerous conditions including arthritis, inflammation in the eye (anterior uveitis), knee ligament injury (cruciate disease), hip and elbow dysplasia, patellar dislocation, rheumatoid or septic arthritis, abnormal joint cartilage development (osteochondritis dissecans or OCD), spinal arthritis (spondylosis deformans), and cancéritum. They may also be prescribed for post-operative pain.

    What are the Different Types of NSAID Medications for Dogs?

    A number of nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory medications (NSAIDs) have been authorized by the FDA for use in dogs to treat pain and inflammation associated with osteoarthritis, as well as pain and inflammation following soft tissue and orthopedic surgery.

    Active Ingredient Brand Names
    Carprofen Marketed under multiple trade names
    Deracoxib DERAMAXX, DOXIDYL*
    Firocoxib PREVICOX
    Grapiprant GALLIPRANT
    Meloxicam Marketed under multiple trade names
    Robenacoxib ONSIOR (for a maximum of 3 days)

    *Indicates an FDA-approved generic animal drug.

    For dogs with osteoarthritis, ONSIOR (robenacoxib) isn’t recommended for long-term usage. When used to reduce pain and inflammation following soft tissue surgery, it should only be taken for a maximum of three days.

    What are the Side Effects?

    Just like with any medication, there is a risk of side effects in dogs with NSAIDs. A gastric ulcer is a common side effect as well as reluctance to eat, vomiting, and passing dark, tarry stool. Dogs who are taking NSAIDs are at increased risk of kidney damage which can result in drinking more and urinating more, a condition known as polydipsia polyuria (PUPD) as well as liver damage. It’s important to note that dogs often go back to functioning normally once they are no longer taking an NSAID medication. Due to the many possible side effects, including kidney and liver damage, they usually require a veterinary prescription. Some veterinarians may do a blood test while the dog is on NSAIDs to monitor their stomach, liver or kidneys in case there is any damage.

    Vets might also want to screen dogs for risk factors before prescribing NSAIDs to help minimize the risk of adverse side effects which may include going over their medical history as well as doing a complete physical examination. They may also do blood work to ensure your dog doesn’t have a preclinical disease such as kidney disease and ensure they are good candidates for NSAIDs.

    How Can You Keep Your Dog Safe From NSAIDs?

    • Learn to recognize potential side effects of NSAIDs. If any are noticed, stop giving the medication immediately and report any side effects or issues to the prescribing veterinarian.
    • Keep the NSAIDs out of reach from your dogs by keeping them locked away and high up. NSAIDs for dogs often come in flavors such as chicken or beef and the smell may entice your dog to get into a bottle. Overdosing is a common cause of side effects.
    • Schedule regular checkups and lab work to monitor your dog’s organs while on NSAIDs. Veterinarians can also look for adverse side effects that you may not be aware of.
    • Report adverse side effects to the FDA to aid in their efforts to monitor prescription drug safety.
    • Give joint supplements and omega3 fatty acids along with the NSAIDs to aid in inflammation relief but consult with your vet prior. 
    • Don’t use two different NSAIDs at the same time unless prescribed to do so.
    • Always consult your veterinarian before giving over-the-counter NSAID medications.

    Learn more about veterinary NSAIDs from the FDA

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    What are Corticosteroids for Dogs?

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      What are Corticosteroids for Dogs?

      Corticosteroids (a.k.a steroids or cortisone) are steroid hormones that are naturally generated in the adrenal glands. Corticosteroids are vital in the body for a variety of reasons, including stress response, immune system response, inflammatory regulation, nutrition metabolism, and blood electrolyte balance. They can be administered orally, which is the most usual and easy method for pet owners, or intravenously or subcutaneously by a veterinarian for quicker absorption.

      What Do Corticosteroids Treat in Dogs?

      Corticosteroids are routinely used to treat a wide range of ailments in dogs, but the dosage and length of therapy vary depending on the type of your dog’s ailment. Low doses are often used to treat inflammation-related conditions such as joint pain, allergies, respiratory conditions, and skin issues/dermatitis. Higher doses are often used to treat autoimmune disorders such as Lupus and Addison’s Disease.

      How Do Corticosteroids Work?

