Is Tramadol Used Also For Dogs?

Tramadol Hydrochloride, a narcotic-like analgesic originally developed by Grünenthal GmbH for human use is also being prescribed by veterinarians not just for canines but also for felines. This centrally acting opiate analgesic introduced in the 1970s used to treat moderate to moderately severe pain in humans has been proven to benefit man’s best friend by decreasing the pain they feel for cases like arthritic bouts and post surgery.

Its exact working of the drug inside the human body is still quite a blur for scientists. However, it has purportedly known that it has weak agonist actions at the mu-opioid receptors, responsible for the analgesic and euphoric effects. It also releases serotonin into the blood and inhibits reuptake of norepinephrine, also increasing its concentration in the blood. These chemicals help decrease the pain signals transmitted to the brain and can change the mood—some euphoric effects to be exact.

As for its pharmacokinetics in canines, even less is known since in-depth studies haven’t been undertaken or is not abundant in number. All the veterinarians know is that the drug produces positive effects in these animals and is very beneficial to them if specific instructions are followed religiously. Otherwise, like any other drug, it can have its risks, complications and side effects.

Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) have been very popular among veterinarians in treating animal pain and inflammation. This works by inhibiting an enzyme called cyclo-oxygenase (COX), which is responsible for production of an array of inflammatory bio-chemicals. By suppressing this enzyme, the chemicals needed to cause inflammation, thereby pain, are held up. However, this is not advisable for long term use since COX does play a role in maintaining health by producing needed chemicals. This is where Tramadol HCl comes in.

The Veterinary Anesthesia & Analgesia Support Group has stated that depending on the analgesic needs, the starting dose of the analgesic for a dog can be as low as 1-2 milligrams for every kilogram of the dog’s weight and can be administered 2 times a day. It can also go as much as 5 milligrams per kilogram of a dog’s weight and can be given at shorter intervals for as often as 4 times during the day.

This is explained by the Vet Tech blog that the lower drug dosage is used for animals that require management for chronic pain. On the other hand, the higher dose is used for dogs in need of immediate relief from pain, as in the case of an animal post-op.

Side effects of the drug are considered rare. But for the sake of completeness, they are included in the article. You’ll sometimes see gastrointestinal distress such as diarrhea and constipation. Panting and constriction of the pupil have also been heard of. Heart rate may also be decreased. Seizures, bizarre behavior, pinpoint pupils are signs and symptoms of drug overdose. If you see these in your pet, seek professional help.

Seventy percent of the drug is excreted from a dog’s body through the liver. The remaining thirty percent is flushed out through the kidneys into the urine. If your pet has problems in one of these organs, your veterinarian will most likely reduce the dose. Tramadol does not pass into the mammary glands and has been found feasible as pain reliever for lactating bitches.