Misty, the 10-year-old Golden Retriever who inspired the Senior Dogs Project

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Cases in Which Rimadyl Is Suspected or Confirmed as Having Caused Adverse Reactions but Not Death


1999

The following reports are examples of the conditions under which side effects from Rimadyl occurred and the nature of the side effects. Please note that side effects occur in almost every breed and at almost any age (although incidence in older dogs is greater); adverse reactions occur anywhere from after the first dose to months later.


12/23/99 Case #89: 12-Year-Old Basset Is Given Dexamethazone and Rimadyl in Combination; Nearly Dies
"I just want to thank you for giving me the awareness that saved my 12-year-old Basset Hound's life! I had taken her to a vet who prescribed dexamethazone and Rimadyl to be taken together. I did not know about the side effects of either of these drugs until researching your site, which alerted me and further made me realize they should not be given together. Needless to say, I switched vets and my dear dog just barely missed death: she was bleeding internally, had an enlarged liver and spleen, enlarged heart, and fluid on the lungs. She was extremely anemic, with a red blood cell count of 14%--normal is 36-60%. Today, about four weeks later and after a lot of special veterinary care and TLC by me, she is back to her normal weight and acting as silly as ever. Her blood count is well back into the normal range."
SadSamuel@aol.com


12/24/99 Case #88: 16-Year-Old Pug's Seizures Stop after Withdrawal of Rimadyl
Breed:
Pug (female)
Age: 16 years
Reason for Rimadyl rx: arthritis
Dog's weight and dosage taken: not specified
When reaction occurred following initial dose: over two years
Symptoms: incontinence
Date of episode: Fall 1999
Did vet seem informed about side effects and inform you?: Not specified
Remarks on Dog's Rimadyl Experience:
"I have been owned by a l6 yr. old (possibly older) rescue Pug female for the last 5.5 happy years. She was put on Rimadyl about two years ago, with no side effects except for incontinence, which I just discovered on your Senior Dogs Project site. However, in September, she began having seizures. My vet was not overly concerned at the time. After having them with more frequency, however, I took her back to the vet who advised taking her off Rimadyl. I did so and the seizures promptly stopped."
jcarlson@netins.net

12/6/99 Case #87: 10 1/2-Year- Old Rottweiler Pays Heavy Price for 13 Days of Pain Relief
Breed:
Rottweiler (male)
Age: 10 1/2 years
Reason for Rimadyl rx: mobility problems
Dog's weight and dosage taken: weight not specified; 50 mg
When reaction occurred following initial dose: 13 days
Symptoms: sensitivity to light; vestibular, stroke-like symptoms; increased salivation
Date of episode: Fall 1999
Did vet seem informed about side effects and inform you?: Not specified
Remarks on Dog's Rimadyl Experience: "
I am the owner of an 101/2 year old Rottweiler, living in Athens,Greece. Our dog has been in extremely good health, except for a shoulder problem that occurs periodically. We have had blood work done on the dog once a year since the dog turned eight and was considered a "geriatric" patient. We moved to Athens in October 1998 (my husband is a Foreign Service Officer at the American Embassy in Athens), The hilly terrain in Greece has made walks more difficult for my dog and has aggravated the shoulder problem. The veterinarian placed the dog on Rimadyl for relief of the shoulder. The effects were immediate. He started moving around the house in apparent comfort and his limping and dipping disappeared. After taking the medication (50 MG daily) for 13 days, we noticed him squinting his eye and rubbing the area. His mouth was also drooping and there was increased salivation. It was as if he had had a stroke. He also exhibited a bit of instability in the rear quarter. Blood tests revealed a bun of 73mg/dl and creatinin of 4.1mg/dl. The kidneys are obviously not functioning. He is a geriatric dog and we expect health problems as our dogs age, but given the fact that his last blood profile taken in September of this year showed an extremely healthy dog, I attribute this rapid onset of renal failure to the Rimadyl. It was a high price to pay for 13 days of youthful movement."
mavail@otenet.gr


11/21/99 Case #86 Service Dog Has Elevated Liver Enzymes after Two Years on Rimadyl:
Breed:
Border Collie ( "Twin")
Age: not specified
Reason for Rimadyl rx: arthritis
Dog's weight and dosage taken: not specified
When reaction occurred following initial dose: two years
Symptoms: elevated liver enzymes
Date of episode: Diagnosed in 1999
Vet informed about side effects?: No
Current condition: recovering, but liver enzymes still elevated
Remarks on Dog's Rimadyl Experience: Dog is a little confused, but acting happy again since Rimadyl was withdrawn.
shortoflove@webtv.net

11/14/99 Case #85 Young Lab Stomach Ulcerates, Cruciate Ligament Tear Worsens While Taking Rimadyl:
Breed:
Labrador Retriever (male, "Gus")
Age: 2 1/2 years
Reason for Rimadyl rx: inflammation of left rear leg due to partially-torn cruciate ligament
Dog's weight and dosage taken: 83 lbs / 1 pill twice daily
When reaction occurred following initial dose: two weeks
Symptoms: vomiting, including vomiting of blood due to stomach ulceration; elevated liver enzymes
Date of episode: Vomiting began 9/17/99
Vet informed about side effects?: Yes, vet told us that it has been reported that some labs have had elevated liver enzyme levels, but it is rare
Current condition: recovering well; had cruciate ligament repair surgery on 11/3/99 after liver enzyme levels were back to normal
Remarks on Dog's Rimadyl Experience: "Rimadyl was prescribed for Gus on 9/3/99, and initially we could tell that he was experiencing less discomfort with the leg. Two weeks after he began the Rimadyl, he vomited, then lost all interest in food and water. We immediately took him off the Rimadyl, and took him to the vet on Monday 9/20. The vet at first did not think that it was a reaction to the drug because he was so young. They gave him an anti-nausea injection and told us that if he was not any better to bring him back on Wed 9/22 for an x-ray for a possible obstruction. By Tuesday evening he was extremely lethargic and shaking. Wed 9/22, the vet took an x-ray, found no obstruction and did bloodwork. His liver enzymes were extremely high and they admitted him, started him on IV therapy, and anti-nausea medication. They also immediately reported the case to Pfizer. By that afternoon he was vomiting blood, at which point they began treating him for an ulcer caused by the Rimadyl. He remained hospitalized at the vet until Monday 9/27. We handfed him small amounts for several days and in about two weeks, his appetite and energy levels returned to normal. The vet took bloodwork on a weekly basis until his liver enzyme levels returned to near normal 11/1. It should be noted that the original injury was a partial tear of the cruciate ligament and that while Gus was on the Rimadyl the ligament tore completely, necessitating surgery. The surgery had to be postponed until after his recovery from the Rimadyl side effects. The vet has been in frequent contact with Pfizer, and the case is currently in their committee.
gfmoss@ix.netcom.com


11/3/99 Case #84: Dog's Liver is "Small and Abnormal" -- Serious Toxic Reaction Occurred
Breed:
Golden Retriever (female, "Hannah")
Age: 6 years
Reason for Rimadyl rx: arthritis
Dog's weight and dosage taken: 54 lbs / 50 mg twice daily
When reaction occurred following initial dose: slowly, over time
Symptoms: lethargy, lack of energy at first, followed by
refusing to eat
Date of episode: October 18 - 21, 1999
Vet informed about side effects: not until blood work done
Current condition: recovering
Remarks on Dog's Rimadyl Experience: "Hannah's arthritis improved on Rimadyl, but it was destroying her liver and kidneys at the same time. I put her on Rimadyl in the fall of 1998 and had her blood checked regularly without incident. I took her off in the spring of 1999, when the weather warmed up. I put her back on in September 1999. On October 18, she quit eating. On October 19, she ate and vomited. On the 20th, the vet told me to try a mild dog food; he said it could be a virus. On the 22nd, I had her blood drawn. Her liver toxins were 1235. Normal is around 112. She was put on IV for 4 days, and her liver toxins decreased to 750, but her kidneys started to fail. I transferred her to the University of Minnesota for a biopsy and ultrasound. They were unable to do a biopsy because her liver is small and abnormal. Whether it was small and abnormal before the Rimadyl and the Rimadyl aggravated it, or whether the Rimadyl caused it to become small and abnormal are questions the vets can't answer. Now she is home on amoxicillin for a bladder infection. The vet also prescribed prednisone to reduce the swelling of the bile ducts in her liver. They are not sure the bile ducts are even swollen, because the biopsy could not be performed, so they are treating her for it 'just in case.' I have decided to discontinue the prednisone, because she is now displaying side effects to this drug -- panting, trembling, excessive thirst, excessive hunger. So much for trusting your vet. If anyone has any information regarding the side affects of prednisone on dogs, please e-mail me. Thanks."
Kelly.Robinson@Co.Ramsey.MN.US


