Jasmine's potential reaction to the NSAID was the first time we had a scary reaction to meds. Suddenly, the advice to watch for the usual (vomiting or diarrhea) was not good enough. The more I was reading all kinds of horror stories posted regarding the particular NSAID Jasmine was put on, the more I was freaking out.
Whether what was happening was a reaction to the meds or not, I stopped giving it immediately.
It was Sunday, of course, all horrors happen during weekends, don't they? The main question was whether the situation was dire enough to run Jasmine to the emergency or whether it could wait till Monday. Jasmine wasn't getting worse and by the end of the day I was able to get her to drink some chicken broth "shake".
Monday morning, after sending a lengthy email describing everything in detail, I was on the phone with the vet. He agreed we should bring her in, have her checked out and run blood work. Ruling out other causes, the NSAID came as the highest suspect. Particularly since things improved quickly once I stopped giving it. The vet himself used the words "an eye-opener."
Many dogs benefit from the use of NSAIDs and have no issues.
JD had them a few times and even Cookie did. They worked well and neither JD or Cookie had any adverse effects. I accept their use as a short-term crutch when quick pain and inflammation relief is needed. I would not use them long-term. Because Jasmine could not have any NSAIDs for the rest of her life, I quickly learned about all the available alternatives. There are many great options out there. For long-term management, those are my go-to solutions.
A note on using NSAIDs safely.
There is the right way of using NSAIDs and there is the wrong way.
To lower potential adverse reactions, proper screening needs to be done. That includes a medical history and blood work to make sure that kidneys are healthy and working properly. Though that doesn't mean thing cannot go wrong. Jasmine did have fresh blood work and everything was in order. However, I would not start my dog on NSAIDs without having blood work that is no older than a month.
Never give NSAIDs on empty stomach. They have to be given with food. Also, when Cookie was on relatively long-term course for her iliopsoas injury, we used stomach protectant as well.
Never mixed different NSAIDs. That also means aspirin and/or Tylenol. If you did give any of these to your dog prior the vet visit, let your vet know about it. If switching between any two different NSAIDs, allow for "wash-out" period. This is the time it takes for all the drug to be cleared from the body. Recommended wash-out period is three to seven days.
If you're giving any other medications or supplements, make sure your veterinarian knows about it.
If you suspect your dog is having side-effects, stop the NSAIDs immediately and talk to your veterinarian.
When in doubt, ask, and ask, and ask again.
I also recommend getting the product safety sheet and reading it thoroughly. Many of the scary, serious side effects are very rare but you want to be aware should you run into them. Figuring out what is happening quickly allowed me to stop the medication and prevent further complications.
Our Dogs' History of Adverse Drug Reactions (Part I)
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