As always with medication, it is extremely important to consult your veterinarian when administering any drug to your cat. However, this becomes even more important when Rimadyl is in the mix.
Rimadyl is a mild painkiller often prescribed for dogs and can be very effective in treating their pain, but when prescribed for cats, the drug can be extremely dangerous. With severe side effects, including death, it is of the utmost importance to only give your cat Rimadyl under the guidance and supervision of your veterinarian.
What is Rimadyl?
Rimadyl is a brand name for the drug Carprofen, a Non-Steroidal Anti-Inflammatory drug (NSAID) which is commonly used to treat inflammation and pain in pets. Other brand names for carprofen are Imadyl, Novox and Imafen. NSAIDs work by reducing the presence of the enzyme COX-2 in the body. COX-2 is involved in the formation of prostaglandins which cause swelling and inflammation. Reduction of these factors decreases the pain and inflammation your pet experiences. Apart from pain, Rimadyl aims to minimize soreness, fever, and inflammation.
Uses of Rimadyl
Typically, Rimadyl is prescribed to treat the symptoms of feline arthritis and hip dysplasia. Although it is often given to dogs for treatment of pain and inflammation after surgical procedures, Rimadyl is generally not recommended for use in cats since other NSAIDs have been more extensively studied on felines and the side effects of those other drugs are more mild.
Administration and Storage
If administering Rimadyl to your cat at home and following instructions from your vet, you will likely be giving him a chewable tablet. The dosage varies and the instructions your vet or pharmacist gave you should be followed explicitly. If you miss a dose, give the dose as soon as possible. If it is almost time for the next dose, skip the missed dose, and continue with the regular schedule. Do not give your pet two doses at once.
Rimadyl, and other forms of Carprofen, should be stored in a tightly sealed container. Be sure to carefully read the storage instructions on the drug label as some forms may need to be refrigerated.
When used as a pre- or post-operative medication, your vet will likely administer the drug in its injectable form, either subcutaneously or intravenously.
Side Effects and Drug Reactions of Rimadyl for Cats
Use extreme caution when administering Rimadyl to your cat and discuss your options thoroughly with your vet before moving forward. Rimadyl has not been extensively researched in cats and is not labeled for their use.
If your cat has kidney disease or liver disease, notify your vet prior to administering Rimadyl as your cat’s body may not be able to process the drug. Rimadyl may result in these side effects:
- Loss of Appetite
- Black, tarry stools
- Abdominal pain
- Liver damage
- Kidney damage
- Ulceration of the digestive tract
Rimadyl is also known to have adverse interactions with the following list of medications:
- Other NSAIDs
- Other drugs that may cause ulceration of the digestive tract
The United States Food and Drug Administration (FDA), as well as the drug’s manufacturer Pfizer Animal Health, both warn cat owners against giving the medication to felines. If administering Rimadyl to your cat, be on the lookout for these emergency symptoms which will require immediate medical attention: dark stool, diarrhea, throwing up, bloody stool, convulsions and severe stomachache. Contact your vet immediately if your cat displays any of these side effects.
Other Options for Cat Pain Relief
Consider consulting with your veterinarian on suitable pain relief medications that cater to cats rather than using Rimadyl. Some options may include tramadol, buprenorphine, amantadine and gabapentin. These drugs have been studied more extensively for use in cats and deemed appropriate as feline pain relief medications.
Or you can look into safe, natural alternatives that don’t require your veterinarian’s approval.