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The Truth About Rimadyl Side Effects 
10/14/03 Administrator

A Review of Signs of a Potentially Life-threatening Reaction to Rimadyl

loss of appetite 
refusal to drink 

unusual pattern of urination, blood in the urine, sweet-smelling urine, an overabundance of urine, urine accidents in the house 

vomiting 
diarrhea 
black, tarry stools or flecks of blood in the vomit 
lethargy, drowsiness, hyperactivity, restlessness, aggressiveness 
staggering, stumbling, weakness or partial paralysis, full paralysis, seizures, dizziness, loss of balance 
jaundice (yellowing of the skin, mucus membranes and whites of the eyes) 

Ten Steps to Take If You Suspect Your Dog Has Had an Adverse Reaction to Rimadyl 

If any of the above symptoms appears, immediately stop the drug and take your dog to the vet. The earlier your dog gets appropriate treatment, the better the chances of complete recovery. 

Have the vet do a blood panel and CBC (complete blood count). This will help your vet to determine the supportive therapy your dog needs. 

If your dog seems seriously ill, and you cannot get an immediate appointment with your vet, go to the nearest emergency veterinary clinic. Explain that you believe your dog is having a reaction that is typical of a dog taking a nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drug (NSAID). If the clinic staff is unfamiliar with the potential side effects of an NSAID like Rimadyl, have them refer to the Rimadyl product description or package insert. 

Call and have your veterinarian call Pfizer. The Pfizer staff veterinarians should be able to offer guidance to your veterinarian for the necessary tests and therapy your dog may need: Pfizer: 1-800-366-5288 

If you have caught your dog's potential adverse reaction to Rimadyl in time, it is unlikely that the outcome will be fatal. Don't panic! However, whenever it becomes necessary to establish whether Rimadyl was a factor in a dog's death, a necropsy must be performed. The necropsy does NOT have to be done by a veterinarian appointed by Pfizer; it should, in fact, be done by an impartial third party. However, Pfizer should be advised promptly that the necropsy is being undertaken and that they will be entitled to some, but not all, of the tissue samples obtained. 

Try to maintain a diary of the events leading up to your dog's suspected adverse drug reaction. Make it as detailed as possible. Also obtain all medical records from all sources. Your diary and these records will be invaluable, should you decide to apply to Pfizer for reimbursement of veterinary medical expenses. 

Call and have your veterinarian call the FDA's Center for Veterinary Medicine to report the incident. Report to the FDA either by telephone at: 1-888-332-8387 (or 1-888-FDA-VETS) or: You may also report an adverse drug experience using a form that is available on the FDA website. Access to the form is at http://www.fda.gov/cvm/index/ade/adereporting.htm Just print out the form, complete it and mail it. It is two-sided and postpaid. 

The distress of dealing with your dog's illness may make it difficult for you to attend to the practical matters of reports, procedures, and bureaucratic requirements. If you feel you need assistance or guidance, please E-mail LuSwinton@aol.com. 

You may wish to join the class action lawsuit currently being pursued against Pfizer. 

You may also wish to join two E-mail lists that focus on healthcare for dogs: just email doghealth2-subscribe@yahoogroups.com to subscribe and also join The Pet Arthritis Chronicle