Medical Info: Rimadyl

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Our dog, Jake, is pushing 12 1/2 now, and had (successful) cancer surgery 2 years ago. His arthritis and/or degenerative Myelopathy is so bad that he struggles to get up off of the floor now.

We have been giving him medicines for the last 4 or 5 years for this... a few years ago the medicines caused a bad stomach, so we stopped the Piroxicam for a while, and went to Rimadyl.

The Rimadyl was no good for him, so we stopped completely, and within a week he was completely unable to stand. The break seemed to do good for his stomach, so he went back on the piroxicam along with Tagamet to protect him.

Now we are going to the vet 2x a week ($80) for accupuncture, and are now considering hydrotherapy, which is even more expensive than the accupuncture, and is about 40 miles away.

We are struggling with the ultimate question. But our dog doesn't SEEM to be in any PAIN, it is just that he can barely walk. We wonder about if we should put him to sleep before he can't even stand, to preserve some "dignity" for him... but is it his dignity that we are considering, or is it our not wanting to see him like that that we are considering?

He wants to be everywhere we go. He always wants to be in the same room. Our bedroom (and all the bedrooms in the house) are on the second floor. Every night he struggles to climb the stairs, one at a time, to join us. He is fearful of falling down the stairs as he did once or twice, so now he is on Amytriptaline (spelling?) to help manage the fear. Soon, I am afraid he will no longer be able to climb or descend the stairs without assistance.

Do we get him a cart, so he can wheel around with us?

We are paralyzed with indecision...

-Ron, Joan and Jake.
Hi Kevin,
My husband and I have just put our 15 year old "pound-sheepie-puppy" to sleep. Our loss is deep and unyielding. Sherwood was "my" dog, but he ended up greatly impacting my husband more. Sherwood was on Rimadyl, thyroid, allergy, and antibiotics (for a potential bladder tumor); and I made hamburger, rice and pasta for him every week for his stomach allergies. He needed a bath once a week and half way through the week for a quick wipe down. He had not been able to use the stairs for 4-5 years due to a herniated disk, which he did recover from, nearly.

I can tell you of two times in Sherwoods' life that I heard him cry in pain. The rest of the time, never a hint of pain crossed his handsome black lips. My vet said some very important things to me...Sherwood was tired and he wanted to be released from his crippled body. And yes, he was in pain, he just wouldn't let me know. It's just not their way to show the pain. Take the rose colored glasses off and really look at your sweetie. Are her eyes weary, have they lost their sparkle? Are you really just putting off the inevitable? You are the caretaker of his physical, as well as spiritual being.

When I said goodbye to him, I knew he was going to a better place. And I'll be honest with you, I have a lighter heart as a result of my decision to let him go. I didn't realize the stress I was under in trying to manage my dogs illnesses. We made the decision and without delay, the next day we took him to the vet. My husband and I were there with him to say goodbye; it's a really sad memory of him, but we did it for Sherwood.

We have decided to get another dog. Sherwood had such presence that the house is eriely quiet; I can't stand it. My husband wants another Sheepie. I am afraid to do it again.
I'll keep you in my thougts, best wishes to you.
I actually went to the vet yesterday again to pick up a pain killer for him, cant remember name right now though (something like rimadyl). The vet says he has Eosinophillic Panosteitis. I will research today on the web to find more info. he is in just so much pain. He cant walk, so we have to carry him outside and feed him by hand basically. I hate to leave him at home, but at least I can ck on him on my lunch break. Thanks for your advice too!
Has anyone here had there OES on Rimadyl? If so, for how long and were there any problems?
Rimadyl had a bad effect on my OES Jake. It caused him to drink enormous amounts of water, and then he had accidents in the house. He never had urination accidents before the drug, nor at any time after stopping.

The vet told us a little while later that it sounded like a liver "reaction" or "problem", or something like that.

As far as Adequan goes, we also tried that, but the result was unsatisfactory for us -- it didn't appear to help in our dog's case. I have heard positive remarks from others.

Good luck
About 8 yrs ago when Rimadyl was new my OES was placed on it for her arthritis. After 1 1/2 yrs she developed an enlarged liver was taken off and needed to be put down. She went into liver failure. I even researched the drug before giving it to her back then this was not a side effect. I would try other means
Our 11 year old OES was on Rimadyl for 6 mos without good results. We switched him to Zubrin and he is doing much, much better! Our vet also suggested Science Diet senior dog food with gluclosomine. Best wishes to you and your OES.
I just wanted to post some info about the disease Myasthenia Gravis and its relationship to arthritis medication side effects as my vet was unable to diagnose it the disease before it was too late. I'm sorry that this post is so long but if one person identifies any symptoms maybe they can take preventative measures.

