NSAIDs: Non-Steroidal Anti-Inflammatory Drugs

NSAIDs are pain medications. The first drug in this class of medication was aspirin. Aspirin in the form of willow bark was known by American Indians to be an effective pain medication but it was not until 1973 that the mechanism of action was discovered. Since this time, more potent forms of aspirin have been developed that are safer for the stomach and kidneys. Examples of the newer forms of aspirin for people include celebrex and ibuprofen. There have been NSAIDS specifically designed for dogs that are safe and effective pain medications (see below).

There are only two NSAIDs that are FDA-apporved for cats: Metacam/Meloxicam and Robenacoxib/ONSIOR.

NSAIDs are thought in people to have the best pain fighting characteristics relative to side effects and addiction potential. A BVNS doctor would prescribe an NSAID anytime a patient is thought to be painful. We often use pain modulators as well which are not as effective but are safer. Examples would include gabapentin, tramadol and amitriptyline.

NSAIDs can cause stomach and intestinal problems, damage the kidneys and less commonly the liver and bone marrow. These problems are uncommon to rare, especially with appropriate monitoring.

None of the following medications should be given together:


Aspirin Cortisone
Deramaxx/Deracoxib Dexamethasone
Etogesic/Etodolac Medrol/Methylprednisolone
Firocoxib/Previcox Prednisone
Galliprant/Grapiprant Triamcinolone
Stop NSAID therapy and notify your veterinarian if your pet experiences:
  • Decrease in appetite or vomiting
  • Dark or bloody diarrhea
  • Increased drinking or urination
  • Lethargy, yellowing of gums, skin, or whites of the eyes (jaundice)
  • Bleeding under the skin

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