Alternatives to NSAIDs: Rimadyl, Previcox, Metacam, Deramaxx, etc

July 28, 2013 by · 2 Comments 

I am asked almost daily about alternatives to using NonSteroidal Anti-inflammatory Drugs (NSAIDs) like Rimadyl, Previcox, Metacam, Deramaxx. People are afraid to use these drugs because of their possible side effects. The most common side effects include digestive upset (vomiting/diarrhea), stomach ulcers, and liver disease. One of the worst possible side effects is death caused by these drugs. Never thought death could be a side effect of a medicine that was supposed to help your dog feel better but it can happen…luckily VERY RARELY!

This article is not to bash NSAIDs because, to be honest, it still is one of my most prescribed drugs. Why? Because they work! Dogs with acute injuries may require a controlling of inflammation and so for a short duration will need to be on an anti-inflammatory. These products work well and on most occasions are safe for short term use. A dog at the end of its life may have aches and pains that prevent it from having a good quality of life, a daily NSAID may be just the answer to provide that quality of life.

Even if your dog has to take one of these products there are some other products that can be of assistance in reducing the side effects. A couple of products S-adenosylmethionine (SAMe) and Milk Thistle have been known to help prevent the liver toxicity of NSAIDs. Aloe Vera can help reduce the chance of ulcers with NSAIDs.

However there are alternatives to NSAIDs that do not have the side effects –

Herbals and Nutraceuticals – Many of my older patients are already taking some form of nutraceutical for joint health in the form of glucosamine and /or chondroitin sulfate. There are other products which can help with inflammation similar to that of NSAIDs such Boswelia, Curcumin (Tumeric), Bromelain, and Devil’s Claw are the most common. Using plant enzymes an hour before or after a meal so that they are absorbed and not used to digest that meal have an anti-inflammatory effect. Even Omega 3s and 6s found in fish oil and krill oil have a good anti-inflammatory effect. I usually have a dog start on products such as these before going to an NSAID they may not be as potent as an NSAID but they also do not have the side effects either.

Acupuncture – This is a favorite of mine and helps many dogs with pain. It is a little time consuming and can be more expensive but it does help. Using acupuncture and Chinese Herbals together can really help out a dog so that it does not need NSAIDs or even my severely painful dogs that acupuncture and herbals can get them off steroids and Tramadol!

Pulsed Electromagnetic Therapy (PEMF) – This is a machine that uses an electric current to make a magnetic field which increases the blood circulation and reduces the inflammation of the area of the body that has inflammation. It works great for animals that have a specific area of inflammation that needs to be treated. It also has little to no side effects. I am starting to use a small portable take home PEMF device from Assisi for a variety of patients, especially for the pets that can not tolerate acupuncture.

Laser Therapy – Low Level Laser Therapy (LLLT) is the use of light emitted by a laser machine to effect tissue. It increases circulation, reduces inflammation and produces an anti-inflammatory effect. It is painless so it really works well for the dogs that are painful and can not tolerate acupuncture. It does take several treatments and would require a couple trips to the veterinarian each week for a few weeks, depending on what is being treated. It works well for muscle pain and inflammation from arthritis and works exceptionally well on wounds.

From herbals and nutraceuticals to historically used acupuncture to the latest and greatest Laser therapy or PEMF or to even just using NSAIDs with some supportive help of other products, the answer to your dogs pain can be found. There are many alternatives to NSAIDs you just need to know they are available and use the one that works best for you and your pet.

Pulsed Electromagnetic Field Therapy for your horse

January 20, 2010 by · Leave a Comment 

Pulsed Electromagnetic Field Therapy is a viable alternative to drugs for the treatment of pain and inflammation in horses  due to a variety of causes such as arthritis, surgery, and wounds.  Pulsed Electromagnetic Field Therapy or PEMF affects pain perception in many different ways. It affects calcium ion movement, endorphin levels, acupuncture point stimulation, nerve regeneration, circulation, tissue oxygen, and even cellular metabolism. All these affects help reduce inflammation and promote healing.

