Table of Contents
We never want our dogs to get hurt or need surgery, but sometimes it happens. When it does, your veterinarian may give your dog a drug called ketoprofen.
Below, we'll answer your questions on ketoprofen and give you a good background on its use.
WHAT IS KETOPROFEN?
Ketoprofen, also called Ketofen or Ketomed, is a non-steroidal anti-inflammatory like ibuprofen or Advil. Veterinarians prescribe it to decrease pain, decrease inflammation, or help lower fevers in dogs.
It is usually used to help dogs with pain after surgery. 1
CAN DOGS TAKE KETOPROFEN?
Yes they can! Dogs can take ketoprofen for pain that lasts a short time (up to 5 days). Ketoprofen works well to treat pain but can cause problems with your dog’s stomach if used for more than 5 days. 1
WHAT IS KETOPROFEN USED FOR IN DOGS?
Ketoprofen is used to treat short-term pain in dogs. Short term pain is from problems expected to heal quickly. Examples include pain experienced after surgery or from an injury.
Ketoprofen is not approved for small animals like dogs and cats in the United States. Other countries have approved ketoprofen in small animals.
In the United States, veterinarians can prescribe drugs for unapproved uses. This is known as prescribing drugs off-label. This is common in veterinary medicine as most drugs are first studied and approved for humans.
This also means you must listen to your veterinarian and follow their directions. General directions found online may not apply to your pet’s specific off-label use.
WHAT DOGS SHOULD NOT TAKE KETOPROFEN?
Avoid ketoprofen in dogs with kidney disease, ulcers, or a history of these conditions. Ketoprofen can make ulcers and kidney disease worse. Be sure to mention to your veterinarian if your dog has a history of these conditions.
A veterinarian can help prevent these problems if a dog with a history of ulcers needs ketoprofen, such as prescribing another drug to help stop the formation of ulcers.
HOW DOES KETOPROFEN WORK?
Ketoprofen works like other non-steroidal anti-inflammatories (NSAIDs) like Advil/ibuprofen, aspirin, or Aleve/naproxen. It blocks the body from making chemicals called prostaglandins that cause inflammation and pain. Blocking prostaglandins helps your dog feel better in two ways: by directly reducing pain and by reducing inflammation that can also cause pain and discomfort.
HOW LONG DOES IT TAKE FOR KETOPROFEN TO WORK?
Ketoprofen starts working within the first hour after giving a dose and continues to work better for the first two hours. Its pain and inflammation-relieving effects last up to 24 hours.2
IS KETOPROFEN SAFE IN DOGS?
Ketoprofen is safe for most dogs when used at the right dose for the right period of time.
It’s important to listen to your veterinarian and do exactly as they say. “Safe” doesn’t mean “without risk.” There are always risks with using any drug. Your veterinarian is there to help guide you in doing what’s best for your pup.
Ketoprofen should generally not be used for more than 5 days. The risks of ulcers and kidney damage go up the longer your dog takes it.2
RISKS AND SIDE EFFECTS
Ketoprofen most often hurts dogs by causing ulcers or kidney problems. Watch for the following3 4:
- Poop that looks like black tar or has bright red blood
- Dizziness or falling over
- Eating less or more than normal
- Unusually peeing when or where they shouldn't
- Drinking less or more than normal
If you see these signs in your pet, stop giving the medication and call your veterinarian immediately!
WHAT FORMS DOES KETOPROFEN COME IN?
Ketoprofen comes in the following forms:
- 25mg capsules
- 50mg capsules
- 75mg capsules
A compounding pharmacist or veterinarian could also make a liquid form that might be easier to use with your dog, but this would likely increase the cost.
KETOPROFEN INJECTION FOR DOGS
Ketoprofen injection is a dose form only available to veterinarians, and is commonly used after surgery.
It should only be used by a veterinarian or someone otherwise professionally trained.
HOW TO SAFELY STORE KETOPROFEN
Ketoprofen capsules should be stored between 68 degrees and 77 degrees Fahrenheit (room temperature) in a tightly closed container that is protected from light.2 5
Like any drug, Ketoprofen has interactions with certain other drugs that should be avoided2:
- Ketoprofen should never be given with other NSAIDs like ibuprofen (Advil), naproxen (Aleve), aspirin, meloxicam (Metacam), carprofen (Rimadyl), firocoxib (Previcox), or etodolac (Etogesic).
- Ketoprofen should not be given corticosteroids if it can be avoided. These are drugs like prednisone, prednisolone, and methylprednisolone (there are many others – check with your veterinarian).
