Tramadol for Dogs

Tramadol, an effective opiate painkiller, is one of the few drugs prescribed to humans and dogs. Though its intended use is to treat injury-related pain, dog owners frequently abuse the drug for its fast-acting effects. Because tramadol is only available through prescription, abusers are known to abuse their dogs to receive it, increasing the number of abuse cases across the country.

In addition, as with any painkiller or medication, tramadol can pose health risks to dogs if used in unprescribed doses. To ensure their safety, it is important to understand the potential risks when administering medicine to your pet and how to properly use tramadol for dogs.

Tramadol for dogs
Tramadol is common opioid pain reliever used in veterinary medicine for dogs. Similar to its use in humans, tramadol is intended to treat acute and chronic pain attributed to conditions like cancer, surgery and arthritis. Tramadol also treats pain and discomfort associated with:

  • Nonsurgical intervertebral disc disease
  • Lameness
  • Anxiety
  • Depression
  • Coughing
  • Canine degenerative myelopathy, or extensive spinal cord disease
  • Other injury-related aches and pains

Tramadol is one of the few human drugs safe to prescribe to dogs under guided supervision. The drug binds to brain receptors to respond to pain. Unlike anti-inflammatory drugs, tramadol does not treat the source of the pain and is typically used in conjunction with other drugs or antibiotics.

Tramadol has its share of advantages, one of the most significant being that it is non-addictive. Unlike many opioid drugs, tramadol is safer for dogs because it doesn’t carry the risk of addiction. Also when used correctly, this opiate painkiller doesn’t pose many health concerns. The disadvantage is that dogs can grow tolerant to the drug after consistent use.

As with any drug, tramadol can also produce a number of side effects with dogs. Veterinarians urge dog owners to only give their pet what is prescribed. An excess of tramadol can lead to liver damage, overdose and death. Dogs are also prone to withdrawal symptoms if the medicine is removed too abruptly. Veterinarians encourage gradually tapering dogs off of tramadol as a safety precaution.

Tramadol use has also been attributed to seizures in dogs and humans. If your dog experiences a seizure or any other serious side effect, contact your veterinarian immediately. Other common side effects of tramadol include:

  • Sedation
  • Upset stomach
  • Blurred vision
  • Drowsiness
  • Dizziness
  • Constipation
  • Slowed heart rate
  • Convulsions
  • Trouble breathing
When abused, tramadol increases dopamine levels in the body and provides a state of euphoria to users. It is often illegally sold and recreationally used, so much that tramadol users have begun abusing their dogs to get it. Dogs are prescribed the drug to alleviate pain symptoms from minor to chronic ailments. In order to receive it, tramadol addicts will injure their dogs to receive a prescription from local veterinarians.

The scandal has become more prominent in recent years. Veterinarians and police officials have become more vigilant about these occurrences, taking the necessary precautions to make tramadol more difficult to receive. Some veterinary offices no longer carry the drug onsite and only provide the drug through absolute need and prescription.

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