Previcox® for Dogs

Our canine friends are living longer than ever and age-related health problems are on the rise, such as osteoarthritis. Thankfully, there are products available that help dogs combat the pain and mobility issues associated with these “creeky joints.” Let’s take a look at a common pain medication for dogs: Previcox®.

What is Previcox®?

Previcox® is a COX-2 NSAID (non-steroidal anti-inflammatory) drug. The generic name is firocoxib. It is commonly used pain medication for dogs, as it helps to control inflammation and acts as an analgesic.

Two types of NSAIDs are on the market for dogs – COX-1 and COX-2 inhibitors. The majority of them are COX-1. These NSAIDs target precursors to inflammatory chemicals called prostaglandins. COX-1 NSAIDs typically target all types of prostaglandins in the body, while COX-2s are a little more specific. COX-2 drugs, like Previcox®, typically cause fewer digestive side effects.

Is Previcox® Right for My Dog?

It is commonly prescribed for arthritis, muscle or bone injury or for those recovering from surgery. Previcox® also has anti-tumor activity and may be used as a part of a chemotherapy protocol. Regardless of its intended use, before starting Previcox®, your veterinarian will perform an exam and some blood tests. These tests will help ensure that your dog’s kidney and liver function are adequate before starting Previcox®. Blood counts, called a CBC, are also important before starting Previcox®. If your dog takes Previcox® long-term, blood counts (ie. red blood cells, platelets) and organ function should be monitored every 3-6 months. If your dog suffers from a bleeding disorder, Previcox® is not likely to be appropriate.

Previcox® Side Effects May Include:

  • Anorexia
  • Diarrhea
  • Vomiting
  • Increases in liver enzyme levels
  • Increases in kidney blood values
  • Black stools
  • Lethargy
  • Abdominal discomfort

In healthy dogs, Previcox® has few side effects, but they are possible. Owners should be aware of any change in their dog’s appetite, stools or activity level after starting Previcox®. Owners should always let their veterinarian know what medications their dog is already taking before starting Previcox®. Certain drugs, such as steroids or heart medications, should not be taken with Previcox®.

Previcox® Dosage for Dogs

Dosing is based on the dog’s body weight and it is given by mouth once daily. Tablets are sold in 57mg and 227 mg sizes. Previcox® is a veterinary-only product; there is no human or veterinary generic equivalent at this time. An Equine product is available in a paste but it is not recommended for use in dogs. Previcox® is not recommended for puppies less than 7 months of age. Safety in pregnant or lactating dogs is unknown.

Additional Pain Management with Previcox®

Many older dogs with osteoarthritis experience a much improved quality of life after starting NSAIDs like Previcox®. Previcox® alone may control symptoms of mild and moderate arthritis.

For dogs with severe arthritis or neurologic pain, Previcox® can be combined with other pain drugs such as Tramadol or Gabapentin. Multi-modal approaches to pain management can also include glucosaminoglycans (ie. glucosamine), acupuncture, massage and physiotherapy.

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