DOI: 10.1111/vop.13145 ISSN:

Retrospective evaluation of the incidence of gastrointestinal bleeding in dogs receiving ophthalmic nonsteroidal anti‐inflammatory drugs

Laura R. Van Vertloo, Hannah M. Terhaar, Austin K. Viall, Rachel A. Allbaugh
  • General Veterinary



To report the incidence of gastrointestinal (GI) bleeding and associated risk factors in a population of dogs receiving ophthalmic nonsteroidal anti‐inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs).

Animal Studied

Medical records of dogs prescribed ophthalmic NSAIDs (cases), dogs receiving systemic NSAIDs alone and dogs receiving systemic prednisone alone (controls).


Data were collected retrospectively from the medical records of 204 dogs prescribed ophthalmic NSAIDs (diclofenac, ketorolac, or flurbiprofen), which were subdivided based on if they received any concurrent systemic NSAIDs or glucocorticoids, 136 dogs receiving a systemic NSAID (carprofen or meloxicam) alone, and 151 dogs receiving a systemic glucocorticoid (prednisone) alone at a referral hospital from 2015 to 2019.


Gastrointestinal bleeds developed in 8/79 (10.1%) of topical NSAID‐only cases, 10/136 (7.4%) of systemic NSAID controls, and 14/151 (9.3%) of systemic glucocorticoid controls, with no significant difference between the three groups (p = .6103). There were no significant differences in GI bleed rates between cases treated with ketorolac, diclofenac, or flurbiprofen (p = .160), although severe GI bleeding was only seen in ketorolac‐treated dogs. Presence of a known concurrent risk factor for GI bleeding was significantly associated with the development of GI bleed in dogs on ophthalmic NSAIDs (p = .032).


Dogs treated with ophthalmic NSAIDs developed GI bleeding at a frequency comparable to dogs receiving systemic NSAIDs or systemic glucocorticoids alone, suggesting that dogs receiving ophthalmic NSAIDs may be at increased risk of GI bleeding.

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