By Lauren Forsythe, PharmD, DICVP; Rania Gollakner, BS, DVM, MPH

What is ketoprofen?

Ketoprofen (brand names: Ketofen®, Anafen®) is a nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drug (NSAID) used to treat pain and inflammation, and to control fever in companion animals only; it is not used in farmed animals.

Its use in cats, dogs, horses, small mammals, other large animals, birds, and exotic animals to treat pain and inflammation is “off label” or “extra label” in the United States. Many drugs are commonly prescribed for off-label use in veterinary medicine. In these instances, follow your veterinarian’s directions and cautions very carefully, as they may be significantly different from those on the label.

How is ketoprofen given?

  • Ketoprofen is given by mouth in the form of a tablet or capsule. 
  • It may also be compounded into an oral liquid to be given by mouth. 
  • It can also be given by injection in the hospital. 
  • Give ketoprofen with food. 
  • Measure liquid forms carefully. 
  • Do not administer to cats for more than a few days. 

This medication will take effect quickly, in about 1 to 2 hours, and improvement in clinical signs should follow.

What if I miss giving my pet the medication?

If you miss a dose, give it when you remember. However, if it is close to the time for the next dose, skip the dose you missed, give it at the next scheduled time, and return to the regular dosing schedule. Never give your pet two doses at once or give extra doses.

Are there any potential side effects?

Like other NSAIDs, ketoprofen can affect the gastrointestinal tract with the following side effects:

  • vomiting
  • diarrhea
  • lack of appetite

In horses, the following side effects may occur:

  • lack of appetite
  • stomach pain
  • weight loss
  • low energy
  • gastrointestinal ulceration
  • mild liver inflammation

SERIOUS ADVERSE REACTIONS associated with this drug may occur without warning and could, in rare cases, lead to death. If any of the following signs develop, stop giving ketoprofen and contact your veterinarian immediately: 

  • persistent vomiting
  • persistent diarrhea
  • black, tarry stools
  • blood in the stools
  • incoordination
  • weakness
  • seizures
  • aggression
  • yellow skin or eyes
  • skin rash
  • changes in appetite, urination, or drinking habits

Never give ketoprofen prescribed for one pet in your household to another pet without first consulting your veterinarian. This moderate-acting medication should stop working in a few days, although effects can be longer in pets with liver or kidney disease.

Are there any risk factors for this medication?

Ketoprofen SHOULD NOT BE USED in horses used for breeding.

Ketoprofen SHOULD NOT BE USED in pets that:

  • are allergic to it or drugs like it (other NSAIDs) 
  • are taking other NSAIDs or corticosteroids (e.g., prednisone, dexamethasone)


  • gastrointestinal ulceration 
  • kidney, liver, or heart dysfunction

Ketoprofen SHOULD BE USED CAUTIOUSLY IN CATS and should not be used for more than a few days.


  • with low blood protein levels
  • with bleeding problems
  • who are very young, very old, frail, or dehydrated
  • who are lactating or pregnant, especially during the last trimester

Are there any drug interactions I should be aware of?

  • Avoid giving your dog other NSAIDs or corticosteroids while they are taking ketoprofen.
  • This medication may interact with certain laboratory tests, such as glucose, bilirubin, or iron tests.
  • Certain medications may interact with ketoprofen and so it is important to tell your veterinarian about any medications (including vitamins, supplements, or herbal therapies) that your pet is taking before starting any new treatment. Medications of concern include:
    • angiotensin-converting enzyme (ACE) inhibitors (e.g., benazepril [Fortekor®], enalapril [Enacard®])
    • aspirin and other NSAIDs
    • corticosteroids (e.g., prednisone, dexamethasone)
    • cyclosporine (Atopica®)
    • selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs) (e.g., fluoxetine [Reconcile®, Prozac®])
    • tricyclic antidepressants (e.g., amitriptyline [Elavil®], clomipramine [Clomicalm®])

Is any monitoring needed with this medication?

  • Your veterinarian should perform baseline bloodwork and urinalysis before your pet starts ketoprofen.
  • If your dog is taking ketoprofen for extended periods (as in the treatment of osteoarthritis), your veterinarian will do periodic blood tests to check liver and kidney function. It is important to attend these follow-up appointments. 
  • Your veterinarian may recommend recheck examinations to ensure the medication is working adequately to manage pain.
  • At home, monitor for any side effects such as those noted above. If any side effects occur, discontinue the medication and contact your veterinarian. 

How do I store ketoprofen?

  • Store the capsules at room temperature between 59°F and 96°F (15°C and 30°C), protected from light and moisture.
  • Keep the container out of reach of children and pets. 
  • Store compounded forms of this medication according to the label.

What should I do in case of emergency?

If you suspect an overdose or an adverse reaction to the medication, call your veterinary office immediately. If they are not available, follow their directions in contacting an emergency facility.

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