The Senior Dogs Project
"Blessed is the person who has earned the love of an old dog."
This site presents more than 200 reports of adverse experiences with Rimadyl. Also presented are approximately 90 testimonials and reports from people who have used Rimadyl successfully, including those from proponents of the drug who say their dogs were saved from euthanasia by Rimadyl. It is not our intention to discourage the use of Rimadyl. Clearly, it has helped a great many dogs and is unquestionably preferable to euthanasia.
In April 2000, the Senior Dogs Project ceased regularly posting reports of experiences with Rimadyl. With the appearance of the March 13, 2000, Wall Street Journal article, Pfizer's distribution of a new Rimadyl Owner Information Sheet (OIS), and additional widespread information campaigns, it seemed our goal of informing consumers by presenting experiential reports had been reached.
If you would like your voice to be heard we suggest the following alternatives:
Reports on adverse experiences should be made to Pfizer and to the FDA. Please see the Rimadyl Take Action Page, linked from the navigation bar at the left. To join the internet-based Rimadyl ADE support group, click on "Doghealth2 E-mail List" in the navigation bar at the left.
We again thank everyone who has contributed a report to srdogs. Each of you has helped further the cause of making information about Rimadyl more widely available. In some instances, we have received messages from people who say their dogs' lives were saved by information on the srdogs website. You who have contributed your reports surely have their special gratitude.
Inasmuch as reports of adverse effects continue to circulate on the Internet, however, and come to our attention, from time to time we select those that we think will be most helpful and informative to consumers and we post them. They begin below.
How common are side effects to Rimadyl? According to Pfizer Animal Health, the manufacturers of Rimadyl, side effects from the drug occur in less than 2/10ths of 1% of all dogs. They also state, "Approximately 70% of the Rimadyl-associated adverse drug event reports received by Pfizer Animal Health have been in older dogs (i.e., older than eight years)."
The article on Reports of Adverse Drug Experiences in the January/February 1999 issue of "FDA Veterinarian" offers statistics showing that Rimadyl accounted for approximately 30% of all Adverse Drug Experience reports for 1997 and ranks at the top of the list of ten drugs for which ADE's are most often reported. Rimadyl led the group of the "top ten" by a large margin: ADE's reported for Rimadyl in 1997 = 1,270; ADE's for the second drug in the list, "Domitor" = 291. Rimadyl = 33.3% of all ADE reports; the next highest percentage for all ten drugs = 7.6%.
The December 1999 update from the Center for Veterinary Medication (CVM) stated: "Of all the ADE reports CVM received in 1998, thirty-nine percent (39%) or 3,626 involved Rimadyl. The number of ADE reports received by CVM for Rimadyl is considerably more than that received for other animal drugs. For any one ADE report, there is no absolute certainty that the suspected drug caused the effect. The adverse effects in these reports are consistent with those expected for NSAIDs. They typically involve the gastrointestinal system, renal/urinary system, hematopoietic (blood) system, neurological system, and the liver. Approximately 13% of the 1998 Rimadyl ADE reports for dogs involved death of the dog, either on their own or by means of euthanasia."
How accurately do the statistics reflect the real world? This is a question that the Senior Dogs Project feels requires ongoing monitoring. The FDA itself has stated that incidents of adverse experiences are underreported. And, as we noted above, it is generally agreed among statisticians that most figures reflect only 10 to 15% of actual cases. This would mean that, in reallity, there may have been as many as 31,000 to 47,000 ADEs to Rimadyl in 1997 and 1998.
It has been pointed out that aspirin, which is widely used, also has side effects in humans including death (from bleeding ulcers -- over 7,000 annually in the U.S., according to one report). In general, aspirin is considered a safe, effective drug, however. Further, in a recent article by David J. Morrow in the New York Times (January 4, 1999) the statistics quoted were as follows: 13,000,000 Americans take non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs annually; 20,000 are hospitalized and 2,600 die while taking the drugs.
Particularly pertaining to senior dogs is the issue of correct diagnosis and reporting of adverse drug events. It is often assumed that an older dog is simply manifesting the signs of aging, and appears to "die of old age," when, in fact, it was a drug reaction that precipitated a chain of events that caused or accelerated the death. There may be a substantial number of cases of adverse reactions to Rimadyl that go unreported for this reason, and also cases in which dogs are euthanized because the symptoms of their adverse drug reaction mimic those of a condition, such as liver failure, that is considered irreversible. (See "Barney's" case, # 18, in 1999 Reports.)
It is important to note that, in all but a few of the reports of adverse events presented on this website, the veterinarian prescribing Rimadyl either failed to give warnings about the drug's potential side effects or told the client they were insignificant. Before making the decision to give your dog Rimadyl, we encourage you to become fully informed about the drug's benefits and risks, to evaluate whether your veterinarian is fully informed about potential side effects and recommended pre-testing and monitoring, and then to review with your veterinarian the benefits of the drug versus the risks for your dog in particular.
We encourage you to read as many of the case histories and as much of the information posted on this site as you can (all accessible via the navigation bar at the left.) You will most definitely want to read the most recent edition of the Rimadyl Owner Information Sheet (OIS). The OIS includes warnings required by the FDA due to the number of reports of adverse experiences with Rimadyl. Pfizer has established a program of providing the OIS with each prescription for Rimadyl. If your veterinarian fails to provide the OIS with your prescription, ask for it; or you can print it out from the link above in this paragraph.
Keep in mind, as you read the case histories on this website, that the normal tendency is for people to report negative experiences rather than positive. Many of the side effects reports are also "anecdotal," in that neither Pfizer nor the FDA has established a clear causal relationship between taking Rimadyl and the observed effects. We recognize that every report presented on this website does not scientifically establish that Rimadyl caused the adverse experiences described. We make no scientific judgment, but rather present the cases as part of an unbiased attempt to add to the growing body of information that may ultimately form a more complete picture of how Rimadyl works and how it may best be prescribed and administered. A number of the case histories have, however, been verified by Pfizer and/or the FDA as incidents of Rimadyl toxicity. In all but a few of the cases presented, the adverse events are those named in the Rimadyl package insert, owner information sheet, or technical bulletins as potential side effects of the drug.
Also keep in mind that the fact that testimonials to Rimadyl have been voluntarily contributed speaks to the perceived effectiveness of the drug, although it is also true that all these benefits reports are "anecdotal."
You can help in the effort to insure Rimadyl's safety by reporting any suspected ADE's to Pfizer at: 1-800-366-5288 and to the FDA at: 1-888-332-8387 (or 1-888-FDA-VETS). For step-by-step instructions, click on "Rimadyl Take Action Page!" in the navigation bar at the left.
Reports Concerning Rimadyl (Carprofen) and Pfizer, Year 2001 and Later
January 2010: Generic Rimadyl -- "Carprofen" Now Available
From a Press Release distributed by pharmaceutical company Putney, Inc. and VetSource PORTLAND, Ore., Jan. 11, 2010 -- VetSource, a leading veterinarian-focused specialty pharmacy and home delivery company today announced a partnership with Putney, Inc., a pharmaceutical company focused on the development and sale of generic and specialty prescription drugs for dogs and cats. VetSource will now offer Putney's FDA approved generic Carprofen Caplets to provide veterinarians with a cost effective way for their pet patients to get this frequently prescribed drug. Carprofen is indicated in dogs for pain associated with canine osteoarthritis, and for controlling post-operative pain from certain surgeries. Putney's Carprofen Caplets are equivalent to Pfizer's Rimadyl® branded carprofen caplets but priced to cost veterinarians as much as 25% less. "In this economy we are pleased to add FDA approved, cost-effective generic prescribing options such as Putney's Carprofen Caplets to our specialty pharmacy portfolio," offered Andrew Bane, Ph.D., Vice President at VetSource. "This further cements our commitment to offer veterinarians a comprehensive inventory of FDA approved pharmaceuticals, as well as nutritional diets and specialty pharmacy items for their practices and their clients through veterinarian-sponsored home delivery." Putney says its affiliation with VetSource furthers its goal of getting quality, FDA approved, affordable generic drugs to companion animal veterinary practices. "Generic drugs help keep pharmacy revenues in the practice, permit veterinarians to make treatment decisions based on the animal's needs rather than on price, and enable pet owners to afford the recommended course of treatment especially in this tough economy," says Jean Hoffman, CEO of Putney. Moving forward Putney anticipates offering additional forms of carprofen, including a bioequivalent, palatable chew. Putney's Carprofen Caplets are available to any veterinary hospital that is enrolled in VetSource pharmacy programs nationwide.
Summer 2009 -- Reports of Adverse Reactions Continue, No Warnings Given by Veterinarians......Ten Years Later!!!
Even though the FDA mandated revised labeling for Rimadyl and the distribution of a "Client Information Sheet" when Rimadyl is dispensed, problems continue with this drug. We discontinued the regular posting on this website of adverse events due to Rimadyl quite some time ago, but, in the past few days several new cases appeared in the space of 48 hours. Is this just coincidence, or is something going on here? If, after reading these latest case histories, you're concerned about your dog's possible adverse reaction to Rimadyl, please read the FDA's Guidelines on the use of non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs.
From Roni Goldberg, Fort Lauderdale, FL, August 14, 2009:
"My beautiful Yorkie, Katy, was 13 years old when I noticed she seemed to be having problems with an imbalance when she walked. I took her into my vet and he said that, due to her age, it was probably arthritis. He didn't give her much of a check-up, but just walked out of the examining room and came back in and gave her a shot. He didn't describe why he was doing it or what it was. He mentioned that he would be prescribing medication for her that would help her, but again, didn't tell me what the medication would be. When I went to check out and they gave me the bill, I saw that the shot was Rimadyl and the medication he had prescribed was Rimadyl. I told the nurse he didn't tell me he was giving her a shot of Rimadyl. He argued with me and then said he would take it off my bill. I told him that wasn't the point. I thought I should have been informed about the treatment prior to its being administered. However, I also felt that, if the veterinarian thought it would help her, I would give Katy the Rimadyl and see whether, in fact, it did.
"After a few days of giving Katy the Rimadyl pills, she couldn't walk at all, her stomach was distended, and her breathing was very heavy. I had three other veterinarians look at her -- all of whom said it wasn't a Rimadyl reaction, but thought that it might be cancer -- a tumor on her spine, perhaps. Finally, I took her to a veterinarian who did an X-ray and CBC (complete blood count). The CBC showed high levels of CREA, BUN, ALT, ALK -- all signs of Rimadyl toxicity. In an adverse reaction to Rimadyl, you are most likely to see: 1) low red blood cells, 2) high white blood cells, 3) elevated creatinine and BUN indicating kidney damage, and 4) elevated AST, ALT, ALK. The veterinarian said the X-ray showed no tumor on her spine and sent us home with a prescription for prednisolone. When I found out that prednisolone should not be given without a rest period of a week or more after administration of Rimadyl, I called the veterinarian's office to point this out. They would not allow me to return the medication. I had asked for help from Pfizer, as well as from all these veterinarians, and no one came through for my beautiful little Katy. I lost her on June 25, 2009. My heart is forever broken." Roni Goldberg has established a site in memory of Katy where people can report on and discuss their experiences with the adverse effects of Rimadyl.
From Jo Rakowski, August 11, 2009:
Jo's Yorkie, Schnurek, 9 years and 7 months old, had been hospitalized in the Animal Emergency Referral Center, Northbrook, Il, over the preceding weekend. He had taken Rimadyl for nearly three days and almost died. The veterinarian attending to Schnurek wrote: "Diagnosis: Gastroenteritis -- secondary to Rimadyl use vs other cause." Ms. Rakowski writes, "The same day I received the hospital diagnosis about the drug's adverse effect, I contacted Pfizer and reported this case; I also have the form from the FDA website to fax in to the agency. Thank goodness Schnurek recovered from Rimadyl and he enjoys life as always with his two Yorkie-brothers, Linka (7 years) and Guzik (2 years, 7 months)."
From Chris (last name and location withheld due to privacy and legal issues), August 12, 2009:
"Unfortunately, we took our Golden in for knee surgery and they NEVER gave us any warning info for the Rimadyl they put her on. She went into acute liver failure and fought for six weeks before finally losing her battle on July 26, 2009. "We did everything right in trying to be a good advocate for our poor puppy but the vet was negligent in not giving us the info as mandated by law. So now I have to sue my vet and maybe Pfizer, too. As soon as it was determined that Rimadyl was the cause of her condition, Pfizer offered us $1000, which I saw as blood money since that's what they paid on average to the plaintiff's in the class action suit. I sent the check back! I spent $25,000 trying to save her, and she fought so hard and all the doctors thought she might make it but even Pfizer had no data on any dog that was that sick that lived for more then a few days with her off-the-chart liver function numbers. I feel like I poisoned her and will carry that guilt forever."