11/2/99 Case #83: Vet Prescribes Rimadyl without Rest Period after NSAID Therapy and Does Not Do Baseline Tests
Breed:
Black Labrador Retriever (female, "Jessie")
Age: 8 years
Reason for Rimadyl rx: not specified
Dog's weight and dosage taken: not specified
When reaction occurred following initial dose: one week
Symptoms: lethargy, breathlessness, fainting, vomiting; general distress
Date of episode: October 1999
Vet informed about side effects: not specified
Current condition: healthy
Remarks on Dog's Rimadyl Experience:
"Jessie, my beloved companion, has been very ill due to a liver reaction to Rimadyl. She was on Rimadyl for only a week -- after a six month period of aspirin and a week of ibuprofen. Within a few days, she was in distress and not feeling well... lack of energy, out of breath and near fainting spells... and then vomiting. I immediately pulled all drugs/vitamins/dog foods, and we went to the vet. The vet told me it was important to limit exercise and protein to reduce any stress to the body. I've been feeding her small and frequent portions of plain white cooked rice. She has made a 100% improvement over the week-end, and I hope we are on the way to recovery. I will never give Jessie a prescribed medication again without being more informed or without a blood test."
karengar@willapabay.org


11/1/99 Case #82: Vet Says "No Way" Dog Had Rimadyl Reaction; a Diary of Events Convinces Pfizer Otherwise, and They Pay the Vet Bills
Breed:
Chocolate Labrador Retriever (female, "Truffle")
Age: 6 years
Reason for Rimadyl rx: bursitis
Dog's weight and dosage taken: 67 lbs, dosage not specified
When reaction occurred following initial dose: one week
Symptoms: inappetance, incontinence, diarrhea, vomiting
Date of episode: April 1998
Vet informed about side effects: NO!!! -- "and this very well-known and respected vet told us that there was 'NO WAY' Rimadyl was causing the problem
Current condition: healthy
Remarks on Dog's Rimadyl Experience: "Our dog developed toxicity to Rimadyl after just one week on the drug. We had put her on it previously on a trial basis, and then tested for adverse effects. All the tests came back fine. Then we started a regular regimen, but after a week, she stopped eating. A few days later she became incontinent and a few days after that she began to have diarrhea and to vomit. Several calls and one visit to our (now previous) vet failed to convince them that our problems were due to Rimadyl. They even insisted that we leave the dog on the drug (we refused). The vets at the University of Minnesota had heard about toxicity problems, and so we took our dog there and they managed to pull her out of it. She spent five days in Intensive Care. Here is the good news: our dog is okay, and Pfizer paid every penny of our vet bills! I kept a diary on a day-by-day basis of what was happening, and I ended up with about 20 pages of notes on our dog's problems. We sent that information along with the vet bills totaling $1649 to Pfizer, and they paid every penny! So, take notes as to what is happening to your dogs and let Pfizer know!"
Bfduerr2@mmm.com


 

10/23/99 Case #81: Vet Diagnoses "Old Age Syndrome"; Denies Rimadyl Involvement; Lab Back to Normal after Rimadyl Is Withdrawn
Breed:
Lab Mix (male, "Tad")
Age When Rimadyl Reaction Occurred: 14 years
Reason for Rimadyl rx: arthritis
Dog's weight and dosage taken: 40 lbs, 1/2 tab twice daily (mg not specified)
When reaction occurred following initial dose: slowly, over some months
Symptoms: vestibular symptoms, inappropriate urination, panting, confusion, excessive thirst
Date of episode: 1999
Vet informed about side effects: NO!!!
Current condition: recovering
Remarks on Dog's Rimadyl Experience: "Our 14- year-old Lab-cross had been experiencing stiffness and weakness in his rear legs for some time. The vet suggested Rimadyl. We tried it and had great initial results [over a period of months]. Suddenly, there was an onset of what was diagnosed as senior vestibular disease. Vet did NOT suspect Rimadyl [or did not mention it] and put him on motion sickness pills along with Rimadyl [also said he might try steroids if no improvement]. It was not until much later that we figured it out. In retrospect, he had been exhibiting symptoms over quite some time that we attributed to his age -- excessive panting, thirst and a distinct and very sad confusion. He was even wetting in his kennel. This was exceptionally inapproprite for this dog who had never had a problem with inappropriate urination. Again to the vet...no mention of Rimadyl toxicity. The vet said he was getting senile, and told us to keep him on Rimadyl for another month... Thankfully, we did some research and found this website. As you would expect, after reading the reports, we withdrew the Rimadyl. It has been two weeks now that he has been off the drug, and he is clearly back to almost normal. Only one wetting accident in the past two weeks compared to having them daily; he no longer pants, nor does he have excessive thrist, and there are no signs of confusion. For his arthritis, we are now giving him Drs. Foster and Smith time-release aspirin at a dose lower than max. He is running and doing things that we never thought he would be able to do again. Rimadyl may be a benefit to some, but it was the drug from hell for us. What is worse is that the vet was uninformed to the point that he continued the medicine and kept us going from bad to worse. There is little doubt in my mind that the Rimadyl caused the vestibular problem, and absolutely no doubt in my mind that the drug caused the confusion, innappropriate urination and other problems. Our advice: IF you decide to use Rimadyl, make sure you have a vet who has a clue. I would use Drs. Foster & Smith aspirin."
dt3163@mail.ci.dover.nh.us


10/23/99 Is megaesophagus associated with Rimadyl?
We received a report concerning a Great Pyrenees who developed megaesophagus about the same time he began taking Rimadyl. Sebastien was 10 years old and "superbly healthy" until that time. Megaesophagus, a condition in which the esophagus enlarges due to paralysis of the esophageal musculature, is rare in older dogs. It causes constant regurgitation, which ultimately results in starvation. If you have information that pertains to this case, please e-mail Shirley McGreal <spm@awod.com>


10/19/99 Case #80: 5-Year-Old Sheltie Is Restless and Aggressive on Rimadyl; Vet Said Side Effects Were the Same as for Aspirin
Breed:
Sheltie (male, "Dallas")
Age When Rimadyl Reaction Occurred: 5 years
Reason for Rimadyl rx: suspected arthritis
When reaction occurred following initial dose: 1 week
Symptoms: panting; restlessness; aggression
Date of episode: July 1999
Vet informed about side effects: said side effects were the same as for aspirin
Current condition: recovered
Remarks on Dog's Rimadyl Experience: "After a week on Rimadyl, my Sheltie was panting and restless. One day, my father bent over to him, and Dallas bit him savagely on his face. He is the gentlest dog I have ever known, so I knew then that something was very wrong. I called the vet's office to ask about the side effects of Rimadyl, but all they could tell me was that they were the same as for aspirin. When I found this website, I realized that Dallas was, in fact, experiencing a negative reaction to Rimadyl. I withdrew it, and now he is healthy and his old self again."
RHANNON999@aol.com


