Life is Good – Rimadyl Toxicity Part 3

Today marks the one year anniversary of the day we nearly lost Billy to an accidental mega-overdose of Rimadyl. I was out of town when it happened, but thanks to Rich’s early detection and immediate response, and the skill and dedication of the doctors and staff at PetCare in Santa Rosa, he is alive and well today. And competing in agility (!), despite the gloom-and-doom kidney damage warnings we received when he was discharged. I summarized the 8 days of hell and the journey back in two previous posts: Rimadyl Toxicity – I wish I weren’t an expert, and The Journey from Hell to Healthy.

What am I feeding him now?

Our Internist has cleared him to return to adult food, but I have chosen to keep feeding him the Innova Senior food for two reasons: first, he had a mild weight problem when this whole thing started so I want to keep him from getting chunky; and second, that’s what my senior Border Collie eats so it’s just easier. I have, however, loosened up a little on the treat restrictions. I still keep the Phosphorus guidelines in mind so I avoid organ meat and bone meal, and with the exception of low-fat string cheese (because it’s so convenient), I opt for higher-fat versions of proteins when possible.

Update 10/28/13: My trust in Innova began to wane when they were bought by P&G, and following the recent salmonella scares and resultant recalls, I decided to switch. I repeated my Phosphorus research and landed on Wellness Super5 Chicken – 1.97 g/kcal of P. And our other dogs, a senior Border Collie and a tends-to-plump-up Rat-ihuahua, are now eating Wellness Senior.

Back to Agility

We began his conditioning and returned to training classes as soon as he got cleared by the Internist (about 6 weeks post illness) and he ran in competition 6 weeks later. He was fit and happy and showed no signs of any weakness or illness. Here’s a video from last weekend – happy, healthy, and fast! When he runs like this, it’s hard to remember that just a year ago we weren’t at all sure that he’d ever be able to compete again even if he survived.

What Will The Future Bring?

The damage is there and we may face chronic problems down the road. Since old dogs have kidney problems anyway, it will be hard to tell what is normal aging and what is accelerated by this injury. Nobody knows for sure. So we’ll continue to use good sense in feeding him, monitor his bloodwork every 6-12 months, ensure he always has access to fresh water, and enjoy every day that he’s alive.

Please, Protect Your Dogs

I’m using this milestone to remind my friends to take adequate steps (and after you read the original story, you might want to rethink what that means) to protect their dogs from ALL toxic threats. There is a frightening amount of stuff in our human world that is horribly toxic for dogs. Sadly, I know first-hand of  dogs who have died following ingestion of human medication and hops from a home-brewing supply. Most of us know about the “bad” food items like grapes/raisins, dark chocolate, onions, and macadamia nuts. But how many know that a common (and frequently unlabeled) artificial sweetener can kill them? Yep, Billy lived through that too – please read Xylitol Toxicity – Chewing gum IS bad for dogs. I can think of at least two friends whose dogs ingested toxic doses of Rimadyl AFTER Billy’s nightmare. So lock it up, put it up, or give it up – please don’t trust them to make good decisions.

7 Responses to Life is Good – Rimadyl Toxicity Part 3

  1. Thanks again for all the info you’ve posted on these things.

  2. Holly Davis says:

    Thanks so much for posting this. My 4 year old Dane is in the emergency vet hospital tonight after ingesting 28 of her 100mg Rimadyl tabs. She’s never been a counter surfer so we were, in retrospect, amazingly irresponsible and left the meds where she could get them..Your ordeal both terrifies me and gives me hope that my girl will come through this.

  3. agilepooch says:

    Your girl is young, big, and presumably otherwise healthy. And it sounds like you got her to definitive care very quickly, In other words, everything is in your favor for a good outcome. I have other friends whose dogs have survived similar episodes. I’m sending all my best wishes for a full and speedy recovery.

  4. Donna Peremes says:

    My dog is presently in the ER with a Rimadyl overdose, and your blog posts have made it much easier for me to deal with this. He’s a rescue dog with health problems. I’m not sure how much he consumed because it was an old prescription he managed to nose his way into. I’m hoping for the best and your blog posts have helped enormously. Thank you!

  5. Shannon says:

    My dog is in the hospital with Rimadyl overdose as well. She took 6 of her 25 mg prescription and she weighs 6 kg. The doctor gave me all the possible health issues she would face. After reading your posts, I am very encouraged. I hope Francesc will be fine.

  6. Carissa Alexander says:

    Reading your posts both terrified me and gave me hope. My two black labs are currently at the vet undergoing treatment for 29 ingested pills. No one was home when the incident occurred so to be cautious we took them both in. I’m sure one sister is cursing the other for this. I was extremely shaken by the event and not at all optimistic knowing that close to 3,000mgs were ingested by possibly one dog despite getting them to the vet within max of two and a half hours. Yours is one of the first and few posts I’ve stumbled upon that offers initial insight as well as prognosis and semi longterm results. Thank you for sharing and calming this dog mom’s thoughts if even just for a few minutes.

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