From Pam (last name and location withheld due to privacy and legal issues), August 12, 2009:
"My dog, Nikki, just died last night and it appears it may have been related to a Rimadyl reaction. She was a very happy, high energy Australian Shepherd that I got from the local animal shelter seven years ago. She recently had her teeth cleaned and had a tooth pulled. At that time, they gave her an injection of Rimadyl and sent seven 100mg tablets home for me to give her ½ twice a day. I thought it was antibiotics that they sent home with me, and noticed three dats after her dental work that it was Rimadyl. I went online for information and saw that it was for inflammation and pain. She was obviously not in pain, and the spot where her tooth had been pulled looked fine, so I didn't give her anymore Rimadyl. Last Friday, she didn't want her breakfast or dinner (dry food), she still didn't want dry food on Saturday, but ate some canned. She seemed depressed and lethargic, but we have had some awful thunderstorms. She was terrified of thunder, so I thought that may have been what had her upset. In hindsight (and I am beating myself up over this), I should have taken her in to the vet first thing Monday, but I called Tuesday (yesterday) morning to get her in to see the vet early afternoon. Sometime during the morning, while I was at work, she vomited on the bed and it was a mixture of grass and blood. When I took her in, she was anemic, so they put her on an I.V. and gave her something to coat her stomach and try to stop the bleeding. She was still alive at 10:30 last night when the last person was at the vet clinic. When they went in this morning, she was gone. "I am extremely sad and upset (and my other two dogs are as wellespecially my Cocker Spaniel, Hope, as she and Nikki were best buds) and can't help but wonder if I had known about the potential issues with Rimadyl, and would have ended up taking her in sooner, if she would still be with us."
Apparently, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA), Center for Veterinary Medicine (CVM), Division of Surveillance, thinks so! In a letter dated November 24, 2008, to Dr. M. Elizabeth McKenzie, Director, US Regulatory Affairs at Pfizer Animal Health, the CVM wrote that Pfizer was guilty of violations in the form of false, misleading, or unsubstantiated safety claims about Rimadyl in their advertising of the drug. In addition, the CVM found Pfizer's Duration of Efficacy chart to contain unsubstantiated efficacy claims regarding Rimadyl. The letter states, "For these reasons, Rimadyl is misbranded within the meaning of section 502(n) of the Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act (the Act) [21 U.S.C. 352(n)]." The letter is signed by Lynn O. Post, DVM, Ph.D., Director of the Division of Surveillance and ends with the following Conclusion and Requested Action:
"The misleading statements in your advertisements misbrand Rimadyl within the meaning of section 502(n) of the Act, 21 U.S.C. 352(n).
"The Center for Veterinary Medicine requests that Pfizer Animal Health immediately cease the dissemination of the Rimadyl promotional items described above, and any other materials that may contain similar unsubstantiated promotional claims. Please submit a written response within thirty (30) days of receipt of this letter describing whether you intend to comply with this request, and listing all violative promotional materials for Rimadyl the same as or identical to those described above, and explaining your plan for discontinuing use of such materials. Please direct your response to me at the Food and Drug Administration, Center for Veterinary Medicine, Division of Surveillance, HFV-210, 7519 Standish Place, Rockville, MD 20855. We remind you that only written communications are official.
"The violations discussed in this letter do not necessarily constitute an exhaustive list. It is your responsibility to see that your promotional materials for Rimadyl, as well as other Pfizer Animal Health products, comply with the requirements of the Act and FDA implementing regulations."
January 2008 -- Rimadyl's Side Effects Continue to Wreak Havoc....a recent case history:
An e-mail message received in January 20008: "In October of last year (2007) I took Tiffany to her vet because she was due for her distemper vaccine. I also wanted her right rear leg and joint examined, for she seemed a little slow. Moreover, she was pulling up a bit short on her walks, something she didn't do before. The examination was about the middle of the month and was conducted, I thought, thoroughly. The vet's opinion was that she was suffering some mild arthritis (she is 12), though everything else appeared normal. She was prescribed 50mg of Rimadyl 2x daily, w/ a five day trial. After the trial period Tiffany appeared somewhat improved, and I filled the prescription. After 10 days to two weeks she appeared almost normal and seemed livelier. At the end of the month I took her w/ me to the family cottage in northern MI to close it for the season. On October 31 we went on a short walk and she was doing very well. I was satisfied w/ her progress. Everything was nominal. The next morning I went out for about an hour and left Tiffany on the bed. When I got back I went to get her out of the bedroom but found her lying down waiting for me. She got up stumbling and falling about and favoring her right shoulder. (It now seems likely that she attempted to jump off the bed--as usual--and may have fallen on her shoulder due to the immobility she was experiencing from the drug.) Frankly, she was a mess and could barely make it to the back door. Her legs couldn't support her and her hind quarters would just splay and flop. This was the beginning of a nightmarish 2 1/2 months for her, a period she very nearly failed to survive. I was immediately suspicious of the medication. I checked the Internet for more information and spent hours and hours looking into the Rimadyl connection, which is how I found your site. I was struck by how similar the circumstances of the case histories, appearing on srdogs.com, were to those experienced by Tiffany. Here she was, twelve years old, complaining slightly about a seemingly impaired gait (a walk that seemed like heaven in retrospect), being placed on Rimadyl, then finding herself stumbling, collapsing, and, just a little later, experiencing partial paralysys of the hind quarters. I felt that time away from the drug would result in her regaining her original form. The profiles on srdogs.com convinced me of this, and those stories lent me the confidence to persevere w/ her. But she seemed to deteriorate. I read extensively on the NSAID "blood brain barrier", about the active ingredient, carprofen, and its role as a COX-2 inhibitor; about Rimadyl belonging to a class of drugs called propionic acids (of which Aleve is one and the strong injunction NEVER to administer Aleve to a canine); about the wrenching, devastating side effects and possible fatal complications of the drug's use; and, finally, about the prognosis for a dog on the drug and the long struggle to endure its administration and aftermath. She also began to lose her spirit. She would sleep endlessly and I would have to massage her awake then carry her outside and in, to and from her food--just everywhere. Then, on one occasion when I carried her from outside and placed her just inside the door, she stumbled a few feet and collapsed. I was on her in a second and held her head in my arms. She didn't respond, and I called her name again and again. I thought she was gone, and I was, too. Just then her eyes flicked open, and she looked at me--as she had done so often at the time--as if to ask what was going on, what had happened to her life. Her condition was so bad that I knew that she would probably have to return to the vet. She was pushing three weeks off the drug, but it wasn't enough. And, while she could walk a bit, she would hop while doing it. The stress was showing throughout her body and spirit. Once back at the vet, my Rimadyl hypothesis was rejected. I was told that Rimadyl reactions are exceedingly rare, certainly nothing like imbalance, partial paralysis, and uncoordinated stumbling could be the consequence of such a thoroughly "vetted" medication. I was given a temporary supply of another medicine, Deramaxx, and told to go slow w/ it. After one day on Deramaxx Tiffany seemed somewhat improved. Then, but 36 hours on the same dosage as the Rimadyl (50mg), she collapsed again, in worse condition than ever. I took her to the vet again, and, this time, he agreed that the NSAIDS were intolerable for her. Now the prescription was a simple one for Tramadol for her aching shoulder--the shoulder she probably injured falling from the bed those weeks earlier. (Also, complete body x-rays revealed no joint abnormalities.) Only now is Tiffany rejoining her condition in early October. Her personality is reviving, and she is starting to climb stairs on her own. I am taking her for walks and she can go about a half mile. She still has shoulder discomfort, but we are working on that via a new diet and MSM\glucosamine supplements (no Tramadol), as well as ground flaxseed and other additives to her food. This will be quite a journey. I wouldn't have found the confidence to persevere w/ her recovery by alternate means and may well have accepted the company line about the Pfizer and Novartis miracle drugs had srdogs.com not been there to inform me of the case histories--those both happy and tragic. I am relating Tiffany's story as a recent addition to that store of knowledge; her story is not a mere anecdote as the drug and veterinary medicine establishment would have us believe. Tiffany is my companion and my friend. We have traveled and explored and lived as one. She has retrieved driftwood in turbulent Lake Superior in November. She has run the rims of sand dunes along Lake Michigan. She has chased deer in the snow-covered woods. We have played endless soccer and fought blinding winter storms. And we are sharing this rock together. Still. Sincerely, R. F. Whitmer"
Coco, a beautiful, ten-year-old Chocolate Lab mix, died in July, shortly after she was given Rimadyl for pain associated with an ear infection. According to Coco's guardian, no client information sheet was ever offered to her and the veterinarian assured her Rimadyl would help her dog.
She says, "I would never have given this drug to my dog had I seen the information on Labrador Retriever responses to it." She writes further, "I feel she died too young due to incompetent care. I still believe that what was ailing her could have been dealt with because she had been peppy, happy, and mostly in good health. I believe the symptoms that led to her collapse implicate Rimadyl as the cause of her death and of the distressing quality of her life in her last three days. . . . Even though everyone tells me I should stop feeling guilt that I killed my dog, I still can't help but blame myself for not looking up the drug. And then I wonder if she might have survived once she got past the toxicity, but I don't think we could have watched her suffer anymore. All I know is there seem to be so many empty spaces in my home, places where she was always beside me. I have decided to channel my grief and anger by informing everyone I know about this assault on all of our animals' dignity and quality of life. Would these vets prescribe a drug to their family members if there were even the slightest possibility that it could kill them? I doubt it. . . . Let's all decide to do at least one thing a day to honor our beloved companions. If it's telling one other person, or posting information somewhere or filing complaints with any and every state and federal agency, we can change the world -- one message at a time. But in between this let us all take the time to remember our companions for the happiness we shared and how much they gave us. For Coco."
An e-mail message from firstname.lastname@example.org 1/3/02, reports a death, with Rimadyl suspected as the cause: "I am writing this in a great deal of grief. I lost my 14-year-old Yellow Lab, Chestnut, yesterday, New Years Day, 2004, from a massive stroke, after she had been on Rimadyl for twelve days. She was a healthy dog -- only some arthritis. While waiting for surgery to be done on Monday, January 5, 2004 (the earliest possible appointment I could get), my vet gave me Rimadyl to 'make her feel better' until he could remove a lymphoma, that he assured me was harmless, from under her left front leg. She started the Rimadyl on Saturday, December 20, and I gave it to her twice a day until yesterday morning, January 1, 2004, twelve days later. Her appetite had diminished, but she ate to make me happy. I had to spoon feed her. Chestnut's abdomen had swollen in the previous three days also, even though she was eating less and not finishing her meals. I had to decide to put Chestnut to sleep after this massive stroke, as she could not walk, she had to have surgery and there did not seem to be any alternatives. Money was no object, but there was no answer!! I said good-bye to her....she really was not there, as I felt her pass in my arms at home before I got her to my vet. One and one-half hours after her lunch and last Rimadyl, Chestnut was gone. When I got home something made me look up Rimadyl on the internet and I could not believe what I was reading. I am lost without her. I pray I did the right thing for her. She had so much pride. I could not bear to see her suffer any longer. "
E-mail received from email@example.com ,11/16/03, reports a positive experience with Rimadyl: "We recently put our 12+-year-old, 60-lb. Redbone Hound on Rimadyl. We cautiously watch him for signs of side effects. So far, after 45 days, nothing is amiss. Twice a day, before each feeding, we give him 750/600 mg. glucosamine/chondroitin, one-half capsule plant digestive enzyme ('Now' brand), one Lactaid tablet (9,000 units), 500 mg. ester C, 75 mg. Ranitidine, 1000 mg MSM, two tablespoons flaxseed oil, and one tablespoon nutritional yeast, crushed and mixed with two tablespoons full-fat yogurt. He was on this program for about a year, and it seemed to help his hypertrophic arthritis for a while (the MSM particularly helped to reduce joint swelling), but, about six weeks ago, he became lethargic -- had sunken eyes, would not drink much water, and seemed to be in a downward spiral. When the vet recommended Rimadyl, we were concerned about the side effects, but, at the rate he was going, it seemed as though he wouldn't be with us much longer. Since he's been on the Rimadyl, we have a lively, vibrant, and once-again very strong family pet. He is walking better, can drag a short piece of railroad tie around the yard again, as he did when he was a pup, he is happy, hungry all the time, friendly, and back to his old 'self.' With his stomach problems and his arthritis, we know he won't be with us much longer, but we feel it is worth giving Rimadyl a try."
December 2003 -- According to Damian Adams of South Australia, whose dog suffered a fatal reaction to Rimadyl (see October 2003 report below), "New scientific information shows that Rimadyl can cause clotting conditions such as thrombosis, ischaemia and infarctions. These conditions have been previously excluded as a Rimadyl adverse reaction and Pfizer does not acknowledge the evidence (yet). An infarction caused the death of my 6-year-old Newfie Baxter while on Rimadyl and I am trying to draw Pfizer Australia's attention to this evidence as they have previously concluded that Rimadyl did not cause his death. Rimadyl (Carprofen) is a cyclooxygenase-2 (COX-2) selective inhibitor in canine cells (Pfizer's own printed publications including studies of Ricketts et al.) Prostacyclin is a product of COX-2; it increases blood flow, reduces leukocyte adherence and inhibits platelet aggregation. Its inhibition increases the risk of acute vascular events in canines receiving COX-2 inhibitors (Hennan et al., 2001), and could promote thrombosis (Widlansky et al., 2003) which could lead to an infarction. Selective COX-2 inhibition blocks prostacyclin (PGI-2) formation without inhibiting TXA2 (thromboxane)(McAdam et al., 1999, and Catell-Lawson and Crofford, 2001), thereby increasing platelet activation, adhesion and aggregation with a resultant possibility for thrombosis and ISCHAEMIC events (Pitt et al., 2002). Non-concomitant inhibition of COX-1 (for which Rimadyl does not inhibit) which mediates the actions of TXA2 (a platelet aggregating promoter) may increase the risk of thrombosis with selective COX-2 inhibitors (Christopher Jones, Veterinarian, Gulf Coast Veterinary Specialists, Houston, Texas). This is but a brief sample of the scientific data, peer reviewed journal articles and publications by both scientists and veterinarians that point to the distinct possibilty of an clotting condition arising from the use of selective COX-2 inhibitors such as Rimadyl.
