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Tramadol and Rimadyl


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My female border collie, Kit, just turned 12 and has osteo arthritis in her lower back. She does not have hip displaysia. she limps and gimps around a lot, and is grouchy with all the other animals if they get near her.

 

My regular vet had her on prednesone, but I couldn't stand to give that to her often, even though it helped a lot.

 

I saved up to take her to a highly recommended naturopathic vet, whom Kit and I both really like. Kit got a chiropractic adjustment and acupuncture and was a whole new dog for several days but I cannot afford to keep taking her in for treatments, sadly. The herbs that the vet prescribed did not help, so after a month of them we need to try something else.

 

The next thing the vet is offering is Rimadyl and Tramadol.

Rimadyl is probably prohibitively expensive for me.

I take Tramadol myself, but am very cautious about it because my internet research turned up a lot of comment about its addictive abilities. I do know it works nicely, though, and acts on me, at any rate, as a mood elevator to some degree.

 

I am worried about giving it to Kit and getting her addicted, though.

 

Does anyone have experience with these drugs for dogs and can offer me any words of wisdom?

thanks.

 

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I'll read replies to this with great interest, as I have a 16 y.o. dog in the same situation, OA in her lower spine. She's been doing OK, but is obviously not walking as easily as she used to and I think it's time to start giving her something.

 

I'm going to do an e-mail consult with a holistic vet I've been friends with for many years as soon as she returns from her holiday travel. I'll be more than happy to share what I learn.

 

As far as anything being addictive, I understand the concerns, but unless you think you may not be able to continue to afford the medication, my logic is that at these advanced ages, what's it going to hurt? I can see the concern in younger dogs, but at 16 or even 12, they don't have that many years left that I feel it would be a huge concern.

 

JMO, of course.

 

roxanne

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She is a dog. Addiction won't be a big issue for her. :P Besides, it's much less likely to cause addiction than more powerful drugs like morphine.

 

Ask about human meloxicam (pill form) instead of carprofen. I think I paid $4 for 30 pills, which lasts Freya more than 4 months. You need to call your vet and discuss using it.

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Thanks for that suggestion, Liz. I emailed the vet asking her about it.

 

Well, as for addiction...........no, I do not anticipate that I would stop being able to pay for the Tramadol. Even if I had trouble paying for it I would drop my own before I would stop giving it to Kit if it helped her, so it is not that. (I took Kit to the vet rather than have 3 chiropractic treatments for myself for the same money). I guess I just see addiction as a bad thing, period. I know she is 12, but I guess it still worries me. Maybe it shouldn't.

 

GentleLake, I would be very interested in whatever you find out.

 

My Kit is a fine and lovely dog. She has gone in recent years from being happy with everything all the time to being a grouch and I know it's because of pain.

Perhaps addiction, if it were to occur, to a drug that took away the pain and grouchiness would be preferable to how she lives now. I don't know. That's what I am trying to puzzle out, and sure do appreciate any responses to help me do that.

D'Elle

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We used Rimadyl with my old dog. I had done reading online and heard all the bad side effects but the end of the day it was a quality of life issue and the rimadyl helped her live out her last few years without the pain and able to get around. I thought it was very worth it.

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As long as she's unlikely to go out and hold up a liquor store to fund her habit, I don't see addiction as a serious negative consequence to having her be more comfortable with better quality of life.

:lol:

Well, I haven't taught her to use a gun, so we're probably safe on that score.

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My 15 year old Sheltie has been on Tramadol for over a year (arthritis, chronic pancreatitis and a wonky gall bladder). What really did the trick for her was adding a generic version of the antidepressant, Remeron back in May. She is like a different dog. The vet prescribed it because she was refusing some of her food and throwing up and it took care of those problems, but her sunny nature returned as well. Apparently, it is protocol to give antidepressants to people with chronic pain and Remeron is used with the elderly when they lose their appetite.

 

Anyway, this has been the magical combination for her. A year ago I was thinking I may need to put her down due quality of life issues. A couple of days ago, she was running loop de loops in the snow. Hope the meds make as big an impact on your girl!

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Rimadyl is a bit cheaper if you buy it generically as carprofen. What you want to understand, and discuss/learn from your vet, is how these are very different medications.