10/19/99 -- Update to Case #18: Barney, at 15 Years, Thrives -- Even Though Euthanasia Was Considered Following Rimadyl Reaction at Age 13
Breed:
Springer Mix (male, "Barney")
Age When Rimadyl Reaction Occurred: 13 years
Reason for Rimadyl rx: arthritis
When reaction occurred following initial dose: 25 days
Symptoms: inappetance; vomiting; urinary infection; blood & glucose in urine; sky-high liver enzymes
Date of episode: Summer 1997
Vet informed about side effects: NO; suspected cancer or cirrhosis of liver; recommended euthanasia
Current condition: Barney turned 15 in July 1999; his annual physical, with urinalysis and bloodwork, shows all values to be within normal range
Remarks on Dog's Rimadyl Experience: "I asked my vet three times during his illness and slow recovery, if he could be having a reaction to the Rimadyl. Each time she said 'no.' A few days after we brought him home, my vet suggested we begin to consider euthanasia. A couple of months after he recovered and more information had been sent to the vets about Rimadyl, my vet agreed with me. I could have euthanized my dog because he was having an adverse reaction to a drug! Had I listened to my vet, Barney's death would have been attributed to old age, not Rimadyl. My vet suspected cirrhosis or cancer of the liver because of the results of an ultrasound. "
jean@itscomp.com
Additional Notes on Case #18:
9/28/98:
"How many dogs were euthanized needlessly as Barney could have been, had I taken my vet's word as gospel? How many dogs died from Rimadyl with the cause cited as 'old age,' 'liver failure,' etc.? I don't believe the adverse reactions occur in as small a percentage of dogs as Pfizer claims. Perhaps many dogs have been helped by Rimadyl. If this is truly the case, Rimadyl shouldn't be removed from the market. However, veterinarians must inform pet owners of the possible side effects! Dogs can't speak to us and tell us what is wrong; the owners need to know what to watch out for, so the drug can be stopped immediately. Only the informed owner can make the choice as to whether to start the drug and when to stop so their dog doesn't die needlessly!"
jean@itscomp.com
August 2000: Barney went to Rainbow Bridge on August 9, 2000. He died of kidney failure. He lived for three years after his near-fatal reaction to Rimadyl.
This is an abbreviated report; complete report available upon request to: rimreport@srdogs.com


10/15/99 Case #79: 13-Year-Old Dog Has Uncontrollable Vomiting after Six Days on Rimadyl; Pfizer Rep Tells Vet Side Effects Are " . . . VERY RARE"
Breed:
not specified
Age: 13 years
Date of episode: October 1999
Reason for Rimadyl rx: stiffness in back legs
Dog's Weight & Dosage: not specified
When reaction occurred following initial dose: 6 days
Symptoms of Rimadyl Toxicity: vomiting
Did Vet Inform You of Side Effects? No
Dog's current condition: recovering
Remarks on Dog's Rimadyl Experience: "My 13-year-old dog was quite healthy except for stiff back legs for which the vet prescribed Rimadyl. After 6 days on Rimadyl, he began vomiting. I withdrew the medication, but the vomiting got worse. He became very picky about what he ate and then stopped eating all together. I took him back to the vet, who thought he might have some sort of infection. They put him on antibiotics. After three days, there was no improvement, and he progressed to vomiting and dry heaves all night. Back at the vet, blood tests were done, but nothing was found. Still no eating and then no drinking. We returned to the vet after reviewing information on the srdogs website, noting that vomiting was one of the common symptoms of Rimadyl toxicity, and that my dog's vomiting had started when Rimadyl was given to him. The vet put him on an IV and kept him for a day and a half. After the first night, there was only one vomiting episode. We still don't know how it will all turn out, but I was surprised when I asked my vet about the side effects mentioned on srdogs, and he said he had just talked to the drug rep and was told side effects were very rare. Doesn't sound like it to me."
Carrol.Dandoy@HILL.af.mil


 

8/3/99 Case # 78: Dog Accidentally Ingests Potentially Fatal Dose of Chewable Rimadyl
Report on Experience:
"Pfizer's new chewable Rimadyl is extremely pungent and enticing -- so much so that my dog, Charlie, climbed up on a desk to get to an unopened bottle on a shelf. He ripped through the bottle and ate 30 pills of 100 milligrams of this toxic 'candy.' I induced vomiting and rushed him to the emergency room. He's home now, but not out of the woods. He has blood in his stool and is definitely not himself. Whatever the outcome is for us, I want people to be informed about the seductive aroma of this medicine. Pfizer needs to make sure that every bottle has a warning label."
Update 8/6/99: Report on a conversation with a Pfizer vet: "When I spoke to her about my dog's overdosing on chewable Rimadyl, the Pfizer vet said she didn't think it was Pfizer's job to put a warning label on the bottle. But, in the same breath, she said she's taken many calls from people whose dogs have overdosed. I was sad to hear that. She implied it was my fault for getting the scent of the drug on my hands and then touching the bottle. In fact, I hadn't ever touched the pills; they were for my friend's dog, for whom I was sitting, and I hadn't yet opened the bottle to give him any."
Update 8/23/99: "Charlie is going back to see the vet this Thursday. The last time his bloodwork was taken a couple weeks ago, she said everything was looking good except for low levels of chloride and sodium. She said that was probably due to his not being able to assimilate food properly because of the swelling and ulcerations in his gastrointestinal tract. I can't tell you why I still have Charlie in my life. From what I've been told, the amount of Rimadyl he ate and the length of time it was in his system should have killed him. We have experienced a miracle. I still, however, wake in the night and put my hand on him to make sure he is breathing. I probably won't stop doing that until I see 100% of the pre-Rimadyl Charlie."
katy@labridge.com


9/13/99 Case # 77: No Warning of Potential Adverse Reactions Causes Delayed Withdrawal of Rimadyl
Breed:
Labrador Retriever (female, "Nickie")
Age: 11 years
Reason for Rimadyl rx: stiffness in hind legs
Dog's Weight & Dosage: not specified
When reaction occurred following initial dose: 2 months
Symptoms: vomiting; lethargy; loss of weight
Date of episode/death: September 1999
Dog's Current Condition: recovering
Vet informed about side effects: No
Remarks on Dog's Rimadyl Experience: "Had we been warned of the adverse reactions, we would have stopped the Rimadyl right away or might not have given it to her at all. There was no labeling on the bottle. This is very irresponsible, to say the least. We had her on an IV to flush her system. She was also given anti-biotics. Her lab report the following week went up slightly, which devastated us even more. She is 11 years old and a very important part of our family. The last few days, she seems to be getting better. She is eating and her level of activity is improved. She is also taking Carafate and Pepcid AC. We could have lost Nickie. I am still not certain she will recover from this, but we are doing everything we can to help her get better. Something should be done about the packaging for Rimadyl. The vets should be better informed and give the patients the information so that we can make a better choice. I am going to have her blood tests repeated again and hopefully this time they will be improved. I want to make sure this does not happen to another family that loves their dog as we do. What can we as consumers do to get out this vital information about this drug? I am sure it helps many dogs with arthritis but I almost lost my best buddy."
Leslier555@aol.com


9/10/99 Case # 76: Young Weimaraner Turns Uncharacteristically Aggressive While on Rimadyl
Breed:
Weimaraner (male, "Jetta")
Age: 10 months
Reason for Rimadyl rx: neck and back sprain
Dog's Weight & Dosage: 60 lbs.; 50 mg 2 x daily
When reaction occurred following initial dose: 2 days
Symptoms: abnormal aggression
Date of episode/death: 9/8/99
Dog's Current Condition: good health, no pain
Vet informed about side effects: No
Remarks on Dog's Rimadyl Experience: "The first day, Jetta was fine. He seemed to play and be himself again after the neck injury. But the second day he was on the medication, he became really agressive, chewing everything in sight, disobeying commands, not being himself. I couldn't control him. I contacted my vet, and he said it was not because of the medication; he said it was due to Jetta's being a ten-month-old Weimaraner. I'm sorry, but I know my dog better than anyone, and the vet's explanation was incorrect. I took him off the Rimadyl, and it took two days, but he's getting back to his calmer self. I'm calling my vet right now to set him straight. Thanks for the information."
Speedgirly@aol.com