It's a rare neuromuscular auto-immune disease and I was told that it takes 2 weeks just to get bloodwork back to identify it.

We just lost our dog, Newman, Feb 7th after he just turned 13. He had been on arthritis medications for around 2.5 years. He started with Rimadyl first and when that medication was becoming ineffective our vet switched him to Deramaxx about 1.5 years ago. The Deramaxx worked great except that it is harsh on the stomach and esophagus. After about 8 months on Deramaxx our dog was prescribed Sucralfate and Pepcid AC to protect his insides as he was occasionally vomitting. I was to treat him "as needed" on this medication.

About 2 weeks ago he started vomitting again, very inconsistently so I thought it was due to the Deramaxx side effects. I was treating him with his regular gastro meds but they didn't seem to have the same effect as before. He was also not eating much of his food that last week but he's gone through periods of not eating before so that didn't signal any flags. He was also having a little more trouble getting up stairs where we would have to occasionally carry him up. I thought this was due to him just getting older plus the harsh winter on his old joints. Still didn't seem that unusual. I decided to make a regular appointment with the vet to see if we needed to change meds or something.

Well we went to the vet and she said his liver felt enlarged and wanted to keep him for a couple of hours for bloodwork and xrays of the liver. After coming home without him that afternoon I was completely crushed thinking he had liver cancer or something like that. I got a call a couple hours later saying that his bloodwork was great for a dog his age and his liver enzymes were slightly up and to cut back on his arthritis meds to let his stomach calm down because she thought that maybe he had an ulcer and gave me more meds to treat his gastro track. So I had relief that he was going to be fine....only temporarily.

I brought him home that evening he just started vomitting foam. I thought that his ulcer was out of control and that he just needed to settle down from being at the vet. He would settle down and then drink or eat and then keep vomitting. He slept through the night but when I gave him a little water in the morning he vomitted consistently for a couple of hours. I took him back to the vet and she agreed that he did in fact have an ulcer and that she would give him meds & fluids via IV and to call back that night. So once again I had relief when I called and they told me he was eating & drinking and not vomitting anymore and doing fine. They told me to call about 9am to see how he was doing and to pick him up.

I call the next morning exactly at 9am because I just want to bring my dog home as soon as possible. The vet then floors me by telling me that she heard Newman coughing that morning and she wants to xray him to see if he has pneumonia as she thinks he aspirated his vomit. She also tells me that even though he was up and walking an hour previously, that his back legs were shaking and he was having trouble so she suspected that he had Myasthenia Gravis that was attacking his muscles and it was causing the muscles in his esophagus to not work properly which is why he aspirated his vomit. She wanted to start treating him with the medications for it even though the bloodwork takes 2 weeks to come back.

When we went to visit him an hour later he was laying on his side, barely able to lift his head up and laboring to breathe. Things just went downhill from there and several hours later he was basically drowning in fluids because of the pneumonia and his esophagus not functioning so we had to make that toughest of all decision to put him down because he probably was going to stop breathing during the night.

Apparently this disease has been appearing a bit more frequently whether it's due to some auto-immune deficiency or whether diagnosing it is more aggressive. It tends to attack older big dogs later in life.

I guess I just wanted to put this out there because I was completely blindsided hearing that he had this disease and some of the symptoms were evident even though I thought they were related to his other aging problems. If I had the slightest idea that it was anything other I would have pushed to the very least get his esophagus x-rayed because that is an obvious symptom that this disease is present. I am hoping that I can somehow forgive myself for not thinking that anything else was wrong.

The disease is treatable but a lot of care is needed to prevent aspiration pneumonia.

Here is a link for more info and other side effects, treatments and meds -

shoregulls wrote:
i also give him a st joseph's baby asprin at night, tomorrow, i'll write you all the vitiams etc that i have all 3 on.

thanks everyone for your help i really appreciate it! these guys are our kids!

Very Happy

You may want to talk to the Vet about a pain medication (i.e. Rimadyl, Metacam, etc.) for his arthritis! The difference it makes is incredible! It can help them maintain a more active life - which in my opinion - staying active plays a big role in a long healthy life!