 

Tramadol/Ultram is an opioid. It is good for pain, but it does nothing for inflammation. So, if you want to address pain only; or if your dog is on steroids (such as prednisolone/Temaril-P) which precludes the use of NSAIDs, then tramadol may be your choice.

 

Carprofen is a non-steroidal anti inflammatory drug (NSAID). Like ibuprofen/Motrin, for instance. The advantage with an arthritic patient is that it will help with pain, but moreso it will help reduce inflammation that cause pain and limits mobility.

 

So, when your vet says 'tramadol or carprofen', you should ask 'why one or the other'. Since they have different actions, they aren't identically interchangeable.

 

By way of example only: when my sled dog was partially lame at age 12 from arthritis and a probably torn ligament, we had her on a maintenance (daily) dose of carpofren. It was a real help. At the same time, our old Border Collie, also age 12, was on the same routine for her bad arthritis and it was a big help.

 

Then we decided to put the Border Collie on Temaril-P because a steroid seemed the only way to control her intractable dermatitis that was making her crazy. That meant no more carprofen, because NSAIDs and steroids don't go well together in many cases (increases likelihood for gastric ulcer, among other things). So now Border Collie needed an alternate approach to arthritis pain. Some days we'll give her tramadol when she seems to have an especially bad time.

 

So, ask your vet 'why one or the other?'

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Actually, my vet did not say one or the other, she said both. I want to give her both, as I understand the need for anti-inflammatory action as well as pain relief. My only question is if I can afford to give her both.

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For some reason, I seem to have lost the capability to quote other posts. Anyway, I agree with Laurelin. Quality of life for an older dog is at least as important as anything else. I tried a combination of Rimadyl and tramadol with my 16.5 year old, starting with the Rimadyl. It made a huge difference in her mobility. I did not see a significant change when I added the tramadol on top of that. I am not a huge fan of Rimadyl in general, but it has definitely made a big difference in Willow's comfort, and at her age that's more important to me than whether I might be reducing her life span by compromising, say, her liver.

 

My 12-year-old also appears to have arthritis in her lower back. If she works (and she still wants to work, so I don't deny her that), she will be very stiff/gimpy by the evening. Right now I am just giving her Rimadyl as needed, plus daily duralactin. Since I figure she's got at least 3-4 more years with me (her mom is 16 and my dogs all seem to make it to somewhere between 15 and 16 or older), I am less inclined to put her on a daily regime of Rimadyl, but that's just my personal choice. If she declines then obviously I will revisit that decision.

 

FWIW, previcox really helped my old Jill in the last year of her life. It's not cheap either, unfortunately.

 

J.

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I wouldn't worry about addiction in a 12 year old dog.

 

I'm having very good success with gabapentin (neurotinin) in my 12 year old with hip dysplasia/arthritis/suspected spinal stenosis. This drug is used for neuropathic pain. Since my dog has been receiving the stuff, she is more active and playful, and I am using less previcox.

 

The dog is doing so well, that I am seriously considering asking my internist for a scrip for my ailing back.

 

.

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Blackdawgs,

If you don't mind my asking, how expensive is the gabapentin? I've seen it discussed on the K9 epilepsy list, and I seem to remember folks saying it was rather cost prohibitive. I haven't needed anything like that for my epileptic dog, so I confess to not paying a great deal of attention to the discussions about it....

 

J.

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Well, ok then, you are all no doubt correct that addiction is not something I should worry about too much. I did already give the liver question some thought as well, knowing that rimadyl can have adverse effects on the liver. Decided that even if it were to shorten Kit's life........sure hope it doesn't........quality is more important than quantity, especially for a dog. I thought about it this way: if it were a decision I was making for myself, I would choose to live fewer years in better shape than longer and in pain. At this point she is still running when the toys come out, but much more slowly, and if it got much worse she wouldn't be running at all, and I know that just wouldn't do for a dog like Kit.

 

I would love to see her no longer in pain.

 

So I will give her both if I can find afford it. And it may not be that bad.......I do get a discount at the pharmacy due to having no insurance.

Thanks for the advice, as always.

