Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) are a class of drugs that are commonly used in people and animals for the relief of pain and inflammation associated with arthritis, headaches, cramps and for the relief of mild fevers. Humans frequently use NSAIDs such as aspirin, ibuprofen, naproxen and acetaminophen. Dog-specific NSAIDs include common brands such as Rimadyl, Dermaxx, Previcox and Metacam. There are no NSAIDs designed for long term use in cats and this class of drug is used sparingly in cats because it is poorly tolerated (it can result in severe kidney failure with overdose, poisoning, or repeated doses).
Pet owners should never give any medication to their dog or cat without consultation with their veterinarian. Some pet owners give NSAIDs without realizing the dangers to their dog or cat. When pets ingest small overdoses of an NSAID, it can result in severe stomach ulcers, causing signs of vomiting, bloody vomitus, diarrhea, black-tarry stool, weakness, pale gums (anemia), abdominal pain, lethargy, and loss of appetite. With larger ingestions, halitosis, kidney failure, liver failure and neurological problems (e.g., tremors, seizures) can develop.
If you think your dog or cat were poisoned by ibuprofen, call your veterinarian or Pet Poison Helpline immediately for life-saving treatment advice. The sooner the poisoning is diagnosed, the sooner we can fix it!
Content written by: Dr. Cat Angle, DVM, MPH, Pet Poison Helpline