Our Blog

October 2018
19: Concerns regarding flea/tick medication side-effects, harmful grain-free diets and cannabis use in pets
15: Farley Foundation Fundraiser 2018
September 2018
17: Monthly Focus: Cancer Awareness - Lonestar's Story
August 2018
23: Bug bites and stings
July 2018
09: House-training your puppy
June 2018
21: Keeping Your Dog Safe This Summer
14: Happy 10th Anniversary, Westbridge Veterinary Hospital
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18: Congratulations friends of dogs and cats everywhere!
February 2018
28: Parasite Prevention
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11: Dental disease is a real and serious issue
November 2017
01: Thank you for your support in the 2017 October Farley Foundation Fundraiser!
October 2017
03: Prizes and pie for our annual Farley Foundation Fundraiser!
September 2017
13: Keetah's Story
11: September is Cancer Awareness Month
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10: What's that smell?!
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27: Clicker Training
24: Our Commitment to a Low Stress Environment
13: The threat of rabies in southwestern Ontario
07: Wildlife in the city
June 2017
21: Lyme Disease
March 2017
06: The Value Of Education
January 2017
17: 33 years of practice, the changes I have witnessed
November 2016
28: 2016's October Farley Foundation Fundraiser was a huge success!
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20: Cajun's story
01: September is Cancer Awareness Month
July 2016
21: Cat Carriers
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29: Dog Park Etiquette
May 2016
31: Heartworm Q & A
12: Tick Troubles
March 2016
10: Anticipated tick bloom
February 2016
22: Introduction to TCVM – Traditional Chinese Veterinary Medicine
January 2016
14: The difference dental care can make
December 2015
30: Raccoon Rabies reported in Hamilton, Ontario
08: Understanding Aging
November 2015
25: Our new, state of the art, Ultrasound machine
October 2015
09: Fun and Delicious Fundraising for the Farley Foundation
September 2015
23: Cancer Awareness Month: Texas' Story
14: September is Cancer Awareness Month
July 2015
28: Exciting news for our hospital!
June 2015
11: Mosquito Prevention
May 2015
08: Heartworm cases
April 2015
24: Changing your pet's food
March 2015
01: Veterinary Technician Specialties in Dentistry!
January 2015
13: January and February are Dental Education Months!
December 2014
18: The Internet at its Best
November 2014
28: Westbridge's Change of Hours
October 2014
07: October is Farley Month - Spa Day's, Paw Prints and Pies!
September 2014
22: Cancer Awareness Month - Ruby's Story
20: September is Cancer Awareness Month!
02: Ways to a Happy, Healthier Pet
July 2014
03: A New Way to Save Your Pet's Teeth!
June 2014
26: Veterinary Dentistry in San Diego!
March 2014
20: Happy Smiles
January 2014
22: The 15 Steps to Your Pet's Dental Cleaning!
15: January and February are Dental Months, and We Have a Contest to Celebrate!
09: Baby Teeth in Puppies and Kittens
06: An Update on Dr. Hylands
December 2013
27: Dentistry in New Orleans!
17: Wishing Dr. Hylands a Safe and Uneventful Recovery
13: The Holidays are Here!
04: A Potential Mandible Fracture - A Tale on Missing Teeth
October 2013
10: Fundraising for Farley
July 2013
11: Tried and True, For Humans Too!
June 2013
20: Therapeutic Laser's Beneficial Effects on Arthritis
12: Pet Education Day and Open House a Huge Success!
May 2013
25: 5th Annual Pet Education Day and Open House!
April 2013
29: We've Brought 'Light' into our Clinic!
March 2013
10: We're Constantly Learning!
February 2013
21: Small Dogs Require Big Dental Care!
08: Missing Teeth in Your Pets - Should You Be Worried?
January 2013
13: Periodontal (Dental) Disease in our Pets
December 2012
19: Senior Month - It's Not Just Old Age!
04: Senior Month - A Focus on Kidney Disease
November 2012
15: Farley Month a Huge Success!
October 2012
27: Possessive Aggression in our Dogs
22: Thinking of Breeding Your Dog? Here Are Some Things To Consider First
03: October is Farley Month!
September 2012
20: Litter Boxes - Everyone's Favourite Task!
August 2012
14: Exercising Your Pets in the Summer - Heat Stroke
June 2012
28: Non-Invasive Diagnostic Imaging - Ultrasound Case Study
21: A Heartfelt "Thank You" for Attending our Pet Education Carnival!
19: Non-Invasive Diagnostic Imaging - Ultrasonography
May 2012
23: A Logical Approach to Unwanted Barking
07: Non-Steroidal Anti-Inflammatory Drug Use in Companion Animals
April 2012
21: Wellness Examinations Help to Maintain Your Pets Health
10: OVC Pet Trust Animal Cancer Centre Needs Your Help!
01: Heartworm Disease in Ontario
March 2012
19: A Dedication to a Great Man and an Dedicated Veterinarian
February 2012
06: Why Anesthesia-Free Dental Care is Wrong, Cruel, and Medically Inappropriate
January 2012
16: The Why's and What's of Dental X-ray
09: Cats Are a Unique Species, with Unique Dental Disease
05: Six Easy Steps to Brushing your Pets Teeth!
02: Dental Awareness Months!
December 2011
21: Chocolate... Good for you?
November 2011
11: Farley Month was a Huge Success!

