Rimadyl is a commonly prescribed medication for dogs to help alleviate pain and inflammation related to osteoarthritis.  Rimadyl is an NSAID (non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drug) similar to aspirin and can be prescribed for short-term or long-term use.

Overdose – how does it happen?
Rimadyl tastes terrific to dogs.  The chewable tablets are liver flavored and dogs have no qualms about taking them.  Pet owners often refer to the medication as a treat.  Just reach for the bottle and your canine friend will start salivating and prance around like a puppy.  If left within reach of your dog he/she will find very creative ways of getting that bottle open and ingesting the remaining contents.  But therein lies the problem.  Rimadyl is not a treat.  In fact, when a dog ingests too much Rimadyl the results can be life threatening.

Rimadyl toxicity can also happen even if the prescribed dosage is given.  Sometimes after being on the drug an animal will develop a sensitivity and will exhibit the same symptoms as an overdose.  It is important to bring your pet to the veterinarian immediately if you suspect or witness your dog ingesting more than the prescribed daily dosage of Rimadyl, or if you recognize signs of a developed toxicity to the medication.

Signs of Overdose/Toxicity

  • Gastrointestinal symptoms include nausea, loss of appetite, vomiting, diarrhea, melena (black, tarry stools), and abdominal pain.
  • Damage to the kidneys may cause signs of acute kidney failure such as increased thirst, increased urination, vomiting, diarrhea, loss of appetite, lethargy and dilute urine (lighter in color).
  • Symptoms associated with damage to the liver include jaundiced skin, gums, inside of ears, and sclera (whites of the eyes) as well as vomiting, diarrhea, loss of appetite and lethargy.

MobileVet.net also has a very comprehensive feature about Rimadyl on their website.  PetPlace has a great article on all the specifics of drug reactions and signs of Rimadyl overdose.  

Depending on the timing, your pet may be given medication to cause it to vomit followed by activated charcoal to absorb any remaining medication in the stomach.  The main concern with Rimadyl is damage to the kidneys or liver.  Your pet will be placed on IV fluids to flush the liver and kidneys and eliminate the drug from the animal’s body.  Multiple blood tests are performed over the length of hospitalization to evaluate the red and white blood cell counts, BUN, and creatinine levels.  Each of these values indicates whether the treatment is decreasing the toxicity and if the liver and kidneys are working correctly.

The moral of the story…make sure Rimadyl is in a secure “dog proof” location.