- There may be other serious interactions. No list can be complete. Always ask your veterinarian before combining another drug or supplement with a prescribed medication!
KETOPROFEN DOSAGE IN DOGS
Ketoprofen is used off-label in the United States, meaning dosing is not approved by the FDA but has been established using data from studies and veterinarian expertise.
Ketoprofen Dosing in Dogs:
- 1mg/kg every 24 hours for up to 5 days
- 0.25mg/kg every 24 hours if used for more than 5 days
Remember, using ketoprofen for more than 5 days in dogs even at the 0.25mg/kg dose is associated with damage to the stomach. It should only be done at the direction of a veterinarian, and your veterinarian may want to prescribe other drugs like misoprostol, omeprazole, or cimetidine to protect your dog’s stomach.
KETOPROFEN DOSAGE CHART
|Dog Weight in kg||1mg/kg dose (<5 days)||0.25mg/kg dose (>5 days)|
WHAT IF I MISS GIVING A KETOPROFEN DOSE?
If you miss giving a ketoprofen dose, do not double dose the next time !
Give the dose when you remember and restart the dosing schedule based on when you give that dose. Follow the instructions from your veterinarian.
For example, if you were giving your dog 25mg every 24 hours, and you forget to give the dose at 6am and give it at 2pm, give it to your dog when you remember and give the remaining doses every 24 hours at 2 pm.
If you are unsure of what to do, call your veterinarian before giving your dog more medication.
ALTERNATIVES TO KETOPROFEN
There are many other NSAIDs on the market. Some of those most commonly used in dogs are listed here.
- Previcox (firocoxib): Studied to be safer than ketoprofen in dogs for longer-term use (up to 180 days).6
- Etogesic (etodolac): Etodolac can cause serious, sometimes irreversible harm to dogs, especially when used in the long term, including permanent damage to their eyes.2
- Metacam (meloxicam): Meloxicam is a well-established, possibly safer NSAID for short and long term use.2 7 It is also quite inexpensive due to its common use in humans. 8
- Advil (ibuprofen): It is not advisable to use ibuprofen in dogs because of the likelihood it will give them ulcers. If your dog needs relief from pain requiring an NSAID, talk to your vet – don’t attempt to use human medicine without consulting an expert.2
- Rimadyl (carprofen): Carprofen has been studied in dogs for short term and longer term use. It is shown to relieve pain well, but is associated with serious side effects.9
- Tylenol (acetaminophen): Acetaminophen is not very effective for pain in dogs, it does not help decrease inflammation, and it can cause liver toxicity.2
NATURAL ALTERNATIVES AND SUPPORTING THERAPIES TO KETOPROFEN
- Physical Therapy: Studies indicate physical therapy is effective for certain arthritic and post-operation recovery conditions, and may help reduce or eliminate the need for NSAIDs like ketoprofen.10 11 A great part of physical therapy performed by a professional (or by you if you’ve been trained by a veterinarian or other professional) is that it has no negative side effects!
- Turmeric (curcumin): So far evidence shows turmeric is not likely to help with the types of pain that ketoprofen is used long-term to treat in dogs (arthritis and other joint pain). 12 7
- Glucosamine and Chondroitin: Evidence shows that glucosamine and chondroitin might be effective for long-term relief from certain types of joint pain in dogs, and the chance of toxicity is very, very low. 7
- CBD: Increasing amounts of evidence shows that well-made CBD extracts relieve joint pain in dogs. Studies also show that CBD extracts are likely safe. Most report few or no side effects noted from pure CBD extracts that contain no THC. CBD works by directly relieving pain and acting as an anti-inflammatory.13 14
Ketoprofen is fairly expensive compared to other choices like meloxicam. As of the time of this writing, ketoprofen is around $1.30 per capsule for 25mg capsules. 25mg is the strength most likely to be used in an average weight dog. 15
Meloxicam is much cheaper at $0.30 per tablet of 10mg (the most common strength used). 8
Ketoprofen is an effective pain reliever for short-term use in dogs. If your dog needs short-term pain relief, ketoprofen is a reasonable choice. All NSAIDs become more dangerous for dogs when used for long periods. This is especially true of ketoprofen. It is not as safe over long periods as other NSAIDs like meloxicam.
For long-term pain relief, talk to your veterinarian about using alternative or supplemental therapies. Ask if it’s a good idea to use something other than NSAIDs. For joint pain, nerve pain, or muscle pain, ask your veterinarian about physical therapy, glucosamine and chondroitin, and well-made CBD extracts.