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Thousands of Dogs Dead from Rimadyl, some say it is “Absolutely Ridiculous”

By Dr. Andrew Jones

rim pic

A few years ago i published an article on this blog..4157 Dogs Reported Dead From Rimadyl

In the last week it’s been shared thousands of times, and generated some ‘interesting’ comments..

Jason Says:

Absolutely ridiculous! Those numbers are over a period of 27 YEARS and they include other drugs because Rimadyl only came out in 1997!!!!! 4127 deaths over 27 years! Divide that by the MILLIONS of dogs who have takden the drug over that time period and the percentage would be so minute it would go completely unnoticed. 16,500 people die EVERY year from the same type of drugs. Considering that about 30 million dogs have taken Rimadyl since it came out, your looking at a death rate of about 0.08% annualy. So this so called “STUDY” is simply here to sell you something else! Never take these internet studies at face value simply because they have a Doctor’s name at the top of the page. Do a little research first, and check the sources of that research.

Laura Says:

well said jason… I noticed the same thing…also that the article title lists 4157 deaths and the chart in the article says 2332 deaths…hmmm this data is pretty useless given all of the missing information… its just a bunch of random numbers. I do think it is important to stress to animal owners allll of the potential side effects of a medicine so that the owner can be appropriately aware not to miss important signs of distress…but my goodness lets do some proper, respectable science in these articles please…

The article comes directly from the FDA’s Adverse Drug Experience Reports in which veterinarians and pet owners could report on adverse drug reactions.

I looked at all the NSAID’s, but in particular Rimadyl (carprofen), as I personally saw more reactions to it in veterinary practice.

Here is the data, which unfortunately ends in 2013..( that’s another topic)


So the math here is 2332 animals reported dead, plus 1825 reported dead from euthanasia, totalling 4157 dogs.

My rather succint sugestions are this..

This NSAID ( non steroidal anti-inflammatory), has numerous reported and under-reported side effects, from permanent organ damage, to even death.

It is in your pet’s best interest to avoid this medication, and similar medications if possible.

A few commenters have taken issue with the article

I welcome thoughtful commentary, but I find it somewhat suspect that they both have posted at the end of the article, clearly attempting to discredit the information.

First this comes from the FDA..here’s the link: http://www.fda.gov/AnimalVeterinary/SafetyHealth/ProductSafetyInformation/ucm055369.htm
You need to then search for Carprofen in the pdf reports

Second there are HUNDREDS of reported additional side effects via Rimadyl..here are more from the FDA

carprofen side effects

Third in commenting, take the time to read the article, and do the math..

Jason said..“Absolutely ridiculous! Those numbers are over a period of 27 YEARS and they include other drugs because Rimadyl only came out in 1997!!!!! 4127 deaths over 27 years!”

Laura said..“well said jason…the article title lists 4157 deaths and the chart in the article says 2332 deaths…hmmm this data is pretty useless given all of the missing information… its just a bunch of random numbers….…but my goodness lets do some proper, respectable science in these articles please…”

The actual number from the article is 4157..and the drug in question is carprofen which is sold by Pfizer under the brand Rimadyl..the generic has only recently become available..

I assume the above commenters put faith in the FDA? Yet it appears they would have you discredit that information..

In researching this story on Rimadyl, this article comes up on Wikipedia..

After introduction, significant anecdotal reports of sudden animal deaths from its use arose. To date, the FDA has received more than 6,000 adverse reaction reports about the drug (manufactured by Pfizer). As a result, the FDA requested that Pfizer advise consumers in their advertising that death is a possible side effect.[7] Pfizer refused and pulled their advertising; however, they now include death as a possible side effect on the drug label. Plans call for a “Dear Doctor” letter to advise veterinarians, and a safety sheet attached to pill packages. (Source: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Carprofen)

So what should you take from all of this?

1. That if you take a stand on something, the haters are going to come out..also fodder for a Taylor Swift song 🙂

2. That you should be very cautious when giving your dog any anti-inflammatory drug, especially Rimadyl. Here are some serious warning signs that you should watch for:

Bloody vomitus
Black-tarry stool
Inappropriate urination or thirst
General malaise
Abdominal pain

3. Ask questions about ANY medication subscribed to your pets, especially anything that is potentially toxic, or anything to be given long term.

4. Be open to alternative options, especially those that have far fewer/no incidence of side effects

5. Use some form of supplement for arthritic pain and inflammation. In my opinion the most important ones are Glucosamine, Chondroitin, MSM and Essential Fatty Acids.

Best Wishes,
Dr Andrew Jones, DVM

P.S. Did I use NSAIDs (Non Steroidal Anti-inflammatory Drugs) in practice?

Yes, and they clearly have a place in pain management and veterinary medicine. BUT they are also a huge source of revenue, primarily for the drug companies, who would rather you overlook some of the more common/serious side effects.

They need to be used with caution, and in my opinion there are fewer side effects with some of the other NSAIDs as opposed to Rimadyl

P.P.S. Get your dog on some type of anti-arthritic supplement. Ensure it contains at least Glucosamine at 100mg/10lbs daily and Chondritin at 50mg/10lbs daily.

My supplement, Ultimate Canine Health Formula has been helping thousands of dogs with arthritis. It contains high levels of Glucosamine, Chondroitin, MSM and Essential Fatty Acids.

It’s here:


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Topics: Dog Health, Pet health | 1 Comment »

One Response to “Thousands of Dogs Dead from Rimadyl, some say it is “Absolutely Ridiculous””

  1. Erik M Walker DVM Says:
    January 31st, 2016 at 6:15 am

    From the FDA website: “For any given ADE report, there is no certainty that the reported drug caused the adverse event. The adverse event may have been related to an underlying disease, using other drugs at the same time, or other non-drug related causes. And, this listing does not include information about underlying diseases, other drugs used at the same time, other non-drug related causes, or the final outcome of the reaction.”

    There is no centralized reporting system for glucosamine supplements, yet I have seen adverse events associated with glucosamine administration as well. 4157 dog deaths that are “maybe” related to carprofen administration over the course of 20-something years in which over 100 million doses have been administered is statistically insignificant, and a disingenuous scare tactic to encourage people to avoid carprofen in favor of ‘homeopathic’ remedies. The simple fact is that ‘homeopathic’ remedies are very often insufficient alone for pain control, and any good veterinarian will use a multimodal approach that accounts for the patient’s needs when selecting a drug regimen. In my practice we use carprofen regularly, and I have seen many pets improve quality of life dramatically from its benefits. Close monitoring for possible adverse events, as with any drug, is key to avoiding negative outcomes.


Dr. Andrew Jones, DVM
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