Controlling your dog’s pain isn’t as easy as taking care of your own headache. While you have a cabinet filled with a variety of pain medications, it doesn’t work that way when it comes to giving your dog a pain pill. If you’ve owned a dog for a significant period of time, you already know that all over-the-counter human NSAIDs (ibuprofen, acetaminophen, naproxen, etc) are quite toxic or even deadly to dogs. When your dog is need of pain medication, it should always come from your veterinarian.
Deramaxx (Derocoxib) for Dogs
Deramaxx is a non-steroid anti-inflammatory (NSAID) prescribed to treat pain and inflammation for chronic conditions like osteoarthritis and hip dysplasia. It’s also given to manage inflammation and pain after minor surgeries, orthopedic procedures, and after a dental procedure. Some veterinarians are using it to treat certain types of bladder cancer, but this use isn’t as prevalent yet.
It should never, ever be given to cats.
Deramaxx isn’t intended for long-term use at its maximum dosage because it starts to negatively affect the liver and kidneys. Instead, your vet will start at the higher dose until the inflammation and pain are under control, and the dose will be lowered to a maintenance level. These low doses will prevent kidney or liver damage while your dog is on a daily dose.
If your dog has been on an NSAID before and they appeared to have had an allergic reaction, Deramaxx isn’t recommended.
Dehydration increases the risk of liver and kidney damage, so it’s important for your dog to always have access to plenty of water, especially if your dog is geriatric or extremely active.
Dogs with a history of liver or kidney problems or existing organ problems shouldn’t be prescribed Deramaxx.
Side Effects of Deramaxx in Dogs
Deramaxx’s side effects are usually minor, but that doesn’t mean they shouldn’t be taken seriously. When you notice anything outside of normal with your dog, you should bring it up to your vet no matter what it is. Even the smallest sign can indicate something bigger is going on.
Gastrointestinal upset is by far the most common, and it’s a pretty common occurrence with most NSAIDs. Minor vomiting or diarrhea isn’t unheard of but it isn’t necessarily “normal”, so call your vet’s office if your dog is having loose stools, vomiting, or loss of appetite.
A loss of appetite is mostly concerning because it can lead to a change in drinking habits, which might lead to dehydration. Dehydration is dangerous on an NSAID regimen because it opens the liver and kidneys up to damage as they’re metabolizing the drugs everyday. A significant loss of appetite causes extreme weight loss, too, and this also puts the organs at risk of damage. If the Deramaxx is affecting your dog’s appetite, this could indicate this drug isn’t a good fit for their system and they need a different NSAID.
If the liver or kidneys are affected, the signs vary. Kidney involvement is signaled by an increased thirst (some owners report their dogs can’t get enough water), increased urination, or decreased urine output despite excessive drinking. If you notice a change in your dog’s water intake, call your doctor.
Signs of liver damage include jaundice (yellowing of the eyes, skin, or gums), extreme lethargy, incoordination, behavior changes, and hair loss.
Deramaxx Dosage for Dogs
The right dose for Deramaxx depends on a few different things. The first consideration is how much your dog weighs, but your vet will consider their age, overall health, and the length of use when calculating a dosage.
A smaller dosage is administered when it’s given daily for chronic pain. This amount ranges from 0.45 to 0.91 mg/lb once a day. Postoperative pain is treated with a higher dose of 1.4 to 1.8 mb/lb every 24 hours for up to seven days.
Alternatives to Deramaxx
There are other NSAIDs on the market that might be more effective at treating your dog’s pain. This is a decision your vet will make based on your dog’s initial blood work and how long they’re going to be on the NSAID. If NSAIDs aren’t a viable option, there are non-NSAID pain medications like Tramadol that are safe for dogs.
If you need a daily use pain medication for your dog’s chronic pain and inflammation, talk to your veterinarian about the safety of NSAIDs. Deramaxx has a high margin of safety, but there could be better options to treat their pain long-term.