Here is my Kit: :-)post-2074-0-69760900-1388352744_thumb.jpgpost-2074-0-64089400-1388352760_thumb.jpgpost-2074-0-33312900-1388352785_thumb.jpg

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I also use Rimadyl and get a discount because I buy the whole big bottle which my vet sells me with very little to no markup as he doesn't have to count/dispense. I also get pills twice the strength I need and break them in half so they end up costing less.

 

Some pharmacies will give you a prescription discount for pet meds, some won't. I was getting my dogs other meds at one pharmacy that gave me one, and then they stopped (taking it from $12 for a month to $56 a month!) saying pet meds were not eligible. A different pharmacy didn't have that policy (and only charges me $10.50 to boot), so its worth checking to see if you can get your meds sent through a regular pharmacy

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I can't recall the exact price....I think that I paid ~$22 for 45 100 mg capsules and not much more for 60 capsules. Shop around because I am getting a better price at the local chain supermarket pharmacy than a friend was getting at the local chain pharmacy. The drug is off patent so should not be terribly expensive.

Blackdawgs,

If you don't mind my asking, how expensive is the gabapentin? I've seen it discussed on the K9 epilepsy list, and I seem to remember folks saying it was rather cost prohibitive. I haven't needed anything like that for my epileptic dog, so I confess to not paying a great deal of attention to the discussions about it....

 

J.

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Speedy has been on tramadol for years for his arthritis with great results.

 

Is he addicted? I don't have a clue. But it doesn't really matter. He feels good, he hasn't suffered any obvious ill effects from the drug (he gets his blood tested every 6 months to check his organs), and it gives him a good quality of life.

 

My other senior dog, who has horrific hips, is on Metacam. That is super cost effective for us for two reasons. First, on approval of my vet, I mail order it from Drs Foster and Smith.

 

But also, my vet had me start Sammie at the recommended dose for his weight and slowly titrate him down to the lowest effective dose. So, he gets the amount specified for a 25 pound dog (he is 45 pounds) every day and it does the job. It's a liquid - that's why it can be titrated down very precisely.

 

I know that some have had bad experiences with Metacam, but Sammie is doing really well on it. He's 14. At this point, longevity is not an issue - quality of life is.

 

For Speedy, who is a couple of years younger, I prefer to use the tramadol, which is supposed to be safer, but if the day comes when he needs something with more anti-inflammatory capability, I would do the Metacam thing with him without hesitation.

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We have a GSD with bad hips on Gabapentin. She takes 300 ml a day. I buy it from Kmart and I get a 90 day supply of 600 ml tabs for $75.00. That works out to about $.42 a day, or about $12.50 a month. Cheaper buying the tablets and splitting them then buying the capsules. Well worth it. She takes the Gabapentin alone in the summer, but when the weather gets cold we add meloxicam to help with the pain.

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^^Me, too.

 

As much as I'd like to be able to keep them in my life forever, when the quality of life isn't there any more, it's not a life worth living, imo.

 

I just hope that if and when the time comes that my quality of life is that bad, there'll be someone who's able to help ease me out of it as we can do for our animal friends. I think that's a kindness, and should not be a crime.

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Our other dog is a greyhound. He is arthritic and about 13 plus--good age for a GH. We consider him in a stage of palliative care. We will not do anything extraordinary or put him through painful procedures--but we will provide him with meds if they are working and don't have significant side effects. He is on Gabapentin, Tramadol and Rimadyl, all for different purposes. They have given him an extra stretch of life and comfort. We both anticipate that this is coming to the end of its effectiveness and, as others have said, his quality is diminishing (albeit, not his appetite). We want him to be comfortable and go before his dignity leaves him--but I would not trade the expense of the meds against the extra time we've had with him. He's been a different dog on those medicines and we marveled at his increased energy and mobility.

 

Good luck with whatever you are able to and decide to do for your friend.

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Have you tried Baby Aspirin? It is always the first pain medication we try because it is safe and effective. We had a 14 year old that we had on Baby Aspirin for about 2 years. He couldn't take other NASIDs (like Rimadyl) because he had a compromised liver. We would start by giving one 83 mg tablet per day and increase the dosage as necessary. When he had particularly bad days we might have given him as many as 5 or 6 spread throughout the day. There are charts on the internet that detail maximum recommended daily dosage by body weight. DON'T use enteric coated aspirin because it doesn't dissolve in their stomach and can build up in their intestines and can cause overdosing problems,

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