How does it work? No one really has a definitive answer but there are some good theories and some good scientifically based research pointing to some very likely causes of the success of this treatment. One of the more prominent and most likely reasons for the reduction of pain and inflammation has to do with the calcium ion movement that an electrical field causes in the body. PEMF therapy causes a natural anti-inflammatory process to occur more rapidly. It binds Calcium and in a cascade of events produces Nitric Oxide (NO), a natural anti-inflammatory. NO then continues the natural healing process by reducing pain, improving blood flow, reducing swelling and helps in the production of a molecule called cGMP, a growth factor producer. This growth factor producer helps in the regeneration of blood vessels and tissue growth and remodeling.


In the past the machines that produced the electromagnetic fields were large and very powerful. New research however has suggested that the fields do not have to be so large to produce great healing effects. Also with the advancement of technology now we can produce a good healing PEMF with a very small device powered by simple batteries. One of the devices available for dogs and horses is made by the company ASSISI Animal Health. Assisi makes 2 types of units one for the veterinarian for use in the office and a portable PEMF unit for an owner to bring to the barn and do treatments themselves. Considering that treatments should be given for up to 15 min twice a day for 2 weeks or even longer for horses suffering with arthritis, the portable units are an excellent choice. The cost is about $250 for a unit which gives 90 15 min treatments which is about $2.75 a treatment and should last about 6 weeks.

One of my clients is currently using them for her dog with severe degeneration in its knee joints. The dog is doing very well with nutritional supplements and using the unit every other day for 15 minutes and no need for pharmaceutical anti-inflammatories, so there is no risk of stomach ulcers or liver damage.

PEMF is a great tool for veterinarians and horse owners in the treatment of pain. Check out Assisi they will send information to your veterinarian for you.

Pulsed Electromagnetic Field Therapy for your dog

October 20, 2009 by · Leave a Comment 

Pulsed Electromagnetic Field Therapy is a viable alternative to drugs for the treatment of pain in dogs due to a variety of causes such as arthritis, surgery, inflammation, and wounds.  Pulsed Electromagnetic Field Therapy or PEMF affects pain perception in many different ways. It affects calcium ion movement, endorphin levels, acupuncture point stimulation, nerve regeneration, circulation, tissue oxygen, and even cellular metabolism. All these affects help reduce inflammation and promote healing.

How does it work? No one really has a definitive answer but there are some good theories and some good scientifically based research pointing to some very likely causes of the success of this treatment. One of the more prominent and most likely reasons for the reduction of pain and inflammation has to do with the calcium ion movement that an electrical field causes in the body. PEMF therapy causes a natural anti-inflammatory process to occur more rapidly. It binds Calcium and in a cascade of events produces Nitric Oxide (NO), a natural anti-inflammatory. NO then continues the natural healing process by reducing pain, improving blood flow, reducing swelling and helps in the production of a molecule called cGMP, a growth factor producer. This growth factor producer helps in the regeneration of blood vessels and tissue growth and remodeling.

portable PEMF

In the past the machines that produced the electromagnetic fields were large and very powerful. New research however has suggested that the fields do not have to be so large to produce great healing effects. Also with the advancement of technology now we can produce a good healing PEMF with a very small device powered by simple batteries. One of the devices available for dogs is made by the company ASSISI Animal Health. Assisi makes 2 types of units one for the veterinarian for use in the office and a portable PEMF unit for an owner to bring home and do treatments at home. Considering that treatments should be given for up to 15 min twice a day for 2 weeks or even longer for dogs suffering with arthritis, the portable units are an excellent choice. The cost is about $250 for a unit which gives 90 15 min treatments which is about $2.75 a treatment and should last about 6 weeks. For an injury such as a cruciate ligament tear and subsequent surgery this is perfect.

One of my clients is currently using them for her dog and the severe degeneration in its knee joints. The dog is doing very well with nutritional supplements and using the unit every other day for 15 minutes and no need for pharmaceutical anti-inflammatories, so there is no risk of stomach ulcers or liver damage. PEMF is a great tool for veterinarians and dog owners in the treatment of pain. Check out Assisi if your dog is experiencing pain. they will send information to your veterinarian for you.

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