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As a dog owner, seeing your dog in pain can leave you feeling helpless and guilty. Dogs bring us limitless joy and a sense of fulfillment, so when our furry friend is sick or in pain, it can be difficult to know what to do. In such cases, your dog will likely need to visit the vet and that might result in a prescription for a medication that you don’t quite understand. In this article, we will take you through the key information of one of the more commonly prescribed pain medications for dogs, Deramaxx.
What Is Deramaxx?
Deramaxx is a non-narcotic, non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drug for dogs and is part of the general group of medications known as NSAIDs.1 These types of medications can help against various different conditions and most dogs respond well to them. The main advantage is that NSAID medications help combat pain and inflammation quickly and generally have fewer long-term side effects than steroid drugs.
Deramaxx comes in the form of chewable tablets and is only meant for dogs.2 Cats, people, and other animals cannot take Deramaxx and it can only be given to dogs with a valid prescription from a veterinarian. The tablets contain deracoxib, which helps reduce pain, fever, and inflammation. The formula is made with a beef-like flavor to make them more palatable to dogs and can provide fast pain relief to your canine friend.
Deramaxx and NSAIDs in general are normally used to treat pain and/or inflammation related to chronic conditions, such as arthritis, as well as pain relief after surgical procedures. Deramaxx is comparable to Ibuprofen for humans. It’s a fast, fairly uncomplicated pain reliever that can help your dog feel better under many circumstances. Due to their beef flavor and chewable format, Deramaxx tablets are easier to give to your dog than some other medications.
Besides quick pain relief, Deramaxx is commonly used to treat osteoarthritis in dogs.3 The most common form of arthritis in dogs, osteoarthritis affects about 14 million dogs in the United States.4 It’s characterized by loss of cartilage and thickening in the joints, as well as new bone formation around the thickened joints. The result is chronic pain and sometimes even limb dysfunction.
Often, canine osteoarthritis develops as a secondary result of a primary condition, like hip dysplasia, dislocation of the knee cap, or ligament disease.3 Dogs can develop this disease at any stage of their life, but dogs that are older, larger, or overweight are at greater risk for osteoarthritis.5 Other risk factors include frequent athletic activities (agility training, diving, etc.), poor nutrition, genetics, injuries (fractures, ligament tears, bone breaks), and infections that affect the joints, like Lyme Disease.
While most dogs tolerate Deramaxx very well, it can give some dogs adverse side effects, including:2
- Allergic reaction (itching, swelling, hives, trouble breathing)
- Abdominal pain
- Stomach ulcers
- Change in urination and/or thirst pattern (resulting from reduced kidney function)
- Balance or coordination problems
These side effects are more likely to appear in dogs with preexisting conditions and are fairly rare in young and/or healthy dogs. It’s also important to consider the breed of dog you own, as this can significantly affect their reaction to NSAIDs like Deramaxx. Always consult your veterinarian if your dog exhibits side effects from any medication.
Deramaxx should only be prescribed by a licensed veterinarian, as they will know the correct dosage for your dog’s breed, size, and condition. Normally, the vet will start by prescribing a minimal dose to see how your dog reacts.
The typical recommended daily dosage is 0.45mg/lb - 0.91mg/lb and should be administered orally.6 Deramaxx is available in 12 mg, 25 mg, 75 mg, and 100 mg tablets with 25 mg being the most common for medium-sized dogs. Smaller dogs may need a very small dose, while larger dogs may need more.
What is osteoarthritis?
Osteoarthritis is the most common type of arthritis in dogs.3 It affects the joints, causing chronic pain and stiffness and sometimes even difficulty with limb function. Limping, pain, a decrease in activity, inability to jump, and changes in walking can all be symptoms of osteoarthritis. Older, bigger, and overweight dogs have a higher risk of developing osteoarthritis, as do dogs with preexisting conditions that affect the joints or muscles.
Does Deramaxx make dogs sleepy?
Deramaxx shouldn’t make your pup feel sleepy, although they may feel a bit lethargic and lacking in energy. However, if you notice that your dog is extremely drowsy after taking Deramaxx, it’s best to contact your veterinarian or even emergency animal care.
Can cats take Deramaxx?
No. Deramaxx is only intended as a medication for dogs. Cats, humans, and other animals should not ingest Deramaxx. Treatments for cats with osteoarthritis include cat-safe NSAID drugs (such as meloxicam and robenacoxib), dietary supplements, physical rehab, or surgery.6
Deramaxx has been a reliable canine drug treatment for many years. It’s an effective pain reliever, used to treat chronic pain from osteoarthritis, as well as post-operative pain - much like humans use Ibuprofen.
Generally, dogs respond very well to Deramaxx, though there are exceptions. Like any drug, side effects may occur, particularly in dogs who have preexisting conditions or small dogs who may require a much smaller dose. Deramaxx is not safe for use in humans, cats, or other animals and should only be given to your dog with a prescription from your vet.
Our licensed vets at Dutch can help you determine the intensity of your dog’s pain and whether or not Deramaxx can help. Get reliable advice about Deramaxx and other customized treatment plans for your dog, in the comfort of your own home with our pet telemedicine platform.
“Deramaxx for Dogs: Uses, Dosage, Side Effects.” Drugs.com, https://www.drugs.com/pro/deramaxx.html.
Son, Katelyn. “A Guide to Deramaxx for Dogs: Benefits, Dosage, and More!” Veterinarians.org, 28 Feb. 2023, https://www.veterinarians.org/deramaxx/.
“Small Animal Topics.” ACVS, https://www.acvs.org/small-animal/osteoarthritis-in-dogs.
“Ow, That Hurts – Osteoarthritis in Dogs and Cats.” Morris Animal Foundation, https://www.morrisanimalfoundation.org/article/osteoarthritis-in-dogs-and-cats#:~:text=Osteoarthritis%20affects%20approximately%2014%20million,as%20a%20top%20health%20concern.
Staff, AKC. “Osteoarthritis in Dogs - Signs and Treatment.” American Kennel Club, American Kennel Club, 26 May 2022, https://www.akc.org/expert-advice/health/osteoarthritis-signs-treatment/.
“Small Animal Topics.” ACVS, https://www.acvs.org/small-animal/osteoarthritis-in-cats.