Arthritis is common in older dogs, and it causes just as much discomfort in canines as it does humans. There are a few different medications effective at treating arthritis pain and inflammation, but they’re available by prescription only. If your dog has arthritis or they’re showing the signs of deteriorating joints, it’s essential to think about how to manage your dog’s joint pain.
What is Previcox?
Previcox (firocoxib) is prescribed to dogs with arthritis for long-term management of chronic joint pain. It’s an NSAID, so it manages pain and reduces inflammation. Vets also prescribe it for surgical pain after soft tissue surgeries and orthopedic procedures.
How Safe is Previcox?
Previcox is very safe for dogs. It shouldn’t be given to your dog if they’ve displayed a hypersensitivity to other NSAIDs like Rimadyl (carprofen), Deramaxx (deracoxib), or Metacam (meloxicam).
Most drugs are metabolized by the liver and kidneys, and Previcox is no exception. Your vet might choose a different medication if your dog has a liver or kidney disorder. Long-term Previcox use requires regular bloodwork to monitor how the organs are tolerating the medication. Initial lab work is also required before your vet will write a daily prescription.
When NSAIDs are broken down by the liver, they release a byproduct that thins the mucosal lining of the stomach and intestines. Irritation of the stomach lining leads to stomach ulcers, so your dog’s GI tract might not tolerate Previcox if they have a history of stomach ulcers. Always be honest with your vet about your dog’s medical history; ulcers have the potential to lead to serious and deadly infections.
Digestive upset is the most frequently reported side effect. Don’t be surprised if your dog experiences diarrhea or loose stools when they begin taking Previcox. A few days is considered normal, but if it doesn’t go away, discontinue the drug and talk to your vet. Vomiting and diarrhea are concerning when blood is present or the stools are black and tarry in appearance. This could indicate a bleeding ulcer. If you notice excessive diarrhea, blood in the stool or vomit, or loss of appetite, discontinue the medication until your veterinarian says it’s okay to continue.
Kidney involvement presents as an increase in thirst and urination. Your dog shouldn’t develop an insatiable thirst after starting Previcox therapy. If you notice an increase or decrease in their drinking or urination, your vet should be notified. They will probably want to run lab work on your dog’s blood and urine to ensure the kidneys aren’t suffering any ill effects from the medication.
The most noticeable symptom of liver involvement is jaundice. Jaundice is a backup of bilirubin because the liver isn’t working properly, giving the skin, eyes, and gums a yellow color. This doesn’t necessarily mean the liver is damaged or diseased, but it’s an indication Previcox is affecting the liver and it needs to be discontinued indefinitely. Other signs of liver damage include hair loss, incoordination, excessive lethargy, and seizures.
Allergic reactions are rare but possible. Facial swelling, hives, difficulty breathing, and vomiting/diarrhea are signs of an allergic reaction. Don’t try to treat an allergic reaction at home; this is something that should be managed and monitored under the watchful eye of veterinary staff.
Don’t ignore any changes in your dog’s behavior or health no matter how small it seems; even the smallest sign can indicate a problem.
Previcox comes in beef flavored tablet for easy administration. Since it is tasty, though, it’s critical to keep the pill bottle out of your dog’s reach. There have been a number of dogs that have gotten into their Previcox prescription and eaten their entire stash, resulting in permanent liver and kidney damage. Keep their medication in a cupboard where access is impossible.
It’s recommended humans take NSAIDs with a meal or small snack to prevent stomach upset. This is a good rule of thumb to follow with your dog, too. Time their dosage so it coincides with breakfast or dinner. A full stomach helps prevent diarrhea, nausea, and stomach ulcers. It’s also important to keep your dog well-hydrated to protect the kidneys. Ensure they always have access to fresh water.
You’ll never have to calculate the correct amount of Previcox for your dog. Since it’s only available by prescription, your vet will give you directions on how much and how often your dog should get their dose.
Previcox is only approved in dogs over 12.5 pounds because the scoring of the tablets doesn’t allow for accurate dosing in animals that small. The recommended dose is 2.27 mg/lb once per day as needed for arthritis pain. Previcox for surgical pain is given at the same dosage once a day for three days.
Previcox shouldn’t be given to puppies less than seven months of age because of serious adverse reactions.
Previcox is a fairly new NSAID on the veterinary market, but it’s very popular when it comes to managing osteoarthritis pain. Your vet will discuss Previcox when you make an appointment to go over their treatment options.