Rimadyl is the brand name of the drug carprofen. Carprofen is a non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drug specifically developed to treat pain and inflammation in dogs. It is similar to ibuprofen in both chemical structure and mode of action.
How to use
Rimadyl for dogs is only available by prescription from a veterinarian. It is commonly prescribed to control the pain of arthritis and is also often prescribed to control pain after surgical procedures.
It should be given exactly as directed by the veterinarian. Most commonly, it is given once a day with food. Rimadyl comes in a beef-flavored chewable form and most dogs will eat it like it is a treat. If the dog does not accept it as is, it can be thrown down the dog's throat (ask your veterinarian about how to pill a dog), or it can be coated with peanut butter, cheese, liverwurst, or canned dog food. Alternatively, it can be placed inside one of the commercially available products used to entice dogs to consume pills, like Pill Pockets.
How it works
Like most NSAIDs, Rimadyl works primarily by blocking the function of COX-2. It also seems to inhibit the release of prostaglandins. These two actions together lead to reductions in inflammation and pain.
In dogs, Rimadyl is rapidly and thoroughly absorbed from the digestive tract, achieving peak blood levels within an hour of consumption. An estimated 90% of the drug is absorbed. The drug has a half-life in the dog of around eight hours.
Possible side effects
Rimadyl is generally believed to be quite safe, but it can cause gastrointestinal irritation and sometimes bleeding or even overt ulcers and perforations. This is why it should always be given with food, to help protect the gastrointestinal tract.
In some rare cases, dogs have developed kidney and liver toxicity in response to Rimadyl. In most of these cases, the dog had underlying kidney or liver disease and was on other potentially toxic medications, or was dehydrated due to their kidney disease.
Dog owners should immediately contact their veterinarian if the dog has dark, tarry stools; loses its appetite; vomits or has diarrhea; drinks excessive amounts of water; develops a yellow color in the eyes; is lethargic or uncoordinated; or has a seizure while taking Rimadyl.
Dogs who have had previous allergic reactions to NSAIDs should not take Rimadyl. Dogs with clotting disorders should also not take this drug. Its safety during pregnancy and lactation is unknown.
Rimadyl should only be administered to dogs. Its safety in humans and cats is unknown. It should be stored where children cannot access it.