From reducing short-term post-surgery pain to managing life-long osteoarthritis aches – NSAIDs in dogs have versatile applications. In this article, we will talk about Deramaxx for dogs.  

Deramaxx is a commonly prescribed non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drug (NSAID), and when used in accordance with the vet’s instructions, it is both safe and efficient for dogs. Plus, Deramaxx tablets are extremely easy to administer because they are scored, chewable, and have added beef flavor. 

If your veterinarian prescribed Deramaxx for your dog, keep reading. We will reveal everything you need to know about Deramaxx for dogs. 

Can I Give My Dog Deramaxx?

Yes, you can give your dog Deramaxx as prescribed by a veterinarian. Deramaxx (brand name for deracoxib) is a non-narcotic and nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drug that belongs to the coxib class. 

The mainstream use of deracoxib is managing pain and inflammation in osteoarthritis dogs as well as managing the same symptoms in post-surgery patients (usually after orthopedic surgery or dental procedures). 

Once again, Deramaxx requires a veterinarian prescription and is not safe for cats, people, or other household pets.

What does Deramaxx do for Dogs?

What does Deramaxx do for Dogs

Deracoxib, the active ingredient in Deramaxx, manages pain, aches, fever, and inflammation in dogs by inhibiting the effects of the cyclooxygenase-2 enzymes. 

There are two main types of cyclooxygenase enzymes – cyclooxygenase-1 (COX-1) and cyclooxygenase-2 (COX-2). The COX-1 enzyme is necessary for normal body functions such as platelet aggregation, secretion of the gastric protective layer, and adequate renal perfusion. On the other hand, the COX-2 enzyme is upregulated by inflammation.

We do want to note here that this is an extremely simplified explanation of COX-1 and COX-2 enzymes. There is an interplay between these enzymes, and they both have important roles in the body.

When used in therapeutic doses, deracoxib predominantly blocks the COX-2 enzymes, sparing the COX-1 enzymes. Therefore, Deramaxx is a COX-2 selective NSAID, meaning the goal is to reduce inflammation without adversely affecting the stomach or the kidneys.

Benefits and Uses of Deramaxx for Dogs

benefits and uses of deramaxx for dogs

As previously mentioned, Deramaxx is used to reduce pain, inflammation, and swelling, but let’s go through the details of the specific Deramaxx therapy indications below: 

Deramaxx for Canine Osteoarthritis. Arthritis in dogs is a common condition, especially among older individuals. A dog with arthritic joints will experience soreness, reluctance to move (jump, climb stairs), stiffness, and behavior changes due to pain. Deramaxx is not an arthritis cure, but it is FDA approved for managing the pain and inflammation of osteoarthritis, thus improving mobility. 

Deramaxx for Orthopedic Surgery in Dogs. Deracoxib is an important part of the postoperative orthopedic pain management plan. For maximum results, most protocols suggest starting the medication before the surgical procedure. Although generally used for orthopedic surgeries, studies show that Deramaxx provides pain relief for dogs undergoing soft tissue surgeries too. 

Deramaxx for Dog Dental Procedures. Postoperative pain management is a standard part of surgical patient care. Studies show that deracoxib “significantly improves analgesia after dental surgery.”

Anti-Tumor Activity of Dermaxx: Deracoxib may have anti-tumor activity, similar to another NSAID known as piroxicam. An example of a type of tumor that may be treated off-label with deracoxib is transitional cell carcinoma of the bladder.

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Potential Side Effects and Risks of Deramaxx for Dogs

Like all medications, deracoxib can trigger side effects and allergic reactions in certain dogs. Such reactions vary among individual dogs. Before we discuss these adverse effects, let’s mention who shouldn’t use Deramaxx.

The use of Deramaxx is not recommended for:

  • Dogs hypersensitive to deracoxib (allergic reactions will manifest with hives, facial swelling, itchy skin, and in more severe cases – impaired breathing) or beef flavoring
  • Dogs receiving medications with established deracoxib interactions, including steroids 
  • Dogs with hypersensitivity to sulfonamides
  • Dogs with cardiovascular problems, kidney disease, or liver conditions 
  • Dogs with gastrointestinal ulceration 
  • Dogs with severe dehydration and anorexia 
  • Dogs weighing less than 12.5 lb (5.7 kg) 
  • Puppies younger than four months of age 
  • Breeding, pregnant, and nursing females

The Deramaxx tablets can be used in dogs that are not mentioned on this list. However, that does not mean that they will not cause certain side effects. 

To avoid the potential for side effects, the veterinarian will perform a full physical examination, a thorough history, and potentially run some lab work before writing a prescription. 

For dogs remaining on the medication for an extended amount of time, the veterinarian will schedule regular checkups for monitoring and early side effect detection. 

For a simpler understanding, we will classify the possible side effects of Deramaxx into five different categories: gastrointestinal, hematologic, hepatic (liver), urinary, and neurologic. 

