Aspirin For Dogs - Managing Pain and Canine Arthritis




Can I Give My Dog Aspirin For Pain Relief?

Like humans, dogs can experience pain from injuries, infections or disease. And when a dog is in pain whether it is due to traumatic or inflammatory reasons (such as canine arthritis), aspirin can be given as an effective medication to help your pet control the pain and relieve inflammation.

How Aspirin Work To Relieve Pain?

Aspirin belongs to the general class of drugs collectively known as Non-Steroidal Anti-Inflammatory Drugs (NSAIDs), which are most commonly prescribed to relieve pain caused by inflammation.

The most common form of inflammatory pain in dogs is osteoarthritis. Osteoarthritis or canine arthritis as it is commonly known is a degenerative joint disease that attacks the cartilage, which cushions the joints, leading to inflammation and pain.

As an anti-inflammatory analgesic, aspirin helps block the body's synthesis and production of prostaglandin (which are the source of pain and inflammation) to relieve pain associated with musculoskeletal injuries and reduce the swelling in your dog’s joints.

However, aspirin is not a miracle drug and it is important to note that aspirin should only be used as a short term solution for pain relief for your dogs in the recommended dosage recommended by your vet.

Aspirin should never be use as a long-term control for dog arthritis pain, due to its destructive side effects on joint cartilage and possible irritation of the stomach that can result in stomach, liver and kidney damage.

Since dogs are particularly sensitive to any gastrointestinal effects of pain, it is always advisable to consult your veterinarian before administering your dog any aspirin to relieve canine arthritis pain.

Recommended Dosage and Frequency

Despite the potential side effects, aspirin are potent anti-inflammatory and anti-pain medication that can be used safely and effectively under a doctor's supervision, most often for short term pain management.

Aspirin For Dogs

Any dogs who is going on aspirin should first have a blood work test done before the drug is administered. This helps to establish a "baseline" of your dog's health and also helps to gather a wealth of information concerning the well-being of your pet. With the blood work test results, your vet may adjust the aspirin dosage amount or have your dog switch to another medication.

The current standard dosage of aspirin recommended by most veterinarians is 5mg to 10mg per pound of the dog’s weight, or about 10-20mg per kg weight for every 12 hour period.

To further reduce any effects of stomach irritation, it is also recommended to give your dog aspirin at meal time. Your vet may also prescribe a gastric mucosa protectant, such as misoprostol (Cytotec) or sucralfate (Carafate) to prevent this complication.

Potential Risks Associated with Aspirin

As one the top selling pet drugs, the use of aspirin or related NSAIDs can produce some serious side effects and is no longer recommended for long term control of canine arthritis.

When your dog is in pain, veterinarians do their best to help by prescribing aspirin to relieve the pain and make your dog feel more comfortable. However, sometimes vets forget to advise their clients about the potential side effects from aspirin or related prescription arthritis medications.

In recent years, the FDA has been examining and publishing repeated warnings about some serious problems associated with the use of aspirin and related NSAIDs for dogs.

Some of the Risks Associated with Aspirin For Dogs Are:

  • Aspirin are potent and have high toxicity. In the short term, aspirin may cause some serious gastrointestinal problem that may result in severe stomach irritation with side effects like vomiting, loss of appetite and diarrhea. Over the long run, they may cause serious health problems such as kidney or liver damage to your dog.

  • While they are effective pain relievers, aspirin do not slow down the progression of canine arthritis due to its negative effects on proteoglycan synthesis (which are essential for other normal bodily functions) and may lead to premature degeneration of the joints.

  • Additionally, when aspirin is given without food, ulcers might form in the stomach. A common sign of your dog developing stomach ulcers is blood-tinged vomiting.

  • Aspirin should not be given to puppies and cats as they lack the necessary enzymes to breakdown the aspirin which can result in severe organ damage.

  • Aspirin is also not recommended for dogs that are pregnant as it may cause birth defects. Neither should it be given to dogs suffering from any bleeding or clotting disorders that may produce potentially fatal side effects such as gastrointestinal bleeding.

Reference:

  1. http://pets.webmd.com/dogs/guide/dog-pain-medications 
  2. http://www.adogslifetoronto.com/resources/painmedicationfordogs.pdf 

Additional Warnings When Using Aspirin For Your Dog

  • Never use more than one NSAID (including aspirin) at the same time.

  • Never attempt to increase the dosage, or frequency of the drug without first discussing it with your vet.

  • Do not combine NSAIDs with any other corticosteroids.

  • Never give aspirins or NSAIDs to other dogs without any prior medical examination by your vet even if it is assume safe for one dog.

  • Aspirin should be stopped at least one week before any surgery.

  • Do not give over-the-counter aspirin made for human consumption to your dogs.