      Corticosteroids function by replicating natural hormones generated by the adrenal cortex, which decrease chemicals that activate the immune system’s inflammatory response and act as an immunosuppressant when administered in high doses.

      What Corticosteroids Are There?

      Prednisone, prednisolone, dexamethasone, triamcinolone, and methylprednisolone are the most often given corticosteroids which are also synthetic corticosteroids. Corticosteroids in this form are the most commonly prescribed type and are several times more effective than the naturally occurring versions present in the body and often have a significantly longer half-life. Due to their increased potency and duration of action, synthetic corticosteroids must be used with caution to avoid serious side effects.

      What Do Corticosteroids Cost for Dogs?

      The cost of corticosteroid treatment for dogs is determined by multiple different factors, including the length of treatment, the dog’s size, the exact medication used, and how it’s administered. For example, 30 tablets of oral prednisone to take at home is only around $6-$10 from Chewy based on the dosage but it may cost around $50-$150 for an injection at the vet.

      What Are The Side Effects of Corticosteroids in Dogs?

      Photo Credit: Whole Dog Journal

      Corticosteroids in dogs can cause various side effects which vary depending on whether it’s used short term or long term. Short term is often used as an allergy treatment and side effects may include:

      • Excessive panting
      • Increase lethargy
      • Increased appetite 
      • Increased thirst and urination
      • Nausea and vomiting
      • Worsening skin infections 

      Long term usage is that which lasts for multiple weeks or months and side effects may include:

      • UTIs
      • Obesity as a result of increased appetite
      • Development of thin skin, thin coat, and blackheads
      • Muscle weakness as a result of metabolic breakdown of muscle tissue
      • Cushing’s disease
      • Behavior changes such as anger, aggressiveness, depression, and anxiety
      • Stunted growth in young dogs
      • Hypertension
      • Lack of healing
      • Digestive tract ulcers
      • Kidney issues
      • There is also a chance of pre-diabetic dogs developing diabetes during treatment and then reverting back to pre-diabetes once treatment is complete

      Side effects may be reduced by lowering the dosage, discontinuing treatment, or using an alternate steroid or treatment. Due to the commonality of side effects, corticosteroids are usually used just at the beginning stages of an allergic reaction while being gradually tapered off in an effort to reduce the chance of side effects. 

      If your dog is displaying any side effects of corticosteroids, you should inform your veterinarian as they may want to change treatment or lower the dosage.

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      Antibiotics for Dogs

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        What Are Antibiotics?

        Antibiotics are one of the most commonly recommended treatments for dogs that are used to treat bacterial infections. Infections that they treat include infections of the skin, mouth, eyes, ears, urinary tract, lungs, and other organs. They can also be used to prevent infections in high-risk situations, such as after a big incision or abdominal surgery. Antibiotics come in a variety of shapes and sizes, as well as distinct classifications. Each class fights microorganisms in a different way.

        How do Antibiotics Work?

        Bacterial antibiotics target your dog’s harmful cells while leaving the healthy ones alone. Antibiotics may prevent bacteria from building cell walls, stopping them from reproducing, depending on the treatment. Antibiotics can also starve bacteria by preventing them from converting glucose to energy, which is essential for all living cells.

        What Are the Side Effects of Antibiotics in Dogs?

        Antibiotics can come with a variety of side effects ranging from mild to severe. It’s important to take note of any side effects of antibiotics your dog may be experiencing during treatment and report it to the prescribing veterinarian. Side effects of antibiotics include:

        Allergic Reaction

        While allergic reactions can happen, they are more on the uncommon side for dogs but that doesn’t mean it can’t happen. They may occur immediately after taking (anaphylaxis) them or later on. If your dog is showing any signs of an allergic reaction, it’s best to stop the medication immediately and take them to the vet or emergency vet depending on the severity. It’s important to take note of the signs of an allergic reaction:

        • Swelling of face or muzzle
        • Seizures
        • Skin rash or hives
        • Difficulty breathing
        • Vomiting
        • Diarrhea
        • Excessive salivation

        Gastrointestinal Problems

        Gastrointestinal problems are a common side effect of antibiotics. This includes nausea, diarrhea, vomiting, and loss of appetite. These commonly occur within the first few days of taking the medication. GI problems may be helped with taking food with antibiotics.

