PetMeds® Amantadine: A New Pain Relief Option for Dogs and Cats?

The topic of pain relief is one of the biggest areas of modern conventional veterinary medicine.  Dogs and cats can often suffer from progressive degenerative joint and spinal disorders that can cause great discomfort and interfere with the quality of life in both dogs and cats. The cornerstone of treatment of chronic pain in dogs and cats in recent years has centered around the use of nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs such as Rimadyl, Deramaxx, and Previcox in dogs and Metacam and Ketoprofen in cats. Other drugs of the opioid class such as prescription Buprenex and Tramadol have also been used in recent years in aging pets with chronic pain. NSAID pet meds have long been a popular method of treatment for many pet owners with pets suffering from pain

Nutritional therapies with glucosamine/chondroitin supplements such as Super Joint Enhancer or the Glyco-Flex products, as well as omega-3 fatty acids can also help as adjunctive therapies. Alternative therapies such as chiropractic, acupuncture, osteopathy, and physical therapy also offer animal guardians additional options. Recently, however, there has been increasing interest and use in both dogs and to a lesser extent in cats of the drug known as Amantadine, which blocks pain by binding to what are known as NMDA receptors.  While it was first developed as an antiviral drug and to treat drug reactions that affect coordination, veterinarians have recently been increasingly using it in animals whose pain is not sufficiently controlled with nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs and opioid derivatives such as Tramadol or Buprenex.

A recent study in dogs showed that the ability to perform every day activities was significantly improved by the addition of Amantadine to the nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory regimen that the dogs were already on.  Experts suggest perhaps decreasing the dose in pets with reduced kidney function, but the only significant side effects appear to be agitation or diarrhea on rare cases.   This is definitely a prescription medication that may come to play a key role in managing chronic pain in dogs and possibly cats in the future.

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129 Comments

  1. Oh…so that’s her history, huh? Odd story about the compression fracture, being so young & all. In any event, I doubt that the Tramadol would cause withdrawal. From my own personal experience? I was prescribed Tramadol post-op, when they wouldn’t give me any more Vicodon. Tee-hee. (Ankle bone & tendon surgery.) I took it for a few weeks and noticed nothing when I ran out & quit taking it. From what I can tell…Tramadol is a bit more effective than say, plain old Ibuprofen…but with far less side-effects & dependency risks than other pain meds prescribed. My Doxie was on Tramadol for a week or two…then stopped, by the way. Prednisone has been the only med I’ve run into, requiring gradually lowered dosing. Merely my opinion, but I don’t think you’re doing or have done her any harm. ; ) Perhaps Dr. Dym will weigh in on this shortly, and give you his opinion.

    • I have a ten year old German Shepard. He has osteoarthritis and he has been on Carpaquin – can he also take Amantadine to help with the pain. Are they the same meds? Can they be used together to provide pain relief?

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  5. Dr. Michael Dym, VMD veterinarianJune 19, 2010 at 9:43 pm · Reply

    You are very welcome. Please pass this information and resource of pet information on to your family and friends.

  6. Dr. Michael Dym, VMD veterinarianJune 19, 2010 at 9:44 pm · Reply

    Thanks. Please pass info on to family and friends.

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