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Ibuprofen Toxicity in Dogs

By: PetPlace Veterinarians

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Updated: June 26, 2014

Ibuprofen is a popular and effective over-the-counter medication available to treat pain and inflammation in people. Ibuprofen is a nonsteroidal antiinflammatory drug (commonly referred to as a NSAID- pronounced with the letter n-said).
For dogs, ibuprofen can easily exceed toxic levels. The most common cause of ibuprofen toxicity is a well-meaning owner trying to alleviate pain in his dog who administers a dose he thinks is adequate without knowing the toxic dose.

The most commonly affecting the gastrointestinal (GI) tract or kidneys. Hepatopathy is also possible.
The initial toxic effect is bleeding stomach ulcers. In addition to ulcers, increasing doses of ibuprofen eventually leads to kidney failure and, if left untreated, can be fatal. Liver injury and disease is also possible.

Most cases of ibuprofen occur in dogs – of all breeds, ages and sexes. Young dogs, senior dogs, and dogs with preexisting conditions affecting the heart, liver and kidneys are at higher risk of toxicity. Dogs taking other NSAID drugs or steroids are at much greater risk of toxicity.

What to Watch For

  • Poor appetite
  • Vomiting
  • Black tarry stools
  • Vomiting blood
  • Abdominal pain
  • Dehydration
  • Weakness
  • Lethargy
  • Increased thirst and urinations occurs with kidney failure

    The effects can vary from minor to very severe.

    Diagnosis

    Diagnosis of ibuprofen toxicity is generally based on physical exam findings and a history of access or exposure to ibuprofen.

    Blood tests are done to determine the overall health of the dog. If ibuprofen was ingested, blood tests may reveal anemia from a bleeding ulcer or abnormalities secondary to kidney damage.

    Treatment

  • Expect your veterinarian to recommend hospitalization with continuous intravenous fluids in high rates to enhance NSAID excretion for 24 to 48 hours.

  • All steroids and NASIDS need to be discontinued immediately.

  • Activated charcoal may be given if ingestion was recent (less than 2 hours).

  • If the dog is severely anemic due to bleeding ulcers, blood transfusions may be needed.

  • Medications such as sucralfate (Carafate®), Omeprazole, cimetidine (Tagamet®) or famotidine (Pepcid®) will be given to treat stomach ulcers.

  • Antiemetic medications may be used to control vomiting.

  • After 1 to 2 days of treatment, repeat blood work may be done to evaluate kidney function after treatment.

    Home Care and Prevention

    There is no home care for ibuprofen toxicity. Veterinary care is strongly suggested to treat kidney failure and bleeding stomach ulcers.

    While recovering from ibuprofen toxicity, feed your dog a bland diet for one to two days. Gradually return to a normal diet. Watch for failure to eat, vomiting and continued black tarry stools.

    The best preventive care is to give your dog medications only if directed by your veterinarian. Medications that may be safe for people can be fatal to pets. Also, make sure that all medications are kept out of the reach of inquisitive pets. Keeping medicine

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