        Antibiotic Resistance

        The chance of antibiotic resistance is why most vets and human doctors prescribe antibiotics with caution as overuse can deem the body resistant to antibiotics.  It happens when germs grow resistant to the antibiotics used to kill them. As the germs multiply, the illness worsens and becomes more difficult to cure. Vets try to prevent this by prescribing the most appropriate antibiotic for the bacterium, selecting the appropriate dose, and advising on the optimum treatment duration. This is why, even if your dog looks to be getting better, it’s vital to stick to the antibiotic treatment plan.

        Microbiome Imbalance

        Antibiotics can kill healthy bacteria in the body. The essential bacterial microbes in a dog’s body, such as in the GI tract and skin, play an important role in maintaining the body’s homeostasis. They improve the dog’s immune system, digestion, and even the production of important vitamins and minerals. To help counteract this, your veterinarian may suggest probiotic supplements.

        Neurological Issues

        Certain antibiotics, such as Metronidazole can induce ataxia (drunk gait), dilated pupils, head tilt to one side, nystagmus (involuntary fast eye movement), and even seizures in certain dogs.

        What are the Different Types of Antibiotic Medications for Dogs and What Do They Treat?

        Antibiotics are not one-size-fits-all. Different types of antibiotics are used to treat different things. So what are the different types of antibiotics and what conditions do they treat?


        Amoxicillin (Amoxil®, Amoxi-Tabs®, Amoxi-Drop®, Bimox®, Moxatag®, Novamoxin®) is a broad-spectrum antibiotic that belongs to the aminopenicillin family and is used to treat bacterial infections. It’s most typically used to treat infections of the skin, lungs, and urinary tract.


        Metronidazole (Flagyl®) is an antibacterial and antiprotozoal antibiotic that is used to treat anaerobic bacterial and protozoal illnesses including Giardia and Trichomonas. It’s a common treatment for diarrhea and other gastrointestinal problems. It’s use to treat Giardia is considered off-label.


        Clindamycin (Antirobe®, Cleocin®, ClinDrops®, Clintabs®) is an antibiotic used in dogs and cats to treat a variety of bacterial illnesses. Wounds, pyoderma, abscesses, bone, and dental diseases, and toxoplasmosis are all common uses. Its use to treat toxoplasmosisis and some other infections is considered off-label.

        Amoxicillin-Clavulanic Acid

        Amoxicillin-clavulanic acid (Clavamox®), often known as amoxicillin and clavulanate potassium, is a synthetic penicillin-type antibiotic that is used to treat infections caused by gram-positive and gram-negative bacteria. It’s used to treat infections of the skin and soft tissues, as well as periodontal (gum) disease. The clavulanic acid has been added to the amoxicillin to protect it against enzymes that may break down the antibiotic before it can kill the bacteria.


        Enrofloxacin (Baytril®) is a fluoroquinolone antibiotic that is used to treat bacterial infections.


        Gentamicin (Gentocin®, Genoptic®, Gentak®) is used to treat and prevent bacterial infections in dogs and cats, including respiratory infections, wound infections, pneumonia, bloodstream infections, bladder infections, and skin and ear infections.

        Sulfamethoxazole Trimethoprim

        Sulfamethoxazole Trimethoprim (brand names: Co-trimoxazole®, Primsol®, Bactrim®, Sulfatrim®, Novo-Trimel®, Septra®) is a mixture of antibiotics that act together to treat infections. Sulfamethoxazole Trimethoprim is commonly used to treat infections of the urinary system, skin, respiratory tract, and digestive tract as well as ear infections, kennel cough, coccidiosis, and pneumonia.


        Doxycycline (Vibramycin®, Oracea®, Monodox®, Periostat®, Doryx®, Acticlate®) is an antibiotic that can be used to treat bacterial infections in dogs. It’s a broad-spectrum antibiotic, meaning it can combat a variety of bacteria. Tick-borne disorders such as Lyme Disease, Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever, and ehrlichiosis are commonly treated with the drug in dogs. It is also used to fight heartworm disease and periodontal (tooth and gum) disease in small animals.