Gastrointestinal Side Effects of Deramaxx

The most common side effects of Deramaxx for dogs are related to the gastrointestinal tract. Despite sparing COX-1, this NSAID can affect the production of the stomach’s protective lining, leaving it susceptible to gastrointestinal ulceration. This is more common at higher doses. Stomach ulcers are progressive, and in the worst-case scenario, an ulcer may evolve into a fatal perforation.  

If your dog is exhibiting the following side effects, call the vet:

  • Changes in bowel movements (vomiting and/or diarrhea)
  • Abdominal pain and loss of appetite 
  • Hematemesis (presence of blood in the vomit)
  • Melena (digested blood causing black and tarry stools)
  • Hematochezia (frank blood in stool) 
  • Elevated levels of pancreatic enzymes
  • Hypersalivation (excessive drooling)
  • Dehydration 
  • Unexplained weight gain

Hematologic Side Effects of Deramaxx

In some dogs, the use of Deramaxx chewable tablets may lead to hematological issues, including:

  • Anemia (low numbers of red blood cells or iron)
  • Thrombocytopenia (decreased number of blood platelets)

These hematological side effects are not particularly common. However, if they develop and are not appropriately treated, they can become life-threatening. Therefore, the veterinarian will perform frequent blood analyses after prescribing long-term Deramaxx. 

Hepatic Side Effects of Deramaxx

Prolonged Deramaxx use in dogs is also associated with some liver side effects, including:

  • Elevated liver enzyme levels 
  • Fluid accumulation in the abdomen (ascites)
  • Changes in protein levels 
  • Jaundice (yellow gums)

Urinary Side Effects of Deramaxx

Use of Deramaxx in dehydrated animals, those with pre-existing kidney disease, or at high doses can lead to several urinary side effects, including:

  • Excessive drinking (polydipsia)
  • Excessive urination (polyuria)
  • Blood in urine
  • Damage to kidneys

Neurological Side Effects of Deramaxx

The neurological side effects of Deramaxx may vary among breeds, but the good news is they are relatively rare. However, in case such adverse reactions occur, it is critical to immediately call your trusted veterinarian. Possible neurological side effects include: 

  • Balance issues and deficient coordination
  • Lack of proprioception (paw-eye incoordination)
  • Shivering, tremors, and seizures 
  • Head tilting 
  • Involuntary eye movements 
  • Paresis of the back legs
  • Behavioral changes (aggression, apprehension)

It should be noted that this list of potential side effects is not all-inclusive. Most of these side effects are rare and occur more commonly in dogs with pre-existing conditions or when a high dose is inadvertently administered. By following your veterinarian’s recommended dosage, you can reduce the risk of side effects.

Deramaxx Dosage for Dogs

Deramaxx Dosage for Dogs

The Deramaxx dosage depends on the dog’s body weight and the underlying condition. Veterinarians recommend starting with the lowest dose for your dog’s weight and condition to prevent side effects. 

When used for managing osteoarthritis pain, Deramaxx is used in doses of 0.45 to 0.91 mg per lb (1 to 2 mg per kg) in the form of a single daily dose. This medication would be used long-term in this scenario. The same dosage is recommended for postoperative pain associated with dental surgery, though the medication will usually only be given for a few days when used for this indication.

On the other hand, for the control of postoperative pain associated with orthopedic surgery, Deramaxx is prescribed in doses of 1.4 to 1.8 mg per lb (3 to 4 mg per kg). When used at this dose, the administration should not last for more than seven days.  

To prevent gastrointestinal side effects, it is advisable to give your dog Deramaxx after meals. Also, it’s important that your pet stays well-hydrated while taking this medication, so ensure your dog has plenty of water at all times. 

If you miss a dose, either give it as soon as you remember or skip it completely and then continue with the scheduled dosing. Never double up the Deramaxx amount in an attempt to compensate for the missed dose. 

Finally, we stress the importance of using Deramaxx tablets in accordance with the vet’s instructions and dosing guidelines. This is because Deramaxx overdoses are possible and manifest with:

  • Vomiting and/or diarrhea
  • Difficulty breathing 
  • Lethargy and depression
  • Urination changes

If your dog ingests Deramaxx tablets when they shouldn’t, or you accidentally give an excess dosage, call your trusted veterinarian as soon as possible. A Deramaxx overdose can have fatal consequences. 

Deramaxx for Dogs Usage Guidelines

The Deramaxx chewable tablets are available in several strengths, including 12 mg, 25 mg, 75 mg, and 100 mg tablets. The tablets are conveniently scored, and the manufacturer recommends calculating the dosages in half-tablet increments.

With Deramaxx, it is advisable to administer the lowest effective dose. Before assuming the tablet is not working, keep in mind deracoxib needs between 1 and 2 hours to achieve effects, and it may take several doses before you see clinical effectiveness. 

In case of switching your dog from a different NSAID to Deramaxx or the other way around, a washout time is recommended, as drug compatibility issues are possible.   

