Tramadol for dogs is used to treat moderate to severe and/or chronic pain. This is a prescribed medication that cannot be legally purchased over-the counter in the United States. Tramadol works similar to morphine in that it adheres to and blocks receptors to the brain that transmit the feeling of pain in the body. Although it is safe in most cases, Tramadol use in dogs can have side effects.
Uses of Tramadol in Dogs
Prescribed mainly as a pain medication, Tramadol is often given to dogs for various ailments like arthritis. Tramadol helps reduce inflammation thus offers pain relief for such ailments. Tramadol is often used as an alternative to non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) that are often dangerous to dogs. In humans, NSAIDs are known to heighten the risk of stomach ulcerations and internal bleeding.
In some cases, Tramadol can give a feeling of euphoria which may lessen the feelings of anxiety and depression in dogs. According to PubMed Health, “Tramadol is in a class of medications called opiate agonists.” In some states like Arkansas, Ohio, and Wyoming, this drug is classified as a “controlled substance” and cannot be legally shipped into those states via online pet pharmacies. Tramadol and its generic forms have also been prescribed for post-surgery pain and pain associated with different types of cancer.
Application of Tramadol
Tramadol is prescribed in tablet form and should be taken whole and not crushed. The tablet should be taken orally with food and according to the prescribing veterinarian’s instructions. Tramadol is not a long-lasting drug and is sometimes prescribed for taking multiple times throughout the day.
Side Effects of Tramadol in Dogs
Vetinfo.com lists various unpleasant side effects that can occur while a dog takes Tramadol. Mild side effects include nausea, vomiting, constipation, dizziness, drowsiness, and panting however; a dog on Tramadol may also experience a drop in heart rate and constricted pupils. Should a dog take more than prescribed (overdose), the side effects can include seizures, tremors, and hallucinations. Tramadol can be addictive with abrupt withdrawal side effects that include anxiety, insomnia, nausea, and tremors.
Other side effects of Tramadol use in dogs often correlate with the use of other medications. A combination of Tramadol and Prozac increases the chances of seizures. Other medications that can interact with Tramadol include tranquilizers, narcotics, and anesthetics.
When used correctly, Tramadol is recognized as a safe and reliable pain treatment for dogs. Before providing a dog with Tramadol, inform the prescribing vet about all medications the dog is currently taking. Should a dog experience abnormal behaviors while taking Tramadol, contact the prescribing veterinarian immediately.