By Rania Gollakner, BS, DVM, MPH

What is ketoprofen?

Ketoprofen (brand names: Ketofen®, Anafen®, Orudis®, Rhovail®, Rhodis®, Oruvail®) is a non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drug (NSAID) used to treat pain and inflammation, as well as to control fever in companion animals only; it is not used in farmed animals.

Its use in cats, dogs, horses, small mammals, other large animals, birds, and exotic animals to treat pain and inflammation is ‘off label’ or ‘extra label’ in the United States. Many drugs are commonly prescribed for off label use in veterinary medicine. In these instances, follow your veterinarian’s directions and cautions very carefully as their direction may be significantly different from those on the label.

How is ketoprofen given?

Ketoprofen is given by mouth in the form of a tablet or capsule. It may also be compounded in to an oral liquid to be given by mouth. It can also be given by injection in the hospital setting. Give ketoprofen with food. Measure liquid forms carefully. Do not administer to cats for more than a few days. This medication will take effect quickly, in about 1 to 2 hours, and improvement in clinical signs should follow.

What if I miss giving my pet the medication?

If you miss a dose, give it when you remember, but if it is close to the time for the next dose, skip the dose you missed and give it at the next scheduled time, and return to the regular dosing schedule. Never give your pet two doses at once or give extra doses.

Are there any potential side effects?

Side effects in dogs and cats may include vomiting, diarrhea, and lack of appetite. In horses, lack of appetite, stomach pain, weight loss, low energy, gastrointestinal ulceration, and mild liver inflammation may occur. Serious side effects include persistent vomiting and/or diarrhea, black tarry stools or blood in the stools, incoordination, weakness, seizures, aggression, yellow skin or eyes, skin rash, or changes in appetite, urination, or drinking habits.

This moderate-acting medication should stop working in a few days, although effects can be longer in pets with liver or kidney disease.

Are there any risk factors for this medication?

Do not use this medication in pets that are allergic to it or other NSAIDs, in horses used for breeding, or in pets using other NSAIDs. Use ketoprofen with extreme caution if at all in pets with gastrointestinal ulceration or in pets with kidney, liver, or heart dysfunction. Use cautiously in pets with low blood protein levels or bleeding problems. Ketoprofen should be used cautiously in very young, old, frail, dehydrated, lactating or pregnant pets, especially during the last trimester. Use cautiously in cats, and do not use more than a few days.

Are there any drug interactions I should be aware of?

The following medications should be used with caution when given with ketoprofen: angiotensin-converting enzyme (ACE) inhibitors, aminoglycosides, anticoagulants, aspirin, bisphosphonates, corticosteroids, cyclosporine, digoxin, diuretics, fluconazole, highly protein bound drugs, methotrexate, probenecid, selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs), or tricyclic antidepressants.

Be sure to tell your veterinarian about any medications (including vitamins, supplements, or herbal therapies) that your pet is taking.

This medication may interact with certain laboratory tests, such as glucose, bilirubin, or iron tests.

Is there any monitoring that needs to be done with this medication?

Your veterinarian may monitor your pet to be sure that the medication is working. Monitor your pet at home for serious side effects. If using long-term, your veterinarian may monitor liver and kidney function periodically.

How do I store ketoprofen?

Store the capsules at room temperature between 59°F and 96°F (15°C and 30°C), protected from light and moisture. For compounded formulations, follow the storage directions on the label.

What should I do in case of emergency?

If you suspect an overdose or an adverse reaction to the medication, call your veterinary office immediately. If they are not available, follow their directions in contacting an emergency facility.