Can I give my pet aspirin for his arthritis?


STOP right there! Although aspirin and many other drugs of the same class of pharmaceuticals can be relatively harmless to people, they can have serious side effects in dogs and cats. For example, Acetaminophen (e.g. Tylenol®) is TOXIC to cats in relatively small quantities! Ibuprofen (e.g. Advil®) is not well tolerated in pets and can easily cause stomach ulcers.

Always seek veterinary advice before administering over-the-counter medications to your furry friends! These drugs have not necessarily been approved for use in pets. In addition, even if you can give your pet one of these drugs, the correct dose and frequency of administration may be very different than what you would expect.

Now, a little about arthritis while we are on the subject!

Arthritis, defined as “inflammation of the joints” (“itis” means inflammation, and “arthr” means joint), has many different causes. By far the most common cause is “wear and tear” or old age. This form of arthritis is most commonly referred to as osteoarthritis (“osteo” means bone) or “degenerative joint disease”.

How do you know if your pet has arthritis associated with old age? Most of us are familiar with joint stiffness, even if we are not all that old. If we are lucky enough to have no experience with these symptoms, we have all witnessed someone who has difficulty rising from a chair or has a limited range of motion when walking. These basic manifestations of “stiffness” are similar in pets – that is, reduced range of motion of the limbs, limping, and stiffness when getting up after a long rest. Stiffness does not have to be a result of arthritis of course; it can just as easily be a result of muscle, tendon or other soft tissue concern. In pets, it is difficult to appreciate the difference.

Even though most pets will not show signs of arthritis until after 5-7 years of age, some less fortunate pets (especially dogs) may show these signs at a younger age due to inheritance of bony disorders such as hip dysplasia, osteochondrosis dessicans (OCD) and others.

If you notice any change in your pet’s gait, including limping, stiffness or reluctance to exercise, book an appointment with the veterinarian as soon as you can.

These news items, written by Lifelearn Inc., are licensed to this practice for the personal use of our clients. Any copying, printing or further distribution is prohibited without the express written permission of Lifelearn Inc. Please note that the news information presented here is NOT a substitute for a proper consultation and/or clinical examination of your pet by our clinic veterinarian.