        Cephalexin (Rilexine®, Keflex®, Vetolexin®)  belongs to a class of antibiotics called  first-generation cephalosporin. It’s used to treat multiple infections in dogs including skin and soft tissue infections, bone infections, respiratory tract infections, ear infections, and Urinary Tract Infections (UTI). It’s effective against many different bacterias including E. coli. 

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        Can I Give My Dog Aspirin?

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          Have you ever wondered if you can give aspirin to dogs for pain relief? Let just say, you should not be giving your dog aspirin for pain relief but your veterinarian may prescribe aspirin for your dog. This is an important  factor. It should only be administered if prescribed by a veterinarian as it can have fatal consequences. . Read below to learn more about Aspirin and whether or not it may be beneficial to your dog.

          What is Aspirin?

          bottle of aspirin tipped over

          Aspirin is a non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drug (NSAID). Ibuprofen, naproxen, and carprofen are also NSAIDs. This category of medication is typically used to treat inflammation, pain, and fever. In addition, Aspirin prevents blood from clotting, acting as an anticoagulant. NSAIDs are often preferred over steroids, due to fewer side effects associated. Always contact your veterinarian before administering any new medication to your dog as aspirin may do more harm than good depending upon a number of factors.

          How Does Aspirin Work?

          Aspirin functions in dogs the same as it does in humans. The medication works by blocking pain messengers, called prostaglandins, in the body. This allows for pain and inflammation to be temporarily alleviated in the body. 

          What is Aspirin Used to Treat in Dogs?

          a hand holding aspirin to give a corgi

          Vets usually prescribe aspirin for dogs with osteoarthritis or musculoskeletal inflammation. The anti-inflammatory properties of aspirin help reduce the pain and inflammation associated with these conditions and can offer your dog relief from symptoms.


          Aspirin is commonly used for pain control in dogs including pain and discomfort related to osteoarthritis, leg injuries, and dental issues. For long-term management for arthritis, it is not the answer considering the risk of side effects outweigh the benefits. Aspirin is a reasonable option to treat an episode of pain and inflammation caused by arthritis. 

          Musculoskeletal Issues 

          The inflammation relieving component of Aspirin can be beneficial to treating musculoskeletal issues. However, there are many alternatives to treat musculoskeletal issues that may be safer long-term, so be sure to consult your vet. 

          What Are the Side Effects of Aspirin in Dogs?

          There are a number of side effects to be aware of when administering Aspirin to your dog. The most common side effects observed in dogs are: 

          • Vomiting
          • Diarrhea
          • Change in appetite 
          • Black, tarry stool
          • Mucosal erosion
          • Ulceration

          What Are the Signs of an Aspirin Overdose in Dogs?

          While there are side effects associated with Aspirin that may be commonly observed, it’s important to be knowledgeable of what the signs of an Aspirin overdose may look like. If your dog is experiencing any of the below, stop administering the medication and consult a veterinarian immediately. 

          • Lethargy
          • Fever 
          • Blood in vomit or stool
          • Disorientation
          • Coma
          • Excessive bleeding
          • Rapid breathing

          When Should You Avoid Using Aspirin?

          Aspirin should not be administered to dogs with certain existing medical conditions. In addition, inform your vet of any other medications that your dog is currently taking, as Aspirin may counteract with others. Dogs with the below medical conditions should not be administered Aspirin, including: 

          What Is the Dosage For Aspirin For Dogs?

          a hand giving aspirin to a black and white dog

          Aspirin dosage can best be determined by your veterinarian. If your vet does prescribe aspirin for your dog, make sure to follow the instructions carefully and keep an eye out for side effects. Your vet may fill a prescription in the office or suggest you buy baby aspirin. This is because baby aspirin is a lower-dose medication over adult aspirin that most people have at home. 

          The dosage of aspirin to give your dog will be dependent upon their size. Typically, smaller dogs receive a smaller dose while larger dogs require more.

          Can I Give My Dog Aspirin?
          Can I Give My Dog Aspirin?
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          What Are the Most Prescribed Drugs for Dogs

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            Everyday, dogs are prescribed medication for a variety of reasons and ailments which are for lessening the effects of symptoms and for treating ailments. But do you know which are the most common medications prescribed for dogs? It’s important to be knowledgeable about different types of medication your dog may be prescribed in order to ask the right questions to the vet and know if you’re comfortable with giving it to your dog. Here are the five most common medications prescribed to dogs:

            1. Metronidazole

            What is Metronidazole?

