Side Effects Of Carprofen For Dogs & Alternatives: What is Carprofen for Dogs?
Carprofen is a nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drug (NSAID) with analgesic, anti-inflammatory, and antipyretic properties. It is used solely in veterinary medicine for treating dogs with arthritis and for postoperative pain.
People also used Carprofen during the 1980s but for commercial reasons, the manufacturer withdrew it from the market, effectively terminating the use of the drug for human treatment.
It’s important to note that the drug does not cause cancer. In a two-year oral toxicity study and an 80-week carcinogenicity study, Carprofen was found to exhibit no carcinogenic potential.
Dosage of Carprofen
When prescribing Carprofen, vets consider both its benefits and risks. To be on the safe side, they often give the minimum effective dosage within the shortest duration possible based on individual response.
In most cases, however, the recommended dose is 2 mg/lb (4.4. mg/kg) of body weight daily. This can be divided into two daily doses of 1 mg/lb (2.2 mg/kg) body weight to be given twice daily.
For controlling pain associated with elective surgery, the drug is usually administered prior to the procedure.
Carprofen is available in capsule as well as tablet forms, in 25, 75, and 100 mg doses. A bottle may contain 30, 60, or 180 capsules depending on size.
Side Effects of Carprofen
There are few clinically significant adverse reactions reported for this NSAID.
In studies, low frequencies of adverse reactions were observed: constipation (3%), behavioral changes (1%), lethargy (1.4%), changes in appetite (3%), diarrhea (4%), and vomiting (4%).
Dogs respond well to the medication. However, like all NSAIDs, prolonged use can result in liver, gastrointestinal, or kidney problems.
Even by staying within the prescribed dose and duration, your canine companion may still experience loss of appetite. Other side effects to watch out for include:
- Increase in thirst
- increase in urination
- Liver dysfunction characterized by yellowing of eyes
- Renal dysfunction
Effects recorded for Carprofen overdose include gastro-intestinal ulcer formation, gastritis, seizures. Use the drug with caution if your dog has liver or kidney disease, and in cases of dehydration or bleeding.
The safety of Carprofen has not been established for dogs with bleeding disorders, and for those that are pregnant, as well as in lactating dogs.
Before using Carprofen, confirm with the vet if your dog has an allergic reaction to aspirin. If such is the case, the vet will most likely avoid prescribing the NSAID.
The same goes for allergic reactions to other NSAIDs such as Tepoxalin and Meloxicam. Allergic reactions result to symptoms such as red or itchy skin, hives, or facial swelling.
Cost of Carprofen
Carprofen is a prescription, non-DEA controlled substance. As in the case of other drugs, it’s safe to use reputable generic equivalent of branded Carprofen. Yes, you’re going to enjoy lots of savings too if you go generic.
The generic form is cheaper because manufacturers do not have to do the same costly laboratory clinical trials that brand-name companies go through to get FDA approval.
No worries with reputable generic alternatives, however, as it carries the same active ingredient, has the same strength, and is equally safe. Still, ask your vet if he’s recommending a particular brand.
Now for the price, you will spend less than $0.40 per 75-mg pill if you go for generics.
Some generic medicine vendors offer free shipping for a certain minimum amount of order—for example, free shipping for a total purchase of $49. The lowest price is $0.29, which is for 25-mg pills.
Prices for branded varieties like Novox will almost double your expenses. With Novox, you will spend about $0.75 to $0.89 per pill, depending on the supplier. This usually comes with a free shipping offer though.
Other brand names include Rimadyl, Acticarp, Carprieve, and Vetprofen.
Interaction with other Drugs
There are several drugs that interact with Carprofen:
- Phenytoin – an anti-epileptic drug
- Valproic acid – also for treating epilepsy and bipolar order
- Oral anticoagulants – these are blood thinners to reduce risk for stroke
- Salicylates – examples of these are Acetaminophen and Ibuprofen
- Sulfonamides – these are drugs that inhibit bacterial growth
- Sulfonyurea – used in drugs to control diabetes
- Phobenecid – a drug that increases uric acid secretion
- Methotrexate – also called antimetabolites; used to treat certain types of cancer, psoriasis, and rheumatoid arthritis
- Furosemide – used to reduce abnormally high body fluids
- Digoxin – used to treat atrial fibrillation
- Glucocorticoids – these are a class of steroid hormones
If you’re unsure of the content of the drugs that your dogs are currently taking, consult your vet.
Ingredients in Carprofen
Depending on the brand, a Carprofen tablet or pill may also contain the following ingredients:
- Microcrystalline cellulose
- Croscarmellose sodium
- Magnesium stearate
- Purified stearic acid
How much of these other ingredients are included in a given tablet or pill? Well, the specific formula for each variety of the NSAID is maintained as a trade secret by manufacturers.
Consider these alternative treatment options in the event of an emergency and in cases when Carprofen is beyond your reach or simply not suited for your pooch:
- CBD Oil – This is an alternative to Carprofen, with some dog owners even attesting that CBD oil is the safest treatment one can consider for a wide range of diseases.
Aside from pain related to arthritis, canine health issues that can be treated include gastrointestinal diseases, symptoms of cancer, anxiety, stress, nausea, and seizures.
Other reasons for using CBD Oil include: improvement of skin and coat, weight and metabolism support, and lowered risk of cardiovascular disease.
However, keep in mind that drowsiness, reduced blood pressure, and dry mouth should be regularly checked for in dogs that are given this natural NSAID substitute.
Below is a non-exhaustive list of other NSAID alternatives to Carprofen:
- Deracoxib – Like other NSAIDs, this is indicated for pain and inflammation associated with orthopedic surgery and should not be used on pups younger than four months. Vomiting, decreased appetite, and change in bowel movement are its common side effects.
- Meloxicam – This is given to ease pain, inflammation, and stiffness stemming from musculoskeletal system disorders. Its side effects include appetite loss, diarrhea, loss of coordination, and skin irritation. Safety has not been investigated in dogs younger than six months of age.
- Grapiprant – This is an NSAID used to control pain and inflammation associated with osteoarthritis. Its safety has not been tested in dogs younger than 9 months old or lactating or pregnant bitches. Side effects include vomiting, diarrhea, inappetence, and lethargy.
Reviewed By Dr. Gullamune Hoareau
Dr. Hoareau earned his veterinary degree from the Toulouse National Veterinary School, France. He completed a residency from the University of California-Davis and is now board-certified by both the American and European Colleges of Veterinary Emergency and Critical Care. Dr. Hoareau holds a PhD from the University of California-Davis in Integrative Pathobiology, specifically in resuscitation and haemorrhage control. He completed a research fellowship in military trauma and critical illness. His interests include haemorrhage control, cardiac arrest, and working dog health.