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What is Ibuprofen Poisoning?

Most people have ibuprofen in their medicine cabinets, purses, drawers, or just somewhere in their house.  It is a common medication many of us take without a second thought which makes it one of the most common toxicities in pets.  While it isn’t harmful to the average person due to its wide margin of safety in people, a very small amount can be harmful to a dog.  Ibuprofen reduces production of inflammation but also reduces production of substances used to protect the lining of the stomach; this is what causes stomach ulcers in many toxicity cases.  Other side effects include other gastrointestinal distress, renal failure, and damage to the central nervous system.

Ibuprofen is a nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drug (NSAID) used to treat pain, fever, and inflammation in humans.  It is available in many generic forms, but the most common brand names include Advil, Midol, and Motrin.  If you see your pet consume the medication, you can induce vomiting to avoid the body beginning the absorption process, but if your pet ingests a significant amount or if you don’t realize it until some time has passed, you need to contact your vet immediately.

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Ibuprofen Poisoning Average Cost

From 58 quotes ranging from $500 - $6,000

Average Cost

$2,100

Symptoms of Ibuprofen Poisoning in Dogs

Some symptoms occur quickly, either immediately or within a few hours, such as vomiting and diarrhea.  Other symptoms may occur over time and you may not realize it, such as stomach ulcers.  Long term and short term symptoms include:

  • Vomiting
  • Diarrhea
  • Abdominal pain
  • Ataxia
  • Weakness
  • Tachycardia
  • Pale mucus membranes
  • Dyspnea
  • Agitation
  • Tremors
  • Seizures
  • Coma
  • Stomach ulcers
  • Renal failure
  • Depression of the central nervous system
  • Death

Types

Ibuprofen is the generic name of the drug.  However, it is a component of many drugs that go by another name; their trade name.  Advil, Motrin (children and adults), Midol, and some allergy medications are just a few.  However, the generic name of ‘ibuprofen’ legally has to be on the medication label, so if you are unsure it contains it, just look on the label.  Ibuprofen comes in both liquid and solid form.

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Causes of Ibuprofen Poisoning in Dogs

Ibuprofen is quickly absorbed after it is consumed and begins to inhibit the production of COX-1 enzymes.  COX-1 enzymes produce the protective layer of the stomach, help maintain renal blood flow, and help platelets to clot when needed.  Since ibuprofen works against and prevents the production of these things, that’s what makes it so dangerous to dogs.  Not to mention some forms of ibuprofen have an additional ingredient that makes it sweet to dogs, increasing the chance of ingestion.

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Diagnosis of Ibuprofen Poisoning in Dogs

If there is the slightest chance your dog got into ibuprofen, please contact your veterinarian immediately.  Your vet will conduct a physical exam looking for any of the side effects listed above.  Blood work might also be suggested to get a better assessment of the damage:

  • Complete blood count (CBC)
  • Chemistry panel
  • Urinalysis
  • Renal panel

 Bring the bottle with you when you go to your veterinarian so they know exactly what may have been consumed.

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Treatment of Ibuprofen Poisoning in Dogs

The outcome all depends on the amount of ibuprofen ingested and the reaction time.  If inducing vomiting doesn’t work, your veterinarian may give your pet activated charcoal at intervals throughout the day.  This will prevent the GI tract from absorbing the medication and hopefully prevent the advancement of side effects.  Some cases may require your pet to receive fluid therapy, flushing of the stomach, additional medications to treat the resulting side effects (anti-emetic, soothing medications for the stomach, etc.), blood transfusions in serious cases, and other supportive care.

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Recovery of Ibuprofen Poisoning in Dogs

If the ingestion of ibuprofen was discovered and treated in a relatively quick time, prognosis is good with proper treatment.  However, if you wait too long to take your pet to the veterinarian, or if they consumed more than their system can handle, it is possible treatment will fail.  The sooner you take your pet to the veterinarian, the higher your chances of a full recovery.

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Ibuprofen Poisoning Average Cost

From 58 quotes ranging from $500 - $6,000

Average Cost

$2,100

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Ibuprofen Poisoning Questions and Advice from Veterinary Professionals

Need pet health advice? Ask a vet

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Beagle

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Two Years

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Unknown severity

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3 found helpful

pill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filled

Unknown severity

Has Symptoms

I caught him chewing on an empty 200mg Advil liquigel. He weighs about 24 pounds (he’s taller than average, not fat)

March 4, 2021

Owner

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Dr. Michele K. DVM

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3 Recommendations

Thank you for your question. From your description, I'm not sure if your dog has a problem or not. There are many more details that I would need to know, like did they eat the capsule and is empty or was it empty and they ate it? When did this happen? How are they doing, is there any diarrhea or vomiting? The best thing to do may be to call your veterinarian or the nearest ER, and let them know what is going on, so that they can get the details needed to give you the right information. I hope that your dog is okay.

March 4, 2021

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Pug

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4 months

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Unknown severity

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1 found helpful

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Unknown severity

Has Symptoms

None Yet

I’m not positive but I think my puppy may have eaten an ibuprofen pill but I’m not 100% sure 😩😩😩about 10 minutes ago

Sept. 27, 2020

Owner

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Dr. Michele K. DVM

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1 Recommendations

Thank you for your question. I am sorry for the delay, this platform is not set up for urgent emails. I hope that your pup is okay and did not eat the pill. For future reference, it would be best for a possible toxin emergency to call either a 24 hour clinic in your area, or a Pet Poison Control Hotline, and have both your dogs weight and the name and strength of mediation or other possible thing that your dog may have eaten. They will be able to help you determine quickly whether you need to take action or whether things will be okay.

Oct. 10, 2020

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Ibuprofen Poisoning Average Cost

From 58 quotes ranging from $500 - $6,000

Average Cost

$2,100

Vet bills can sneak up on you.

Plan ahead. Get the pawfect insurance plan for your pup.

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