Welcome to your complete guide to Cartrophen for dogs. In this article we will let you know what to expect in terms of side effects, help you out with information on dosages, and answer those important questions you forgot to ask the veterinarian.
Cartrophen For Dogs
Arthritis is an unpleasant condition. It’s painful, uncomfortable and it restricts your ability to move. And it is arguably even worse for our dogs. They have no way of clearly communicating the pain they’re experiencing, or how they want us to change our behavior around them to help.
We’re therefore relieved when we hear about a treatment that could remedy this pain long term. Unfortunately, this is often followed quickly by frustration as given very limited information about how such treatments work, what to expect and why it was chosen. This can often leave us disillusioned and wondering if they’re a good idea.
Horror stories about various medications can also make us understandably hesitant about using a new drug on our pets. So what is Cartrophen for dogs? Why has it been prescribed to our pet, how is it supposed to work, and how much does Cartrophen for dogs cost? We’ll look into the answers to these questions and a few more in today’s article. First, let’s establish what Cartrophen for dogs is.
What is Cartrophen for dogs?
Cartrophen-vet is a brand name for the, slightly less catchy, active ingredient Pentosan-polysufate-sodium.
This drug is used to treat osteoarthritis in dogs, but also in cats and horses. This is not to be confused with Carprofen, an anti inflammatory with a very similar name that is, confusingly, also used to treat the same condition.
Osteoarthritis is a condition that causes progressive joint pain, pain that gets worse and worse without intervention, and typically occurs in older dogs. It’s an incredibly complex collection of symptoms, some aspects of which we don’t yet fully understand. It’s also the most common kind of arthritis, and a condition many readers will be all too familiar with.
This ailment starts with the breakdown of cartilage. This spongy material helps to shield both dogs’ and humans’ joints from the stress of impacts. A dog with osteoarthritis finds itself unable to properly maintain this cartilage leading to the aforementioned breakdown. As this layer of defense fails the other cushioning material in their joints, synovial fluid, starts to fail as well and the joint becomes inflamed. This inflammation, along with the lack of adequate cushioning, can cause severe pain on movement that gets gradually worse and worse.
This is where Cartrophen for dogs comes in.
Cartrophen for dogs with osteoarthritis
As an anti-arthritic agent, Cartrophen for dogs claims to halt and even reverse the effects, reducing pain by remedying its cause. This isn’t said without evidence either, a 1996 study on petosan polysulphate showed its ability to improve dog’s willingness to exercise, and reduce joint pain. So if your pooch has been booked in for a dog arthritis injection, Cartrophen is likely the drug at work.
Osteoarthritis is the only condition for which the manufacturer recommends using Cartrophen for dogs. Vets will therefore make sure that this is the cause of your dog’s joint pain. This is one of the reasons this medicine is prescription only. It would be easy for a dog owner to assume the wrong condition was at fault, and prescribe a useless or potentially dangerous treatment.
Forms of Cartrophen
So, what form will my dog receive Cartrophen in? Do Cartrophen tablets for dogs exist? Cartrophen is a prescription only veterinary drug that usually administered subcutaneously, that is to say by injection. It is available in oral capsule form as well in some countries, although most experts agree this is not the best way to administer this drug. Most of the successful veterinary trials of Cartrophen for dogs have involved injections, not tablet use.
The issue of precision is also worth noting here. The most effective dose of Cartrophen needs to be quite carefully calculated, we’ll go into that a bit later. Capsules are usually 100mg. This could, depending on the weight of your dog, leave you quite far of the mark.
The cost of Cartrophen for dogs in the form of an injection is likely to be more than the capsule. You’ll be paying for your vet’s time as well. It seems worth it though, to ensure the best possible treatment for your beloved pooch. So, how do Cartrophen shots for dogs work?
Cartrophen injections for dogs
Cartrophen for dogs is injected by your vet in a similar way to vaccinations. The procedure itself is quick and no more unpleasant than your dog’s routine inoculations against diseases.
The pentosan polysulfate containing liquid is measured out precisely by a vet, and administered by them. Due to the nature of this treatment and potential overdoses, not to mention the inherent danger of an inexperienced person performing injections, it’s not something that can be done at home.
This is though, when carried out by a vet, the course of action that seems most recommended by the company themselves. There are great reviews out there from numerous dog owners. But we should always take individual Cartrophen injections for dogs reviews with a pinch of salt, people can be biased or misinformed. The body of evidence is what makes vets confident that Cartrophen will work.
How frequently to give Cartrophen to dogs
A typical course of Cartrophen for dogs will run four weeks, with one injection every week. This is more difficult to get wrong than the more familiar courses of tablets. Rather than remembering to give a pill twice a day, we instead have a weekly vet visit for a month. Cartrophen injections for dogs cost a different amount depending on the country you live in, and sometimes the individual vet.
The positive effects of this treatment have been shown in studies, but they won’t appear straight away. Like most effective treatments this is not a quick fix. Improvement will probably be visible after the second weekly injection, but may take longer.
