I have an almost 14yo pit bull that is on both Metacam and Tramadol. rimadyl is an NSAID, similar to metacam and some others. Tramadol is opiate based but considered safe for dogs. My pit was on rimadyl for a year or so, then we switched to metacam which the vet said was a little stronger, then after about 2 years we added the tramadol. Just last week we upped the tramadol as dogs can develop a tolerance just like humans.
I have to say, the tramadol has made a huge difference in her continued mobility. She has severe osteoarthritis as well as deformed leg joints from rheumatoid arthritis, so she really only puts weight on one leg when she walks, but she can still get up & down the stairs most days.
I do worry about her developing a dependence on the tram like humans can, but it is giving her a much better quality of life, and its not like she is going to be able to get it off the shelf & start abusing it lol! If we have to take her off I'm going to talk to the vet about tapering, but I really think she will be on it the rest of her (hopefully long) life.
I would talk to your vet if you think that your dog's pain is not being managed as well as it could be. And with pits its so hard because they really don't show any pain until they are ready to drop!
Our fifteen year old golden retriever has arthritis is her spine. However, she was do well with no regular medication (I gave her previcox if she was having a harder time walking) and two one-mile walks per day. She started limping when we walked on a very uneven beach at high tide and since then it has been down hill. The limp has gotten worse. Our vet put her on Previcox daily and tramadol. We also had Protein Rich Plasma treatment, recommended by our vet (no long term benefit), ultra shock therapy, chiropractic adjustment, and laser therapy. We were also bringing her to water therapy, which she "flunked". The water therapy was to build up the muscles in her shoulders, which had atrophied dramatically. She can live with the limp, but we want make sure that she is as comfortable as possible. Are there better meds for her?