Non-Steroidal Anti-Inflammatory Drug Use in Companion Animals

Posted: 2012-05-07

In February 2012, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) Centre for Veterinary Medicine held a Webinar entitled, “Advice to Dog Owners Whose Pets Take NSAIDs.” The webinar, which is about half an hour long, contained a great deal of useful information, and the FDA has an archived version available on its website if you want to take a look. The link to the webinar and the presentation slides can be found on the FDA website by clicking on the following link: http://www.fda.gov/AboutFDA/Transparency/Basics/ucm291745.htm.

Also available on their website is a useful handout about pain management in pets, at the link: http://www.fda.gov/AnimalVeterinary/ResourcesforYou/AnimalHealthLiteracy/ucm196295.htm.

In the webinar, information is presented about what Non-Steroidal Anti-Inflammatory Drugs (abbreviated as NSAIDs) are, what they do, and how they work. Briefly, NSAIDs work by decreasing levels of prostaglandins in the body through inhibition of a specific enzyme that manufactures prostaglandins from other substances.

Prostaglandins play many important roles in the body, including:

  • Promoting inflammation, pain and fever
  • Supporting platelet function (i.e., helping blood clots form)
  • Protecting the stomach lining from stomach acid
  • Maintaining normal kidney function

NSAIDs therefore, to varying degrees, have some effect on all of the above bodily functions and mechanisms. It is for this reason that pets on frequent NSAID therapy require monitoring blood testing to ensure they are not having any negative effects on the organs. Most of the prescribed NSAIDs in veterinary medicine are what’s called COX-2 selective – a form that directly targets COX-2, an enzyme responsible for inflammation and pain. Targeting selectivity for COX-2 reduces the risk of unwanted and potentially dangerous gastrointestinal injuries, including ulcers. They do not seem to carry less risk for other potential side-effects, including kidney damage.

The primary uses for NSAIDs in veterinary medicine are reducing inflammation, pain, and fever. Like all forms of medical intervention, NSAIDs carry with them potential benefits and risks. Anybody who has taken a human-approved NSAID to treat joint pain, fever, etc. can attest to the upsides: less pain, greater mobility, and an improved quality of life. And the same is true for our pets.

The most common adverse events associated with NSAID use in veterinary patients are vomiting, loss of appetite, depression, and diarrhea that resolve with discontinuation of the drug and appropriate treatment. Rarer but more serious side effects include stomach/intestinal ulcers with possible perforation, kidney and liver failure, and death.

There are species-specific concerns with respect to the use of NSAIDs in animals. For example, cats lack the enzyme systems to efficiently break down NSAIDs, and thus are at a much higher risk of developing potentially serious side effects when given these drugs over extended periods of time. As an example, a single acetaminophen tablet may kill an average-sized cat! In the USA, no veterinary NSAIDs are approved for long-term use in cats, although in Canada and other countries there are approved products for use in cats.

Our pets deserve to live a life that is as pain-free as possible, and NSAIDs are one of the most cost-effective way of providing pain relief. The best way to determine whether the benefits of NSAID use outweigh the potential risks for your pet is to talk to our veterinarians, since each pet is unique and in many cases the benefits to your pet outweigh the risks. For pets that are unable to be given NSAIDs, there are many other options for the management of pain in our pets.

If you are giving your pet an NSAID and you notice any abnormal symptoms, STOP giving the drug and call your veterinarian immediately. Adverse reactions need to be reported so drug safety can be monitored and appropriate steps can be taken to prevent further problems for our pets.


This blog entry was written by Westbridge Veterinary Hospital, an animal clinic in Mississauga dedicated to providing high quality, modern veterinary care to our beloved pets and their families.

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