Ricketts AP, Lundy KM, Seibel SB 1998. Evaluation of selective inhibition of cyclooxygenase 1 and 2 by carprofen and other nonsteroidal anti- inflammatories. J. Vet. Res. 59(11): 1441-1446.
Hennan JK, Huang J, Barrett TD, Driscoll EM, Willens DE, Park AM, Crofford LJ and Lucchesi BR 2001. Effects of selective cyclooxygenase-2 inhibition on vascular responses and thrombosis in canine coronary arteries. Circulation 104 (7): 820-825.
Widlansky ME, Price DT, Gokce N, Eberhardt RT, Duffy SJ, Holbrook M, Maxwell C, Palmisano J, Keaney JF Jr, Morrow JD and Vita JA 2003. Short and long-term COX-2 inhibition reverses endothelial dysfunction in patients with hypertension. Hypertension 42(3): 310-315.
McAdam BF, Catella-Lawson F, Mardini IA et al. 1999. Systemic biosysnthesis of prostacyclin by cyclooxygenase (COX-2); the human pharmacology of a selective inhibitor of COX-2. Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci. USA 96: 272-277.
Catella-Lawson F and Crofford LJ 2001. Cyclooxygenase inhibition and thrombogenecity. Am. J. Med. 110: 28S-32S.
Pitt B, Pepine C and Willerson JT 2002. Cyclooxygenase-2 inhibition and cardiovascular events. Circulation 106(2): 167-174.
October 2003: A Report from South Australia -- Baxter, a six-year-old Newfie experiences negative side effects following low dose of Rimadyl
We are keeping in our thoughts a dog named "Baxter," who is fighting to recover from side effects of Rimadyl. Here is Baxter's story as reported to us by Damian Adams of South Australia:
"Baxter, our six year old Newfie, was always a picture of health and the most gentle soul we had ever met. He developed a sore/inflammed disk in his neck which made it painful for him to feed from his bowl or to lie down. Our vet prescribed Rimadyl at a dose lower than the maximum allowable. After four days Baxter was much better and we removed him from the drug on the Tuesday morning, giving him his last dose with his breakfast. Within an hour he was vomiting, couldn't pass any faeces, was depressed and had a swollen, painful belly. His behaviour became erratic -- at times he was unwilling to move and at others he had enough energy to dig up the entire garden, something he has never done. He even refused all food and treats, which is very un-Newfoundland like. Baxter was rushed to another vet closer to our home who could find no reason for his illness -- no elevated temperature and no bowel/stomach blockage. He was given an injection to stop the vomiting and was sent home. I mentioned that he was on Rimadyl, but the vet did not bat an eyelid. The next morning he vomited blood and was rushed back to the first vet who took blood and put him on a drip. The blood tests showed stomach inflammation and mild pancreatitis, none of which pointed to how sick he actually was. Knowing that it was too coincidental, I did a web search and found your very informative site as well as others, including Pfizer who now admit that it can cause such gastrointestinal problems such as pancreatitis and present the symptoms we were seeing. I have since mentioned the possibility of Rimadyl being a cause to the vet who did concur that he had thought about the possibility but that he had also not had any problems with the drug in all of the years he has administered it. Now I sit and wait to see how Baxter does on the drip, being completely distressed about the fact that something I have given him could kill him. Baxter weighed 80kgs (176 lbs) and started on a dose of 200mg per day (1x 100mg tablet in the morning and one at night) for the first three days; then we reduced it down to 100mg per day for the next three days (including the day he became extremely ill). This dosage is well below the maximum allowable, according to Pfizer the initial dose is only 57% of what we could give him. In the first 30 hours of sickness, Baxter lost 3kgs of body weight." Yours faithfully, Damian Adams. South Australia. September 17, 2003. Update October 30, 2003: "Baxter was euthanised on September 19 due to small intestine necrosis that could not be treated with surgery. This necrosis was most likely caused by mesentry ischaemia -- blood clots that stopped the supply of blood to his small intestine (according to the pathologist's report). While neither the vet nor pathologist acknowledge Rimadyl to be the cause of this, it is known that gastrointestinal bleeding can occur when using Rimadyl. The mesentry arteries belong to the GI system. I have contacted Pfizer Australia and have notified them of an adverse reaction. They have contacted me to obtain information on Baxter and the treating vets. I am yet to hear back as to their conclusions."
A 5 1/2-year-old Bichon Frisee named Molly underwent surgery for bladder stones on June 12, 2003. The night after surgery, when she exhibited pain, her guardian called the vet; he prescribed Rimadyl. The veterinarian did not advise the client of the potential side effects, thus, the client did not recognize them when they appeared (after the initial dose) and she continued to administer Rimadyl. After the third dose, she withdrew Rimadyl, but, by then, it was apparently too late. She writes: "On June 17, I woke to find Molly's little belly bulging. It was apparent she was in acute renal failure. She had not urinated since the morning of June 14. I kept asking the vet if this was all right, but I never was given an answer. I brought her into the vet that morning; he catheterized her and did a blood test. He said the numbers were extremely high and that, if she came out of this, she would have 25% kidney function. ... Molly had always been a healthy dog other than the bladder stones. The only answer I was given when I asked the vet if it could be the Rimadyl was, 'I didn't send her home with it; you called and asked for it.' I was shocked and could not believe what I was hearing. I took Molly home and she grew larger and her heart beat was becoming more intense. On June 19, shortly after midnight, Molly passed away in my daughter's arms while having a violent seizure. It was the most heart-wrenching experience either one of us has ever endured." -- Reported by Candy S.
Duchess, a 7-year-old Great Dane with slight lameness was given Rimadyl for about a week, during which she collapsed with a GI hemorrhage. After a week of intensive care, she was euthanized. Since she was in good health up to this time, Rimadyl is suspected as the cause of her death. The same person reports that her 2-year-old Great Dane was also given Rimadyl for lameness, but that it became worse, not better while on the drug. The veterinarian then increased the dosage, and she became worse still. When she was unable to get up or stand, blood work was done, but showed no problem. The vet suggested it was a brain tumor. After withdrawing the Rimadyl, the dog was able to stand and walk and improved significantly. -- Reported by Ann V.L.
October 2000: Adverse Reactions to Rimadyl Continue to Occur; "Owner Information Sheet" Not Being Distributed
Incidents of negative reactions to Rimadyl continue to appear on various bulletin boards and E-mail lists on the internet. The following are three common themes that continue to surface:
(1) Even though Pfizer has supposedly distributed them to veterinarians and instructed that they be dispensed along with any Rimadyl prescription, consumers are still not being given the "Owner Information Sheet" describing the potential side effects of the drug.
You may recall that in April 2000, Pfizer issued this statement in a press release:
"EXTON, Pa., April 20 /PRNewswire/ -- A trip to the veterinarian just became more like a visit to the neighborhood pharmacy. Pfizer Animal Health is leading the industry as the first animal health company to provide pet owners with easy-to-read pet medication information sheets. The Owner Information Sheets (OIS), containing important medical information about veterinary prescriptions in a reader-friendly, question-and-answer format, will debut this month with prescriptions of Rimadyl(R) (carprofen) Caplets and Rimadyl(R) Chewable tablets."
(2) Veterinarians still seems unaware that Pfizer advises against the concurrent use of Rimadyl and corticosteroids such as Prednisone.
(3) Blood panels are not being advised or offered as a choice to consumers whose dogs are being prescribed Rimadyl.
Death #107: Yellow Lab Reacts after 10 Days on Rimadyl; Is Euthanized
From an E-mail received December 7, 2001:
"I have hesitated writing this, as I learned you were no longer gathering information on ADE's associated with Rimadyl. However, after reading the two latest cases in your December newsletter, I feel compelled to tell you about our experience:
"Our beloved Yellow Lab Bayfield (Biff for short) was 11 years old when he started to slow down considerably due to arthritis. The vet had him on EtoGesic without much success. I asked about other options. Rimadyl was recommended. I immediately expressed concern, as I had heard reports of negative side effects. However, I was assured that they had seen promising results and that he would be monitored. I eventually agreed to give it a try.
"Within a couple of days of starting Rimadyl, Biff perked up and was moving freely. We were optimistic. However, within approximately 10 days, he started vomiting large quantities of blood. Alarmed, we took him immediately to the vet. The vet felt there was a pre-existing condition that was complicated by the effects of old age. We took Biff home and, within a month, he became lethargic, could not stand, became incontinent and could no longer eat or drink. Biff, who was just one, big, goofy Lab with a heart of pure gold looked so sad and as if he was in a great deal of pain. His condition deteriorated so quickly, we were at a loss as to what to do. Our vet could offer us no hope. We finally decided to have the vet come to our house and put him down.
"The guilt I feel is tremendous. I wish I had known that vomiting blood was the 'classic' initial symptom of a reaction to Rimady. I wish I had known there was a possible 'treatment' for a reaction. I cannot believe that Pfizer can continue to dispense this medication. This just should not have happened. Other than the arthritis, Biff was in great health. Our other Lab, Jesse, is 13 1/2 years old ...also with arthritis. She will never go on Rimadyl. We have changed her diet to include holistic remedies, and she is doing remarkably well. I am writing this in the hopes that no one else has to go through what we did...." Kazzi100@aol.com
Death #106: Borzoi Dies within Days of Beginning Rimadyl Therapy
From an E-mail received November 23, 2001:
"I found your website after my Borzoi died suddenly following a course of Rimadyl. What alarms me is that it has been four years since the concerns about Rimadyl began to surface, and yet I was totally unaware of the most serious concerns (sudden, lethal adverse reactions), as was my veterinarian.
"Josh, my Borzoi, was 10-1/2 years old and slowing down considerably due to arthritis. We had him on coated aspirin and glucosamine and chondroitin sulfate for six months and then last week when I asked if there was more we could do for him, our vet suggested either Rimadyl or Metacam (not available in the U.S. yet). He said there could be potential problems with long-term use of either of these drugs, but that we would do regular blood tests to catch any such problems before they did any serious damage. I chose Rimadyl because he said he'd seen very good results with it and I thought it would be easier for me to administer a tablet than a liquid medication with Josh.
"I went home with a sample 10-day supply to see if the product had any value before committing to a larger supply. Josh weighed 91 pounds and the dosage was two capsules at 100 mg each per day, in combination with the glucosamine and chondroitin. Within 24 hours the results were dramatic. Josh walked with greater ease and people commented on the new spring in his step. The very first day, he chose a longer route for our walk, where in recent weeks he'd deliberately sought the short cuts. But within three days, he started to slow down a bit. On the fourth evening, he seemed to have lost his appetite. The next morning I found him in great distress, panting and gagging. When I urged him to get up, his hind end totally collapsed and he couldn't move his back legs.
"Our vet made a house call with an assistant and they carried Josh out on a stretcher. X-rays showed his spine was 'like that of a two-year-old.' Our vet said the symptoms suggested a central nervous system problem. Josh did not get any Rimadyl that day. With his condition deteriorating into lethargy and almost paralysis of the hind quarters by that night, our vet gave him a cortisone treatment. The next morning Josh was worse, clearly in misery. He didn't even acknowledge my arrival with any sign of hope or pleasure. Our vet could offer no further treatment suggestions and predicted Josh could be dead within a couple of days. I couldn't bear to see him in such distress and in the absence of any hope of improvement decided to euthanize him yesterday.
"At no time was the subject of Rimadyl raised as a possible cause. Then I recalled a friend a couple of years ago telling me she had met a drug company rep at a conference and the rep had told her one of their canine arthritis drugs was killing dogs. Although I couldn't believe a drug that was known to be killing dogs could still be on the market two years later, I did an Internet search on Rimadyl today only to discover it was this drug she was talking about and that it was still widely in use and obviously still not as well understood as it should be by veterinarians.
"My vet is a thorough, well-respected professional who spends all kinds of time with me and my pets during our visits to explain all the possibilities and options in great detail -- so he wasn't being negligent. We both talked with the Pfizer Canada vet, who kindly but adroitly seized on aspects of Josh's medical history -- a brief episode of neck pain four years ago, a 10-pound weight loss this past year (which may or may not be significant in a member of such a large breed who was a fussy eater) -- to suggest Josh succumbed to an underlying condition rather than Rimadyl. Of course, without an autopsy, there's no way to definitely implicate Rimadyl. However, my vet and I are still suspicious. He says he's 'on the fence' on this one and will definitely approach Rimadyl with far more caution in the future.
"I hope you will pass this information on to people who should have it so as to prevent any more suspicious deaths. Josh's symptoms and story are similar enough to others on this site, that I feel their connection to Rimadyl is more than coincidence. I can't know for sure if the outcome would have been any different without Rimadyl, but if I'd known of all these other cases and the questions surrounding Rimadyl, I wouldn't have chosen to use it on Josh. Respectfully, Marylu Walters, Edmonton, AB Canada"
Death #105: Rimadyl Given Simultaneously with Prednisone; No Baseline Tests Done; Side Effects Warnings Not Given...Fatal Outcome
From an E-mail received November 28, 2001:
"Our Tink was 13 years old....old perhaps in some people's mind but not in ours. On 5/8/01, during a routine exam of Tink, my wife asked our vet if there was anything we could give Tink for her slight limp and suspected arthritis. The vet gave us two sample bottles of Rimadyl. No blood test done. We gave her 75mg twice a day. When it ran out we decided to continue with it, basically because at that time we couldn't see that it was hurting her at all. The vet had already given his blessing to get more if we needed it.
