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

The Senior Dogs Project
..........."Looking Out for Older Dogs" ...........

"Blessed is the person who has earned the love of an old dog."
Sydney Jeanne Seward


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." debra.woodruff@attws.com

7-Year-Old Weimeraner Experiences Elevated Liver Enzymes and Seizure on EtoGesic
-- I have a 7 year-old Weimaraner. She has had two ACL surgeries and also has had a cervical disc removed. We had her on Rimadyl from August 2000 to October 2000. She had blood work in October prior to her neck surgery, which showed elevated liver enzymes. She just recently, January 2001, had left knee surgery. After surgery, she was put on Etogesic, blood work was done first, snf it was normal. She was on EtoGesic for three weeks and additional blood work was performed. The results were elevated liver enzymes. She also experienced loose stools and a small seizure the day after she was taken off the medication. She had never had a seizure in the past. We will never give her either one of these drugs again and would advise anyone to proceed with caution. LEWCREW33@aol.com

14-Year-Old Chocolate Lab Tolerates EtoGesic Well for Two Years, but Ultimately Experiences Toxicity
-- "My 14-year-old Chocolate Lab had a problem with EtoGesic, too. She tolerated it well for about two years, then developed a toxicity to it. After blood tests, stomach x-rays, ultrasounds, liver and spleen biopsies, and a pancreatic blood test, our vet and I narrowed the cause of her repeated vomiting to EtoGesic. He put her on a 36-hour fast and then slowly reintroduced everything she had been eating and the medications she had been taking. Once she started taking the Etogesic again (450 mg. daily), the vomiting recurred. She lost 11 lbs. but is now finally putting the weight back on after being on an I/D diet. Hershey is feeling pretty good these days, and to compensate for the pain-free life she was experiencing while on the EtoGesic, she is on Sea Jerky and getting Adeguan shots once a month. In our experience, EtoGesic is a good product, but it can have some bad side effects after long-term use."

13-Year-Old Dalmatian Experiences Severe Diarrhea & Dry Eye after One Week on EtoGesic
3/17/00 --
"My vet, knowing my aversion to Rimadyl and its possible side effects, had suggested EtoGesic as an alternative for my 13-year-old Dalmatian, Rollo, who has suffered from arthritis and spondilitis for some time. He was taking Dexamethsone but didn't seem to be getting better. Within a week of taking the EtoGesic (and at first I didn't associate it with the drug), he had the most severe case of diarrhea I have ever witnessed (thick, bloody, including shed bowel lining). It was literally shooting out of him (sorry to be so graphic). I thought he was dying. After one night at the vet, I kept him at home, giving subcutaneous fluids, as he, of course, couldn't eat. Already weak from age and arthritis, this practically killed him; but he rallied, though he is much weaker from the ordeal. NOW I also realize -- as I was not warned of the possible side effects -- that his runny eyes were probably caused by the drug, as well. This is such an obviously painful condition that, when I clean them out, he sometimes tries to bite me. This has yet to clear up, though it is better. Needless to say, he is back on the Dex and on glucosamine supplementsl. He turned 14 on March 16. I think he would have had a happier birthday if he had not suffered through what he did."

EtoGesic Appears to Have Side Effects on the Liver, Like Rimadyl
2/11/00 -- Comments on Dog's EtoGesic Experience: "I have a 9-year-old Golden Retriever named Shadow. He is developing some arthritis, and I considered trying Rimadyl. My vet drew a blood panel and his liver enzymes were borderline, so she said he would not be a good candidate for Rimadyl. Several months later, he injured his back leg while hiking. I took him to an orthopedic vet and she put him on Etogesic, saying it did not cause liver problems as Rimadyl did. Within a few days of starting EtoGesic, he developed diarrhea which persisted. After about ten days, I took him back to our regular vet. She drew another blood panel and his liver enzymes were over 500. Fortunately, he had the diarrhea, or I probably would have continued the drug and I could be writing a much sadder story. He is fine now. I actually have him on Glucosamine and Ecotrin. I just wanted to pass this on. I have tried to do my part to notify everyone from the prescribing vet to the drug company to the FDA."

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
Another report
received about a dog on EtoGesic: "We had a very good response. Used it for a week or so full dose, then tapered off to a very low dose, and now he isn't taking any except if he gets really stiff."