            Metronidazole is a powerful antidiarrheal antibiotic that is also sold under the brand names Flagyl, Metizol, Protostat, Metrogel, and others. As well as treating bacterial infections in people, it is used to treat various diseases and disorders in dogs, cats and horses. In many cases, it is administered together with other antibiotics. 

            There are two ways to take metronidazole: orally or externally. For dogs, doctors commonly prescribe metronidazole even though it has not been authorized by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration for veterinary use (it is allowed for human use).

            What is it Prescribed For?

            Metronidazole is often used to treat bacterial infections, as well as some parasites, but it’s also used to treat a variety of other conditions and their symptoms. Those include:

            What are the Side Effects of Metronidazole in Dogs?

            Common side effects of Metronidazole in dogs include: 

            • Diarrhea
            • Drooling
            • Fatigue
            • Loss of appetite
            • Regurgitation
            • Nausea/vomiting
            • Fever
            • Discolored urine

            While it’s important to watch for side effects, it’s also important to watch for signs of overdosing. Dogs who have received too much will need emergency care if they show signs of:

            • Seizures
            • Stiffness or muscle spasms
            • Irregular or abnormally slow heartbeat
            • Dilated pupils or eye twitching
            • Tremors

            2. Famotidine

            What is Famotidine?

            Famotidine, also known as Pepcid or Apo-Famotidine, is used to treat several gastrointestinal diseases. The medication acts by attaching to receptors in the stomach lining, resulting in a reduction in stomach acid production. It is believed that ulcers are caused by stomach acid or infections, such as the H. pylori bacterium. A gastrointestinal ulcer can lead to gastrointestinal bleeding, which can be very hazardous. It is possible to prevent ulcers from developing by reducing stomach acid production. If your dog is suffering from gastritis or ulcerative colitis then this product may be right for you. 

            Veterinarians can safely prescribe it despite the fact that it is not FDA authorized for use in animals. Follow your veterinarian’s instructions before administering any medicine to your dog.

            What is it Prescribed For?

            Famotidine is given for gastrointestinal ailments in dogs and some others including:

            What are the Side Effects of Famotidine in Dogs?

            With any medication ,it’s important to note and report to your vet any side effects. Common side effects of Famotidine include:

            • Constipation
            • Diarrhea
            • Loss of appetite
            • Drowsiness
            • Headache

            Signs of an overdose of Famotidine in dogs include: 

            • Vomiting
            • Diarrhea
            • Low blood pressure
            • Irregular heartbeat
            • Difficulty breathing

            3. Diphenhydramine

            What is Diphenhydramine?

            Diphenhydramine is an antihistamine sold usually under the name Benadryl and is a medication commonly prescribed for both dogs and humans. Diphenhydramine blocks histamine receptors in the body. As a result, itching, sneezing and itching-like symptoms are relieved. As long as the receptor antagonist is present in the body, histamine will not be detected.

            Dogs and cats may safely take Benadryl, even if the FDA hasn’t authorized it yet. 

            What is it Prescribed For?

            Benadryl is often prescribed for the following: 

            What are the Side Effects of Diphenhydramine in Dogs?

            Benadryl is usually a safe drug for dogs to take but should still be taken under advisory of a vet. Be sure to watch out for the following common side effects:

            • Increased heart rate
            • Drowsiness
            • Hyper-salivation
            • Dry mouth
            • Rapid breathing
            • Urinary retention

            Rare side effects include:

            • Diarrhea
            • Vomiting
            • Decreased appetite
            • Increased appetite

            Signs of Benadryl overdose to watch out for:

            • Agitation
            • Rapid heartbeat
            • Seizures
            • Constipation
            • Dilated pupils

            4. Doxepin

            What is Doxepin?

            Doxepin is a medication usually sold under the names Adapin, Anten, Aponal, Deptran and Zonalon. It is a tricyclic antidepressant and antihistamine used to treat psychogenic dermatoses with an anxiety component. 

