How often should I get liver and kidney function tests for my 18 month old English Cream Golden Retriever who has been taking 50mgm of Rimadyl twice daily since December, 2010 for severe bilateral elbow dysplasia?
Mountain Lakes, NJ
Rimadyl is a non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drug (NSAID). It most frequently is prescribed for pain and inflammation due to arthritis, or for post-operative pain. Many other NSAIDs, including aspirin, Metacam, Previcox, and Deramaxx also are frequently used in veterinary medicine.
Most pets that take NSAIDs experience no side effects. However, side effects are possible with any NSAID. The most common side effect is gastrointestinal upset. However, all NSAIDs, including even aspirin, have the potential to cause more serious side effects. These include liver problems, kidney problems, and intestinal ulceration.
Experts recommend regular blood testing for that all pets that take NSAIDs regularly. However, to my knowledge the word regular never has been definitively defined. The general consensus among vets I know is that the tests should be performed every six months.
Therefore, although the recommended interval between tests may change in the future, for now I recommend semiannual blood tests for pets that take Rimadyl (or any NSAID) regularly.