Pet prescriptions

Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) are frequently used in dogs to manage pain and inflammation (swelling) in dogs. They are used to treat arthritis, and they are also used after surgery or injury. Some NSAIDS you may know are Rimadyl, Metacam, Previcox, and Etogesic. If your dog has an acute or chronic condition that results in him being in pain, NSAIDs may be prescribed by your vet to help him feel more comfortable. Beyond pain management they are also used theraputically for reduction of inflammation.

Before Giving Your Dog NSAIDs

Before using any drug on your dog (including NSAIDs), make sure you understand:

  1. What the drug is being used for.
  2. The dose rate for your dog – how much to give and how often.
  3. How to give the drug – for example, with or without food.
  4. How long to keep treating your dog – determine if the drug is for short term treatment or if it can be safely be used for the long term.
  5. How often your dog needs to be checked by your vet.
  6. Whether there are any interactions between the drug and your dog’s other treatments.
  7. What the side effects might be from taking the drugs.

You can obtain all this information from your vet, who is the only one who can prescribe these drugs for your dog. NEVER give your dog over the counter or human NSAIDs.

Potential Side Effects

A major side effect of NSAIDs is an irritation to the upper gastrointestinal tract leading to ulceration and bleeding. Signs of this kind of gastrointestinal irritation are:

  • Lack of appetite.
  • Depression and lethargy.
  • Vomiting, especially if the vomit looks like coffee grounds. Coffee ground vomit is produced when there is blood that has been digested by stomach acid.
  • Black sticky feces – again the result of blood in the stomach being digested as it moves down the gastrointestinal tract.

NSAIDs may also affect your dog’s liver and kidneys. You’ll notice increased thirst, vomiting, depression, and sometimes yellowing of the gums or whites of the eyes. If you see any of these signs, then stop giving him the drugs and take him to see your vet immediately.

Minimize Risk of Side Effects

  • Not using NSAIDs unless prescribed for your dog by your vet. This includes giving a NSAID prescribed for one dog to your other dog, or even giving your dog a NSAID that you take yourself.
  • Following directions closely – use the exact dose at the exact frequency.
  • Not using any other medications at same time without checking with your vet first.

Don’t let these side effects scare you from using NSAIDs when your vet prescribes them. These are very useful drugs that are helpful in treating illness and injury in dogs. If used properly, they are safe and effective, and you and your dog have nothing to worry about. Discuss all issues of the use of NSAIDs with your Albuquerque Vet.

Susan Wright DMV is a vet, a dog expert and freelance writer. Susan shares articles on health conditions that pertain to both people and pets.

Is Your Dog Hypoglycemic?

Albuquerque pet vaccinations

Have you heard of Canine Hypoglycemia, Exertional Hypoglycemia or Sugar Fits?   Basically, your dog has a sugar (glucose) problem. These names refer to one single condition:  cells in your canine’s body aren’t receiving the needed amount of glucose.  Your dog’s energy is derived from glucose that is supplied by the blood, but with Canine Hypoglycemia, your dog’s blood sugar levels get too low.

What is too low? Blood glucose levels lower than 70 mg/dL should be cause for concern and are considered increasingly dangerous as  the number decreases.   The normal level is 70-150 mg/dL.

Different factors enter into the cause, but if you suspect your beloved furbaby might be diabetic or have sugar problems, it’s important to have your dog diagnosed properly, and quickly, since untreated hypoglycemia can, ultimately, result in seizure/coma and death.

Symptoms Of Canine Hypoglycemia:

  • Disorientation or confusion
  • Trembling lip
  • Seizures (dogs 4 years old or over are more prone)
  • Weakness-shakiness-dizziness
  • Anxiety
  • Lack-luster personality/lethargy/depression


The health goal is to raise your pet’s blood-sugar level or maintain normal sugar levels; and this can be achieved in several ways:

  • Feed your pet smaller, more frequent meals.  Smaller meals can potentially correct the problem, but a blood test from your pet’s vet is required to properly determine if this regime-change will have made a difference.  Treats should be avoided, at this time, unless permitted by your dog’s doctor…no matter how much they beg.
  • If you suspect your dog’s blood sugar is low,  visiting the vet is crucial.  It is important to know what your dog’s blood sugar levels are to establish a proper treatment course. If necessary, a form of glucose will be fed through an IV into their bloodstream.  Your pooch won’t be able to take a drive home until the vet is convinced your dog is acting normally and eating normally for a full 24-hour period.
  • According to the College of Veterinary Medicine in Auburn, Alabama,  if you suspect low blood-sugar and/or the possibility of an oncoming seizure and cannot see your dog’s vet within a very short period of time, there are ‘quick fix’, emergency solutions you can attempt at home.   They include administering Karo syrup, cake icing,  honey, fruit juices, colas, vanilla ice cream or Gatorade.  About 1 teaspoon of these ‘quick-sugars’ can be given to small dogs; 2-3 teaspoons for medium dogs; and 2 Tablespoons for larger breeds.  These specific foods are ‘fast-acting’  types of sugars and are absorbed quickly, unlike some other sugary foods that would perform too slowly.  If your dog refuses to drink or eat, simply rub Karo syrup, for example,  on his gum and it will absorb.  Your dog should respond within only a couple minutes.  No liquid solutions should, ever, be poured directly into your dog’s mouth due to the possibility of inhalation into the lungs.
  • Your dog’s vet will, likely, prescribe insulin injections for your dog which would include a 1 or 2 injection per day dosage   It’s very important to keep any insulin refrigerated.  You will,  also, need to consistently monitor your dog’s glucose level by using blood-test strips or a handheld glucometer. If you are put on an insuline regiment, make sure you discuss all questions you have with your vet. Fully understanding how to give your dog insuline, and the treatment frequency, can mean the difference between life and death.

Miss Carlson enjoys to write about many different topics.  One topic she covers is insulin dependent diabetes and type 1 diabetes treatment.

7 Pet Safety Tips for Cold Weather

cold safety albuquerque vet

It has been COLD this winter! Can you believe how much snow we have had. It has been a winter wonderland. The mountains looks so pretty covered in snow. But there are dangers to your pets when it is cold like this.

  1. Keep pets indoors
    When it is cold outside, keep your pet inside. You still need to take them out for walks and exercise, but keeping them inside in the warmth will keep them safe from temperature swings.
  2. Avoid strong cold wind
    Wind chill can make cold weather even colder. It can even threaten your pets life! So follow guideline #1 and keep your pet indoors. When you take them on short walks, and out for exercise, consider putting them in a sweater or coat. The skin on their nose, ears and paw pads can freeze quickly and make them at risk for frostbite and hypothermia. If you are concerned about frostbite or hypothermia, make sure to contact your vet immediately.
  3. Outside Precautions
    If your pet spends a lot of time outside, take some precautions to keep them safe.  Make sure to give them somewhere dry and draft free to retire. This way if they need a break from the wind and cold, they have a place to go. We suggest a structure a few inches off the ground to ensure that water stays out. You can add straw or cedar shavings to keep it dry and add some extra insulation.  It is also a good idea to cover the opening to the structure with waterproof burlap or heavy plastic, to keep the elements out.
  4. Warm Water
    Make sure your pets have access to warm water. When water is left outside it can get cold or even freeze. This can cause stomach issues or other complications if your pet is on the verge of hypothermia. You can get heated water bowls that will keep their water warm. Make sure to use plastic water bowls so if it is below freezing your pet’s tongue won’t freeze to the bowl.
  5. Lots of Food
    Keeping warm saps your pet’s energy. If your pet spends a lot of time outside, make sure to give them a little extra food. They will need a little extra energy this time of year.
  6. Cats under your car
    Keep an eye out for cats and other wildlife under, or even inside, your car. They are attracted to the warmth of the engine block and will sometimes sleep under your car or hood. Bang on your car’s hood to scare them away before starting your engine.
  7. Salt Safe
    Salt is used to melt ice and snow on walkways, but it is bad on your pet’s paws. After going on walks or exercise, wipe off your pet’s pads with a warm wet cloth to clean off any ice or de-icer chemicals. You want to make sure they don’t lick their paws and ingest any of it, as that can make them sick. The salt and de-icer chemicals can also irritate your pet’s pads or inside of their mouth. You can also get booties to put on their feet if they spend a lot of time outside. This will protect them from the cold and salt.