"On 5/30/01, we purchased a large bottle of Rimadyl right from the receptionist at the same animal clinic; we did not have to see the vet to do so. By 7/03/01, Tink didn't seem to quite herself; among other things her energy level had gone down somewhat. So back to the same vet she went. This time he prescribed Prednisone because he said she had an enlarged heart, and he took some x-rays. No mention was made of the Rimadyl.
"On 8/29/01, she was back to the vet because she had been coughing and gagging quite a bit. A different vet at the same clinic saw her and prescribed Cephalexin 500mg. The Rimadyl was almost gone, so my wife asked this different vet about getting another bottle. She also informed this vet (in case he hadn't seen it on Tink's chart), that Tink was also on Prednisone for her enlarged heart. This vet was somewhat puzzled to learn that Tink was taking both medicines at the same time....not because he said they were not compatible with each other but because they both contained anti-inflammatory agents that were basically doing the same thing. He suggested we cut back on the Rimadyl a little. Still no blood tests done on her. We then decreased the Rimadyl to one 75mg a day and most of the time she only got about half of that a day.
"About this time she was also showing some signs of incontinence....a dribble here and there, whenever she got to her feet. Getting to her feet was also becoming much harder. We thought that the incontinence and struggling to her feet were just signs of age. By 11/12/01, we started to noticed to notice a red tinge to some of the urine drops on the floor. So we took her to the vet again. This time, the first vet saw her and said she had a bladder infection and prescribed SMZ TMP Double S, an anti-biotic. We gave her the medicine for a week, along with the other two she was already taking and didn't notice an improvement with the blood in her urine.
"On 11/19/01, when the antibiotic ran out, we called the vet and he said to get some more and try it for another week. Also on this morning she vomited and just didn't want to get up. We were reluctant at first to call the vet because we both had the feeling from talking with him that he would suggest bringing her in and 'putting her down.' By 11/21/01, all she wanted to do was lie down, though she was able to still go outside (after we got her on her feet) and do her business. I think pride in herself was the energy that enabled her to do even that. I called the vet and described the symptoms and his answer was 'She's old.....she's got a lot wrong with her...I had to think about doing the right thing.... he could try and drag out her life for her if that's what we wanted, but it probably wasn't fair to her.' And on and so on.
"On 11/24/01, we stopped the antibiotic because we weren't finding as much blood as before and because I thought she might be having some kind of adverse reaction to the stuff. For the next two days ,we spent all the time with her. She looked so weak and sad, and so very pathetic. The only thing that brought her to a sitting position during that time was if you offered her a snack, which by this time we were giving her all her favorites foods and treats. Once encouraged she would also drink a little. We made an appointment for 3:00 PM last Monday, 11/26/01. I carried her to the car, held her little head in my hands while my wife drove to the clinic. Once there, we still hoped for a miracle. We described again the symptoms that we thought had come on very quickly. But the vet told us that 'her time had come....we were doing the right thing.' He also commented on what we had also noticed, that her stomach had became a little bloated and distended.
"We held her and cried like I'm crying now and she went to sleep for the last time in our arms. I carried her back to the car and she came home for the last time. Yesterday, Tuesday, 11/27/01, trying to get a handle on the heartache and grief, I looked around the Internet at the different 'dog' sites. When I got to srdogs and read about Rimadyl, I was shocked. Tink had vomited, she did have the blood in her urine, she had become somewhat incontinent, she had become weak and lethargic, she was stumbling, struggling and having a hard time getting to her feet and maintaining her balance, and her appetite had decreased a lot.....all in a matter of a few months.
"We have spoken to our vete about our concerns, and after repeating all Tink's symptoms to him again and saying that they seemed to match a lot of the side effects associated with Rimadyl, he said they also matched symptoms of old age in a dog, too. He claims he didn't know she was still on Rimadyl because he wasn't the one who handed them to us when we went back twice for the refills.(Makes you wonder about her chart.) He also says that he never would have prescribed the Rimadyl and Prednisone together if he had known Tink was still on the Rimadyl. But he believes through all his 'experience' that the symptoms she had, that had come on so quickly, were not related to Rimadyl, with or without the Prednisone. 'She was just old and her time had come, and we were right in what we did.' When I asked why a blood test was never done during all of this, he said he didn't believe it was worth the money....and that he had dispensed a lot of Rimadyl without any tests. He said that Pfizer may recommend a test before and during, but it is not required. He was sorry that she didn't live to be 16, but not all dogs do, he said."
Rick & Paula Card
Death #105: Black Lab Begins EtoGesic Therapy for Arthritis; Is Switched to Rimadyl.....Then Dies
From an E-mail received August 13, 2001: "Our beloved Betsy, a Black Lab, had a slight problem with arthritis. On June 20, the vet prescribed Etogesic, which, within one week, caused vomiting, diarrhea and loss of appetite. The vet recommended withdrawing the drug, and she immediately improved. The vet then recommended Rimadyl, telling us that there were some adverse effects, but that they were very rare. They tested Betsy's blood and liver, which were both normal, and told us that she was very healthy.
"Within two weeks of beginning Rimadyl, Betsy began vomiting blood. The next night she passed blood through the bowel and lost all energy; she was unable to walk. I took her to the vet, who kept saying it was probably intestinal cancer and that they would test for it. Each day, she became progressively worse. It was never mentioned that Rimadyl could be lethal to Labs. We were waiting for results of another cancer test when Betsy passed away at the vet's, two-and-a-half weeks after starting Rimadyl. An autopsy showed that both EtoGesic and Rimadyl were implicated in her death.
"Our hearts are broken. We need to do something more to warn others. I urge everyone to please let us know if this has happened to you. We need to get this information to the manufacturers of these drugs and to the FDA, and to get it out to the public, as well.
Tom Adams in Memory of Betsy"
Death #104: Consumer Information Sheet Is NOT Being Distributed!! Dog Dies of Liver Failure.....
Report Received April 16, 2001: "Hello....I just lost my 8-year-old Lab yesterday. The cause was liver failure. We put her on Rimadyl exactly four weeks ago. She got sick the fourth week --- vomiting, not eating, lethargy.... all the indicators....indicators I subsequently found on the Internet. Unfortunately, I wasn't given a sheet to warn me what to look for. She appeared to have a seizure Saturday night, and we took her to an emergency vet to put her on i.v. meds and fluids. I put her down Easter Sunday morning. The more I read, the more I am sad and disappointed. I would have watched more carefully, had I known more about the risk I was taking.
"I have a case number with Pfizer. They are paying (I think) for the autopsy. I still have many questions....... and have to wonder about liability on Pfizer's part. I'm sure Rimadyl is a very helpful drug. I am, however, also quite sure it is what shortened my dog's life. I feel a blood test should be required before the drug is prescribed, or as a follow up before long-term perscriptions are given. Can you give any suggestions? Where should I look? What should I do? I would like to prevent this happening to other dogs. I would like to do something for them, for their loving owners, and for Snickers." firstname.lastname@example.org
Death #103: 2/14/00 -- "Our most beloved and cherished 14-year-old yellow Labrador Retriever (Manda) is dying as a result of being on Rimadyl for three weeks. The last three days she has been receiving IV therapy in order to stay alive. She has displayed every single symptom that we have read about on various websites as signs of Rimadyl poisoning. Up to this point, she was as healthy as a horse, with the exception of some stiffness in her right hind leg, which our vet originally diagnosed as arthritis and for which she was given Rimadyl. (It was subsequently re-evaluated as a torn ligament.) We are in desperate need of help from anyone who may direct us about treatment . We have read that dogs HAVE recovered from this horrendous plight, and need as much information as we can possibly obtain in order to restore our Manda." email@example.com
Death #102: 2/10/01 -- "It was when I had read the reactions to Rimadyl on the srdogs site that I realised how ill my dog was. Sadly, the outcome was an unhappy one; he was put to sleep on December 9, 2000. I was too upset to have a post mortem carried out and so can never prove it was about the possible side effects of this drug, which may have caused me to act faster than I did. He had a cruciate ligament operation and I thought the initial symptoms of lethargy and loss of appetite were due to the surgery. It was only when he developed wet eczema (hotspots in the US) that I became concerned it might have been something else. As I am in the UK, I have contacted Pfizer ( who paid some of the blood and stool sample costs) and, more importantly, I have lodged a complaint with the Vetinerary Medicines Directorate (an Executive member of the Ministry of Agriculture Fisheries and Food) as I was given no information with his prescription of Rimadyl and I feel this is unacceptable. Thank you for such a very helpful website." firstname.lastname@example.org
5/04/00 -- Death #101: Another Golden "Brandy" Dies at 12
Breed: Golden Retriever (female, "Brandy")
Age: 12 years
Reason for Rimadyl rx: arthritis
Dog's weight and dosage taken: not specified
When reaction occurred following initial dose: 4 months
Symptoms: inappetance; refusal to drink; liver failure
Date of death: May 2000
Did vet seem informed & inform you about side effects? NO; did not advise withdrawal of Rimadyl, even after kidney failure and liver toxicity were detected
Remarks on Dog's Rimadyl Experience: "Since Brandy's death, each day becomes a little better and in some ways a little more difficult, as I continue to read about Rimadyl. The more I read, the more I'm convinced that Rimadyl was the major contributor to her early death. There are just too many stories similar to ours....too many to be a coincidence. I would like to tell you Brandy's story:
"Twelve years ago, as a gift to our son on his fourteenth birthday, we gave him a Golden Retriever puppy. He personally picked her out, named her Brandy, and she quickly became his "best friend." About five years ago, while "rooming" with him at college for a couple months, she was diagnosed with lymphoma, a form of cancer somewhat common, we were told, in Golden Retrievers. She underwent chemotherapy, and it worked. She went into remission, and the cancer never returned. She led a healthy, normal life.....until last December. She became lethargic and lost her appetite. She was also having some difficulty in getting up to walk. We took her to our family veterinarian and described her symptoms. He saw no indication of cancer or a cancer-related problem. His diagnosis was simple arthritis, and he prescribed Rimadyl. We were relieved.....just arthritis.
"Our son, interested in her comfort and recovery, insisted that she get her daily dosage after he moved to Kentucky in January. My wife, although concerned about introducing a drug into her "balanced" system, respected his wishes and gave her the pill as prescribed. Brandy seemed to get better and return to her old self. Curiously though, her appetite was not the same. She still refused to eat her usual dry food, and our vet recommended changing her diet to cooked ground beef and rice, which she did eat. After only a few days, however, she rejected the beef and rice. It then became a guessing game as to what she would eat. To us, she was just "spoiled" and was now asking for something new every day. The vet agreed. We kept trying different foods -- canned food, people food, whatever would work that day. We had to trick her into taking her Rimadyl by sneaking the pill into a treat. We noticed a weight loss but were not concerned, since she was a little on the "plump" side. She was less active but still enjoyed a walk.
"Then, about a month ago, she became sick again. She became lethargic and refused to eat. We coaxed a little food and water into her and still managed to get her Rimadyl pill down. Gradually, the symptoms worsened, her breath had a mysterious odor, and we took her to the clinic. This time the news was not good. The vet suspected "a kidney problem" but would have to confirm it with a blood test. We were told the breath odor was from an ammonia presence in the blood indicating some degree of kidney failure. The tests came back indicating "high numbers" in BUN, creatinine, phosphorus, etc. His recommendation, "if we wanted to do anything", was to put her on an IV and give her fluids for 3-4 days (a crash treatment called diuresis).
"During her stay, I was reading, of all things, a cooking magazine one morning and saw a Pfizer ad for Rimadyl. On the opposite page was a panel of information in very fine print. When I noticed a paragraph under the heading "Precautions," I became curious. The print was so fine, that I actually had to get a magnifying glass to read it. As I read the paragraph, the words grabbed me: "...renal toxicity." I went to the Internet to do some research and was appalled! There they were: Rimadyl warnings all over the place and stories similar to ours. I called the clinic immediately and asked our vet about the possibility of Rimadyl causing Brandy's illness because I just read some warnings concerning the drug. He became a little defensive and told me "I could find warnings on just about anything on the Internet" and pretty much dismissed my suspicions. I called our son and told him about the Rimadyl warnings. He was angry. How could this happen? Why weren't we warned?
"After the fluid treatment, we were told the "numbers came down but were not where they should be". Our vet told us that he "bought her some time". He gave us three different bottles of pills and recommended a low protein diet. (Not once did he tell us to discontinue the Rimadyl). We took Brandy home, but she showed no improvement whatsoever. She now absolutely refused to eat or drink anything.
"In preparing for the worst, I bought our son a plane ticket home. He made it home on Thursday, April 27th. In hastened frustration, he began to research kidney failure, dialysis, transplants, etc., anything that might save her. He contacted a Pfizer vet and she told him that Brandy should have had a blood test in December before she was given the Rimadyl. The blood test might have revealed a kidney disorder at that time. If so, she should not have been given the drug. We were told if she had some degree of kidney failure, the Rimadyl "could have pushed her over the edge."
"It was obvious on Friday that her quality of life was nil and that there was no longer any hope. We made the decision to euthanize on Saturday. We asked a different vet to make a house call. We wanted Brandy's last moments to be in the backyard she loved so much. The vet said she could come at 9:00 a.m. the next morning. Friday was a beautiful day. My wife and I both took the afternoon off to spend it with our son and Brandy. We spent the most of that afternoon in the backyard, simply petting her and watching her. Our son spent that night in our family room with his "best friend" and kept her company because she was unable to sleep.