At each injection your vet should check your dog for symptoms and improvement, and will likely also ask you if you’ve noticed any difference yourself. Vets should, however, always back this up by testing flexibility and activity themselves. Sometimes just thinking your dog is getting the treatment he needs can cause your to bear false witness. After the course is completed the positive effects can last for a year, but it can be shorter. Treating arthritis is about maintenance and pain management, there is no real cure.
So, we know about the potential benefits. But what are the risks? Let’s look at Cartrophen for dogs’ side effects.
Cartrophen for dogs side effects
Medicine is rarely without side effects and potential risks, Cartrophen is no exception. While taking Cartrophen, dogs can experience a few unintended effects. With Cartrophen injections for dogs side effects are usually mild but still worth noting.
The more common side effects can include vomiting, diarrhea, lethargy, and anorexia. As with most drugs these effects should go away given a little time, but nonetheless are still enough to concern owners.
Due to the potential to upset your pet’s stomach it’s essential to keep him well hydrated while he undergoes a course of Cartrophen for dogs. The potential for lethargy and anorexia does make this medicine a little different from some others in terms of side effects. Once the course is complete your dogs full appetite should return, but if it doesn’t it might be best to talk to your vet.
More serious side effects of Cartrophen in dogs are occasionally reported, like nasal bleeding and blood in the stool. If you notice either of these it’s best to get in touch with your vet straight away. Symptoms like these might be minor, but could indicate internal bleeding. It’s important to point out that these effects are very rare.
It’s worth mentioning that, if you are giving your dog any other medication, you should make your vet aware. Vets are very cautious about using this drug on animals taking any drugs that effect blood clotting or blood pressure in general. It’s also suggested against for dogs close to the time of surgery.
Should this put me off Cartrophen for dogs?
We don’t think so, no! Side effects are scary, the last thing we want is for medicine to make our dog more unwell. However, it’s worth bearing in mind that osteoarthritis can cause a huge amount of suffering, and it’s in the nature of this kind of condition that treating it incurs risk. Cartrophen in particular is actually especially safe, with side effects appearing relatively rarely.
The best thing we can do is continue to follow our vets’ advice, and educate ourselves, so we can spot when something has gone wrong and let them know. So how much Cartrophen will my dog be given? And what’s the right amount?
Cartrophen dose for dogs
Making sure the dose is right is a top priority whenever a vet is administering medicine. Too much may increase the negative effects, and too little might not help the condition at all. Fortunately a lot of research is done into these drugs, so that vets know the most effective safe amount to prescribe.
The standard Cartrophen dose for dogs is 3mg per kg of weight. This isn’t a randomly assigned value, a lot of work has been done to make sure this is the most effective dose. Studies point to slightly less (1mg) and slightly more (5mg) producing less favorable results.
So, can dogs overdose on Cartrophen? While possible, situations render this eventuality incredibly unlikely. Cartrophen for dogs is usually delivered by injection, meaning the only people who handle it and dose it out are vets. There’s no opportunity with this method of treatment for dogs to eat a whole pack of pills.
Not much is known about the effects of a Cartrophen overdose. The controlled way in which it is used, most, of the time means that we really don’t have any information on how an excess would effect a dog. Some veterinary sources claim that a very large overdose could result in damage to the liver, internal bleeding and a very upset stomach. There’s not a body of research to draw on here though, so there are a lot of unknowns.
Lets review and look back to the main question, is Cartrophen right for your dog?
Cartrophen for dogs
Most arthritic dogs treated with Cartrophen seem to show improvement. This makes this treatment one of the best tools we have to combat the chronic pain caused by osteoarthritis. This pain is what makes drugs like this necessary. Failure to provide adequate care can leave an arthritic dog suffering and unable to move properly.
We all know dogs love to run about, even late into life, so anything that inhibits this is something we need to take measures against. Cartrophen injections in dogs may have the ability to mitigate these horrible effects.
There will always be risks no matter what we’re treating our dogs for, but it’s always important to keep in mind what we’re trying to prevent. Cartrophen side effects in dogs are usually very mild, and definitely worth risking to keep away the awful suffering arthritis can induce. Scientific ‘Cartrophen for dogs’ reviews have shown that this treatment usually brings dogs back comfort they would have sorely missed.
What’s your experience using Cartrophen-vet? Let us know in the comments below!
- What is Cartrophen, Cartrophen website
- Cartrophen-vet summary of product characteristics DEFRA Nov. 2014
- Canine Osteoarthritis: Understanding the etiology, clinical presentation, and diagnosis S. C. Budsberg DVM, MS, DACVS
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- Cartrophen vet safety and efficacy
- Plumb’s Veterinary Drug Handbook 7th edition, D. C. Plumb 2011
- Safety of Cartrophen Vet in the dog: review of adverse reaction reports in the UK R. L. Hannon et al
- A multicentre clinical study of the efficacy of sodium pentosan polysulfate and carprofen in canine osteoarthritis (osteoarthrosis), J. G. Smith
- Systematic review of clinical trials of treatments for osteoarthritis in dogs C. L. Aragon et al