The Senior Dogs Project
"Blessed is the person who has earned the love of an old dog."
Rimadyl vs. EtoGesic
In brief, Rimadyl and EtoGesic are both non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs. The main difference in the products is that Rimadyl is given twice daily and EtoGesic just once. Originally, it was thought that EtoGesic might not cause the same liver problems as Rimadyl; however, the jury is still out. Following are information and reports about EtoGesic. For more information, read the package insert or call the manufacturer, Fort Dodge Animal Health, 1-800-477-1365.
EtoGesic acts like Rimadyl. It is also a non-steroidal anti-inflammatory. It differs from Rimadyl in that it is given just once a day instead of twice, and it is supposed to have fewer negative effects on the liver and kidneys. This has not been proven, however. Like Rimadyl, EtoGesic has been related to gastro-intestinal side effects in some dogs, as well as to dry eye syndrome and KCS (described below).
Some dogs respond better to Rimadyl than to EtoGesic, and vice versa. Either drug can provide relief; either drug may cause side effects. Side effects for EtoGesic have been reported as follows:
"Dry eye syndrome secondary to EtoGesic" was the diagnosis made for a dog who had been using EtoGesic for 16 months. According to the veterinarian who made the diagnosis, it is a painful condition and difficult to treat. After this experience with her dog, Dr. Bonnie Anthony, warns: "If your dog is on EtoGesic, make sure you take a good, long, hard look at his eyes at least once a week. If there is any discharge, take him to the vet and discuss the possibility that the EtoGesic is causing the problem. Perhaps my Hersh would have gotten better faster if I had been more observant or had thought of this earlier." (As reported by Dr. Bonnie Anthony about her dog, Hershey.)
As of June 9, 1999, Hershey had been treated for six weeks, and no improvement had occurred in his condition.
One veterinarian reports that an increasing number of dry eye problems are being diagnosed in connection with EtoGesic.
If your dog is taking EtoGesic and begins to avoid going into bright sunlight or to prefer playing outside when it is dark, this may be related to a condition known as KCS or keratoconjunctivits sicca. You and your vet should suspect EtoGesic as the cause.
Fort Dodge Animal Heath has now begun distributing client information sheets and new package inserts to veterinarians. Both these documents are designed to provide expanded information about EtoGesic to veterinarains and their clients, including information about possible adverse effects.
Dr. David R. Hustead, Director of Professional Services at Fort Dodge, notes that, "While aspirin drugs might be safer in a specific dog, because one cannot predict which NSAIDs a dog or a person will tolerate or not tolerate, there is excellent evidence that, for the average dog, the relative risk of GI toxicity with aspirin is much higher than it is for newer NSAIDs like EtoGesic."
7-Year-Old Chocolate Lab Experiences Elevated Liver Enzymes While on EtoGesic
2/13/02 -- "I wanted to add to your list of growing concerns using Etogesic to treat arthritis. Our 7-year-old Chocolate Lab starting taking EtoGesic in April 2001. Everything seemed great. She was running again and very playful. Then in November of the same year, she started losing weight -- which is normally a good thing for Labs! Unfortunately, she lost 13 lbs. in just under three months. We took her to the specialist (who had originally prescribed the EtoGesic). Blood work showed Hershey's liver enzymes were three times higher than normal and the ultrasound revealed a corrugated liver. The doctor was adamant that Etogesic could not cause structural damage to the liver. So we went for the liver biopsy and the test results came back with no signs of cancer, infection, or any other signs of chronic liver disease. The pathologist attributes the liver change to EtoGesic. Hershey has been medicine free for two weeks. Her weight is stable and she is sleeping better. If you choose to give your dog EtoGesic, PLEASE get blood work done at least every two months so that, if something is wrong, you'll be alerted to it quickly. We are very thankful that it appears we caught this in time! I could not deal with losing our sweet dog at such a young age." firstname.lastname@example.org
7-Year-Old Weimeraner Experiences Elevated Liver Enzymes and Seizure on EtoGesic
14-Year-Old Chocolate Lab Tolerates EtoGesic Well for Two Years, but Ultimately Experiences Toxicity
EtoGesic Appears to Have Side Effects on the Liver, Like Rimadyl
2/13/00: "It is Sunday afternoon, and Shadow and I just returned from four hours of snowshoeing. He is as frisky as a pup these days, and I really credit the hollistic vet we are now seeing. He gets acupuncture and takes glucosamine and aspirin and is eating a fresh food diet. Shadow weighs 84 pounds and he was taking 1 1/2 tablets of EtoGesic daily (450 mg). It was interesting, when I spoke with the vet at Ft. Dodge pharmaceuticals, he said he wasn't sure there was a connection between the elevated liver enzymes and EtoGesic. I said, 'How can you say that when they were essentailly normal two months prior to his taking the drug, went way up while taking the drug, and returned to normal three weeks after stopping the drug?' "
Intermittent Use of EtoGesic