8/19/99 Case # 75: Relationship of Rimadyl to Dog's Paralysis Not Clear; However, Symptoms Disappear after Rimadyl is Withdrawn; Dog Is Euthanized Four Months Later
Breed:
Bouvier Des Flandres (female, "Nikki")
Age: 9 years
Reason for Rimadyl rx: pain from hip displasia, OCD, and lameness
Dog's Weight & Dosage: 97 lbs.; dose not specified
When reaction occurred following initial dose: 3 days
Symptoms: paralysis in back legs
Date of episode/death: 1/18/99; dog died 5/26/99
Vet informed about side effects: No; brochure was given with medication indicating possible side effects
Remarks on Dog's Rimadyl Experience: "Nikki had hip displasia and OCD for 9 years. Surgery had been performed on one knee when she was a puppy. She had used nothing more than aspirin for pain. Then she began to drag her back leg. She was taken to the vet, diagnosed with arthritis and prescribed Rimadyl on January 15, 1999. I was told not to expect her to get better right away, and that it might get worse before it got better. He also recommended euthanasia due to the severe arthritis. Three days later, she began to get worse. On the fourth day, her back legs were totally paralyzed. I called Pfizer's 800 number and was told there was no connection between Rimadyl and paralysis. I took Nikki to the emergency vet on January 19, 1999. She was taken off Rimadyl and put on Prednisone and cephalexin (as a precaution). No diagnosis was made. She began to recover in three days. It took two weeks before she was able to walk unassisted again. Nikki died four months later. This was one month after being diagnosed with hermangiosarcoma. A tumor was removed. Chemotherapy was not done because Nikki could not eat. In the month prior to her death, she had lost 20 lbs. Three vets treated her before her death and could not determine why she would not eat. She was euthanized on May 26, 1999."
SKYLARK90@aol.com


8/14/99 Case # 74: Auto-immune Hemolytic Anemia Thought to be Related to Rimadyl
Breed:
Norfolk Terrier mix (male, "Gismo")
Age: 9 years
Reason for Rimadyl rx: back and hip strain
Dog's Weight & Dosage: 30 lbs, 25 mg 2x daily
When reaction occurred following initial dose: approx. one month
Symptoms: lethargy, lack of appetite, severe weakness
Date of episode: June 1998
Vet informed about side effects: Yes, but not auto-immune hemolytic anemia; also, no mention of it in any literature pertaining to the drug
Dog's current condition: He is doing well, but has never gotten back to 'normal' as he was before.
Remarks on Dog's Rimadyl Experience: "I took my dog to the vet after he had a problem with severe back spasms and pain in his hips.  After many x-rays, it was determined that he had strained his back and/or hips while chasing his ball.  At first, with Rimadyl, he improved.  Then he started acting lethargic and lost his appetite. This progressed slowly over a couple of weeks to total loss of appetite, including refusal to drink water and not being able to walk more than a few feet without having to rest.  I took him into the vet many times during this period, and each time, they would find nothing. Finally, I insisted they keep him and find out what was wrong.  A simple blood test showed that he had a very low red blood cell count -- hematocrit of 17% with red cell clumping -- definite signs of auto-immune hemolytic anemia. Most dogs die of this affliction, but with good care from my vets and me, he has recovered to the point that he is happy. The disease has taken its toll, however, and he will never be the same care-free Gismo he was before."
sandyt@tenforward.com


8/10/99 Case # 73: Alert Vet Does Baseline Testing and Saves Lab after Rimadyl Reaction
Breed:
Labrador Retriever (male, "Jordan")
Age: 10 years
Reason for Rimadyl rx: arthritis due to broken leg when one year old
Dog's Weight & Dosage: not specified
When reaction occurred following initial dose: 2 weeks
Symptoms: generally very ill
Date of episode: February 1999
Vet informed about side effects: not specified; however, vet did baseline testing and looked for liver toxicity
Remarks on Dog's Rimadyl Experience: "My Lab was put on Rimadyl after a complete blood work up. Everything looked good. Jordan started acting almost like a pup again, but this lasted only a few days. Within 2 weeks, he was terribly ill. I took him back to the vet, and a urine sample was taken. He had lost 10 lbs within that two week period and was VERY weak. The vet ran more blood tests and found Rimadyl had affected his liver so profoundly that he had to stay and be fed intravenously for several days. Jordan had to go on a special diet, which cost $50.00 every 8 days; he had to stay on it for awhile. We were relieved that Pfizer came forth and supplied what he needed, since we are on a limited budget. The vet has now put Jordan on a drug called Oruvail, 100mg., and GLYCO-FLEX PLUS. I have to say our vet is excellent and takes very good care of Jordan."
ASh3857072@aol.com


8/10/99 Case # 72: Rimadyl a Godsend for Two Years; Now Dog Has Elevated Liver Enzymes
Breed:
Mixed (female, "Chloe")
Age: 15 years
Reason for Rimadyl rx: arthritis
Dog's Weight & Dosage: 27 lbs; 1/2 75 mg/twice daily
When reaction occurred following initial dose: 2 years
Symptoms: frequent urination (increased accidents in the house), increased water consumption, confusion, listless behavior, loss of appetite, diarrhea; blood tests showed liver functions very high
Date of diagnosis of elevated liver enzymes: 7/30/99
Vet informed about side effects: No; none of the vets in the local office had any concerns about Rimadyl. They told me that they knew of no side effects in dogs with the exception of black labs.
Current condition: slowly returning to normal
Remarks on Dog's Rimadyl Experience: "Rimadyl was a Godsend to my dog in the beginning. She had serious arthritis symptoms, which kept her from climbing stairs or going for walks. I was afraid that I might have had to make a very difficult decision. Almost immediately after taking the first dose of Rimadyl, she was able to do almost everything she wanted -- just like the TV commercial shows. I was never advised of any of the side effects of Rimadyl because I obtained the drug from the Vet as a prescription. I relied on them to keep me informed. I took her back for a follow up exam today and the blood work showed that her liver functions were returning to normal. I guess I should not complain because my dog is now over 15 years old. My feelings about the drug are mixed. I do wish I had been better informed about the drug and that other medications were available with fewer side effects.
hrrice@ktis.net


July 26, 1999 Case # 71: Continuous Vomiting after Three Doses of Rimadyl; Vet Gave No Warning of Potential Side Effects
Breed:
Beagle/Huskey Mix (female, "Sam")
Age When Rimadyl Reaction Occurred: 5 years
Reason for Rimadyl rx: post-operative pain
Dog's Weight & Dosage: 37 lbs; 50 mg/twice daily
When reaction occurred following initial dose: approx. 28 hours after initial dose; total of 3 doses given
Symptoms: vomited 10 times in 7 hours
Date of episode: 7/24/99
Vet informed about side effects: no
Current condition: normal
Remarks on Dog's Rimadyl Experience: "Vomiting began at 10:30 a.m., approximately 1 1/2 hr. after third dose was administered. Withheld food and water after 4th vomiting episode, approximately 1:00 pm. Vomiting continued until about 5:30 pm. No weakness or shakiness seen. Vet recommended withdrawing Rimadyl and withholding food and water. No more doses have been or will be given."
denkat25@msn.com


July 22, 1999 -- Update to Case #18: After Rimadyl Reaction, Vet Advised Euthanasia; Two Years Later, Barney Celebrates His 15th Birthday!
Breed:
Springer Mix (male, "Barney")
Age When Rimadyl Reaction Occurred: 13 years
Reason for Rimadyl rx: arthritis
When reaction occurred following initial dose: 25 days
Symptoms: inappetance; vomiting; urinary infection; blood & glucose in urine; sky-high liver enzymes
Date of episode: Summer 1997
Vet informed about side effects: NO; suspected cancer or cirrhosis of liver; recommended euthanasia
Current condition: recovered -- and has, since his Rimadyl episode, celebrated his 14th and 15th birthdays in July 1998 and 1999
Remarks on Dog's Rimadyl Experience: "I asked my vet three times during his illness and slow recovery, if he could be having a reaction to the Rimadyl. Each time she said 'no.' A few days after we brought him home, my vet suggested we begin to consider euthanasia. A couple of months after he recovered and more information had been sent to the vets about Rimadyl, my vet agreed with me. I could have euthanized my dog because he was having an adverse reaction to a drug! Had I listened to my vet, Barney's death would have been attributed to old age, not Rimadyl. My vet suspected cirrhosis or cancer of the liver because of the results of an ultrasound. "
jean@itscomp.com
Additional Notes on Case #18:
September 28, 1998:
"How many dogs were euthanized needlessly as Barney could have been, had I taken my vet's word as gospel? How many dogs died from Rimadyl with the cause cited as 'old age,' 'liver failure,' etc.? I don't believe the adverse reactions occur in as small a percentage of dogs as Pfizer claims. Perhaps many dogs have been helped by Rimadyl. If this is truly the case, Rimadyl shouldn't be removed from the market. However, veterinarians must inform pet owners of the possible side effects! Dogs can't speak to us and tell us what is wrong; the owners need to know what to watch out for, so the drug can be stopped immediately. Only the informed owner can make the choice as to whether to start the drug and when to stop so their dog doesn't die needlessly!"
jean@itscomp.com
This is an abbreviated report; complete report available upon request to: rimreport@srdogs.com


