Carprofen is a member of the class of drugs known as NSAIDs (non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs), the same class as common over-the-counter pain remedies like Advil (ibuprofen), ketoprofen, and aspirin. Most of these over-the-counter NSAIDs cannot be used in pets due to the following unacceptable side effects:
- Stomach ulceration
- Decreased blood supply to the kidney in a borderline patient
Carprofen is generally given to control arthritis pain in dogs and other painful conditions such as injuries, surgery, dental infections, and more.
- There is a chance of a dog on Carprofen developing nausea, appetite loss, vomiting, or diarrhea. If any of the above are noted, Carprofen should be discontinued and the dog brought in for a liver enzyme blood test.
- If a patient has borderline kidney function, NSAIDs should not be used as they reduce blood flow through the kidneys. It is also important that NSAIDs not be given to dehydrated patients because of this potential side effect.
- All NSAIDs are removed from the body by the liver. If the patient’s liver is not working normally due to another disease or if the patient is taking other drugs that are removed by the liver, it is possible to “over-work” the liver and exacerbate pre-existing liver disease. This Hepatopathy side effect usually occurs in the first 3 weeks after starting Carprofen but theoretically can occur later.
Interactions With Other Drugs
NSAIDs should not be used in conjunction with corticosteroid hormones such as prednisone and dexamethasone.
If Carprofen is used concurrently with phenobarbital, it is especially important that appropriate liver monitoring be performed. (Bile acids testing every 6 months for dogs on Phenobarbital are recommended.) ACE inhibitors such as enalapril or captopril may not be as effective in the presence of Carprofen.
Concerns and Cautions
- Keep chewable Carprofen away from children and pets.
- Carprofen should not be used in dogs with pre-existing liver or kidney disease and is a good idea to run a blood chemistry panel prior to starting long-term use.
- Carprofen is a member of a class of drugs called sulfonamides. If a patient is known to have reactions against another sulfa drug, it is best to choose an NSAID other than Carprofen.
- Carprofen should not be used in patients with pre-existing GI ulcerations.
- The most common side effects of meloxicam are nausea, appetite loss, vomiting, or diarrhea. If any of the above is noted, meloxicam should be discontinued and the pet brought in for a liver enzyme and renal parameter blood test. It is important to rule out whether or not the patient has more than just a routine upset stomach.
- Monitor for black stools, as this may be a sign of gastric/intestinal ulcer.