Common Dog Arthritis Medicine Side Effects


Dog arthritis medicine can help a canine find relief from the painful, degenerative joint disease that is arthritis. Even though these medications can be the answer to a dog's aches and pains, they are not without side effects, which can be very serious.

Causes of Dog Arthritis

Age is one of the most common factors found in dogs with arthritis as this can be caused by natural wear and tear on the joints. However, conditions like hip dysplasia or an injury can cause can cause joints to wear prematurely. Arthritis can also be inherited: if a puppy's mother or father has arthritis, there is a good chance the young dog will develop the disease later on in life.

Nutrition can play a big role in the health of a dog's joints at any age. The inappropriate amount of minerals and proteins can make the chances a dog will develop arthritis higher. Too much food and not enough exercise, which can cause a dog to be overweight or obese, can cause wear on the joints. A balanced diet and plenty of regular exercise will help ensure a dog's muscles will be strong enough to support the joints that help them move.

Arthritis Treatment with NSAIDs

A veterinarian may recommend a dog take medication to help manage the pain he is experiencing. Popular medications prescribed are NSAID's: non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs. NSAIDs are drugs that help relieve pain and reduce inflammation. Common NSAIDs are aspirin, ibuprofen, acetaminophen and naproxen. Aspirin is a unique type of NSAID because it can prevent blood from clotting for up to 7 days. The American Veterinary Medical Association urges all dog owners to contact a veterinarian before giving an arthritic dog an NSAID as these drugs can be toxic if not given in the correct doses.

Side Effects of NSAIDs

A dog's body will react differently than a human one when given an NSAID as doses recommended for human may be too high for a dog. For example, acetaminophen can cause dogs in smaller breeds to experience tissue damage quickly.

NSAIDs can be hard on a dog's stomach and its lining. Ulcers, internal gastro-intestinal bleeding, diarrhea, and vomiting are some of the major symptoms of toxicity due to a high dose of these pain killers. A change in bowel movements or a dog's stool color and consistency may be noticed and his urination habits may change.

The behavior of a dog can become more aggressive and his activity level may change. A dog taking NSAIDs may become thirstier and his appetite may change. Kidney and liver damage, along with anemia, have also been reported in dogs that take NSAID for arthritis pain and inflammation. Signs of liver damage include yellowing of the eyes, gums, and skin.

Arthritis can be a very debilitating condition for dogs that can cause extreme pain and limited mobility. A veterinarian should always be consulted when it comes to finding an appropriate medicine for pet pain management as a little too much can result in big consequences.