Medical Information Cards N°01. How to properly use anti-inflammatory treatments?


Anti-inflammatory treatments have many very interesting properties: First, as their name indicates, an action against inflammation, but also, for many of them, an action against pain and the ability to Reduce fevers.

These molecules are nonetheless medicines and it is important to know the side effects and the contraindications so as not to cause in your animal, trying to relieve it during a painful crisis, sometimes serious troubles.


Anti-inflammatory treatments have many indications.
Their use is very interesting for:
- Avoid pain during and after surgery
- Treat acute inflammatory seizures (such as osteoarthritis)
- Help calm cough in certain respiratory conditions
- Combat fever (in combination with antibiotics in case of infection)
- Improve the end of life of animals suffering from incurable diseases ...
It would appear that the administration of specific anti-inflammatories may increase the survival time of animals suffering from certain types of cancer.

Their use is very common and every pet owner usually has it in his pharmacy (whether human forms or veterinary presentations). It is therefore very tempting when lameness, signs of pain or fever to administer a few days to his animal to "relieve it".
Beware of self-medication: these medicines are contraindicated in certain pathologies and may present significant side effects during overdose, prolonged administration or use in certain species.


Digestive disorders
Domestic animals have in their intestines a naturally occurring non-pathogenic bacterial flora.

Anti-inflammatories will unbalance this flora (by modification of the intestinal pH or destruction of certain bacterial populations) and can then cause the appearance of digestive disorders like a major diarrhea. This phenomenon is particularly marked in New Pets (rats, rabbits, guinea pigs, hamster) in whom these drugs should be used with caution to avoid significant side effects.

In addition, as in humans, many anti-inflammatories weaken the lining of the stomach and intestines. Prolonged use may cause ulcers on the digestive mucosa. Here again, rodents and rabbits are particularly vulnerable: many people practice coprophagy or caecotrophy, they will repeatedly re-engineer the molecule, thus increasing its time to contact the digestive mucosa and thus the risk of ulceration.

The effects of the administration of anti-inflammatory drugs on the digestive tract may be limited by the administration of the medication during the meal and the use of antacids or protectors of the digestive mucosa throughout the anti-inflammatory treatment .

New generations of anti-inflammatory drugs are much less harmful to the digestive tract and can therefore be prescribed over longer periods (especially in chronic conditions such as osteoarthritis). Your veterinarian will tell you what these molecules are.

Contraindicated employment in certain situations
- As we have indicated, many anti-inflammatories weaken the digestive mucosa. They are therefore formally contraindicated in animals suffering from haemorrhages or digestive ulcers.

- Anti-inflammatories may aggravate the clinical condition of animals with hepatic, cardiac or renal insufficiency and therefore should not be used in these animals.
It is tempting, with each osteoarthritis of an old animal, to give back to him an anti-inflammatory treatment previously prescribed. However, before each new cure, it is advisable to contact your veterinarian to judge with him, according to the age of your animal and its state of health, if a blood test is to be carried out before the treatment. This review will make it possible to check the absence of any kidney or liver disease (a renal insufficiency can start in certain animals from the age of 6-7 years).

- They are contraindicated in pregnant and lactating females and in very young animals (animals of a few weeks)

- Anti-inflammatory drugs should not be combined with corticosteroids to avoid severe overdose. If your pet is already receiving treatment for another condition, always make sure that the two molecules are compatible before any anti-inflammatory drugs are administered.

Toxicity during overdose
Each animal species must receive a specific quantity of a drug. Human presentations are often not at all adapted to the weight of our animals:
Paracetamol is not an anti-inflammatory in the strict sense but is a very commonly used analgesic. Although its use is widespread and its use has become almost innocuous to fight a fever or a small pain in humans, it can nevertheless cause serious disorders in animals. It is thus very toxic during overdosage especially in the cat. Its absorption then causes serious blood abnormalities: the red blood cells of the intoxicated animal become abnormal and are no longer able to transport oxygen. Severe respiratory failure and death of the animal can occur in the absence of appropriate treatment.
Similarly, the administration of ibuprofen or paracetamol by the owner, for example, is among the first causes of poisoning in the ferret. The animals can then present nervous disorders (abnormal gait, tremors, great fatigue or even coma), digestive disorders (anorexia, vomiting, diarrhea) and kidney damage more or less severe.
In rabbits, paracetamol is frequently responsible for severe liver problems.

Anti-inflammatories are indispensable medicines in many situations and some of their properties continue to be discovered at the moment (use in the fight against cancer in particular ...). However, these drugs should not be taken lightly: they can be toxic in some animals, have significant side effects in case of overdosage or in animals already suffering from a pathology (renal failure, liver disease, gastric ulcers ... ).
Always consult your veterinarian before deciding to administer an anti-inflammatory to your pet. He knows your pet, his age, the possible pathologies he is already suffering, the treatments he receives ... He will therefore be able to tell you the molecule most adapted to the situation as well as the dosages to be administered to your pet.