Wow, this is a great ending to a terrible nightmare. It is just amazing she did not get hit by a car. I took her to the vet today and they gave her a blood workup. Everything was normal except her glucose is high. Probably still from the adrenaline? She has antibiotics for the cuts in her feet and is on Rimadyle for pain. Thank you again everyone. We just love our sheepies!!
I think that "bark gag" is part of old age - and probably a sign of some heart/lung disease (due to old age). Brittney - my 12 1/2 year old does the same thing. She is also having the same problems with mobility as Sheepy. I'm not sure if you mentioned whether Sheepy was on any pain medication - but if he isn't - you may want to consider that (Rimadyl, Metacam, etc.) - it may help him with his hips/arthritis.

Also - I give Brittney Chondroitin/Glucosamine, Ester C and Vitamin E - daily - I find that those supplements - along with her Metacam have helped her to keep going.

Brittney has been having some pretty bad days lately - and it seems to do alot with the weather - the higher the humidity - the worse she is. She's also pretty bad in the stormy weather. It's possible that the weather in combination with the stress of your father not being there - caused a flare up with Sheepy.

Best Wishes to Sheepy! I know how hard it is when their health starts to deteroriate - it seems to happen overnight! I'll keep him in my thoughts!

Hi everyone. I just registered as a user, although I've been reading this forum for quite some time. It has always given me very useful information on my very favorite subject, so now I am turning to everyone for your input into my problem. I apologize in advance because I'm sure this will be a long post.

I have an 11 year old OES named Dresdan, or Drezzie, for short. We adopted her at 2 yrs old from rescue. She was the product of a puppy mill, and although her first owner loved her (she was not abused), they felt they didn't have enough time for her with their family schedule. So they turned her over to rescue - lucky for us! She is the love of our lives. She is our third OES (all have been rescues) and the best so far. She doesn't have a mean bone in her body. She is always happy and always wants to kiss everyone in the room. Her smile is infectious, her antics hilarious. Our lives would be so empty without her. Our 22 year old son has grown up with her, and as he has aged and developed his mature facade, she is the only one who can still bring out the soft side of him. Our 18 year old daughter just started college this fall, and she misses her "sissy" terribly.

Now for the problem. Drez has hip dysplasia, degenerative joint disease and arthritis. She has been stiff for awhile now, but our current vet just kept telling us that there was nothing they could do for her. Steroids wouldn't help her problem. Chondroitin/glucosamine helps but is not a cure. We had her on Rimadyl for a short while, but it didn't seem to do anything for her, and with everything I've read about it, I took her off it since it wasn't helping anyway. We currently have Deramaxx that we were told to give her only when she's in pain, and only a half of a pill. Other than that, all we could do was make her as comfortable as we could. Thinking there had to be SOMETHING we could do, we took her to another vet for a second opinion. He tested her for other things as well, and all came back normal - kidney and liver function are fine, heart is strong, eyes are clear, ears are normal. Her only problem is her hind quarters. The second vet suggested femoral head ostectomy surgery as an option. I've been reading up on it, and it seems promising but is said to work better on smaller dogs under 50 lbs. (Drez is about 80 lbs.) He would do one hip at a time, allowing for healing in between. Because of her size, there could be complications that wouldn't bother a smaller dog (may not form "false" joint very well). The surgery is expensive, but not undo-able. The other option was total hip replacement, and that is definitely too expensive. The vet said that without any surgery, she probably only has about a year left. With the surgery, she would live as long as she was meant to - meaning that if her hips were naturally fine and she would live to be 14, then she would live to be 14. If I can have her with us for another 3 years and in no pain, versus one more year and in pain, it's a no-brainer. Even if I can have her for one more year and in no pain, it's still a no-brainer. I just want to make sure this is truly the best option for yer.

We're going to talk to our regular vet tomorrow to get his opinion. He's been our vet since 1979, and my in-laws vet for many years before that. We've always trusted him and his instincts, so we're curious as to why he didn't suggest this surgery.

Can anyone offer any advice? Has anyone had a femoral head ostectomy performed on their dog? I spent my whole lunch hour crying hysterically today. I just can't bare the thought of losing my baby girl. In all other ways, she's still perfectly healthy. She still is her smiling, happy self. She still wants to play, as best as she can, still wants nothing more than to please us and to get all our love and attention. All of my OES's have been "forever puppies", a trait I know you are all familiar with. If she had other medical problems along with this, it wouldn't bother me as much. But to face losing her only to this problem is killing me.

Again, I apologize for the length, but right now I just can think straight, or see straight through my tears. Any and all advice is so very appreciated.

Hi Chris:

Have you considered seeing if acupuncture or chiropractor treatment would help Dresdan?

