What is the dog drug Tramadol?

Our question this week was:

Dr. Debra – my dog had surgery for removal of a pair of underwear from his stomach. My vet sent home a drug called “tramadol”. My son picked him up and didn’t ask what this was for. Can you tell me?


Shannon – St. Louis, MO


Hi – thanks for your email. You wrote asking – what is the drug tramadol that was prescribed for your dog post surgery.

Tramadol – also known as Tramadol Hydrochloride also goes by the name of Ultram® as well as other names. Tramadol is a pain medication. We actually have information about this drug in our drug library – go to Tramadol Hydrochloride Drug Library Information.

The way tramadol works is not completely understood but it appears that at least two complementary mechanisms are operating: 1) binding of parent drug and metabolite to µ-opioid receptors, and 2) weak inhibition of reuptake of norepinephrine and serotonin.

Tramadol is well absorbed when administered orally and is very effective in many dogs. It is commonly combined with other pain medications for severe pain.

An article that might be helpful to you is Pain in Dogs

Best of luck!

Dr. Debra

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