"I got up about 6:00 a.m. and sat with her, thinking about the next couple hours passing and what life would be like without her. About 7:00 a.m., Brandy laid her head down slowly on her pillow and died. Her overworked heart had finally given out. We all said goodbye as she lay there. She was truly a "best friend" to the end -- holding on for our son to make it home, then sparing us the agony of putting her to sleep. We know she was a "senior" dog and had twelve good years. We know she was lucky to have beaten the cancer. We know we were fortunate to have a dignified ending. But it still doesn't diminish the heartbreak, knowing she probably left us early due to an inept diagnosis, the failure to perform a simple blood test, prescribing a drug with a history of risk, and finally, the lack of any warning on possible side effects. Her death was from kidney failure exacerbated by Rimadyl; not cancer, not 'old age.' "
4/30/00 -- Death #100: Golden Retriever "Brandy" Dies at 14
Breed: Golden Retriever (female, "Brandyr")
Age: 14 years
Reason for Rimadyl rx: arthritis
Dog's weight and dosage taken: 75 mg daily
When reaction occurred following initial dose: not specified
Symptoms: inappetance; refusal to drink; liver failure
Date of death: May 2000
Did vet seem informed & inform you about side effects?:NO
Remarks on Dog's Rimadyl Experience: I just lost my 14-year-old Golden Retriever. She was a very healthy dog....a bit of stiffness in her front paws. I took her to my vet who said she was a beautiful dog, but that she would benefit from Rimadyl. I said okay, hoping that it would improve her quality of life. I had asked the vet if this was a safe medicine, and he assured me that it was. Everything was great for a while; then she started dragging her nails. She stopped eating last Tuesday and just seemed sick, so I took her to the vet and he did some tests and said that she had 90% liver shutdown. He started administering a whole slew of meds because of what he called toxic hepatitis. She died Saturday, alone in a cage at a vet's office. Only now that I've had the chance to check to see what caused this on the "Ask Dr. Mike" site do I find out that Rimadyl is possibly deadly. So, basically, I was killing my own dog a little each day and didn't know it.
4/15/00 -- Death #99:Vet Tech Reports Death of Cat from Accidental Ingestion of Rimadyl
"I am a Registered Animal Health Technician. My dog is on Rimadyl 50mg SID. On April 3, my healthy 3-year-old cat accidentally ingested a 50mg chewable. I took her to work with me and induced vomiting with peroxide. She vomited several times over the next 30 minutes; I thought she would be fine. We have four doctors working at our clinic and all four knew about her problem. At noon, we noticed she had started vomiting blood and was breathing very hard. We tried to take blood, but she became very stressed and we had to put her into an O2 cage. I called Pfizer, and the first thing they wanted to know was why I gave peroxide and whether I gave her too much. I have been a tech for over 20 years and have never heard of giving too much peroxide. To make this story short, at 7:30 that evening, my cat was dead. I called Pfizer, and they were surprised. They had never heard of this before. However, when I called National Animal Posion Control, they were well aware of this problem. The chewable tablets, when broken, are the same size as Pounce treats. I have gotten no positive response from Pfizer, and am now dealing with the NAPCB only. As a tech I am VERY upset at Pfizer for not letting us know about this problem." Weezey4100@aol.com
Editor's note: Rimadyl oral is not approved for cats. Rimadyl injectable is approved for cats in the UK, but is not available in the U.S. Pfizer Animal Health UK published the following letter in a veterinary journal:
Veterinary Record Dec.18/25, 1999 -- "SIR: It has become apparent that confusion still exists concerning the use of carprofen (Rimadyl; Pfizer) and other non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) in the cat, despite a previous letter on this subject (Balmer and Curwen 1997). We would therefore like to clarify the situation with regard to the use of carprofen in the cat. The use of NSAIDs in domestic animals is complicated by significant interspecies variations that exist in the pharmacokinetics of this group of drugs. In the case of carprofen, the elimination half-life of the drug is approximately nine hours in the dog, but approximately 20 hours in the cat. Rimadyl Small Animal Injection is authorised for use in the cat for the control of postoperative pain, preferably by administration preoperatively at 4 mg/kg by the subcutaneous or intravenous routes. A single dose of carprofen is generally sufficient to provide adequate analgesia in the first 24 hours perioperatively. If further analgesia is required a further single half-dose of carprofen (that is, 2 mg/kg) may be administered. The use of a 1 ml graduated syringe is reccomended in order to measure the dose accurately. Rimadyl Small Animal Injection is specifically contraindicated in animals suffering from cardiac,hepatic or renal disease, and its use in dehydrated, hypovolaemic or hypotensive animals should also be avoided as there is a potential risk of increased renal toxicity in such cases. Rimadyl Tablets are not authorised for use in the cat. In the absence of data and with due regard to the known important differences in metabolism and clearance of carprofen between dogs and cats, we cannot recommend the use of Rimadyl Tablets in cats. Should a veterinary surgeon wish to treat chronic pain in cats, relevant factors such as half-life must be taken into account and very· great care should be taken in order to prevent the risk of toxicity as a result of drug accumulation."
4/6/00 -- Death #98: Dog in UK Dies Four Days After Dose of Injectable Rimadyl; Vet Suspects Rimadyl Was a "Contributing Factor"
Breed: Black Labrador Retriever Mix (Male, "Axel")
Age: 11 years 4 months
Reason for Rimadyl rx: tentative while walking/sitting
Weight/dosage: 85 pounds; 4 mgms per Kgm 2 times per day of injectable Rimadyl (available and administered in the UK)
When reaction occurred following initial dose: the following day; died four days later
Symptoms: (occurred increasingly over four days) medicinal odor, lethargy, retching, vomiting, loss of appetite, staggering, drooling, unable to stand/walk, escalated kidney/liver values, elevated bilirubin, mouth ulceration
Date of death: February 11, 2000
Did vet seem informed & inform you about side effects? NO. Vet didn't even inform me what drug was being given to Axel prior to administering it. In later discussions the vet said Rimadyl was "very safe" and there were "no reports of side effects."
Remarks: Axel was a healthy, active, youthful dog who went from running and playing in the park on Monday to death on Friday evening. His sudden demise closely followed his being given Rimadyl and a mild sedative for x-rays. After reviewing Axel's autopsy report, my former vet said: "Due to the way his illness developed and progressed, it is suspected that Rimadyl was at least a contributing factor." We are grateful to have experienced a love so pure. I only wish I had found your informative site before my dog was given Rimadyl.
3/31/00 -- Death #97: Vets Have Varying Diagnoses -- None Rimadyl Toxicity, Although Symptoms Are Suspicious
Breed: Mix, perhaps some Malamute and Akita (neutered male, "Freeway")
Age: 5 years
Reason for Rimadyl rx: Hip Displasia
Weight/dosage: 117 pounds, 100 Mg 2 times per day
When reaction occurred following initial dose: 4 to 5 weeks
Symptoms: Weight loss, loss of appetite, lethargy, vomiting
Date of death: Freeway was put to sleep 3-25-00
Did vet seem informed & inform you about side effects? No. I asked about liver problems because I had heard rumors, and the Vet assured me that it never really happened!
Remarks on Dog's Rimadyl Experience: When we first put Freeway on Rimadyl, he did seem to be happier and more energetic for about two to three weeks. Then he began to act lethargic, and we thought maybe he was developing a tolerance for the drug. (Having two dogs, we did not notice that he was not eating all of his food because our other dog would eat it for him.) I noticed that he was getting skinny, and took him to the Vet. The Vet said that his liver enzymes were messed up, and referred us to another doctor. I expressed my Rimadyl concerns to the new Vet, who basically blew me off entirely, saying that Rimadyl had nothing to do with it. First, he diagnosed Inflamatory Bowel Disease, saying he could cure it. When Freeway began bleeding internally and vomiting, the vet changed his mind and said it must be lymphoma (cancer). It was obvious that no matter what the cause, my beautiful loving dog was not going to make it, so we put him to sleep. I cannot guarantee that it was Rimadyl that killed my dog. We had him cremated, and may never know. All I do know is that I had a healthy, loving dog that was getting stiff, and having trouble going up and down the stairs, so I tried to help him. He was ONLY FIVE YEARS OLD! When the Vet did the liver test before we put Freeway on Rimadyl, he said that Freeway had a very good liver. I have a very hard time thinking that it is a coincidence that my dog went from healthy to dead in such a short time, for no apparent reason. If it really was cancer, why is it that they did not notice it until he was already basically dead? Freeway was a one of a kind animal. He saved my life once, and I think that I may have repaid him by taking his. Perhaps to a drug company he would just be a dead mutt. But to me, he was my family, my joy, my securtiy. If this drug has the ability to kill animals and devastate families, it should NOT be on the market! I have ordered copies of all of the medical files that they have on Freeway. I hope to try to find someone to help me figure out what they say. If there is anyway that I can help others avoid this agony, I will. The misery, guilt and anger that I feel are overwhelming. It appears that money comes before the safety of our families; perhaps Pfizer does not realize that our pets are truly our families.
3/27/00 -- Death #96: Dog Gets Clean Bill of Health Before Taking Rimadyl; Dies Three Months Later
Breed: West Highland Terrier (female, "Heather")
Age: 15 years
Reason for Rimadyl rx: arthritis
Dog's weight and dosage taken: 20 pounds/unknown
When reaction occurred following initial dose: 2 months
Symptoms: Staggering, panting, trouble breathing
Date of death: May 1998; euthanized June 1, 1998
Did vet seem informed & inform you about side effects?:NO
Remarks on Dog's Rimadyl Experience: Initially, after starting Heather on the Rimadyl, a dramatic improvement in her movement was noticed. Then the effect diminished. She was on the Rimadyl about 6-8 weeks before we discontinued use because of lack of effectiveness. She seemed to be getting heavier, although she wasn't eating any more than usual, probably less. About one month after having stopped the Rimadyl, we took Heather to the vet because she wasn't eating well, her breathing was labored and her stomach was distended. The diagnosis, after testing, was a tumor on her liver sufficiently large that it was pressing on her stomach. There was also massive internal bleeding. She was euthanized three months after she was initially put on Rimadyl -- three months after an annual physical exam that indicated she was in excellent health except for an arrhythmia in her heart ( not life threatening) and her arthritis!
3/20/00 -- Death #95: Vet Believes Side Effects of Rimadyl Do Not Apply to Golden Retrievers
"We have just lost our Golden Retriever, Brandy, who was 12 years old. He had a swollen hind leg and was having difficulty pulling himself up at times, so we took him to the vet on March 1. The vet examined his leg, took some tissues for biopsy, and gave us antibiotics and some sample arthritis medicine -- Rimadyl. We took Brandy back to the vet to take the bandages off after one week. He was not healing properly, had lost his appetite completely, and could barely move. The vet re-bandaged his leg. On March 13, I read the article on Rimadyl in the Wall Street Journal and was shocked to learn about the side effects. Our vet never mentioned any. We immediately stopped giving him the drug and calledthe vet, who claimed he did not think the side effects applied to Golden Retrievers. There was literature on Rimadyl in the vet's office, but he never handed me any. Brandy never recovered. We put him to sleep on March 16, two weeks after he was put on Rimadyl. Now I've just read so many messages posted with similar heartbreaking stories. It's unbelievable. This drug should be taken off the market. I'm sending this same message to Oprah. She has dogs. She'll understand what we all went through. I hope that, with greater exposure, we can get this killer drug off the market."
3/19/00 -- Death #94: Role of Rimadyl Denied; but RN Feels Symptoms and Death Were ADE's
Breed: Rottweiller (female, "Roxanne")
Age: 6 years; would have been 7 on June 17, 2000
Reason for Rimadyl rx: rear hip pain
Weight and dosage taken: 145 lb./150mg bid
When reaction occurred following initial dose: Started on Rimadyl on 3/3; symptoms the next day; Roxy started with a cough, lethargy, vomiting, and loss of appetite
Date of death: March 18, 2000
Did vet seem informed & inform you about side effects?:I was not told of any side effects. I'm an RN, and I called the vet immediately to ask if it was a reaction to the Rimadyl; he said NO. I told him, "Isn't it a coincidence that she developed these symptoms immediately after the initial dose?"
Remarks on Dog's Rimadyl Experience: I took her back to the vet and got a diagnosis of "kennel cough." She was put on an antibiotic. Her condition worsened, and I took her back in again; now they said "pneumonia." At the end, she was vomiting and listless, had no appetite, and was incontinent of urine. I knew something was wrong, and I kept asking whether it could be the med, but they wouldn't listen. One day before Roxanne died, I took her off the Rimadyl and her symptoms subsided immediately. I cannot tell you how much my husband and I loved Roxy. I write this letter with tears and a deep, deep pain in my heart. There will never be another Roxanne the Rottweiller.
3/15/00 -- Death #93: Role of Rimadyl Not Certain, But Dog's Sudden Death Is Suspicious
Breed: Springer Spaniel( male, "Watson")
Age: 13 years
Reason for Rimadyl rx: back problems
Dog's weight and dosage taken: 52 lbs
When reaction occurred following initial dose: no immediate reactions; some pain relief
Symptoms: some wobbliness in his walk
Date of episode/death: February 24, 2000
Did vet seem informed & inform you about side effects?: No, nothing was ever said
Dog's current condition:.deceased
Remarks on Dog's Rimadyl Experience: While Rimadyl provided some initial benefit in reducing back discomfort for our dog Watson, he suddenly passed away ih his sleep one evening. He was animated and alert in the afternoon. He simply went to sleep and was dead when we went to get him for an evening walk. No autopsy was performed, so we cannot say for sure what killed him, but his passing is suspicious. We were completely in the dark about adverse Rimadyl reactions until the WSJ article was published. He had no other complications or symptons -- just died in his sleep.
