Although non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) are effective in reducing pain and inflammation, these agents have adverse effects. Selective inhibitors of COX-2 are an alternative to traditional NSAIDs. Deramaxx [Novartis Animal Health US, Inc. (NAH), Greensboro, NC, USA] contains the selective COX-2 inhibitor, deracoxib, and is approved for the relief of pain and inflammation associated with orthopedic surgery and osteoarthritis in dogs. The safety of Deramaxx was evaluated in two target animal safety studies: 40 dogs (four dogs/sex/group) received 0, 4, 6, 8, or 10 mg/kg/day deracoxib once daily for 21 days; and 60 dogs (five dogs/sex/group) received 0, 2, 4, 6, 8, or 10 mg/kg/day deracoxib once daily for 6 months. There was a dose-dependent trend towards increased blood urea nitrogen (BUN) in treated dogs, however mean BUN values remained within the reference range at the labeled doses. In both trials, histopathology revealed focal renal tubular degeneration/regeneration in some dogs receiving >or=6 mg/kg/day deracoxib. Focal renal papillary necrosis was seen in one dog treated with 8 mg/kg/day and in three dogs receiving 10 mg/kg/day deracoxib on the 6-month study. No other parameters of renal function were adversely affected for either study. Results show that Deramaxx is safe and well-tolerated in dogs when administered as directed.