Ficoxil for dogs


Tablets (chewable; beef flavour)

Active ingredient



Pain relief / anti-inflammatory

What is Ficoxil?

Ficoxil is a brand name for the active ingredient firocoxib marketed by Forte Healthcare. It’s an NSAID, providing anti-inflammatory and anti-fever, and pain relief properties.

What does Ficoxil do?

The active ingredient in Ficoxil is firocoxib, which is a type of NSAID similar to meloxicam (Metacam, Loxicom) and cimicoxib (Cimalgex). Like many other NSAIDs, firocoxib targets COX-2, an enzyme involved in producing inflammatory chemicals. By blocking this COX-2, the body can’t produce the chemicals, and the pain, inflammation, and fever that follow don’t happen.

What is Ficoxil for?

Ficoxil reduces pain and inflammation, so it’s used for a variety of common conditions in dogs. These include:

  • Arthritis pain: Ficoxil is very commonly used to treat the pain associated with osteoarthritis in dogs
  • Soft-tissue pain: Ficoxil may be used in cases of wounds, strains and sprains, and other injuries affecting muscles and other soft tissues.
  • Dental pain: Ficoxil is sometimes used to help with dental pain, especially while awaiting surgery or post-surgical dental pain.
  • Post-surgical pain: Ficoxil is also used in cases of post-surgical pain, for instance after neutering or orthopaedic surgery.

What are the side effects of Ficoxil in dogs?

Ficoxil (firocoxib) has been carefully tested and is considered fairly safe. However, like all drugs, there may be side effects. These might include:

  • Vomiting and diarrhoea: Vomiting and diarrhoea are occasional side effects of Ficoxil. They usually stop when the drug is stopped.
  • Bloody vomit or stool: A sign of ulceration in the gut or stomach, this can be serious (see below).
  • Kidney or liver damage: In less than 1 in 10,000 dogs, kidney and liver problems occur even when dogs are on the recommended dose.
  • Nervous system disorders: Seizures and behaviour changes have been reported rarely.
  • Kidney Damage: Previcox, like other NSAIDs, can affect kidney function. Pet owners should watch out for increased drinking and urination, which may indicate kidney issues.

In very rare cases, the side effects of Ficoxil (like other NSAIDs) can be sudden and quickly become fatal. If you notice side effects of this drug, even if they aren’t listed here, you should stop giving medication and phone your vet for advice.

Remember that most dogs on this medication will be fine, and in most cases, the benefits outweigh the risks.

Which pets is Ficoxil not suitable for?

Generally, Ficoxil is not suitable for the following pets:

  • Other pets that are not dogs
  • Dogs that are allergic to Ficoxil or any of the other ingredients in the tablets.
  • Dogs that are pregnant, lactating or intended for breeding
  • Dogs that are already on NSAIDs or steroids like prednisolone (Prednicare)
  • Dogs that are on diuretics
  • Dogs under 10 weeks of age
  • Dogs weighing less than 3kg, as they can’t be accurately dosed
  • Dogs with stomach ulcers or bleeding disorders
  • Dogs with dehydration, heart problems, kidney problems and liver problems

However, in some cases your vet may still recommend using Ficoxil in your pet despite them appearing on this list, if they believe it’s in your pet’s best interest. If your dog has any of the above issues and your vet prescribes Ficoxil, your vet will discuss the risks involved. Your vet will also monitor your dog closely with diagnostics and follow-up vet visits.

How to give Ficoxil safely

  • Follow vet instructions: Always use Ficoxil exactly as your vet has prescribed. This includes the right dose and frequency. Never adjust the dose on your own, even if your dog seems to be feeling better or worse. If you aren’t sure of the dose prescribed, please call your vet to confirm. The only exception to this rule is if you see side effects, in which case you shouldn’t give any more medication until you’ve spoken to your vet.
  • Check with your vet if giving anything else: Your vet should be aware of other drugs your pet is on, but always double-check to avoid miscommunication. If your dog is on supplements or non-prescription treatments, you should also tell your vet when they prescribe Ficoxil, as they may not be suitable to be given together.
  • Observe a washout period: If your vet wishes to switch your dog from another anti-inflammatory drug to Ficoxil, your vet will stop the previous anti-inflammatory for a certain time period (a “washout period”) before prescribing Ficoxil to your dog. Therefore, you should also tell your vet about your dog’s past medications and observe any washout period. If you’re concerned about your dog’s pain relief during this time, talk to your vet about having a non-NSAID alternative.
  • Storage and Handling: Store Ficoxil according to the instructions on the packaging, usually in a cool and dry place (below 25°C). Wash your hands after giving Ficoxil to your dog. Ensure it is out of reach of children and other pets. Ficoxil may have adverse effects on a growing foetus – if you are (or could be) pregnant, try to avoid handling Ficoxil, wear gloves, and wash your hands.
  • Report any overdose to your vet immediately: If you have accidentally given too much Ficoxil, report it to your vet as soon as you realise the error. They may recommend blood tests, induced vomiting, supportive care (e.g.intravenous fluids), or monitoring, depending on the severity of the overdose.

What kind of monitoring do pets on Ficoxil need?

  • Medium


    Dogs on long-term Ficoxil usually need blood tests every 6-12 months

Dogs having short-term Ficoxil post-operatively or due to an injury don’t usually need monitoring, although in older pets a blood test before use can be sensible, to look for existing kidney or liver disease.

For dogs on long-term Ficoxil therapy for arthritis and similar conditions, regular blood tests are recommended to watch for liver or kidney damage occurring. Your vet will recommend blood tests every 6-12 months, depending on your dog’s age and condition.

Ficoxil FAQs

Is Ficoxil the same as Previcox?

Yes, Firocoxil and Previcox both contain the active ingredient firocoxib. Firodyl also contains this active ingredient.

Is Ficoxil prescription only?

Yes, like all pain relief drugs for dogs, Ficoxil is prescription-only. Once they’ve done the prescription, you can buy Ficoxil from your vet or ask for a ‘written prescription’ to buy Ficoxil online.

What are the alternatives to Ficoxil for dogs?

Ficoxil is a pain relief drug for dogs containing firocoxib. If your dog can’t have Ficoxil, you may be able to swap for another brand of firocoxib like:

  • Previcox (also comes as chewable tablets, smoked flavour)
  • Firodyl (chicken flavoured chewable tablets – 3 in 4 dogs take voluntarily)

If firocoxib isn’t suiting your dog but they still need NSAIDs, your vet might recommend moving them to:

If your dog is still painful whilst on NSAIDs, or they can’t have NSAIDs anymore, your vet may be able to prescribe an alternative pain relief for dogs such as:

  • Paracetamol/Codeine combination (Pardale-V)
  • Gabapentin
  • Amantadine
  • Tramadol (Tralieve, Tramvetol and others)

Ficoxil Datasheet

All drugs have a manufacturer’s datasheet, which gives information about the drug’s use and possible side effects. There is usually one in your Ficoxil box, but if you have lost it you can click on the button below to be taken on an online version.

Courses related to Ficoxil

If your dog is on Ficoxil, you might find some of these courses useful. Remember, all of our courses are written by our vet team and contain non-biased, evidence-based information to help you understand your pet’s condition.

Please note that the information contained herein is provided for informational purposes only. Although it has been written by a vet, we cannot consider the individual nature of your pet’s problems so it does not constitute veterinary advice. If you have questions about your pet’s medication or their health you should contact a vet, who will be able to help.