3/15/00 -- Death #92: Vet Does Not Advise Withdrawal of Rimadyl, Despite Discolored Urine and Enlarged Liver
"I took my 12-year-old Lab to the vet after noticing her urine was dark orange. Five days later, an ultrasound showed an enlarged liver, and she was put on a course of antibiotics. She showed improvement in eating and energy. My vet did not mention the Rimadyl, and I continued to give it to her. Three weeks later, she stopped eating and developed diarrhea and vomiting. I saw the article about Rimadyl in the New London Day and immediately took her to the vet. She was put on an IV and given antibiotics but died in her sleep that night. I feel that if I had not given her the Rimadyl when she was ill, she might have lived. Her name was Mabel and she was the sweetest dog of about 20 I have owned."
3/15/00 -- Death #91: Dog May Have Been Overdosed; Dies Following a Year on Rimadyl
Breed: Cocker/Dalmation (or bird dog) mix (male, "Spot")
Age: 14 years
Reason for Rimadyl rx: arthritis in rear legs
Dog's weight and dosage taken: 30 lbs / vet told me to start with 100 mg a day, but I cut it back to half a pill (50mg) once a day when symptoms improved; vet ok'd but told to give 100mg (a whole pill) if needed.
When reaction occurred following initial dose: took every day for over a year; Spot had lost weight and was eating less, but no mention was made during annual shot checkup to reduce dosage. Severe reaction started about two weeks before he died, but we thought it was old age and gave him the whole pill to try and keep him comfortable
Symptoms: wobbling, eating rocks, vomit w/blood, refusal to eat regular food (dry) would only eat canned and in very small amounts. Drank less water, trouble defecating, but stool wasn't really dark. Lethargic. Finally, blood in urine and death. Vet said his kidneys were failing but never said what might have caused it. He just attributed it to old age.
Date of episode/death: March 1, 2000
Did vet seem informed & inform you about side effects?: Vet didn't mention side effects, nor did he tell me how the dosage worked. He sold me a whole bottle.
Dog's current condition: Deceased (and sadly missed)
Remarks on Dog's Rimadyl Experience: Spot was an active, affectionate dog. In the summer of '98, we noticed the stiffness in his hips and mentioned it to the vet. He was quick to prescribe Rimadyl but made no mention of what to look for in terms of adverse reaction. I think the treatment was good for Spot, but the dosage needed to be monitored very closely and administered occasionally instead of continuously. As he lost weight (we had changed him to senior dog food to help him lose some weight and ease the strain on his hips), the dosage should have been reduced. My heart aches that I made him take his pills when I didn't' know it was hurting him. I am having trouble dealing with that. My husband and I will never forget his last night with us, as we said our goodbyes in preparation for euthanasia in the morning. Thankfully, the Lord took care of the details, and he died in his sleep. If we had known what to look for and how much was safe, our sweet old "chopper" would probably still be with us. We have lost a family member. I hope this helps others avoid the suffering for their beloved pets.
3/14/00 -- Death #90: Rimadyl Would Not Have Been Given for Minor Arthritis, Had Side Effects Info Been Available
Breed: Shetland Sheepdog (female, "Kelly")
Age: 12 years
Reason for Rimadyl rx: minor arthritis
Dog's weight and dosage taken: 25 lbs; don't recall dosage
When reaction occurred following initial dose: approx. 2 months
Symptoms: Seizures; loss of appetite; lethargy; ultimately, renal failure
Date of episode/death: July, 1998 -- October 12, 1998
Did vet seem informed & inform you about side effects? We actually went to two vets; neither seemed informed and neither informed us of side effects
Remarks on Dog's Rimadyl Experience: I am still stunned by the WSJ article (3/13/00) about Rimadyl. I know now why our Sheltie, who had been The Best Dog In The World (with apologies to those dog lovers who disagree with me), died so tragically and painfully. I feel completely responsible. We put Kelly on Rimadyl in approximately May 1998, when she was 12. She had been experiencing very minor symptoms of arthritis, but was otherwise in excellent condition. (In fact, the vet had described her as "aging very gracefully.") I'd seen magazine ads for Rimadyl as a "wonder drug" for canine arthritis, and asked the vet to prescribe it. He did so, and at no point did he give us any written or verbal warnings about Rimadyl's risks, or of the symptoms of adverse reactions that we should look for. In July, Kelly had her first seizure. We rushed her to the vet, who thought it was probably just "old age." He did not make any connection to Rimadyl, and did no tests. We continued to give her Rimadyl. A couple of months later, the seizures began to come more frequently. Within a week or so, Kelly was diagnosed with renal failure. We tried everything short of dialysis, but her condition worsened rapidly. Within a couple of weeks, one day before her 13th birthday, we had to put her to sleep. My story is, of course, only, anecdotal, and we'll never know with 100% certainty if this drug (which she really didn't NEED, and which we only gave her because we thought it would improve her quality of life a bit) was the culprit. I don't doubt that Rimadyl has, in fact, worked wonders on many arthritic dogs. I only hope that this flood of information about and public outcry against this drug will insure that pet owners are thoroughly informed of the risks, and, most important, are advised of the symptoms of adverse reactions that they should be aware of and look for. I don't think we'd have risked giving our Sheltie this drug, given how minor her arthritis was, had we known about its risks. And even if we had gone forward after having been educated, I can't help but wonder if Kelly would still be with us -- if only we'd stopped the drug immediately after that first seizure.
3/13/00 -- Death #89: Astoundingly Good Results with Rimadyl Initially, but Dog Appears Eventually to Suffer and Die from Side Effects
Breed: Alaskan Malamute (male, "Zeus")
Age: Unknown, estimated 10-12
Reason for Rimadyl RX: Arthritis
Dog's Weight & Dosage Taken: 100 lbs,100mg
Initial Reaction: Improved energy and mobility. Marked improvement. Astounding, actually.
Symptoms: Zeus became sick to stomach on a Friday night the night after Thanksgiving. He ate grass and vomited, not severely. Was slow on Saturday. Sick again Saturday night vomiting, no appetite, ate more grass. I thought he had too much turkey for Thanksgiving. He went outside late, never came home. Found him wallowing in a canal, unable to get out, Sunday, eighteen hours later. Lethargic, unable to walk or move. He would not eat, and did drink, but could not hold it down. He vomited a clear liquid with white foam. Gums were white, he looked near death. Vet diagnosed as severe shock, and also felt a large abdominal mass, not noted by previous vet only one month before. After weighing proposed treatments vs hope of significant improvement, I chose to ease his pain, not prolong it. Current condition: Euthanized.
Remarks on Dog's Rimadyl Experience: I was astounded at the intitial results. Zeus was truly my best friend, a good buddy and was in great condition after the initial dose. I was totally sold on the results. I continued the doses for about six months. We made the switch to the edible Rimadyl shortly after moving and changing vets. He didn't even finish the first 30 doses. Shortly after switching to this new version, he slowed down, dragging his rear feet on walks. I attributed this to old age...I had him nine years and he was no puppy when I got him. On Thanksgiving, he ate heartily. The next day, he had no apetite, and ate only grass, and vomited once that night. Saturday, he vomited a couple of times, but did not seem overly ill. He went outside as he usually did that night, only he was nowhere to be found the next day. We finally found him wallowing in the canal a couple hundred yards from our house, unable to move, nearly 18 hours after he left. I actually thought he'd been poisoned. He did not want to eat, but drank water. He could not walk at first, but after keeping him under a blanket for awhile, and giving him water, he appeared to improve. His color came back, and the light in his eyes. He held his head up and seemed to be improving. Later that night he went downhill fast, crying in pain and having spasms. I packed him up and drove to an out of town vet as the local vet was overloaded. He cried the whole way. When we got there, he laid on the ground whimpering and weak. He had a temp of 105, and the vet felt him and thought he could feel a large abdominal mass. My dog was crying in agony, and vomiting clear liquid with a white foam. I couldn't take it and opted for euthanasia. If Ii had known that the drug could do this, I'd have rushed him immediately to the emergency room. I feel partially at fault for not acting faster, but I had no idea that these were potential side effects of his medication, and, in fact, gave him another dose as he'd missed it while he was gone. I don't know that I ever had any alternative but to give him the Rimadyl for his arthritis pain, and I did read the manufacturer's statements when I initially got the drug, the side effects to 1% of the sample seemed insignificant, and he size of the sample was not noted. I was never cautioned by either of my vets to be aware of any potential side effects, nor was the vet at the emergency room aware of these effects, as I did tell him he'd been on Rimadyl. Since it did initially help him, I would probably give it to him again, and monitor him for side effects. Pfitzer should have acknowledged the potential of death, and people should have been aware of the symptoms of overdose... Thank you for all of the info on this site. We tortured ourselves with the thought we had fed him something he was allergic to, or that someone had attempted to poison him since this all happened so fast, and after reading all this it seems most likely that he died of side effects to his medication. We'll always love his memory. Thank you for some kind of closure, and please keep up the work of educating owners and vets. Especially inform them of the early signs, the loss of appetite and lethargy. If I could just go back to those first days....
3/13/00 -- Death #88: Wall Street Journal Article Rings True in Case of Client's Experience with Veterinarian Who Dispensed Rimadyl
Breed: Alaskan Malumute/German Shepard mix
Age: 15 1/2 years
Comments on Experience: This note follows up an article, "Drug Bites Man, Most Arthritic Dogs Do Great on This Pill, Except Those That Die" on the front page of today's Wall Street Journal (3/13/00). To help other dog lovers and veternarians make informed decisions and take proper precautions, I am informing you that that my dog, Angel, also had a very bad experience with Rimadyl. Honestly, I feel the drug contributed to the death of Angel, a year ago (3/18/99).
What Happened? My veterinarian prescribed Rimadyl to treat Angel's arthritis on 8/20/98. Shortly after this (1 to 2 weeks), my dog began experiencing what I believe were side effects. She experienced blood in her stool, excessive fatigue and had excessive diarrhea. She was sick for about a month and required a 2 1/2 day hospital stay that included IV treatment to recover. Needless to say, I stopped giving Angel Rimadyl, especially after I read about the side effects of the drug on the internet.
Please note, the following passage in today's WSJ article, "The FDA's Dr. Keller says, 'There are a lot of veterinarians who don't think they need to take the time, or who forget, or for whatever reason are not providing animal owners with this information.' " This resonates with me, because I experienced the same kind of service. In fact, my veterinarian was hesitant to implicate Rimadyl for my dog's sickness back in August 1998, mentioning it could be anything such as an air-born virus. It was only after I insisted that Rimadyl was the most likely cause did my veterinarian concur.
Angel's recovery was only temporary. Roughly 5 months later (3/99), Angel turned very ill, experiencing vomiting, loss of appetite, dramatic weight loss and extreme fatigue. My internal medicine vet specialist told me that it was likely that if Angel were to have surgery, we would be likely to find something very nasty inside her (liver damage caused by Rimadyl?). My family opted to have her euthanized, anticipating a long period of suffering for Angel. Please note, no autopsy was performed, though I feel Rimadyl, considering the drug's history, contributed to Angel's death. She had no medical problems other than arthritis.
3/10/00 -- Death #87: Rimadyl Alleviates Pain from Arthritis, but Dog Dies from Gastro-intestinal Condition
Breed: Labrador Retriever (female, "Bonnie")
Age: 14 years
Reason for Rimadyl rx: Chronic arthritis due to cruciate ligament tear
Dog's weight and dosage taken: 75 pounds / 50 mg per day
When reaction occurred following initial dose: 2 - 3 weeks
Symptoms: Very mild fecal incontinence for many months. This began to increase gradually in quantity with occasional tarry stools. Two months before death and one year after she had been taking the drug the incontinence had increased considerably so that she often had stool smeared on her fur.Every morning she had to be thoroughly shampooed.She eventually came down with a urinary tract infection .One week before death, she suffered bloody diarrhea.This went on to fulminant colitis and probably toxic megacolon. Death was most likely due to a perforated bowel.
Date of death: Drug begun March 1997; death May 18,1998
Did vet seem informed & inform you about side effects? Told us only to watch for vomiting. Incontinence was thought to be secondary to old age. At no time was drug considered responsible for symptoms.
Remarks on Dog's Rimadyl Experience: "The drug definitely alleviated pain from arthritis. A week or two after Bonnie's death, after thinking over what had happened, I called our vet and said I thought Rimadyl was responsible for the diarrhea and incontinence.(My husband and I are both physicians). He gave me the name of someone to call to report drug side effects. I don't remember who this was.Whomever I spoke to took down information and implied to me that such symptoms were not due to Rimadyl and that he could do nothing without the results of an autopsy. A postmortem exam was never done and, as a pathologist, I don't think it would have added anything further to what we already knew from her clinical symptoms. Bonnie's death remained somewhat of a mystery to us until I opened up the Spring 2000 issue of the ASPCA's Animal Watch and read a letter mentioning a website about Rimadyl and possible side effects."
