Side Effects of Previcox Medication for Senior Dogs

Previcox is a non-steroidal, anti-inflammatory drug prescribed by veterinarians in order to alleviate the pain and inflammation associated with canine osteoarthritis. While many dog owners are seeing positive results in their senior dogs thanks to this medication distributed by Merial, there are other dog owners dealing with frustrating, and at times serious, side effects. It is the veterinarian's duty to inform clients about the benefits and risks associated with the use of the drug, and to recommend blood work prior to its administration.

Upset Stomach

The most common side effects associated with the administration of Previcox (firocoxib) involve the digestive tract, according to Previcox's Client Information Sheet. Affected dogs might suffer from gastrointestinal episodes such as nausea, vomiting, changes in bowel movements, bloody stools, loss of appetite, and/or even stomach ulcers. It also should be noted that dogs on other NSAIDs or cortisone-like drugs, while using Previcox, are at increased risk for bleeding or ulcers, adds Debra Primovic, a veterinarian practicing in St. Louis and managing editor of the website

Urinary and Kidney Problems

Some dogs might develop urinary problems such as urinary tract infections. Affected dogs might drink more and urinate more than usual. Some dogs also might develop bloody urine and/or the inability to control the passage of urine. In severe cases, renal failure can take place, a condition in which the kidneys cease to function normally. Lab results of dogs suffering from kidney problems might reveal azotemia, with the presence of elevated creatinine (a waste normally removed by the kidneys) and other normally removed compounds, according to the list of adverse side effects reported by Previcox.

Liver Problems

Some senior dogs might develop liver problems when taking Previcox, or liver problems might exacerbate when taking such medication. Jaundice is a condition associated with liver problems and is known to cause a yellowing of the dog's gums, skin or whites of the eyes. Ascites, the accumulation of fluid in the abdomen, and pancreatitis, the inflammation of the pancreas, might also be observed in dogs with liver problems. Lab work might report elevated hepatic enzymes, decreased albumin and/or the increase or decrease of total protein and globulin.

Other Side Effects

Many other side effects, even though less common, have been reported such as anaemia (a decrease in red blood cells causing weakness, lethargy and pale gums), thrombocytopenia (the presence of relatively few platelets in blood, causing bleeding problems), neurological problems such as seizures and tremors, and even behavioural problems such as aggression. Some dogs also have been reported to develop dermatologic problems such as pruritus, urticaria and moist dermatitis. In rare cases, death also has been reported as an outcome of severe adverse effects to the drug. It is important, therefore, to discontinue the use of Previcox and report any side effects immediately to your vet.

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About the Author

Adrienne Farricelli has been writing for magazines, books and online publications since 2005. She specializes in canine topics, previously working for the American Animal Hospital Association and receiving certification from the Certification Council for Professional Dog Trainers. Her articles have appeared in "USA Today," "The APDT Chronicle of the Dog" and "Every Dog Magazine." She also contributed a chapter in the book " Puppy Socialization - An Insider's Guide to Dog Behavioral Fitness" by Caryl Wolff.