 

7/21/99 Case #70: No Side Effects Warning Given by Vet; Pfizer Vets Have Inconsistent Responses When Contacted about Side Effects
Breed:
German Shepherd (male, "Prince")
Age: 10+ years
Date of episode: June - July 1999
Reason for Rimadyl rx: pain associated with hip dysplasia, hip replacement, and femur cut
Dog's Weight & Dosage: not specified
Symptoms of Rimadyl Toxicity: lethargy; acting distant; walking into walls; walking in circles; urinating in the house; heavy breathing; panting; uncharacteristic aggression
Did Vet Inform You of Side Effects? Vet seemed aware only that toxic reaction might show up in the liver; did not associate any other symptoms with Rimadyl toxicity
Dog's current condition: recovering
Remarks on Dog's Rimadyl Experience: "On 6/29/99, Prince's vet put him on Rimadyl. Full blood work was done. All was normal. Prince took Rimadyl for ten days and developed the symptoms described above, including aggression (Prince is a very docile, gentle giant). It was very sad to watch. I thought he would die. I called the vet, and he prescribed phenobarbitol for what he called 'seizures.' I thought this was odd -- to prescribe without seeing him -- so I decided to do an internet search -- where I found information about Rimadyl's side effects, including a warning that, if phenobarbital is given with Rimadyl, liver function must be closely monitored. That day, I withdrew the Rimadyl and called Pfizer, where I reached Dr. Pastorino (sp?). She agreed that what Prince was experiencing (walking into walls, lethargy, aggression, panting, etc.) were all potential side effects of Rimadyl. She was very caring and very helpful. When I called to follow up with her, however, she was not in, and I spoke with another vet. He contradicted Dr. Pastorino and told me that Prince's symptoms were NOT side effects of Rimadyl. He asked me what made me think they were. I said Dr. Pastorino TOLD me they were. Prince is now back to the way he was before taking Rimadyl. His walk is a little shaky and his right eye dilated, but he trots to me when I get home and no longer walks in circles or is aggressive. The vet that Prince sees now thinks that my dog was not helped by Rimadyl and that the drug may have worsened any neurological problems he already had. How very sad that an old dog like mine, with an underlying medical problem, was put through drug hell for no reason."
blackdogshaven@earthlink.net


7/17/99 Update to Case #43:
"Our dog has survived the hemolytic anemia caused by Rimadyl. Last week, however, he was diagnosed with kidney and liver disease. He spent a week in the hospital and is now home but not doing well. The vets feel his current condition is a result of the original episode of his reaction to Rimadyl. I noticed while I was at the vet's office that a dog with a broken leg was given Rimadyl and sent home without any warning about the drug's potential side effects. When is the FDA going to force vets to warn owners adequately? Our dog may not survive. He is not eating, and the vets are not sure what to do for him next. He had been on a high dosage of prednisone for the anemia and was weaned down, but we are reluctant to give a high dosage again. It breaks my heart to realize that a year ago this was an active, healthy dog. He is only 4 years old, but you would think he was 14. He lies on his bed, will not eat or drink, and refuses to get up by himself. He has no quality of life. If he shows no improvement soon, we may be forced to let him go. Our vet bills exceed $3000 so far and are growing. He was given Rimadyl for a tiny limp; it was not worth it."
Breed: Miniature Schnauzer (male)
Age: 3 years (at time of episode)
Reason for Rimadyl rx: limp of unknown cause
When reaction occurred following initial dose: 5 weeks
Symptoms: weakness, lethargy, inappetance, refusal to drink
Date of episode: October 30, 1998
Vet informed about side effects: NO; definitely NOT!
Current condition: fighting to survive auto-immune hemolytic anemia
Remarks on Dog's Rimadyl Experience: "This drug should be withdrawn as far as I am concerned. Our dog was perfectly healthy until given Rimadyl. He took the drug for only 10 days and within 4 weeks went from a healthy, active dog to barely alive. He is currently on 40 mg of predisone a day to fight the anemia. This disease struck without warning and with no apparent cause -- except for the Rimadyl -- which never helped his limp anyhow. I would never, ever have given him this drug if I had been advised of the potentially deadly effects."


7/16/99 Case #69: Suspected Liver Cancer Is Ultimately Diagnosed as Rimadyl Toxicity
Breed:
Yellow Lab (female, "Maddy")
Age: 9 years
Date of episode: July 1999
Reason for Rimadyl rx: arthritis
Symptoms: vomiting; inappetance
Dog's current condition: recovering
Remarks on Dog's Rimadyl Experience: "Two weeks ago my 9-year-old female Yellow Lab, Maddy, began vomiting after meals and refused to eat much. A blood test revealed extremely high liver enzymes. We had an ultrasound done, and it did reveal a small mass on her liver. She had a mast cell tumor removed from her belly about a month ago. The pathologist's report on that tumor was stage 1, well differentiated (i.e., all edges were clean of cancer). The biopsy of her liver lesions showed no cancer. The pathologist concluded that the changes in her liver are consistent with a drug reaction from the RIMADYL she was taking for arthritis. Our vet says we can dare to optimistic at this point. She's still not eating like she used to, but has not vomited in four days. I'm obviously relieved since, as of last weekend, we were convinced we would have to put her down soon. We'll continue to treat her with eastern medicine (eg. acupuncture, herbal lotions, etc.) for her sore leg, but NO MORE DRUGS! It's urgent that we get the word out about Rimadyl's potential side effects (other than those noted by the drug company), especially in Labrador Retrievers. Please pass this message along to other pet owners and veterinarians."
Comments from the Pathologist: "The histopathological changes identified in these liver specimens are consistent with hepatotoxicity, particularly a drug reaction. While not specifically diagnostic, the constellation of lesions is suggestive of an idiosyncratic reaction to Carprofen (Rimadyl). As an idiosyncratic reaction, the degree of injury is not dose-related, and it is impossible to predict whether a given dog will be susceptible. The degree of hepatocellular injury and attendant loss of function is variable, resulting in a spectrum of clinical presentations. As a result, the prognosis is quite variable and may not always correlate to the severity of the histological lesions. Preliminary studies suggest that Labrador Retrievers may be more susceptible but tend to have lower morbidity and mortality rates that non-labrador breeds (MacPhail CM, et al "Hepatocellular Toxicosis Associated with Administration of Carprofen in 21 Dogs". JAVMA 1998; 212(12); 1895-1901)."
heits@POND.NET


5/21/99 Case #68: Liver Toxicity Detected While on Rimadyl
Remarks:
"My dog was both overweight and arthritic. My veterinarian prescribed thyroid medication and Rimadyl. Follow-up bloodwork showed improved thyroid levels but also detected liver toxicity. We withdrew Rimadyl, and her liver levels returned to normal. However, her arthritis worsened. I was instructed to resume Rimadyl as before, but have chosen to give her 25 mg every other day instead. She also gets a Cosequin tablet daily and sleeps on a special mat. She's lost 20 pounds, her energy level is good, and she moves more easily, but is still stiff on arising."
kbheaton@swbell.nett
8/31/99 Update toCase #68: Dog Is Euthanized Following Liver Toxicity
Breed:
Spaniel/Border Collie mix (female, "Jipsy")
Age: 12 years
Reason for Rimadyl rx: arthritis
Dog's weight and dosage taken: 55 lbs; 50 mg/2x daily; subsequently reduced to 25mg every other day
When reaction occurred following initial dose: 2 1/2 years; initially prescribed on 2/28/97
Date of episode: several days
Symptoms: liver toxicity detected by blood tests
Date of death: 7/14/99
Remarks on Dog's Rimadyl Experience: "Jipsy's kidneys had failed; she could not retain any food or produce any urine. She was dying before my eyes. Her collapse was attributed to complications from liver toxicity, which was confirmed by blood tests. 7/10/99 blood test measured alk phos - 7440 (normal range 5-131), creatinine- 2.8 (normal range 0.5-1.6). 7/14/99 levels were alk phos - 10490, creatinine - 8.6. She was euthanized yesterday. Autopsy determined kidneys appeared nearly normal; liver was grainy and gristly with scar tissue, but contained no apparent tumors.
kbheaton@swbell.nett


