Research roundup: How does chronic anti-inflammatory medication treatment impact the gastrointestinal health of dogs?

March 15, 2021

Mild gastrointestinal erosions are more common in dogs treated with anti-inflammatory medications (NSAIDs) over a long period of time than in control dogs with chronic gastrointestinal (GI) disease, according to a recent study led by Tracy Hill, DVM, DACVIM, PhD, DECVIM. NSAIDs are the pharmaceutical most associated with gastroduodenal ulceration and perforation in dogs. However, the prevalence of GI injury associated with chronic use of NSAIDs in dogs is unknown. So, the research team set out to determine the prevalence of GI erosions in dogs receiving chronic treatment with NSAIDs. Ten of the 12 NSAID-treated client-owned medium- and large-breed dogs enrolled in the study had GI erosions, whereas only three of 11 control dogs had gastric erosions. The 10 dogs receiving NSAIDs that had lesions also had more erosions detected than the three control dogs with erosions. Since the lesions that emerged in this study were subclinical in all dogs, and none were known to later develop clinical signs of ulceration, the scientists do not recommend that veterinarians withhold NSAIDs for dogs requiring pain control, or that veterinarians administer all NSAIDs alongside gastroprotectants. Overall, the study suggests the prevalence of NSAID‐induced erosions is higher than scientists previously expected. The researchers suggest that veterinarians prescribe NSAIDs with caution, particularly in dogs with comorbidities predisposing them to GI ulceration.

Read more in the paper published February 3 in the Journal of Internal Veterinary Medicine.

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