I was skeptical at first but when my American Eskimo developed arthritis and had problems with Rimadyl, I decided to try a chiropractor. He is now easily able to keep up with the two sheepies in the family (not an easy task since all they want to do is play!).

When my first sheepie developed some back problems, the conventional doctor said that there was nothing that they could do. However our holistic doctor believed that acupuncture would help. And it did!

Good Luck and please keep us informed on Dresdan's progress.

Jennifer, Baxter, Cassiopia and Sharkey
This is only uniformed hearsay on my part, it's not a recommendation:

My vet told us that our dog (at about 10 I think) wasn't a good candidate for the hip operation where they remove the top portion of the leg bone. He said it was for younger dogs, and a dog of Jake's age would never stand up again. For what it's worth.

As for a real suggestion, is your dog on pain ANY medication any longer? It can make a WORLD of difference.

We also had troubles with Rimadyl but had great success with Piroxicam. I'd like to refer you to this post. It also refers you to another thread which you should read:

A very nice Vet told us that degenerative myelopathy and other degenerative hind-quarters type diseases are the saddest, as the front half of the dog is fine. It was very sad and hard on us, too.

We're here for you if you want to discuss!
Hi My collie/ waiting at the bridge...lived a GOOD life from age 10 to 17yrs. with the help of Cosequin, vit E & Rimadyl. I know there is lots of controversy about rimadyl BUT it worked for him...we did blood work often...he exercised & cold temp variations were tough on was the right thing to do for Rusty! I have recently heard that Ester C works well for some puppers too! Good Luck...hope it helps!
Link for info... Smile
good prices... Wink
a combo of prednisone and rimadyl worked wonders for my 17 year old shih tzu... Smile

glad to hear she is doing so well!

Thank you for allowing me to intrude in your very interesting group
on the health of our canine friends.

I am producing a special for television news in Oklahoma and am
looking for people and pets that have had adverse reactions to the
drug rimadyl in our area.

If any of you are in Oklahoma or know people in Oklahoma who have
experienced problems with the drug please pass this email along to

Please Contact me
Chuck Musgrove
Managing Editor
444 east Britton Road
Oklahoma City OK 73114


In response to whether or not we could cross post - Chuck says:

Subj: [doghealth2] Re: Rimadyl-Television Report
Date: 1/11/2005 12:25:02 PM Eastern Standard Time
Sent from the Internet (Details)

Please pass this along to every list you know.

The issue has been moved to the back burner by a number of animal
health professionals and we need to make sure pet owners are aware
of the possible dangers.>>

(Always for George - Always for the Rimadyl Dogs)

It's a prescription drug - and in this case - I wouldn't recommend it until you see that the aspirin and supplements aren't helping.

There's also Metacam which has less side effects. Rimadyl has had some bad publicity because of reactions / problems - but that's not why I don't recommend it. I'm coming from the position of "how bad is the arthritis" because if you start on Rimadyl or Metacam at this stage in the game - there's not going to be anything you can do when the symptoms get worse as the dog ages (they become less effective as time goes on). You will probably find that there are "times" where Lennon has more problems than others. (Alot of it can be weather related - rain , etc.)

Saulmr - I noticed that you mentioned exercise - that is so critical! That's one thing I wish I had paid more attention to with Brittney. Once she started with arthritic symptoms - I slowed her down - and it made the progression that much worse (her muscles atrophied and weren't strong enough to take the stress off of the joints). The other critical thing is make sure Lennon isn't overweight.

Disclosure - This is only an opinion - I am not a Vet!

Ron, I'm sending my sheepdog to you. A bigger woosie I've never met when it comes to pain. She's young (6) now and already I'm dreading the senior years.

Other sheepies have also varied in pain acceptance......most not well. OTOH, my Pyrs are stoic beyond belief. I've seen them endure severe pain with nary a whimper, just a sigh. Right now I've got a boy with bone cancer of the front leg.......for all the bad press on Rimadyl, it is allowing this boy to walk....let's face it, he's a short timer now anyway......sigh.

As far as glucosamine et al, begin at the first signs of discomfort. It takes awhile to work.
Hi Jeeperz,

It's been over four years since I lost our first girl Meg'n to an auto-immune reaction to rumadyl or rimadyl at 9 years old. I don't believe I'll truely ever be over it. I have 5 of her offspring, 4 generations of her in my home but it's still not ther same. We lost her daughter Sarah at 8 two years ago. Just woke up one morning and she was gone without any warning. She seemed to be healthy as a horse! We still have her son Noodles at 10.

I was wondering if you have any idea what caused the Auto-Immune reaction?


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