Over-the-counter nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) such as ibuprofen, naproxen, and aspirin represent a leading cause of toxicoses in small animals. What is their common mechanism of action?
A. Bone marrow suppression B. Smooth muscle contraction C. Prostaglandin synthesis inhibition D. Vasodilation of renal vessels
Prostaglandin synthesis inhibition-prostaglandins are chemicals that mediate an array of normal physiologic functions such as platelet aggregation, renal blood flow, and gastric acid production. in addition, they protect the cells lining the gastrointestinal (gi) tract from noxious chemicals. when over-the-counter nsaids are mistakenly given or accidentally ingested in large quantities, they work to inhibit prostaglandin synthesis, which can potentially lead to a myriad of life-threatening problems such as gi ulceration, clotting abnormalities, and kidney failure.
it is important to note that the toxic dose of any nsaid can vary between animals depending on individual sensitivities, and actual manifestation of clinical signs (melena, vomiting, etc) can be delayed by up to 4 days following ingestion. this being said, many owners do not seek out veterinary care unless clinical signs are present and only after the damage has already been done. thus, it is important to recommend to clients who may have administered or suspect that their animals have ingested any nsaid that their animal be seen immediately for a consultation.