Carprofen Side Effects

By Phyllis Benson
Carprofe--commonly known as Rimadyl, Vetprofen or Novox--treats dog pain and arthritis. Carprofen is a non-steroidal ant-inflammatory drug and, like many NSAIDs, may have side effects. This prescription medication is used only with approval of a veterinarian, and side effects should be promptly reported to the vet.


The most common side effect of carprofen and other NSAIDs is bleeding ulcers. Symptoms of stomach ulcers include digestive problems, bloody stool or diarrhea.

Allergic Reaction

Pfizer, the makers of Rimadyl, advises that some dogs are allergic to carprofen. Dogs who react to aspirin or NSAIDs with hives, itchy skin or facial swelling should not use caprofen.

Liver Disease

Carprofen causes liver damage in some dogs. Symptoms of jaundice such as yellowing of the gums, skin or eyes are signs of liver disease.

Kidney Disease

The kidneys may be adversely affected by carprofen. Watch for signs of excessive drinking and urination.

Drug Interactions

Using carprofen at the same time as other NSAIDs or with steroids may cause a fatal reaction. Do not give carprofen with aspirin, prednisone or other drugs. Always advise the veterinarian of all drugs, including herbs, that the dog is taking.


Routine blood tests screen for canine liver or kidney problems. A veterinarian may stop carprofen treatment based on the results of such tests. Some dogs cannot tolerate carprofen and suffer severe or fatal side effects. If the dog has side effects or other changes, call the veterinarian immediately.
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