5/20/99 Case #67: Lethargy, Loss of Balance and "Biting" Behavior in 11-Year-Old Poodle Mix
Breed:
Poodle mix (female, "Genius")
Age: 11 + years
Reason for Rimadyl rx: limp; moderate arthritis/dysplasia
Dog's weight and dosage taken: 18 lb; 25 mg/a.m.
When reaction occurred following initial dose: not certain when symptoms began; noticed lethargy in a.m., after pill given, but not in evening
Date of episode: see comments below
Symptoms: lethargy, loss of balance, "biting" behavior
Dog's current condition: recovering
Did vet seem informed & inform you about side effects? Vet warned that liver or kidney problems could result, but never told me what the symptoms were
Remarks on Dog's Rimadyl Experience: "The Genius began taking Rimadyl about 1 1/2 years ago, and has been sleeping 16-20 hours a day. She has also been depressed. I thought that this might be due to her adjusting to her hearing loss, our move to a place where she had to stay indoors a great deal, and also to two painful surgeries she underwent. I thought she had 'aged' from all this. She also became very clumsy, knocking into all kinds of things, once in a while bailing head-first into a wall as if it were not there. Then she began 'biting' at things, which is completely out of her gentle nature. She has NEVER bitten anyone or anything before. Now that I am reading all of the comments from others, I think that her symptoms may not be due to aging alone, after all. She is alert and lively in the evenings, but she does not receive an evening pill. I suppose it could be dementia, but I think I would prefer to be on the safe side and not give her Rimadyl. Most important, I wanted to let those who have lost their pets know that they have kept my Genius safe. I will not give her any more Rimadyl; the benefit of relief from morning stiffness is not worth the risk of losing her."
L1z@rocketmail.com


 

5/20/99 Case #66: Aggression in Mellow Labrador Retriever Traced to Rimadyl
Breed:
Black Labrador Retriever (male, "Toby")
Age: 13 years
Reason for Rimadyl rx: hurt/chipped elbow (at age 10)
Dog's weight and dosage taken: not specified
When reaction occurred following initial dose: several months
Symptoms: inappetance, depression, tremors, hind-end paralysis; finally, aggression
Date of episode: Spring 1998
Dog's current condition: recovered
Did vet seem informed & inform you about side effects? No
Remarks on Dog's Rimadyl Experience: "One morning, our dear, kind Labrador became unspecifically angry and bit me. He showed rage throughout the day, and I thought maybe he was in pain for some reason. I was ready to call the vet, when I happened to see an ad for Rimadyl in Reader's Digest and read the side effects which included, 'uncontrolled rage, partial hindend paralysis.' I pulled Toby off Rimadyl immediately, advised our veterinarian, and while the damage is done, Toby now eats well, never shows rage, and walks at least better than when taking Rimadyl. Several months later, the vet put him on Rimadyl absent-mindedly while we were on vacation. When I came home, Toby was falling over to his right side and almost could not walk. I pulled him off the Rimadyl, discussed this with the vet, and, by the next morning, he was fine (had been falling over all week at vet's). More dog owners should be aware of this. Our dog would probably have had three better years had it not been for Rimadyl." Update 6/8/99: "Good news! Toby Labrador is not done yet! He had pneumonia, heart arrhythmia from pneumonia, and stomach ulcers (suspected from prednisone). Possible brain stem tumor, but most of all he recovered from pneumonia, thanks to University Of Pennsylvania Intensive Care Department, and is responding to meds for heart and stomach. Cannot walk anymore, because he lost so much muscle from being sick, but has adopted my husband's legs, has re-housebroken himself, and barks whenever he has needs. Loves to lie at our feet and on our outdoor porches with us in the evening. University of Pennsylvania was incredible to him and us--high recommendations."
Dobber3@aol.com


 

5/4/99 Case #64: Informed Vet Withdraws Rimadyl Immediately upon Dog's Presentation of Classic Symptoms
Breed:
Collie-Golden Retriever mix (male, "Bruce")
Age: 11 years
Reason for Rimadyl rx: lower back pain; hind leg trembling while standing
Dog's weight and dosage taken: 71 lbs; 75mg/2x daily
When reaction occurred following initial dose: fourth day
Symptoms: hot spots, subcutaneous fluid-filled vesicle, diarrhea
Date of episode: May 3, 1999
Dog's current condition: Being treated for diarrhea
Did vet seem informed & inform you about side effects? Yes
Owner's Comments: "Our vet knew to watch for the liver/renal side effects and was especially concerned about vomiting, anorexia, diarrhea. When I called with the dermatologic reaction (diarrhea started later), he said to stop Rimadyl immediately and to bring Bruce in. When he examined the hot spots and subcutaneous lump, he agreed that it was an unusual but likely reaction to Rimadyl and that the diarrhea was clearly due to the drug. When the diarrhea clears up, he'll try EtoGesic to relieve the lower back inflammation."
mlkienholz@aol.com


5/6/99 Case #63: Informed Owner Withdraws Rimadyl after Dog Begins Excessive Panting
Breed:
Beagle (female, "Ellie")
Age: 12 years
Reason for Rimadyl rx: painful neck injury
Dog's weight and dosage taken: 32 lbs; 1 25mg tab 2x daily; reduced to 1x daily
When reaction occurred following initial dose: "After probably 2-3 doses, we started noticing a lot of panting -- almost constant. At the time, we weren't sure whether it was due to the stress of pain or to Rimadyl. She DID pant a lot when she was first hurt -- clearly stress-related. Then it stopped, but it started up again on Rimadyl. When I cut back the dosage to 1/2, the panting stopped."
Symptoms: constant, excessive panting
Date of episode: March 1999
Dog's current condition: fine
Did vet seem informed & inform you about side effects? "She seemed to understand that there was concern about Rimadyl, but dismissed it. Ellie's recent bloodwork showed no elevations in liver enzymes, so she felt Rimadyl was safe for her. NOTE: Ellie's urinalysis prior to going on Rimadyl showed a LOW specific gravity, so despite normal BUN and creatinine, we had put her on k/d and are assuming some degree of renal dysfunction. This all occurred BEFORE Rimadyl was prescribed. I mentioned my concerns about giving Rimadyl to a dog with suspected kidney problems to two vets at the clinic and was told that Rimadyl only affects the liver."
Owner's Comments: "I did ask my vet about the panting, but was told that it wasn't caused by the Rimadyl. Considering the number of anecdotal reports of dogs panting on Rimadyl, I suspect now that it was. I think it's important to say that I'm not suggesting that no one should ever give their dogs Rimadyl. It can work wonderfully and has given many dogs a new lease on life. I would probably give Ellie Rimadyl again for extreme pain such as she experienced, but I would give it carefully, especially as she is an older dog. I would do bloodwork beforehand, during, and after treatment and watch for signs of problems. There is a great deal more information available to the general public now re: veterinary and medical matters. This appears to bother some vets. But, to me, all information is useful. An intelligent person can combine it all and arrive at a good decision."
pawsplus@geocities.com

5/2/99 Case #62: Bloody Diarrhea Occurs after One Year on Rimadyl; Owner Not Warned of Side Effects
Breed:
Rottweiler (female, "Kira")
Age: 9+ years
Reason for Rimadyl rx: not specified
Dog's weight and dosage taken: not specified
When reaction occurred following initial dose: 1 year
Symptoms: bloody diarrhea,
Date of episode: April 1999
Dog's current condition: recovering
Did vet seem informed & inform you about side effects? Not when prescribing; however, attending vet surmises symptoms are related to Rimadyl
Owner's Comments: "Last week our 9+ year old girl Kira began having bloody diarrhea. She was in a lot of abdominal pain. I rushed her to the vet, where she stayed for three days. The vet diagnosed severe GI upset from taking Rimadyl the past year. I was NEVER warned of the negative side effects. Thought this was a wonder drug, as she improved immediately when she began taking it. When I withdrew it, she would begin limping, etc. She also began a heavy pant soon after she began this drug. I didn't think much of it, as she is old and is a rescue who had a horrible life as a drug dealer's dog before we rescued her 5 years ago. I will never give this med to her again. I am going to give her shark cartlidge and glucosamine from now on."
JGreene960@aol.com


