Deramaxx for Dogs With Arthritis

Deracoxib is the active ingredient in a drug called Deramaxx, a non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drug (NSAID) used for treatment of osteoarthritis and post-operative pain and available by veterinary prescription.

These have been around for many years for treating human aches and pains. However, many common NSAIDs, such as aspirin and ibuprofen, are not as safe in dogs as they are in people, so specific NSAIDs for dogs have been developed. Deramaxx is one of the newer generation of canine NSAIDs.

The body contains substances known as prostaglandins which are involved in producing pain, in the destruction of cells and in inflammation, protecting the stomach wall from stomach acid and maintaining blood flow to the stomach, intestines and kidney, and assisting in blood clotting.

The aim is to prevent the production of the prostaglandins involved in inflammation, but to spare those involved in maintaining gut and kidney health and blood clotting.

NSAIDs block cyclooxygenase (COX) enzymes, preventing the production of prostaglandins. However, there are two types of COX enzyme which produce different prostaglandins.

  • COX-1 produces the housekeeping enzymes involved in protecting stomach, intestine and kidney function
  • COX-2 produces the enzymes associated with pain and inflammation.

Different NSAIDs have varying abilities to block one form of COX and spare the other. Most of those approved for use in dogs tend to select for blocking COX-2 more than COX-1, thus making them safer and more effective in relieving pain and inflammation.

Arthritis medications

Petshed's most popular arthritis treatments.

Deracoxib is no exception. It is a COX-2 selective drug, meaning it inhibits much more COX-2 than COX-1. It is indicated for the control of pain and inflammation associated with osteoarthritis in dogs, as well as the control of post-operative pain and inflammation associated with orthopedic surgery in dogs up to 4lbs1. Deramaxx is becoming a popular choice of canine NSAID for osteoarthritis treatment in dogs in the United States. The medication is a chewable tablet given once a day, controlling pain for a full 24 hours. It is most effective when given with food, but may be given without if necessary.

The dose for long-term arthritis therapy is 0.45-0.9 mg/lb/day as a single dose. For post-operative pain relief, a higher dose of 1.4-1.8mg/lb/day is used for a maximum of seven days.1 Varying pack sizes and strengths are available to suit most sizes of dogs and lengths of treatment. This is a prescription product, available only with a veterinarian's approval.

Like all drugs in this class, there may be adverse reactions to Deracoxib. Most are related to the prostaglandin inhibition in the gastrointestinal tract or kidneys. As with other medications, an allergic reaction is also possible.

"This is a prescription product, available only with a veterinarian's approval."

Adverse effects seen in dogs taking the medication since its release include:

  • Gastrointestinal: vomiting, diarrhea, blood in feces or vomit, weight loss, nausea, gastrointestinal ulceration and perforation, salivation.
  • Blood-related: anemia, reduction in platelet numbers (involved in blood clotting).
  • Liver: enzyme elevations, changes in liver proteins and products, jaundice, pancreatitis, fluid in the abdomen.
  • Behavioral: lethargy, weakness, seizures, unsteadiness, aggression, tremors, glazed eyes and other eye-related abnormalities such as pupil enlargement.
  • Urinary: increased drinking and urination, urinary tract infections, blood in the urine, incontinence, kidney failure.
  • Heart and Lung: increased breathing rate, slowed heartbeat, coughing.
  • Skin or immune system: fever, facial/muzzle fluid retention, skin inflammation and itchiness.

In rare situations, death has been reported as an outcome of these reactions1.

Should these or other signs be observed while a dog is taking Deracoxib, owners should discontinue the medication immediately and contact their veterinarian for advice. Periodic monitoring, such as blood testing and clinical examination, is advisable for any dog taking an NSAID.

1: Deramaxx product label.

Deramaxx is a registered trademark of Novartis Inc., Basel.