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Dog Diseases A-Z

What is Carprofen (Rimadyl)?

Veterinarians frequently prescribe carprofen or Rimadyl to address osteoarthritis (OA) and other sources of inflammation in dogs. Rimadyl belongs to a category of medications known as NSAIDs, or non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs. These drugs function by reducing inflammation to alleviate a dog’s pain. Rimadyl may also be prescribed post-surgery to manage surgical pain.

Rimadyl is also utilized off-label for pain relief and inflammation in various other species, including horses, cows, sheep, birds, rabbits, ferrets, other small mammals, and reptiles. Off-label use denotes the administration of a medication in a manner or to a species not explicitly specified on the medication label. This practice is permissible only when carried out by a veterinarian who possesses direct and personalized knowledge of the animal and when no other suitable medications are available for the specific circumstances of the animal.

In certain situations, veterinarians may recommend a compounded form of carprofen. Compounded medications are prescribed when there is a particular reason why a pet’s health cannot be managed by an FDA-approved drug. This could include challenges with the pet taking pills in capsule form, the unavailability of the required dosage strength commercially, or if the pet is allergic to an ingredient in the FDA-approved medication. It’s important to note that compounded medications lack FDA approval and are formulated individually by either a veterinarian or a licensed pharmacist to cater to the specific needs of the patient.


How Carprofen (Rimadyl) Works

The primary component of Rimadyl is carprofen, which functions as a non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drug (NSAID), offering pain relief, reducing inflammation, and lowering fever.

NSAIDs operate by obstructing the production of natural chemicals that instigate inflammation through what is known as the COX pathway. Some COX pathways play beneficial roles in digestion, kidney health, and clotting. In dogs, carprofen effectively blocks the chemicals responsible for inflammation while having fewer adverse effects on beneficial chemicals. Consequently, it alleviates inflammation and pain in dogs with fewer side effects compared to certain other NSAIDs. However, this differs in other species. In cats, for instance, carprofen inhibits many beneficial pathways along with those that induce inflammation.

Carprofen is also marketed under various brand names including Caprieve, Carprovet, Novox, OstiFen, Quellin, and Vetprofen.


Carprofen (Rimadyl) Directions

Adhere to the instructions on the drug label or as directed by your veterinarian. Your veterinarian will determine the dosage and treatment regimen based on your dog’s weight and the underlying cause of their pain.

Most dogs readily consume Rimadyl chewable tablets as if they were treats. If not, you can conceal the tablet in a small portion of appetizing food. While Rimadyl can be administered with or without food, administering it alongside a meal can help reduce the likelihood of stomach discomfort.

Continue administering Rimadyl for the duration recommended by your veterinarian. Many dogs, particularly those with osteoarthritis (OA), necessitate prolonged treatment. If your dog continues to exhibit signs of pain or shows reluctance to engage in activities like playing, climbing stairs, or jumping, consult your veterinarian. Additional pain medications may be required.

Missed a dose?

 If you forget to administer a dose of Rimadyl, give it as soon as you remember. However, if it’s nearly time for the next dose, skip the missed one and resume the regular dosing schedule. Avoid giving extra or double doses.



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