            It is ‘off label’ or ‘extra label’ to use it to treat psychogenic dermatoses and allergies in dogs. In veterinary medicine, off-label usage of several medicines is frequent. Take note of your veterinarian’s instructions, since they may change substantially from those on the label.

            What is it Prescribed For?

            Doxepin is used for treating psychiatric disorders in dogs. The most common condition it’s prescribed for are:

            What are the Side Effects of Doxepin in Dogs?

            The most common side effects of Doxepin in dogs are:

            • Vomiting
            • Diarrhea
            • Constipation
            • Dry mouth
            • Difficulty urinating
            • Decreased appetite

            Owners should especially watch out for more serious side effects, which is usually associated with higher doses, and stop medication immediately if dogs show signs of:

            • Excitability
            • Abnormal heart beats
            • Coma
            • Collapsing
            • Abnormal bleeding
            • Seizures
            • Fever

            5. Tramadol

            What is Tramadol?

            Tramadol, sold under the brand names Ultram, ConZip, Durela, Ralivia, Rybix, Ryzolt, Tridural and Zytram, is an opioid used for pain relief in dogs. But pain relief is actually considered ‘off label’ and when used for this, follow your veterinarian’s instructions as they will likely differ from that on the packaging. 

            Tramadol is a part of the opioid family, which implies that it affects the transmission and perception of pain in people and animals. As a result of tramadol’s effect on the brain, norepinephrine and serotonin levels rise in the dog’s circulation, creating a similar sensation of euphoria and well-being to that experienced by human patients.

            What is it Prescribed For?

            Tramadol, like most opioids, is used to alleviate pain. Tramadol is recommended by the Merck Veterinary Manual for treating “acute and chronic pain of moderate to severe severity.” This could imply anything from helping your dog recover from surgery to managing the pain associated with osteoarthritis when combined with other medications.


            If your dog is in pain due to any of the following conditions, your veterinarian may prescribe tramadol:

            • Cancer
            • Osteoarthritis
            • IVDD
            • Post-operative pain
            • General pain from an injury or ailment 
            • Lameness

            Less common conditions:

            • Anxiety
            • Canine degenerative myelopathy
            • Coughing

            What are the Side Effects of Tramadol in Dogs?

            The most common side effects of Tramadol in dogs to look out for include:

            • Sedation
            • Tremors
            • Anxiety
            • Decreased appetite
            • Dizziness
            • Vomiting
            • Constipation
            • Diarrhea 

            More adverse effects as well as signs of Tramadol overdose include:

            • Extreme drowsiness
            • Incoordination
            • Seizures
            • Agitation
            • Rapid heartbeat

            If your dog is experiencing more adverse side effects and signs of overdose, stop administering medication immediately and contact your veterinarian.

            Please note, no medications should be administered without veterinary approval from your primary veterinarian.

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            Table-surfing Pooch Makes a Meal Out of Nearly 500 Ibuprofen Caplets

            MINNEAPOLISJuly 14, 2021 /PRNewswire/ — Most medications warn you to keep out of reach of children, but in Diane Spray’s home that warning now applies to her pets. Spray, who works late hours in Wausau, WI, recently came home at 3 a.m. to find her dog Abby “acting sheepish like she’s done something naughty.” Initially she couldn’t see anything that could cause the behavior, but when she checked the dog’s mouth, she found a chewed ibuprofen bottlecap and knew immediately what must have happened.

            Abby poses with the evidence. She survived the ingestion of 500 Ibuprofen caplets thanks to an unusual intravenous intralipid emulsion treatment (ILE), a lifesaving treatment of fat-soluble drug intoxications.

            “I usually keep a big bottle of ibuprofen in my work bag, but I remembered that I had left a new bottle on the kitchen table,” explained Spray. “After I found Abby with the bottlecap in her mouth, I realized she had gotten into the medication, but I couldn’t find the bottle. Once I did, it was clear she had destroyed the packaging and ingested nearly 500 caplets. At first, I didn’t know what to think, but 500 of anything is bad. The question was, how bad? I Googled ‘dogs and ibuprofen’ and realized it was really, really bad.”

