Pet Arthritis

Rimadyl is a non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drug (NSAID) commonly used for dog pain relief. You can only get it through your Veterinarian. It is usually given orally, but injections are also available.

Rimadyl is for treating a painful condition known as osteoarthritis. This is a condition of joints, and can affect your pet in many different ways. Signs of this condition include reluctance to exercise, trouble climbing stairs, and limping. Also, if your pet used to jump into and out of your car, and now they don’t want to, they may be suffering from arthritis.

Rimadyl relieves some of the pain and inflammation of osteoarthritis, and can have great results. Improvement can even be seen in a few days.

Some side effects of may include decreased appetite, or vomiting. A change in behavior, and in a very small percentage of pets, allergic reactions.

IT IS VERY IMPORTANT YOU TALK TO YOUR VETERINARIAN if you have questions or concerns about rimadyl. Although it works for many pets it may not be right for yours.

Some frequently asked questions:

I suspect my dog has arthritis, what should I do?

If you think your dog may have arthritis, it is best to see a veterinarian. They will do a complete physical exam, and maybe recommend dietary or exercise changes, and maybe some anti-inflammatory medication.

What is Rimadyl®?

Rimadyl® (carprofen) is a non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drug (NSAID) developed and approved specifically for use in dogs. Indicated for the relief of pain and inflammation, Rimadyl has been shown to be clinically effective for the relief of signs associated with arthritis.

How do I give rimadyl to my dog?

Rimadyl is available as a caplet or chewable tablet. Both are given orally in 25, 75, and 100 mg doses. Rimadyl also comes in an injectable formula that your veterinarian can administer.

How much Rimadyl do I give?

Recommended dosage is 2 mg/lb. of body weight once a day. The veterinarian will recommend the correct dose for your dog.

What does Rimadyl do for a dog with arthritis?

Rimadyl relieves arthritis pain, allowing for increased activity and freedom of movement, thereby improving a dog's quality of life. And, the increased activity helps maintain healthy weight, which helps slow down the progression of the disease.

Are there any side effects associated with Rimadyl?

As with other pain relievers in this class, rare but serious digestive and liver side effects may occur. Signs of Rimadyl intolerance may include appetite loss, vomiting and diarrhea. Serious adverse reactions associated with this drug class can occur without warning and in rare situations result in death. If these signs occur, discontinue Rimadyl therapy and contact your veterinarian. For additional product details, including drug interaction information, click on Dog Owner Information. Of course, regular monitoring is required for pets on any medications. Rimadyl has been safely used in over 6 million dogs in the US and 10 million dogs worldwide.

What about exercise for my dog with arthritis?

When arthritis makes it painful for your dog to move, chances are he’ll be less active. But inactivity can lead to problems too, such as decreased flexibility, joint stiffness, loss of muscle strength, and weight gain. The key is moderation: providing a healthy level of exercise that doesn’t put too much strain on your pet’s joints.

Low-impact exercise, such as leash walking and swimming, can increase muscle strength and help stabilize joints. Start your dog's exercise program slowly to give your dog time to get in shape. Begin with several short walks, interspersed with rest periods. If your dog seems to experience more pain after exercise, decrease the exercise time by half. As muscle strength increases, gradually increase the length of your walks. But before starting any exercise program, discuss it with your veterinarian first, to ensure that it’s the right program for your dog.

Of course, if your dog is overweight, don’t overdo exercise and stress the joints until weight loss occurs. And if your dog has a pre-existing condition that puts him at risk for arthritis, such as a torn cruciate ligament, talk to your veterinarian about correcting the condition before starting an exercise program. Exercising a dog with an unstable joint from a torn cruciate ligament will only speed the development of arthritis.

Do you have any tips about exercising my dog?
• Try to make exercise a regular part of your dog's routine.
• Take frequent, short walks throughout the week, rather than one long hike on the weekend.
• Encourage swimming if your dog enjoys it. Swimming gives your dog a great workout with minimal stress on joints.
• Avoid exercise that involves jumping and leaping, especially for large dogs. The impact from jogging or leaping for a Frisbee is very hard on your pet’s joints.
• If your dog tends to overdo it, keep him on a leash.
• Playful activities with other pets can help your dog get exercise.
• Cover slippery floors with rugs to make sure your dog has firm footing.
• Make sure you and your dog drink plenty of water before, during and after activity.
• Avoid exercising during the hottest parts of the day. Early mornings, late afternoons and evenings are best.
• Stay off hot sidewalks and pavement. If it’s too hot for your bare feet, it’s probably too hot for your dog's paws.
• Watch for signs that your dog is working too hard: rapid breathing, bright-red gums and lagging behind may indicate fatigue.
• If you have any questions about you or your pet’s ability to engage in certain activities, contact your physician or your veterinarian.

Is there anything else I can do to make my dog more comfortable?

• Gentle massage can be used to increase blood flow to the arthritic areas before activity, and to decrease stiffness after activity. Ask your veterinarian to show you how to correctly massage around affected joints.
• Applying heat to the joint can help relieve muscle spasm and pain. Just soak a towel in warm water, and apply to the joint for 10 minutes, two to three times a day. Be careful with heat - if the heat pack is too warm, it can irritate the skin.
• If you notice swelling in the joint area, it is better to apply a cold pack, or ice wrapped in a towel, for 15-20 minutes, three times a day. Also be careful with cold packs. If they are too cold, or are used for too long, they can irritate the skin. It’s important to talk to your veterinarian if you see signs of joint swelling.
• Like people, dogs with arthritis can experience more discomfort when in a cold, damp environment. Keeping your dog in a warm, dry environment will help increase his comfort.
• A therapeutic dog bed may also help relieve some of your dog's morning stiffness. A bed with soft, thick padding will help cushion bones. A circulating warm-water heating pad under the blanket can provide added warmth. To avoid burning the skin, never place your dog directly on the heating pad.