Why did the drug Deramaxx kill my dog?

Our question this week was:

Dr. Debra

The drug DERAMAXX KILLED MY DOG..she was put on it June 14, 2008 and by July 9 2008 she was no longer walking, eating, or drinking…she was given this drug for a limp…took her in to see the vet on July 10 2008 …did a blood test and they told me she had hemolytic anemia….but refuse to admit DERAMAX is what killed her…we had to put her down JULY 11 2008.I have read, researched and hundreds of dogs died from DERAMAXX. My beautiful German shepherd is gone and we are left with no answers. Who can help me? I want justice- not another dog should ever die from this.

Cristina C.


Hi – thanks for your email. I am very sorry to hear about your dog. You wrote that your dog took Deramaxx (I'm sure you mean – Deracoxib [Deramaxx®]) – which is an anti-inflammatory and analgesic drug. It belongs to the general class of drugs known as nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs). Other related drugs include Celebrex®, ibuprofen, aspirin and naproxen.

These drugs suppress inflammation and pain by inhibiting synthesis of the class of compounds called prostaglandins. Prostaglandins are elaborated by the cellular enzyme cyclooxygenase (COX). COX enzymes are divided into two primary groups.

While generally safe and effective when prescribed by a veterinarian, deracoxib can cause side effects in some animals. Deracoxib may also interact with other medications. Consult with your veterinarian to determine if other drugs your pet is receiving could interact with deracoxib. Such drugs include aspirin and corticosteroids. There is an increased risk of NSAID-related problems such as bleeding or ulcers if other NSAIDs or cortisone-like drugs are given at the same time.

Few side effects have been reported upon initial testing of the drug. The most common side effects are anorexia and vomiting.

I have not read about any proof that Deramaxx causes auto-immune hemolytic anemia. That is a complex and often-fatal disease in which the body's immune system begins destroys the body's own red blood cells. It is a terrible disease. I hate it. Many dogs, like your, die from this disease.

It is my opinion that it will be impossible to prove why your dog died. I've seen hundreds of dogs on Deramaxx without problems and have personally never seen a dog die from being on it.

I understand that you want justice but I don't know how you can get justice when there is no definitive cause and effect.

An article that might be helpful to you is Immune Mediated Hemolytic Anemia in Dogs (IMHA), Autoimmune Hemolytic Anemia

I'm very sorry for your loss.

Dr. Debra

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