4/4/99 Case #61: Symptoms of Panosteitis Worsen on Rimadyl
"My Labrador was diagnosed with Panosteitis and was given Rimadyl. After two dosages, her limping became 100% more exaggerated. She took a total of three doses before I told the vet that I was going to discontinue the medicine because she was worse, not better. I discontinued the Rimadyl and her limping is 100% better. The Panosteitis will have to run its course, but it will be without the medication. The vet seemed very surprised that the medication would have a side effect such as that."
Habigb@aol.com


4/4/99 Case #60: Dog Has Toxic Reaction after Three Months on Rimadyl; Reacts Similarly to EtoGesic
Breed:
Rottweiler (female, "Bear Bear")
Age: 10 years
Reason for Rimadyl rx: arthritis
Dog's weight and dosage taken: 96 lbs 100 mg 2x daily
When reaction occurred following initial dose: 3 months
Symptoms: vomiting, bloody diarrhea, excessive panting, restlessness
Date of episode: November 1998
Dog's current condition: good
Did vet seem informed & inform you about side effects? Vet said he had not seen any adverse effects in any other dogs
Owner's Comments: "Luckily, I was informed about Rimadyl as I read about it on the srdogs website after vet prescribed it. I knew what reactions to watch for. Vet put her on EtoGesic, but she had the same side effects after 3 weeks."
taurus91@webtv.net


4/22/99 Case #59: Breathing Problems, Inappetance, Lethargy Occur While Dog Takes Rimadyl; No Baseline Tests Done
Breed:
Mixed, part Chow Chow (female, "Babe")
Age: 16 years
Reason for Rimadyl rx: suspected arthritis, limping
Dog's weight and dosage taken: 38lbs 75mg daily (1/2 am, 1/2 pm)
When reaction occurred following initial dose: fifth day
Symptoms: trouble breathing, not eating, lethargic
Date of episode: April 10, 1999
Dog's current condition: back to normal; taking medication for liver problems
Did vet seem informed & inform you about side effects? "I was not told of any side effects. Vet said it was a good medicine and that lots of dogs were on it."
Owner's Comments: "We aren't sure if the breathing problem was 'caused' by Rimadyl; it may just be a weak heart from old age, but it was a strange coincidence. She NEVER had that problem until I gave her this medicine. As soon as we noticed the problem, we withdrew the medication. Blood work has been done, and it was determined that her ALKALINE PHOSPHATASE numbers are extremely high. According to the results, the norm is from 5-131; Babe is at 460. My vet says this indicates liver dysfunction. Again, I don't know if this problem was caused by Rimadyl because we hadn't had blood work done on her prior to the medication."
sftipton@juno.com


4/22/99 Case #58: Dog Becomes Disoriented on Rimadyl
Breed:
not specified (male, "Shep")
Age: 10 years
Reason for Rimadyl rx: mobility problems
Dog's weight and dosage taken: 50 mg 2x daily
When reaction occurred following initial dose: 2-3 weeks
Symptoms: bumping into things
Date of episode: April 1999
Dog's current condition: liver enzymes very high
Did vet seem informed & inform you about side effects? Vet gave instructions to watch for vomiting and diarrhea; second vet instructed owner to withdraw Rimadyl based on high liver count
Owner's Comments: "I had been giving my dog Shep, who is 10 years old, 50mg of Rimadyl twice a day since March 31, 1999. It seemed to be helping him after a couple of days, but then I started to notice that he was bumping into things so I cut the dosage in half (50mg once a day). I was told to watch out for vomiting and diarrhea. Today I took him to another vet and asked them to do blood work after I read about the side effects of this drug on the internet. I received a call from the vet and was told that his liver count was very high and to stop the Rimadyl. I was told to make an appointment in two weeks to have the blood work done again to see if the liver has improved."
Lang2mw@aol.com

4/29/99 Update: "I took Shep to the vet yesterday to have another blood test to see if his liver enzymes improved. I am happy to inform you that his liver enzymes are back to normal after having him off the Rimadyl for two weeks. His stumbling improved as soon as I discontinued the drug. I want to thank The Senior Dogs Project for making me aware of the side effects of this drug. If I did not go into the internet I would still be giving Shep the Rimadyl, because it did seem to help him, and I would not have had the blood work done and known that he was having a liver problem. I hope that people who are giving their dogs this drug have blood work done first and have periodic blood work done while on this drug."


4/27/99 Case #57/Death #43: Classic Signs of Rimadyl Toxicity Appear, but Vets Do Not Conclude Rimadyl Was the Cause
Breed:
Doberman/Lab Mix (female, "Pee Wee")
Age: 14 years, 3 months
Reason for Rimadyl rx: arthritis, hip dysplasia, spine problems
Dog's weight and dosage taken: information not available
When reaction occurred following initial dose: 1+ years
Symptoms: loss of appetite, excessive panting, refusal to eat, loss of control and balance, hot spots, urination in the house, excessive urination
Date of episode/death: Early 1998/April 5, 1999
Did vet seem informed & inform you about side effects? Vet told owner symptoms were due to old age
Owner's Remarks: "After I stopped giving her Rimadyl, I worked with a traditional vet and a natural/hollistic vet. I had tried to get help and information from my original vet for six months before I sought help elsewhere. Ultimately neither the new vet nor the holistic vet would positively attribute her liver and kidney problems to the drug, although each said it was possible there was a causal relationship. I think Pee Wee was the first Rimadyl toxicity case he saw; others he treated with Rimadyl had amazing recoveries. Working together, we provided some relief for her using both modern medicine and natural remedies. But she went from 65 pounds to 42 in her last year, despite my cooking for her and using appetite stimulants and digestive enzymes. Due to kidney and liver problems/failure and almost complete loss of her back legs, I had to put her down. I wish I had ordered an autopsy; I truly would like to know if Rimadyl caused her problems because at first it did provide some relief. "
roxane@roxaneinc.com


4/22/99 Case #56: Owner Not Told about Side Effects; Dog Still Not Eating or Behaving Well Weeks after Withdrawal of Rimadyl
Breed:
Poodle/Terrier (male, "Yogi")
Age: 8 1/2 years
Reason for Rimadyl rx: back and leg pain
Dog's weight and dosage taken: 26 lbs; 1/4 25mg tablet twice daily
When reaction occurred following initial dose: 4 days
Symptoms: loss of appetite, thirst, vomiting, lethargy, glassy eyes
Date of episode: April 1, 1999
Dog's current condition: seems depressed; still won't eat dry food
Did vet seem informed & inform you about side effects? Vet maintained Rimadyl could not cause vomiting, lethargy, inappetance, or stumbling (symptoms all noted by Pfizer as potential side effects)
Owner's Remarks: "The first three days Yogi was on Rimadyl, the pain in his leg and back was gone. I thought this was a miracle drug. The fourth day I noticed he wasn't eating but attributed it to my son, his buddy, being away. He also acted very lethargic and depressed, but I figured it was for the same reason. The fifth day he vomited outside; I thought he had eaten a plant. The sixth day he vomited several times in the house, wouldn't eat or drink anything. I began to think it might be the medication. I was told nothing by the vet I saw at the Portage Park Animal Hospital in Chicago. (It was my first time there and probably my last.) I immediately stopped the medication and called the hospital the next day. I ran out and got canned dog food which he ate; he still won't eat dry food. I gave him water with a syringe because he wouldn't drink. The Portage Park Animal Hospital wanted me to bring him in, but, in his state, I felt it was better to keep him at home. He still seems very lethargic and depressed to me, but he is eating and drinking now. If I had been told what to look for, I would have stopped the medication sooner. Thank God, he was only on it a week. The hospital told me it was unlikely there would be long-term side effects; only time will tell."
Lighten1up@aol.com