            “My first call was to our local emergency veterinary clinic, PAW Health Networks, and they recommended we call the experts at Pet Poison Helpline next. That way I could explain what had happened, and the clinic staff could liaise with the toxicology specialists from the Helpline. When calculating the dose she ingested, the Helpline said this massive amount could readily cause death in a dog. While I was on the phone with them, Abby vomited, and they recommended I take her in immediately.”

            Once at PAW Health Networks in Wausau, they induced vomiting and administered an oral charcoal treatment, which is a common procedure for poisoning. They also placed her on IV fluids to help protect her kidneys. Over the next few hours, Abby became so sedate she was nearly non-responsive, a worrisome complication that can develop in large overdoses of ibuprofen. To help combat this, Abby was given two doses of naloxone, which is designed to rapidly reverse an opioid overdose. Even though ibuprofen is not an opioid, naloxone is sometimes helpful in treating severe sedation from ibuprofen and some other poisonings. Unfortunately, this therapy was not successful for Abby and her condition continued to deteriorate. A series of blood tests confirmed that Abby’s organs were starting to fail, and the toxicology professionals at Pet Poison Helpline recommended an unusual next step – intravenous intralipid emulsion treatment (ILE), a lifesaving treatment of fat-soluble drug intoxications.

            “The use of lipids with NSAID (nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs) poisoning is relatively new and somewhat controversial, but we may recommend it in life-threatening cases when patients have severe neurological signs if dialysis-type treatments are not available,” said Ahna Brutlag, DVM, MS, DABT, DABVT, a board-certified veterinary toxicologist at Pet Poison Helpline. “Basically, the fats in the intralipid treatment act like a magnet and the poisons get stuck to it and are removed from the body. We also recommended methocarbamol as needed for tremors and anti-convulsants as needed for seizures.”

            Because intralipid emulsion treatment is uncommon in veterinary clinics, PAW did not have any in stock and needed to get a supply from a human hospital. Since time was precious, Spray drove to the Aspirus Wausau Hospital herself and picked up the medication from their in-person pharmacy.

            “The real miracle was Pet Poison Helpline telling our veterinarian about the lipid therapy,” added Spray. “The charcoal wasn’t cutting it because of the huge dosage of ibuprofen and within a day of receiving the lipid therapy, her condition improved dramatically. Her blood numbers shot back to normal, and the veterinarian said she had never seen anything like it.” Abby is now “100 percent herself” and off all medications.

            “On initial presentation the patient was alert and oriented, and her physical examination was overall unremarkable with blood work revealing a mildly elevated phosphorus and normal kidney values,” said Lauren Fenton, DVM, who was the first veterinarian to treat Abby at PAW Health Networks. “Within a few hours after presentation, the patient went from appearing completely normal to being uncoordinated, ataxic and then became comatose. Blood work was redone, and creatinine was now elevated along with a severely elevated lactate level and decreased blood pH. Her decline in status was presumed to be from the ibuprofen toxicity.”

            “Pet Poison Helpline was contacted again and intralipid therapy was recommended. After several hours of patient receiving intralipid therapy, patient was almost back to normal again,” Fenton added. “By the following morning, the patient’s neurologic behavior had completely resolved. On behalf of the patient, I am grateful for the intralipid therapy recommendation from Pet Poison Helpline and am happy to report that the patient continues to do well.”

            Pet Poison Helpline created Toxin Tails to educate the veterinary community and pet lovers on the many types of poisoning dangers facing pets, both in and out of the home. All the pets highlighted in Toxin Tails have been successfully treated for the poisoning and fully recovered.

            About Pet Poison Helpline

            Pet Poison Helpline, an animal poison control center based in Minneapolis, is available 24 hours, seven days a week for pet owners and veterinary professionals who require assistance treating a potentially poisoned pet. The veterinarians and board-certified toxicologists provide treatment advice for poisoning cases of all species, including dogs, cats, birds, small mammals, large animals and exotic species. As the most cost-effective option for animal poison control care, Pet Poison Helpline’s fee of $65 per incident includes follow-up consultations for the duration of the poison case. Pet Poison Helpline is available in North America by calling 800-213-6680. Additional information can be found online at


            Maja Ferrell 
            Pet Poison Helpline
            (952) 852-4608

            SOURCE Pet Poison Helpline