Deracoxib can interact with many medications. Therefore, it is important to notify your vet about everything your dog is using, including dietary supplements and herbal remedies. Here are some common medications with known Deramaxx drug interactions, though this list is not all-inclusive: 

  • Other NSAIDS like aspirin and carprofen
  • Steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs such as prednisone
  • Diuretics (furosemide)

As mentioned, Deramaxx overdoses are possible, which is why you need to be mindful of storage. Keep the tablets out of your dog’s reach in a dark and room-temperature place.

Alternatives to Deramaxx for Dogs

Deramaxx is excellent for managing painful conditions. However, in some cases the vet will recommend a suitable alternative for alleviating your dog’s pain, inflammation, and swelling. 

Here are some other medications worth discussing when targeting osteoarthritis pain: 

Other NSAIDs for Dogs. There are various non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs for dogs, such as carprofen (Rimadyl), firocoxib (Previcox), meloxicam (Metacam), Onsior (Robenacoxib), and etodolac (Lodine)

You should talk to your vet about which makes the ideal fit for your dog. We should note that you should never give your dog a non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drug formulated for humans. 

Galliprant for Dogs. Galliprant (grapiprant) is a non-COX-inhibiting type of NSAID specifically developed for dogs with osteoarthritis. It is considered to be a novel non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drug meaning it comes with fewer and lesser side effects than traditional NSAIDs. The Galliprant tablets are scored for easy dosing and feature a dog-friendly pork liver flavor. 

Opioids for Dogs. Dogs that do not respond to standard pain medications are good candidates for opioids. The most commonly used oral opioid is tramadol. Instead of prescribing tramadol off-label, the vet may recommend a veterinary-approved opioid formula like butorphanol or buprenorphine. 

You are more likely to see opioids administered for postoperative pain rather than for long-term management of osteoarthritis. These are controlled substances that must be handled and disposed of properly.

Gabapentin for Dogs. Gabapentin works by quieting the nervous system. Therefore, instead of being used alone, it is combined with other medications. When used in conjunction with NSAIDs and opioids, gabapentin boosts their efficacy and allows using lower doses to achieve the same results. 

This medication is excellent for managing nerve-associated pain. An added post-operative benefit is that this medication can cause sedation, which can help your dog rest and recuperate after an orthopedic procedure. Gabapentin is a controlled drug in some states, meaning it has specific guidelines for handling and disposal.

If you do not like treating your dog’s pain with traditional medications, or you are worried about the possible side effects, here are some holistic options for your arthritic dog:  

CBD Oil for Dogs. CBD oil is the supplement of choice when looking for a natural pain reliever. The cannabinoids in CBD oil help with pain and inflammation while simultaneously boosting the immune system and supporting overall health. 

For osteoarthritis-related pain, we recommend the Honest Paws Mobility Collection or the Relief Collection of CBD products. 

Joint Supplements for Dogs. The pet market for joint supplements is rich and offers dozens of different products with one or more active ingredients. Efficient and commonly recommended joint supplements are chondroitin sulfate, glucosamine HCL, hyaluronic acid, MSM, and green-lipped mussels. 

These active ingredients support cartilage and joint health differently, which is why it is best to use them combined.  We recommend Honest Paws Green Lipped Mussel Joint Powder which contains high-quality joint-friendly ingredients like Boswellia serrata, glucosamine HCL, hyaluronic acid, and, of course, green-lipped mussels. 

Organic Turmeric for Dogs. The active ingredient in turmeric is curcumin, which has antioxidant and anti-inflammatory features. You can use supplements formulated for dogs or simply add organic turmeric to your dog’s food. 

The recommended dose of turmeric for dogs is between 1/8 tsp – 1/4 tsp per 10 lbs of body weight. The CBD products from the mentioned Honest Paws Mobility Collection feature added organic turmeric. 

Please note that the holistic options listed above should not be used as the sole therapy for postoperative pain management. The pain caused by surgery is substantial. If your dog was prescribed medication by your veterinarian for the control of pain after surgery, please follow their recommendations. If you wish to add holistic options, this should be discussed with your vet.

Our Final Thoughts on Deramaxx for Dogs

giving your dog deramaxx

While not a cure, Deramaxx for dogs can provide relief for arthritic joints and improve mobility. It can also promote a pain-free postoperative recovery. However, like all NSAIDs, deracoxib is not free of side effects. 

Therefore, before prescribing your dog deracoxib, the veterinarian will carefully review the pros and the cons of Deramaxx. As you can see, the vet’s role in the use of NSAIDs is vital, and the info provided in this article is not a substitute for your veterinarian’s clinical judgment.

Dr. Rhiannon Koehler says, “QUOTE: Deramaxx is a great option for patients suffering from orthopedic pain, whether that be long-term pain from arthritis or short-term pain from surgery. To provide your dog with the maximum benefit while ensuring its safety, follow your veterinarian’s dosing recommendations precisely. Do keep in mind that if Deramaxx isn’t giving your pet sufficient pain relief on its own, you can talk to your vet about combining it with other methods of pain control to help your dog out.”

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