2/18/00 -- Death #86: Five-month-old Puppy Appears to Have Adverse Reaction to Rimadyl
Breed: not specified (female, "Zoey")
Age: 5 months
Reason for Rimadyl rx: simple leg injury
Dog's weight and dosage taken: not specified; 2x daily
When reaction occurred following initial dose: 2 days
Symptoms: classic NSAID reactions
Date of death: April 7, 1999
Did vet seem informed & inform you about side effects? No
Remarks on Dog's Rimadyl Experience: "I recently had a bad encounter with Rimadyl. I took my dog to the emergency vet here in Tacoma, WA. for a simple leg injury. The vet put a splint on her and sent us home with a five day supply of Rimadyl. Zoey was acting fine until I gave the second pill to her that evening. The dosage clearly stated to give one tablet twice a day. I was sure that there was something wrong with my dog, so I called the vet who had treated her and prescribed the drug. He told me that he should have warned me to watch out for certain side effects -- all of which she seemed to be having. He wanted to see Zoey that night, but I didn't have a car, so I took her on my lunch hour the next day to her regular vet. I gave them authorization to do whatever they needed to do. My Zoey died that night at the animal care clinic on Thursday, 2-17-00, in the evening. She was only five months old."
2/17/00 -- Death #85: No Side Effects Warnings Given; Dog Dies of Liver Failure
Breed: Labrador/Setter mix (male, "Spooky")
Age: 15 years
Reason for Rimadyl rx: arthritis
Dog's weight and dosage taken: not specified; 2x daily
When reaction occurred following initial dose: ongoing over the period of one year; assumption made that side effects were related to old age, not Rimadyl
Symptoms: bloody diarrhea, vomiting, weight loss, confusion; liver failure
Date of death: April 7, 1999
Did vet seem informed & inform you about side effects? No
Remarks on Dog's Rimadyl Experience: "I had my dog Spooky for 15 years. The last year of his life, he was put on Rimadyl for the arthritis in his legs. At first it seemed to help, but then it became even more difficult for him to walk. Then his appetite decreased, and he became weaker. At one point last year, I took him in for x-rays of his hip because he fell on the ice. He had been losing weight, and he fell when his collar slipped off his neck. In all my trips to the vet, never once was it advised that I get a blood test for Spooky. I would have done that. I made a sling out of lamb's wool and put handles on it to walk him. I thought he was just getting old. I did not know that the Rimadyl could have been harming him. Easter Sunday 1999, he stopped eating. The vet found he was dehydrated and weak and did a complete blood draw. I took him home and gave him IV fluids myself, as I am a nurse. He still refused to eat and continued -- as he had for months -- with diarrhea. There was blood in it this time. I cooked a porter house steak for him, and he turned his head the other way. The next day the vet called me and said that Spooky had only a few days to live, as his liver values were 7 times what they should have been. She did the best thing for him as we said our good-byes.
"Since Spooky's lab values at the time of his death were 7 times higher than they should have been, this could explain the weight loss, confusion, vomiting of bile, tarry stools, anorexia, lameness and staggered gait. I so regret not knowing any of this and forcing that pill down his throat. He was 15 years old, but I feel that I helped kill him by giving him Rimadyl. I have reported this to the Pfizer company and spoken to one of the vets, who is checking into getting Spooky's lab results. When one of my patients is given a drug, they get a list of things to watch for and side effects. I don't understand why so many dogs have died and why so many owners trying to do the best for their senior pet are suffering this kind of loss."
2/23/00 -- Death #84: Healthy, Active Dog Dies Suddenly without Warning; Rimadyl Administered Simultaneously with Cortisone
Breed: Lhasa Apso (male, "Timber")
Age: 14 years
Reason for Rimadyl rx: pain
Dog's weight and dosage taken: 24 lbs./ 75 mg per day
When reaction occurred following initial dose: Death in 48 hours
Symptoms: none prior to dying
Date of death: 2/5/00
Did vet seem informed & inform you about side effects? No
Remarks on Dog's Rimadyl Experience: "Shocking! Our family could not believe Timber just died. Timber was a very healthy dog. Our daughter Karey began researching and found this website. I thank the Lord she did! 1) Our Timber was only 24 lbs (dosage prescribed was 75 mg per day, when it should be 1 mg per pound or body weight). No warning label on envelope in which pills were given to us. 2) Timber was injected with cortizone on Thursday a.m.; we were instructed to give Timber 1/2 a pill that night, and then 2 - 1/2 tabs on Friday (75mg) total for day. Pfizer package insert recommends against cortisone and Rimadyl being administered simultaneously and only under close supervision. 3) No blood was drawn to do the panels recommended by Pfizer and the FDA. 4) Thursday night Timber seemed fine, ate, went for a walk, slept as usual next to me. 5) Friday, he was was fine, up and down the stairs, ate well, had his evening walk as usual. He took his normal position at night sleeping next to me. 6) Saturday. Timber went for his everyday walk, had his normal run with the bunny in our backyard, ate his cookies. We left home at 1:30 p.m. Timber was fine. We returned at 6:15 p.m. and found our beloved family member dead."
2/14/00 -- Death #83: Perfectly Healthy Dog Becomes Paralyzed after One Day on Rimadyl
Breed: Doberman Pinscher (female, "Janie")
Age: about 10 years
Reason for Rimadyl rx: Arthritis in right front leg
Dog's weight and dosage taken: 90 lbs. 75 mg twice daily,
When reaction occurred following initial dose: 1 day
Symptoms: paralysis, inability to urinate or defecate
Date of death: euthanized 2/14/00
Did vet seem informed & inform you about side effects? No. "He did not, and I repeat not, inform us of any possible side effects nor did he give us an information packet about Rimadyl (Carprofen)."
Remarks on Dog's Rimadyl Experience: "On Saturday morning, Feb. 12, 2000, Janie was experiencing pain in her right front leg and was limping quite badly. We took her to the veterinarian at the local veterinary clinic. The doctor, who will remain nameless for the time being, took her temperature, listened to her heart and then we took Janie outside so he could see her walk. She was prancing and seemed in perfect health. The doctor also took blood for a complete profile and suggested to us that Janie probably had arthritis and that he would give us a drug (Rimadyl) that he said performed well for such conditions. Saturday afternoon, after taking one dose of Rimadyl, Janie was quite lethargic and that evening had severe difficulty walking. Sunday morning, Feb. 13, 2000, she was totally paralyzed and unable to walk at all. Her legs were somewhat stiff and she was unable to urinate or defecate. We tried to reach the doctor on Sunday to no avail. We were told to take her to the emergency clinic, but did not have the funds to do this. We were disappointed that after spending $191.00 and with a critical need to speak directly to him, we were told we had t visit another costly clinic. Monday morning, Feb. 14, 2000, we took Janie to his office, but he was not in. Another very caring doctor (Dr. Sarah ...) examined Janie and told us she recommended that Janie see a neurologist. We asked her what the expense would be for this and what was involved. She stated surgery and the cost would be several hundred dollars. We could not afford this by any means and felt Janie's quality of life more important than quanity, thus decided that she be put to sleep. The doctor concurred. Dr. Sarah did tell us that she felt she probably would not have prescribed Rimadyl for Janie. It's unfortunate Janie was not seen by her on Saturday morning, or Janie might still be with us. Though we cannot prove at this point that Rimadyl was a direct cause of her paralysis, we are suspicious. Thus, we are following up with a necropsy and will have the results within a week's time. Pet owners, we strongly urge you to carefully investigate side effects of any prescriptions before administering and study judiciously the possible side effects. We think this is a good precaution for humans as well. Only after putting Janie to sleep were we given a pamphlet about Rimadyl and its side effects. Thanks to the internet and many individuals who responded to our plea, as well as several animal organizations, we have learned much about Rimadyl, albeit too late for our beloved Janie."
2/13/00 -- Death #82: Dog Dies after 11 Doses of Rimadyl
Breed: Yellow Lab (female)
Age: 9 years
Reason for Rimadyl rx: Arthritis
Dog's weight and dosage taken: 95 lbs. 75 mg prescribed twice daily, but given only once daily
When reaction occurred following initial dose: 9 days (11 tablets)
Symptoms: lethargy, inappetance, refusal to drink
Date of death: euthanized 1/4/00
Did vet seem informed & inform you about side effects? "We were NOT informed of any side effects by our vet. I only found this site because the reason for this medication was not listed on the container, and I searched the Internet to find its usage."
Remarks on Dog's Rimadyl Experience: "Our dog worsened rapidly once she began taking Rimadyl. Her stomach seemed to have sunken in and she just lay around and would not respond or move much. We could not stand to see her suffer and had her euthanized."
2/12/00 -- Death #81: Dog Dies after 11 Months on Rimadyl
Breed: Golden Retriever (male, "Bear")
Age: 11 years, 6 months
Reason for Rimadyl rx: Arthritis
Dog's weight and dosage taken: 108 lbs. 100 mg daily
When reaction occurred following initial dose: 11 months
Symptoms: lethargy, panting, loss of appetite, front legs gave out and he collapsed, could not walk or stand
Date of death: symptoms started on 2/7/00 - he died on 2/10/00 at the vet's office
Did vet seem informed & inform you about side effects? "I was only given pills in a bottle, with no information or warning sheet (like those that accompany human prescription). I was only told that blood testing would have to be done from time to time."
Remarks on Dog's Rimadyl Experience: "The vet did do a blood test on Bear before initially putting him on Rimadyl and told me that the blood work was excellent for a dog his age. He stayed on the drug for 11 months. It did seem to help his mobility in getting up and down, but he was never able to run -- either before or during the time he was on it. When he became ill this past Monday, February 7, 2000, his symptoms were loss of appetite, panting, and lethargy. He tried getting up, and his front legs gave out on him and he fell on his face. My husband was able to get him to finally get up and go outside to the bathroom that night, but once he came in, he never got up again. On Tuesday, we picked him up in a rug and carried him to the doctor and then the doctor came out with a stretcher and brought him in. When the doctor said he wanted to keep him overnight and take blood work and do x-rays, I asked if I could camp out in the kennel and be near him. I was told no and I had to leave my best friend. When the tests came back the next day, I was told that the blood work looked fine, but that he had an enlarged heart, enlarged kidneys, and enlarged liver. The doctor said he wanted to keep him one more day and start treating him for 'hypothyroidism.' He passed away sometime in the night on Wednesday. For the little results that he got out of Rimadyl, if I had known that this drug may have contributed to all these serious problems arising in such short time, I would have never put him on it. We buried our baby yesterday, and I pray to God that I did not contribute in anyway to giving a 'BAD' medicine to that precious trusting-eyed angel."
2/12/00 -- Death #80: Dog with Epilepsy Takes Rimadyl; Experiences Liver Damage and Hemorrhages Following Surgery
Breed: Miniature Schnauzer (female, "Beatrice Ann")
Age: 5 years, 7 months
Reason for Rimadyl rx: Arthritis as a result of possible disc problems / torn cruciate ligament
Dog's weight and dosage taken: 15 lbs. 25 mg per day. 1/2 tablet morning and evening
When reaction occurred following initial dose: 18 months
Symptoms: Hemorrhaging after routine surgery, liver damage
Date of death: Euthanized 4-12-99
Did vet seem informed & inform you about side effects? No
Remarks on Dog's Rimadyl Experience: "Beatrice was epileptic and taking up to 45 mg Phenobarbital per day for seizure control. She developed what appeared to be back problems in 1997. Our vet thought she had a compromised disc and put her on Rimadyl for pain. It managed her pain, and we were in the process of weaning her off of it when she tore the cruciate ligament in her right rear leg, so we increased the dosage back up. Our vet suggested surgery to repair the ligament and, since she was such a young dog, we agreed that it would be the best course of action. He gave her anesthetic to conduct the necessary examination and she had a bad reaction. She lost bowel control and mobility in her hind quarters for about three days. We had pre-surgery tests done and her Alkaline Phosphatase was high, but this is not unusual for a dog on Phenobarbital. The vet went ahead and performed the surgery four days later, on a Thursday. When we called to see about picking her up, he informed us that there had been some 'complications' and that she wasn't doing as well as he'd hoped and he wanted to keep her another day. The next day we called and he said she was doing better and that we could probably take her home the next morning, Saturday. When we called on Saturday morning to make arrangements to come and get her, he told us that she had declined during the night and that her blood wasn't clotting and she was hemorrhaging at the surgery site and also where they had given her an IV. If they could not control the bleeding, we would lose her. We authorized an emergency transfusion and insisted on taking her home that night, IV and all. A liver panel was done and her readings were off the charts. She slowly began to recover and we took her to a veternary internist to see what an ultrasound would show. It showed that her liver was small and there was a suspected portosystemic shunt. The internist also said that they always took their patients off of Rimadyl at least three weeks before surgery because of the possibility of hemorrhaging. Our vet did not know this. To make a long and agonizing story shorter, we started her on a special liver diet, reduced her Phenobarbitol and supplemented with Potassium Bromide and managed to have her with us for 6 more months. She developed severe anemia in March, and became more and more lethargic, weak and confused. On April 8, we rushed her to Michigan State University for another emergency transfusion. It was then that we were told that she had end- stage liver disease and there was nothing more they or we could do for her. We brought her home on Saturday and by Monday she could no longer walk, sit or stand by herself. She got so frustrated from trying that she would just lay and moan and then lapse into a semicomatose state. We could not bear to see her go through that any longer and early in the evening on Monday, April 12, 1999, at 6:40 PM we released her from her suffering. Not a day goes by that we don't grieve for our little one. All three of the veterinarians who treated her felt that Rimadyl had contributed to her liver damage and her eventual decline and demise. I constantly warn other epileptic dog owners about the dangers of using Rimadyl. I do not feel that our veterinarian was adequately informed about the possible serious side effects of this drug, especially with dogs who may have other health problems. We are in the process of joining a class action suit against Pfizer for negligence. They paid for many of the diagnostic tests which were done after her surgery, but it will never be enough to make up for the loss of our beloved Beatrice."
