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My Norton had surgery on his front right leg on Tuesday. We brought him home yesterday. The surgeon sent him home with Rimadyl twice a day for the pain. I gave it to him last night and this morning. But I did a Google search on Rimadyl, and now I'm terrified because apparently it can have deadly side effects.

So I don't know if I should give it to him anymore. How risky is it? And if I don't give it to him, is there some kind of safe pain reliever I can give him? He's definitely in a lot of pain, and the Rimadyl did help him feel better.

[ March 25, 2004, 02:21 PM: Message edited by: Trudi ]
 

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We used Rimadyl on Gus with no problems. My parents used it on their dogs too, with no problems. It seems to be the standard pain medication for dogs.

The Rimadyl website says the side effects are rare. I guess there is a risk with all meds... :(

Signs of Rimadyl intolerance may include appetite loss, vomiting and diarrhea, which could indicate rare but serious side effects involving the digestive tract, liver or kidneys. Serious adverse reactions associated with this drug class can occur without warning and in rare situations result in death. If these signs occur, discontinue Rimadyl therapy and contact your veterinarian.
Just wondering... Why did Norton need surgery?

[ March 25, 2004, 03:45 PM: Message edited by: tiny529 ]
 

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Norton had surgery for a condition called "premature closure of the distal ulnar physis." He had started limping on his right front leg at 5 months old. The vet initially wasn't concerned, thinking it was a pulled muscle or panosteitis. But as the months went by, the limp got worse and worse. The vet did X-rays, but didn't see a problem, although he admitted he's not an orthopedic specialist.

Then it got to the point where Norton yelped in pain when the vet touched his leg. The vet recommended we go to an orthopedic specialist. We did, and he took his own X-rays and saw the problem.

Apparently, while the bone is growing, the top part of the bone is open, allowing the bone to grow to its full length. When growth is complete, this "gap" closes and solidifies, making the leg stable. But in Norton's case, the gap closed too soon. So the bone is still trying to grow, but it can't because this solid, closed gap is blocking it. Left untreated, the bone begins to bend and twist as it grows (called "radius curvus"), and you have a deformed and crippled dog. :(

So Norton had a procedure called an "ulnar osteotomy." It just means cutting away that solidified part, which relieves the pressure and allows the bone to grow straight again. Norton has to lie quietly for six weeks, and then they'll take new X-rays to make sure it's growing okay.

I just pray that it works. He's only 9 months old, and he's spent most of his puppyhood limping like an old man. :(
 

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FWIW the complication that can result from rimadyl are less likely than more commonly known nsaids like asprin and ibuprofin(adivil). Dog are more susceptable to gastric ulceration from Nsaids than humans. Rimadyl is much safer on the stomach than the others for dogs. The liver toxicity associated with rimadyl also occurs with the other nsaids to so nsaids are conterindcated for dogs with liver problems and any dog on prolonged treatment needs periodic liver function tests performed.
 

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Toughynutter, thank you SO MUCH for posting that! I had said to my husband, "Maybe we should skip the Rimadyl and just give him aspirin?" If Rimadyl is actually SAFER than aspirin, well, that's safe enough for me! Thank you so much for the reassurance!
 

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We've used both with no problems. Moe has a deformed front leg and sometimes strains it when he plays too hard. The vet recommended giving him 1/2 of a buffered aspirin, as needed. It does the trick for him. When he was younger we used it alot (several times a week). As he's gotten older he's not as wild as he used to be so we only have to use it a few times a year. He had to take Rimadyl when he jumped off our porch and landed hard on his crooked leg. Aspirin didn't seem to help that time but the Rimadyl worked wonders.

I can understand how you felt. It's always best to discuss your fears concerning prescribed medications and possible side-affects with your vet. I'm sure they could have eased your mind, as Toughy did. What a scare you had!

I hope all goes well with Norton's recovery and that soon he will be racing around crazily like a normal young Basset.

Terry
 

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Thanks, Terry and Tiny! I really feel like he was "cheated" out of his puppyhood. Even before the limp got really bad, he was very sedate - always walked slowly on walks, and if we threw a ball for him, he'd chase it maybe twice, then flop down and ignore it if we threw it again. At the time, I just thought he was an unusually calm dog and that was just his temperament.

Then, the day that the orthopedic surgeon took the X-rays, he gave Norton a cortisone shot in that leg to make him feel better until the scheduled surgery two weeks later. That night, Norton was racing around the apartment like his tail was on fire! My son threw balls for him to fetch, and Norton chased the balls for TWO HOURS STRAIGHT! He was like a different dog!

It made me happy to see him so active, but also really sad at the same time, because it made me realize that THIS is his real temperament - a normal, bouncy, active puppy - but he wasn't able to express it because he wasn't feeling well all those months. So I really hope the surgery fixed him, and that once he heals, he can make up for lost time: race around and bounce off the walls and drive me crazy like a puppy is supposed to!

[ March 25, 2004, 10:24 PM: Message edited by: Trudi ]
 

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Trudi, Please discuss your concerns with your fella's surgeon, and then if they are taken care of (and I bet they will be) get him on that Rimadyl. It can have side effects, but so can most drugs. But it is such a helpful drug for many dog pain problems. My ten year old basset probably would be a crippled old man without it--with it, he can move with the best of them, and is enjoying his 'senior' years. We've had no problems in 1-2 years of taking the maximum dose daily.
 

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I called the vet (thanks for the suggestion!). I spoke to the assistant, not the vet. But she told me that they do so many surgeries there (the doctor is an orthopedic surgeon, so that's what's being done there), and they ALWAYS prescribe Rimadyl, and no one has ever reported a problem. So that was good to hear.

I also found a few other web site that were more impartial and balanced than the "Scary web site of Rimadyl horror stories." One said that 2.5 million dogs have been prescribed Rimadyl so far, and out of that number, 195 have died. That's only 2 out of 25,000, and even then, it's not confirmed that Rimadyl caused the deaths - there may have been an underlying problem that was not known. And most of the dogs that take Rimadyl are elderly dogs with arthritis, so 1) they're old and may have had other problems, and 2) they're taking it long term, not just two weeks like Norton.

The number of adverse side effects (not death) is higher, but still a very tiny number compared to the number of dogs who take it with no problems at all.

So I feel better about it. I also know what symptoms to look for (loss of appetite, excessive thirst or urination, black tarry stools), and Norton hasn't shown any of that.

And last night, he did not seem to be in pain and didn't whimper, so I didn't even have to give him the Rimadyl then. This morning, though, he did whimper some, so I gave it to him. But I don't think I'll even have to give it to him as much as prescribed (twice a day), so that's good too.

Thanks everyone for reassuring me! This is a great board!
 

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"if we threw the ball for him, he'd chase it maybe twice, then flop down and ignore it if we threw it again"...

Sounds perfectly normal to me. :D

Terry
 
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