The quality of life for dogs with osteoarthritis can often be improved with nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs); however, the number of adverse drug events associated with NSAID use reported to the Federal Drug Administration Center for Veterinary Medicine is higher than that for any other companion animal drug. Of those events, adverse renal reactions are the second most reported. NSAIDs produce pharmacologic effects via inhibition of cyclooxygenase (COX), which decreases production of prostanoids. Prostaglandins are synthesized by both the COX-1 and COX-2 enzymes in the healthy kidney and influence renal blood flow, glomerular filtration rate, renin release, and Na excretion. There are important species differences in the renal expression of COX-1 and COX-2. For example, dogs have higher basal levels of COX-2 expression in the kidney compared with humans. In addition, in dogs with chronic kidney disease, an increase in COX-2 expression occurs and synthesis of prostaglandins shifts to the COX-2 pathway. For those reasons, NSAIDs that target COX-2 may be expected to adversely affect renal function in dogs, especially dogs with chronic kidney disease. The purpose of this review was to evaluate the literature to report the renal effects of NSAIDs in dogs.

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