2/1/00 -- Death #79: Rimadyl Does Not Provide Relief, Is Suspected as the Cause of Irreversible Liver Damage
Breed: Labrador Retriever (male)
Age: 6 years
Reason for Rimadyl rx: Arthritis
Dog's weight and dosage taken: 85lbs. 75mg daily
When reaction occurred following initial dose: 3 weeks
Symptoms: loss of appetite, depression, vomiting, panting; irreversible liver damage
Date of death: Euthanized 1-31-00.
Did vet seem informed & inform you about side effects? Stated that all drugs could shorten the dog's lifespan, but was not specific to the side effects of Rimadyl
Remarks on Dog's Rimadyl Experience: "The drug did nothing for my dog's arthritis. In my mind, I felt that this was the best thing on the market. Rimadyl's advertisements play to peoples' emotions. I feel I let my best friend down, and I feel sick about it. My dog is not suffering anymore, and that is the only thing giving me solace."
2/5/00 -- Revised Report on Death #79: Cause of Death in Question
Remarks following death: "When we decided to have Samson euthanized on Monday (1/31), the doctor asked permission to do a liver biopsy. We agreed. Both our vet and the hospital vet felt our dog died because of the Rimadyl. However, after analysis of the liver tissue sample, the doctor concluded he died of cancer (Lymphoma). His medical opinion was it was not death due to Rimadyl. He felt that the cancer started a few months ago and spread rapidly. Although this conclusion made me feel less guilty about having given my dog the drug, it still does not give me 100% confidence that Rimadyl did not play a role in his death. Who other than a medical person can question the cause of death? Who would want to prolong the agony of trying to conclude anything different? I believe the vet is telling the truth. Besides, when my dog did get put to sleep, this same doctor brought to our attention that Pfizer would settle with families like ours."
1/31/00 -- Death #78: Rimadyl Suspected as the Cause of Kidney Failure Resulting in Death -- Originally Case #96 --
Symptoms of Toxicity Appear, Including Hot Spots, but Vet Does Not Seem Informed about Relationship to Rimadyl Toxicity
Breed: American Eskimo (female, "Jewels")
Age: 13 years
Reason for Rimadyl rx: Difficulty in going up stairs
Dog's weight and dosage taken: 37 lbs. 75 milligrams
When reaction occurred following initial dose: about 1 week
Symptoms: lethargy; hot spots; inappetance; incontinence; depression; restlessness; vomiting
Date of episode: 1/10/2000
Did vet seem informed & inform you about side effects? No, did not inform me of side effects; found them on internet, then informed vet
Dog's current condition: Better now that she is off the rimadyl, but now hurts form the arthritis
Remarks on Dog's Rimadyl Experience: "I hope she will come out of this. She is a very loved family pet. I wish I had known about these side effects earlier so I could have withdrawn the drug earlier. I took her back into the vet with the hot spots, and, even at that time, they didn't tell me this was a side effect. So,I went home with her and two prescriptions in addition to the Rimadyl. About a week later, I decided on my own to quit giving her the Rimadyl, because most of the problems hadn't started until after she took it. I quit giving it to her on Saturday, and, all weekend, all she did was lie in the corner. On Monday, I searched the internet and found out about the side effects, then immediately called my vet and informed him about them. When I got home, my dog actually met me at the door -- which she hadn't done in days. She still isn't quite herself, but it is looking hopeful."
1/31/00 -- "This is an update to an e-mail I had submitted regarding my dog, Jewels. Since reporting the effects of Rimadyl, we have lost her. I took Jewels to the vet on January 17 because she was throwing up everything. We had blood tests run on her and found that she was going into kidney failure (which I am sure is from the Rimadyl). They hospitalized her on January 18 to start giving her IV's, hoping it would help. On Saturday, January 19, she passed away. Our family very much misses her. Could you please update my last e-mail so others can see what effect this drug can have. If it helps just one other pet owner, it is well worth my time. And, in Jewels memory, I know she would want it this way. Thank you."
1/19/00 -- Death #77: Rimadyl Intended to Provide Temporary Relief Pending Second Opinion on Disc Surgery; Dog Has Seizures and Dies
Breed: Boston Terrier(male, "Buster")
Age: 8.5 years
Reason for Rimadyl rx: Degenerative Disc in neck
Dog's weight and dosage taken: 29 lbs, 2 pills daily prescribed
When reaction occurred following initial dose: within 10 days
Symptoms: extreme lethargy, confusion, lack of balance and coordination, retching and coughin up mucous, laboared breathing, inappetance, refusal to drink, tremors, seizures
Date of death: 1/19/00
Did vet seem informed & inform you about side effects? minimally
Remarks on Dog's Rimadyl Experience: "Buster began taking Rimadyl in mid-December for neck pain due to a degenerative disc. He was otherwise in good health. Although he weighted 19 lbs., he was prescribed a dosage of two pills per day. After 10 days on that dosage, he developed the symptoms noted above. Since Rimadyl did help the neck pain, we did not want to withdraw it, but we did reduce it to one pill per day. The symptoms of toxicity lessened, although they did not completely disappear. The warning on the prescription noted only persistent vomiting and diarrhea and not all the other signs we witnessed. I would have withdrawn the Rimadyl, except we were scheduled for a trip, and Buster was going to be staying at the sitter's, where I knew he would be more active and potentially in more pain. While at the sitter's one day, he appeared to be choking or going into another seizure. The sitter cleared his throat and performed CPR and heart massage, but he clearly couldn't take a breath. He died in her arms. It had been our plan to use Rimadyl for temporary pain relief until we could get a second opinion concerning possible disc surgery for Buster. He was scheduled for that second opinion on 1/24/00. He never made it."
1/19/00 -- Death #76: Used as Anti-inflammatory Following Eye Surgery, Rimadyl Is Suspected in Death of 5-year-old Dog
Breed: Australian Cattle Dog (male, "Dingo")
Age: 5 years
Reason for Rimadyl rx: post lens luxation surgery (due to glaucoma)
Dog's weight and dosage taken: 45 lbs., 100 mg./day
When reaction occurred following initial dose: 29 days
Symptoms: sudden onset of vomiting, loss of appetite, lethargy, dehydration, disorientation, jaundice
Date of death: 12/10/99
Did vet seem informed & inform you about side effects? No, dog owner was not informed by vet of any potential adverse effects of Rimadyl.
Remarks on Dog's Rimadyl Experience: "Dingo was a happy, energetic, and devoted companion. He was only 5 years old when he died of (what we believe to be) Rimadyl toxicity. His owner was planning on having his best buddy by his side for at least another 5 years. In October 1999, Dingo was diagnosed with glaucoma by a veterinary specialist. The vet performed lens luxation surgery on October 22. The eye surgery was a success, and Dingo bounded back immediately afterwards, full of energy and enthusiasm now that he no longer had pressure on his eye. Rimadyl was prescribed 17 days post-surgery as an anti-inflammatory; 29 days after beginning Rimadyl, Dingo suddenly began vomiting, was lethargic, dehydrated, disoriented, and had yellow eyes and gums (jaundice). He was taken to his regular vet, who administered i.v. fluids and antibiotics. Two nights later, he died at the clinic. The reason given for his death was 'liver failure.' Searching for an answer, we thought at first he might have been poisoned. After extensive research, we came to the realization that he was poisoned, and the poison was Rimadyl."
1/10/00 -- Death #75: 8-Year-Old Long-haired Mini Dachshund Develops Immune-mediated Hemolytic Anemia; No Side Effects Warnings Given by Vet
Breed: Long haired miniature dachshund (female, "Cinnamon")
Age: 8 years 9 months
Reason for Rimadyl rx: Joint pain and beginnings of arthritis in hips
Dog's weight and dosage taken: 13 pounds; 25 mg per day in half pill increments
When reaction occurred following initial dose: 35 days
Symptoms: lethargy, vomiting, lack of appetite, collapsed while walking to the front door
Date of death: December 27, 1999 at 8:45 AM Euthanized due to severe Immune-mediated Hemolytic Anemia
Did vet seem informed about side effects and inform you?: "Absolutely not!"
Remarks on Dog's Rimadyl Experience: "I need to report another 'suspected' Rimadyl- related death. Cinnamon was an 8-year-old miniature long-haired dachshund who had the beginnings of rheumatoid arthritis but was otherwise a healthy, young dog. She did take Phenobarbital for seizures and Sentinel for heartworm and flea prevention. Those were the only medications she was on. I took Cinnamon to my vet on 11/19/99 specifically to inquire about Rimadyl as a possible solution, since she was experiencing muscle pain in her back legs -- especially after sleeping. She would wake up with a limp of her back right leg. I asked about the Rimadyl as I had seen the commercial on TV constantly promising miraculous results and promising no side effects. I asked what I thought were the appropriate questions: Is this right for Cinnamon since she is only 8? Will it conflict with the Phenobarbital or Sentinel? Were there any side effects and what should I watch for? Was there anything else I needed to consider or do before putting her on it? After being assured that it was safe and would not conflict with her other medications, my vet gave her a prescription of 25 mg per day distributed in half pill increments 12 hours apart. Her weight was 13 lbs., so she was getting 12.5 mg per dose given twice daily. She was dead in 37 days from Immune-Mediated Hemolytic Anemia. She did not show any signs of problems or adverse reactions until after 35 days. She was lethargic, her appetite decreased (but she still ate). However, her stool was slightly orange. She then vomited three times during the night between day 35 and day 36. On day 36, she had no appetite, was extremely lethargic, vomited again, and collapsed while walking to the front door. I took her to the 24-hour emergency vet, explained her symptoms and they began to search for the reason. An X-ray was taken, and blood was drawn. A heart murmur was present and her heart was enlarged. She had never been previously diagnosed with a heart murmur. Her 'paxel' level was 13, and her blood smear was abnormal, at which point she was diagnosed with Unexplained Immune-mediated Hemolytic Anemia. She was admitted to the hospital and given steroids. During the course of the next hours, her paxel level dropped to 12 and she was given a blood transfusion or oxyglobe. She began to hyperventilate prior to the transfusion and the transfusion did not help. She was euthanized the morning of day 37 on 12/27/99, and I was in total shock. I plan to educate both my vet and the 24-hour Animal Emergency Clinic that tried to save her, as they do not have all the information they need. I work for a medical publishing company and plan to talk to the publishers of our parent company to see how we can help pass the word about this incredibly toxic drug. Why has there not been more published about the adverse reactions so many dogs experienced? There have apparently been thousands, and who knows how many unreported."
1/8/00 Death #74: 9-Year-Old Golden Collapses Suddenly after One Year on Rimadyl
Breed: Golden Retriever (female, "Samantha")
Age: 9 years
Reason for Rimadyl rx: lameness in hip and shoulder
Dog's weight and dosage taken: not specified
When reaction occurred following initial dose: one year
Symptoms: no observable symptoms other than sudden collapse
Date of death: 7/22/99
Did vet seem informed & inform you about side effects? Vet never said a word
Remarks on Dog's Rimadyl Experience: "Samantha did well on Rimadyl -- seemed to run and play and feel good, so I kept her on it. On July 22, she went out the dog door, collapsed on the steps and died within 40 minutes. I was with her just after she went outside, felt her stomach -- it was normal, looked at her eyes for sign of stroke -- none, but, when I looked at her gums, they were white! The vet got there in 10 minutes, but couldn't get any blood pressure; she just died. He did an autopsy, but told me he could find nothing conclusive -- nothing in her stomach (i.e., poison, etc.) However, he noted an enlarged spleen that may have meant quick internal bleeding. I had him contact Pfizer, and, though they did get back to him, they could not or would not admit anything. I had blood tests and other heart and lung tests done on Sam's littermate, in case it was a congenital thing. But she tested OK. SHE IS NOT ON RIMADYL, just an occasional aspirin and is now eating Eagle Pak Sr. food which has Glocusamine in it. She does well on it....... I am still devastated over Sam's death. I can't prove anything....and, anyway, it's too late for her."
1/5/00 Death #73: 12-Year-Old German Shepherd On Rimadyl for Two Weeks Dies; No Side Effects Warnings Given by Vet
Breed: German Shepherd (female, "Sandy")
Age: 12 years
Reason for Rimadyl rx: arthritis in hips and spine
Dog's weight and dosage taken: 85-90 lbs; 75 mg 1x then 2x daily
When reaction occurred following initial dose: a few weeks
Symptoms: severe bloating, inappetance, increased thirst, bowel incontinence, weakness
Date of death: Monday, 1/3/00; 9:35 a.m.
Did vet seem informed about side effects and inform you?: "I dont think my vet was as informed as she should have been. I was told only the positive aspects of the drug and never given any negative information."
Remarks on Dog's Rimadyl Experience: "My dog showed little improvement with the once-a-day dosage of Rimadyl. My vet suggested she take it twice a day. I didn't know any better. I was not advised of side effects. She appeared to be having a lot of pain after a short time on Rimadyl -- not the usual arthiritis pain, but in her belly and sides. She needed to be carried to our vehicles.Within two weeks of starting to take Rimadyl, she was dead. This has been one of the most devastating events of my life. My dog was cremated without an autopsy. The vet informed me that it appeared she was bleeding internally, and it is believed that either her speen or liver ruptured. If this drug is responsible, and I killed my dog because I was negligent in not finding out more about this drug, I need to know. It is too late for me and my sweetpea, but if there are these terrible side effects caused by this drug, it needs to come off the market and NOW!! I dont know if my dog died from Rimadyl or not. Maybe you can tell me if I killed my dog. Please....let me know your thoughts because this is realy tearing me up."
1998 & Earlier