Originally Posted by FFMLYRIC
My dog, Kellie, suffers from hip displasia and arthritis. She had an episode last September (2012) that caused me to take her to the emergency vet late at night. She had been playing (jumping back and forth on the patio) and apparently hurt herself. The trip to the emergency vet resulted in her being placed on Rimadyl -- 100 mgs. She takes it everyday, but now I've cut her back to 50 mg per day -- with Gabapentin as a rescue medicine. She's doing great with 50 mg per day and uses Gabapentin if she's overdone it during playtime.
Kellie is a senior dog (almost 9) and will probably need pain medication or an anti-inflammatory for the rest of her life. I'm concerned with the long term use of Rimadyl as I've heard it may cause liver damage with prolonged use. Kellie has been on it now for about 9 months. Is it safe to continue with Rimadyl long term? Should I try another pain medication or anti-inflammatory?
You will get mixed opinions this. Some breeds may be at more risk, like Labs or Retrievers, from anectodal stories over the years.
The vet is supposed to do an initial blood test, and then regular monitoring. I would start any dog given these meds liver support. My favorite has always been Country Life's "Liver Support Factors".
Before I resort to daily NSAID meds, I look to all other options, which usually consists of combination joint products - a good quality glucosamine and chondroitin product as Dr. Lee mentions - I have used Cosequin with success, and I like to add that with a more whole food suppplement, like perna mussel, hyaluronic acid, glycflex, etc. Injections of adequan (in short supply right now perhaps) or cartrophen (not rimadyl, like adequan, in the UK or Canada) help a lot. Some dogs are helped a lot by the addition of things like omega-3 fatty acids, b-vitamins, etc. You can take that further and add in acupuncture and/or chiropractor. In many dogs, you can completely eliminate the need for drugs, though often, at some point, they might be needed.
NSAIDs further deteroriate the joint. Supplements slow deterioration, and some studies suggest there may be some rebuilding.