Potential Side Effects of Aspirin To Look Out For

Like corticosteriods, aspirin for dogs has the potential to produce a number of undesirable side effects. Commonly seen short term side effects that one should be concerned include:

Side Effects of NSAIDs for Dogs
  • Lethargy
  • Loss of appetite
  • Vomiting
  • Excessive increase of water intake
  • Diarrhea and increase in urine output
  • Skin related problems or allergies

Potentially fatal side effects of aspirin and NSAIDs include:

  • Gastrointestinal bleeding
  • Ulcers
  • Kidney damage and disease
  • Liver problems and disease
  • Neurologic disorder
  • Death (in rare cases)

Asking Your Veterinarian - A Checklist

In the event that aspirin or NSAIDs needs to be given to your dog for pain relief, always consult with or ask your veterinarian these questions:

  • What is the NSAID or medication prescribed for? (if your dog has multiple health problems)

  • What is the correct dosage and frequency to give?

  • How long should the medication be given or continued?

  • What are the possible side effects that you should look out for when your dog is on NSAIDs?

  • What products or drugs your dog needs to avoid while taking an NSAID? (especially if your pet has a medical history or drug allergy or is currently being prescribed other oral medications for other health conditions)

  • How often should your dog health condition be re-evaluated and re-examined?

Be vigilant yourself. If your dogs are on aspirin, they must have a physical examination, and blood and urine testing done every 2 to 3 months to monitor for any potential fatal side effects.

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Other Medications That Are Commonly Used For Treatment of Dog Arthritis

There are also many NSAIDs other than aspirin that are either prescribed or that can be purchased over the counter for the treatment of pain and canine arthritis. Some of these (including their side effects) are:

Carprofen (Rimadyl) is an analgesic that is also widely used in dogs. It is available as a caplet and chewable tablet that is fed to dogs orally twice daily, or as an injection administered by veterinarians. One of the most serious potential side effects is liver problems in dogs. Caprofen should not be given to pregnant or lactating dogs.

Etodolac (EtoGesic) is used for the management of pain and fever that occur with inflammation. Unlike, Rimadyl, Etodolac is only given once a day and is less likely to have negative effects on a dog’s liver or kidneys. However, one of its side effects is dry eyes.

Deracoxib (Deramaxx) is related to a class of antibiotic drugs called “sulfonamides”. It is a non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drug of the coxib class, used to treat osteoarthritis in dogs. Possible side effects of Deracoxib includes, vomiting, change in bowel movements, decrease in appetite and change in drinking or urination.

Firocoxib (Previcox) helps reduce pain and inflammation and also helps with protective function of the prostaglandins on the kidneys and stomach. The most common side effects with Firocoxib are anorexia and vomiting.

Tepoxalin (Zubrin) is primarily used to reduce inflammation and relief of pain caused by musculoskeletal disorders such as hip dysplasia and arthritis. It is a rapidly disintegrating table that dissolves quickly upon contact with a dog’s saliva and should be given with food within 1-2 hours of feeding. Some of its side effects include liver, kidney or blood clotting abnormalities.

Meloxicam (Metacam) is a non steroidal anti-inflammatory drug used as an analgesic, fever reducer and anti-inflammatory. However, if your dog is unusually thirsty, drinking and urinating frequently, after taking Metacam, take her to the veterinarian at once. The most serious side effect of taking Metacam is kidney failure, which might lead to death.

Natural Alternatives to Aspirin

While most conventional therapies for treating inflammation and osteoarthritis still involves corticosteroids or non-steroidal medications and surgery, they rarely help the joints to heal.

Wouldn't it be great if there are much better and safer remedies which are much more effective than aspirin to help relieve the pain and inflammation associated with dog arthritis without causing the side effects seen with conventional medications?

In fact, in recent years, many veterinarians are slowly coming around to the use of homeopathic/oligotherapeutic dietary supplements containing high-quality multi-minerals and nutrients to help dogs relieve joint pain, rehabilitate damaged cartilages and speed up their recovery on the cellular level.

One such highly effective and natural pet joint health remedy is Arthro-Ionx, a FDA (label code 50364) and US Pharmacopoeia approved homeopathic pet joint formulation that has been scientifically proven to be 99% effective in reversing pet and canine arthritis from the inside out.

It is specially formulated to help in the treatment of various joints pain brought on by various skeletal disorders or injuries that can be congenital, hereditary, infectious, inflammatory, metabolic or traumatic.

Arthro-Ionx will help relieve the pain, nourish and strengthen your pet's depleted skeletal system as well as repair and regenerate cartilage damage plus the connective tissues between joints to improve mobility.

A Simple Conclusion

Aspirin for dogs remains an effective short term analgesic to control pain associated with musculoskeletal disease or injuries. However, if you do not want to put your dog at risk of any serious health problems associated with aspirin or other related NSAIDs, Arthro-Ionx will provide a safe and natural alternative to help cure and prevent arthritis and joint pain in your dog.