3/30/99 Case #55: Dog Tolerates Rimadyl Well for a Year; Experiences Side Effects Immediately after Beginning Second Round of Rimadyl
Breed:
Shepherd/Collie Mix (female, "Shasta")
Age: 13 years
Reason for Rimadyl rx: arthritis in right hind leg
Dog's weight and dosage taken: 80 lbs; 50 mgs once daily
When reaction occurred following initial dose: drug was well tolerated for a year; it was discontinued for 6 weeks; when re-administered, dog developed symptoms within 3 days
Symptoms: flatulence, moaning, inappetance, bloody vomit, lethargy, stumbling
Date of episode: March 1999
Dog's current condition: fully recovered
Did vet seem informed & inform you about side effects? Vet maintained Rimadyl could not cause vomiting, lethargy, inappetance, or stumbling (symptoms all noted by Pfizer as potential side effects)
Owner's Remarks: "My dog had been on Rimadyl for a year with no apparent side effects. She was off it for about six weeks. When I started giving it to her again, she nearly died. Perhaps, as with people, animals can become allergic to a substance they previously tolerated well. Shasta had a complete blood work-up twice -- each time just prior to beginning the period on Rimadyl. Everything was normal both times; there were no 'predisposing' liver or kidney problems. When I took her to the vet with those terrible symptoms, he suspected pancreatitis. However, the tests did not show pancratitis. He wanted to keep her overnight, but I didn't want her to be alone there. So, I took her home and withdrew the Rimadyl. By the next day, she was showing signs of improvement. She hasn't had the symptoms since."
Shasta333@aol.com


3/12/99: Case #54: Veterinarian Unwittingly Prescribes Rimadyl in Combination with Prednisone (Not Recommended by Pfizer)
Breed:
Lab Mix (female)
Age: 13 years
Reason for Rimadyl rx: hip dysplasia and arthritis
Dog's weight and dosage taken: not specified
When reaction occurred following initial dose: 3 weeks
Symptoms: inappetance
Date of episode: February - March 1999
Dog's current condition: not specified
Did vet seem informed & inform you about side effects? Vet mentioned side effects and did blood tests to determine liver and kidney function; however, he did not seem informed about the interaction of Rimadyl with a steroid such as prednisone
Owner's Remarks: "My dog had been on prednisone, but it had all kinds of obvious side effects, and I felt it was not a good thing. I'd heard about Rimadyl; when the vet recommended it, I jumped at the chance to use it. He was a new vet to us, but had really helped my dog through a rough time before the holidays. He seemed very competent and caring. He said that Rimadyl might have some side effects, but, given the fact that my dog could barely get up and walk, I thought, 'How bad can an effect on the liver be if she can't walk?' He ran a blood test and determined that her liver and kidneys could 'take it.' He had me alternate prednisone and Rimadyl for two weeks. She was on Rimadyl alone for three weeks when she stopped eating. I took her to a holistic vet. They did another blood test and discovered her liver enzymes were highly elevated. . . . When I read on this website that Rimadyl and prednisone should never be taken together, tears filled my eyes. When you love your pet so much that you'd do just about anything for her, you feel truly betrayed when something like this happens."
blcahill@flash.net

3/4/99: Case #53:
Reminder: Do Not Combine Rimadyl and Aspirin

Breed: Rottweiler
(female, "Calli")
Age: 9 years 10 months
Reason for Rimadyl rx: limping front leg
Dog's weight and dosage taken: 104 lbs. / 100 mg 2x day
When reaction occurred following initial dose: 2 years plus
Symptoms:Lethargy / Loss of Appetite / Vomiting
Date of episode: January 1999
Did vet seem informed & inform you about side effects? Vet has not been contacted yet.
Dog's current condition: She is fine.
Owner's Remarks: "I didn't realize Calli may have had a reaction until I found your site and read about not using aspirin with Rimadyl. Calli had abdominal surgery and was in pain, so we put her on coated aspirin.  It was at least three days later that she got ill.  I stopped the Rimadyl as it was not vital at that time."
caltaz@gateway.net


Case #52:
12-Year-Old Dog Suffers Liver Toxicity; Rimadyl Confirmed as Cause; Pfizer Pays for Diagnostics

Breed:
Husky / Sheperd / Wolf (female, "Katie")
Age: 12+ years
Reason for Rimadyl rx: arthritis in haps, back, knees
Dog's weight and dosage taken: 70 - 72 Lbs. / 75 mg 2x day
When reaction occurred following initial dose: 6 weeks
Symptoms:Lethargy / Loss of Appetite / Vomiting / Kidney and Liver Failure
Date of episode: January 23 - 24, 1999
Did vet seem informed & inform you about side effects? Yes, her immediate reaction to Katie's symptoms was to blame the Rimadyl.
Dog's current condition: Improving, still on IV fluids daily to get her kidneys working
Owner's Remarks: "We are just very thankful that our vet, Dr. Lois Lassiter in Monroe, Georgia is so well-informed about Rimadyl's side effects. She also knew that Pfizer would pay for all diagnostic tests in cases where Rimadyl is suspect. Dr. Lassiter has been aggressively treating Katie's kidney failure with round-the-clock IVs for the first week, we are now down to IVs just during the day. Luckily, the liver can regenerate - as long as the dog still has at least 25% of the liver, she can survive. One very dramatic result of all the tests is in regard to Katie's liver size. When she first had X-rays done in early December 1998 to see where her arthritis was located, she had a normal size liver. Six weeks later, the ultrasound and X-rays showed a dramatically smaller liver. When the specialist (Dr. Meri Miller of Alpharetta, GA) did the biopsy on the liver, she could only take one slice of it instead of the customary two or three - it was THAT small in just a few weeks time. (NOTE: This ultrasound and biopsy that was performed will be paid for by Pfizer - this is part of their diagnostics.) The results were 'consistent with liver toxicity.' It's such a shame that you spend big bucks on a drug to improve the quality of your dog's life and then you almost kill her. At this point, we don't know if Katie will truly be OK, but right now, she is definitely on the road to recovery."
suepierce@email.msn.com


Case#51:
10-Year-Old Sheltie Experiences Dizzyness, etc. from Rimadyl

Breed:
Sheltie (female, "Margo")
Age: 10 years
Reason for Rimadyl rx: mild hip dysplasia
Dog's weight and dosage taken: 30 lbs 1-2 (25)mg tablets as needed daily
When reaction occurred following initial dose: intermittent use for 1 year; reaction occurred after 3 weeks of daily use
Symptoms: excessive panting, lethargy, dizziness, stumbling (seizure-like)
Date of episode: 1/99
Did vet seem informed & inform you about side effects? No, Margo was doing well on Ascriptin; vet recommended Rimadyl as a "better, safer alternative."
Dog's current condition: Doing better now that she is off Rimadyl. Her last seizure-like episode was about 1 hour after the last dose she took. Two days have passed, and she is no longer stumbling; panting is noticeably lessened, and she is more like her playful self.
Owner's Remarks: "When these symptoms developed, I checked the Rimadyl pamphlet and the internet looking for anything about problems such as these, and found this website. Seeing the serious and FAST reactions some dogs had after displaying their first symptoms, I immediately took her to the vet. He almost laughed at me until I showed him pages printed off this website. He then went and checked his own info and saw these symptoms listed way down the possible reactions list. I demanded her liver and kidneys be checked. He actually wanted to send the bloodwork out and wait 3 days for results. After seeing how many vets sent their patients home only to have them die, I demanded he have them done in office, and send them out also. Fortunately for us, the rush bloodwork came back OK- no liver or kidney problems!! Thanks to everyone's information here, the best dog you could ever ask for has a second chance. How unfortunate for all of us pet lovers that while trying to do the right/best thing for our pets, we end up hurting them because of a lack of awareness about how dangerous this medication could be. If I had a dog who was so lame that being put down seemed to be the next step, I would definitely use this pill because it does help with mobility; however for someone who has a minor or moderate pain problem with their dog, using Rimadyl seems to be like playing Russian Roulette with their lives. I flushed $68 worth of this medication down the toilet, where it belongs. Pfizer should be ashamed that they have done such a poor job of warning vets. My vet insisted that it is only a problem for Labradors. If I hadn't shown him these pages and insisted that he do bloodtests NOW, who knows what could have happened. He didn't know that dogs on this medication should be retested, but now he does. If not for this page, I would have continued the Rimadyl and obviously my vet would not have given the medication another thought, and my sweet, loving friend would have continued to deteriorate until my story would have ended like some of the others on this site. Thank you to all who have shared your trauma; it saved Margo's life, I am sure!"
pfreyman@central-penn.com


1998 & Earlier Reports