Dog Aspirin Gets Vet-Slapped

by Mary Haight on April 11, 2010

Image by Browserd (Pedro Rebelo) via Flickr

Dog aspirin is available at the drugstore and grocers? I had no clue, did you?  Even some Vets didn’t know that this practice had been going on for years according to a report from VIN News.  An easy to forget rule of over-the-counter medicines like dog aspirin: Once the FDA has approved something for human use, there are no other filters or agencies to go through to market their drugs for use in dogs. Now there’s a scary thought.

A clinical pharmacology professor at NC State University College of Veterinary Medicine, Dr. Mark G Papich, is not at all happy with this fact, especially given the fallout. Aspirin is very hard on a dog’s GI tract and effective dosage is tough to determine because dogs metabolize the drug differently than humans–that means some dogs are still in pain, and others may have an overdose.  Giving your dog aspirin can also interfere with other medications, and do to your dog any of those things listed on the aspirin bottle’s warning label.  Delaying a visit to the vet can compromise early diagnosis of a serious condition.

Aspirin hasn’t been shown to be effective in dogs, where other NSAIDs have. That may be a function of not alloting funds for a trial of such an age-old drug, I don’t know. While it can be a quick fix, it can also be toxic, especially to small dogs.  I read a report that said dog aspirin will kill puppies–something about a missing enzyme in the blood. 

The problems of improper dosage can’t be stressed enough: Stomach and intestinal ulcers, internal bleeding, kidney failure and death are some of the possibile outcomes.  Over the counter drugs given to your dog without veterinary care and advice shouldn’t be considered. The AVMA  has an online booklet on treating pain in your dog if you’re interested.


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