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Veterinary Nonsteroidal Anti-Inflammatory Drugs (NSAIDs)

Aug. 05, 2022

Veterinary nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) are commonly used to control fever, pain, and other signs of inflammation in animals. Inflammation is the body's response to irritation or injury and results in redness, warmth, swelling, and pain in the inflamed area. NSAIDs reduce these signs by affecting the production or function of certain substances, mainly prostaglandins, that are made by the body and involved in inflammation.

Veterinary NSAIDs are approved for various uses in companion animals (dogs, cats, and horses) and in two food-producing species (cattle and pigs):


SpeciesUses
Dogsto control pain and inflammation from osteoarthritis
to control pain and inflammation after surgery
Catsto control pain and inflammation after surgery
Horsesto control pain and inflammation from musculoskeletal disorders and osteoarthritis
to manage pain from colic (abdominal pain)
to control fever
Cattleto control fever from mastitis (an infected and inflamed mammary gland) and bovine respiratory disease
to control fever and inflammation from endotoxemia (bacterial toxins in the bloodstream)
to control pain from foot rot (a bacterial infection of the foot)
Pigsto control fever from swine respiratory disease


All approved veterinary NSAIDs are only available by prescription. A veterinarian’s expertise is required to determine if an NSAID is appropriate for the animal and to monitor the animal’s health while taking the drug.

Due to their pain-relieving, fever-reducing, and anti-inflammatory properties, NSAIDs have many benefits for animals and can lead to improved quality of life, but they can cause side effects. As a group, NSAIDs may affect the kidneys, liver, and stomach and intestines. Veterinary NSAIDs have not been studied in dogs, cats, horses, and pigs that are pregnant, nursing, or intended for breeding.

Some Reported Side Effects of Veterinary NSAIDs

Dogs and Cats

Vomiting

Diarrhea 

Not eating or eating less 

Being less active

Ulcers in the stomach and intestine


Horses

Colic 

Diarrhea 

Not eating or eating less 

Ulcers in the stomach and mouth


Cattle

Diarrhea 

Eating less 

Ulcers in the abomasum (the fourth and final stomach compartment in ruminants)

Effects to the reproductive cycle, labor, and post-partum period (the period of time right after an animal gives birth) 

Most side effects in animals are mild, but some can be serious and require medical care, especially if the drug is not used according to the directions on the label. Serious side effects include bleeding ulcers and perforations (holes) in the stomach and intestines, kidney and liver problems, and even death in rare cases. Veterinarians and owners should discuss the benefits and risks of an NSAID before deciding to use it. 


The labels for all NSAIDs that are approved for animals contain detailed information about the risks of these drugs. The NSAID Labels page of Animal Drugs @ FDA includes the labels for many approved veterinary NSAIDs. 

Veterinary Nonsteroidal Anti-Inflammatory Drugs (NSAIDs)

10ml dosing syringe

Veterinary Nonsteroidal Anti-Inflammatory Drugs (NSAIDs)

30ml dial a dose syringe



Source for FDA


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