Prevalence of gastrointestinal lesions in dogs chronically treated with nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs

J Vet Intern Med. 2021 Mar;35(2):853-859. doi: 10.1111/jvim.16057. Epub 2021 Feb 3.


Background: Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) are the most common pharmaceutical associated with gastroduodenal ulceration and perforation. The prevalence of gastrointestinal (GI) injury associated with chronic use of NSAIDs in dogs is unknown.

Objective/hypothesis: To determine the prevalence of GI mucosal erosions in dogs receiving chronic treatment with NSAIDs. We hypothesized that dogs receiving NSAIDs would have more GI mucosal erosions and longer GI transit time than a control population.

Animals: Fourteen client-owned medium- and large-breed dogs receiving an NSAID for at least 30 days and 11 client-owned control dogs undergoing video capsule endoscopy (VCE) for evaluation of chronic GI disease.

Methods: Dogs were prospectively recruited after determining no clinically relevant comorbidities were present and VCE was performed. The GI transit time and the presence of mucosal lesions were recorded.

Results: Twelve dogs receiving NSAIDs and 11 retrospectively evaluated control dogs were included. The NSAIDs administered included carprofen (9 dogs), meloxicam (2 dogs), and firocoxib (1 dog) for a median of 6 months. Ten (83.3%; 95% confidence interval; 51.6%-97.9%) NSAID-treated dogs had GI erosions. Erosions were seen with all 3 NSAIDs in at least 1 dog. Three of 11 control dogs had gastric erosions. Dogs receiving NSAIDs had more erosions detected (P = .004).

Conclusions and clinical relevance: Subclinical GI erosions are more common in dogs receiving chronic treatment with NSAIDs than in control dogs with chronic GI disease, suggesting that NSAIDs be used with caution, particularly in dogs with comorbidities predisposing them to GI ulceration.

Keywords: NSAID; dog; gastrointestinal; video capsule endoscopy.

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Anti-Inflammatory Agents, Non-Steroidal* / adverse effects
  • Dogs
  • Meloxicam
  • Pharmaceutical Preparations*
  • Prevalence
  • Retrospective Studies


  • Anti-Inflammatory Agents, Non-Steroidal
  • Pharmaceutical Preparations
  • Meloxicam