Meloxicam, which is also sold under the brand name Metacam, is a non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drug (NSAID) that’s used to manage pain caused by osteoarthritis (OA) in dogs. The drug’s anti-inflammatory properties also make it effective at reducing swelling and stiffness.
What is Meloxicam?
Meloxicam is commonly used to reduce pain, stiffness and inflammation in dogs with osteoarthritis. It can also be used to reduce pain caused by other conditions affecting the joints and muscles.
The drug works by controlling pain and inflammation-inducing hormones in a dog’s body. Many other NSAIDs are not safe to be given to dogs, which can make managing inflammatory conditions difficult. Meloxicam has a reduced chance of causing damage to the intestines and stomach of a dog, which is why it is often prescribed.
What is the Typical Dosage of Meloxicam?
Meloxicam comes in tablet form. You should always give the exact dose prescribed by your vet. If you miss a dose, give it to the dog as soon as you realize – unless it’s almost time for the next one.
The first day of treatment with Meloxicam is often a slightly higher dose of around 0.09mg per pound. After the first day, the dose is usually around 0.045mg per pound. These doses can vary depending on the severity of the condition.
An overdose of Meloxicam can potentially be fatal to your dog. If you think your dog may have received an overdose – or he is showing symptoms such as diarrhea, bloody stools, seizures or other changes in behavior – you should seek emergency veterinary assistance.
As Meloxicam is an NSAID, it should not be given to dogs that are over-sensitive to this type of medication. Pregnant dogs, or those younger than six weeks, may not be able to take Meloxicam as it hasn’t been tested as safe.
Dogs that have heart or kidney problems may also not be suitable for Meloxicam, as these conditions can increase the chances of a negative reaction to the drug.
Meloxicam should never be given to dogs that are already taking other NSAIDs. This includes Carprofen and Aspirin.
How to Get Your Dog to Take Meloxicam
If you are given Meloxicam in pill form, you may find it difficult to get your dog to eat it. Some dogs aren’t picky about what they eat and won’t hesitate to take pills. Others are warier and will not voluntarily eat medication.
If your dog refuses to take Meloxicam pills, you can try mixing it with food. In many cases, your dog won’t realize that he’s eaten a pill.
Sometimes a dog finds the pill and refuses to eat it. A dog may also recognize the smell of a Meloxicam pill in its food – especially if the dog is fed the pills over an extended period. In this situation, you may need to gently hold the dog’s jaw open and place the pill at the back of the mouth. Hold the dog’s jaw shut until you are sure he is eaten the pill – some dogs keep the pill in their mouth until they can spit it out.
An oral suspension version of Meloxicam is available. This makes it easier to administer – as you can put the liquid into food without the dog realizing – and can be measured with a syringe.
Should You Talk to Your Vet About Meloxicam?
If your dog has osteoarthritis in one or more joints, you should talk to your vet about whether Meloxicam could help. While the drug can’t cure the condition, it can reduce pain and make living with OA more manageable.
If your dog’s digestive system doesn’t tolerate other non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs, this is also something you should discuss with your vet. There may be alternative medication that can manage your dog’s joint and muscle pain without the associated side effects.
Side Effects of Meloxicam
The most common side effect of Meloxicam is damage or irritation to the digestive system. This can cause diarrhea, black stools, vomiting and reduced appetite. Other common side effects include:
Jaundice. Meloxicam can sometimes cause jaundice, which can lead to yellow skin or eyes.
Irritated skin. If your dog scratches more after taking Meloxicam this may be due to skin irritation. Excessive scratching can result in sores.
Lethargic behavior. Some dogs show a reduction in energy after taking Meloxicam.
If your dog suffers from any side effect of Meloxicam, you should seek emergency assistance from a vet. You should also stop giving your dog the medication until your vet tells you otherwise. This is especially important if Meloxicam is affecting your dog’s digestive system.
Common Questions about Meloxicam
Can Dogs Take Meloxicam Indefinitely?
Conditions such as osteoarthritis can cause chronic pain that often gets worse over time. This means long-term pain medication is required. Dogs can continue to be prescribed Meloxicam unless it starts to cause side effects, especially those related to the liver and stomach.
Is Meloxicam the Same as Metacam?
Metacam is the brand name, while Meloxicam is the generic version of the drug. Meloxicam is the same drug but is often much cheaper.
Is it Safe to Give My Dog Allergy Medication With Meloxicam?
Many allergy medications – including those that are available over the counter – contain other types of NSAID. For this reason, you should be very careful about giving your dog other drugs at the same time as Meloxicam. If in
doubt, talk to your vet about whether a drug is safe to use with Meloxicam.