Meloxicam (Metacam) For Dogs: Dosage, Side Effects, And Alternatives. – Relievet

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Meloxicam (Metacam) For Dogs: Dosage, Side Effects, And Alternatives

Christopher Kjolseth - July 25th 2020

 Accuracy Review & Edit: Nicole Wanner, DVM - August 24th 2021


Just like humans, senior dogs are prone to Osteoarthritis. Unfortunately, you cannot cure Osteoarthritis. As a responsible and caring dog owner, it is natural for you to want to improve your dog's quality of life, at least.

Meloxicam (also referred to as Metacam) can ease your dog's discomfort and can improve quality of life, but there are some potentially severe side effects. To learn more about Meloxicam and how it may help your dog, read on below.

Table Of Contents

  • What is Meloxicam?
  • What is Meloxicam used for in dogs?
  • Is Meloxicam Safe for Dogs?
  • Meloxicam Dosage for Dogs
  • How Much Does Meloxicam Cost?
  • Side Effects of Meloxicam
  • Natural Alternatives

What is Meloxicam?

Meloxicam, also known by the brand name Metacam, is a medication used to treat inflammation and pain in dogs who suffer from Osteoarthritis. If you are familiar with Mobic, Metacam is the dog version of that.

The FDA approved the use of Meloxicam for dogs as long as a veterinarian prescribes it. 

What is Meloxicam used for in dogs?

Vets most commonly prescribe Meloxicam as a treatment for dogs with inflammation, stiffness, and pain caused by Osteoarthritis. However, Meloxicam can also treat symptoms of other bone and muscle disorders.

Meloxicam works by reducing the hormones in your dog's body that cause inflammation and pain. It does this without the use of steroids.

Additionally, vets prescribe Meloxicam to reduce pain in dogs caused by surgery or a recent injury. The drug is known to be useful for treating both chronic and short-term conditions.

Is Meloxicam Safe for Dogs?

As mentioned earlier, the FDA fully approved the use of Meloxicam for dogs. However, dog owners should still administer the drug responsibly.

You shouldn't use Meloxicam in the following situations:

  • Pets with bloody vomit 
  • Pets with kidney or liver conditions
  • Pets experiencing a loss of appetite.
  • Dehydrated pets
  • Pets that are pregnant 
  • Pets younger than six months old

Also, Meloxicam may have adverse effects when used in conjunction with other drugs. Therefore, it is best to consult with your vet and disclose your pet's current medication.

You should exercise caution when using Meloxicam with the following drugs: 

  • Certain antibiotics
  • Anesthetics
  • Anticoagulants
  • Diuretics
  • Antifungals
  • Immunosuppressive drugs 

Depending on your dog's situation, you and your vet may need to monitor your dog closely before and after the start of meloxicam usage. You will most likely have to monitor liver and kidney function and other signs of gastrointestinal ulceration.

Veterinarians often require annual blood tests for dogs taking Meloxicam.

Meloxicam Dosage for Dogs

You should always administer Meloxicam according to your veterinarian's instructions.

When in doubt, it would be best to use the lowest effective recommended dose. Typically, the recommended dosage of Meloxicam is around 0.09 milligrams per pound of your dog's body weight on the first day.

All subsequent treatments are commonly administered once a day with a dosage of around 0.045 milligrams per pound of body weight.

If your dog misses a dose of Meloxicam, be sure to administer it as soon as possible. If it is already almost time for the next dose, simply skip the missed dose and continue with the prescribed schedule. Under no circumstances should you give your pet two doses of Meloxicam at once. 

How Much Does Meloxicam Cost?

If you're looking for the cheapest option, you can easily find generic Meloxicam at an affordable price of around 50c per tablet. Be sure, however, that you are making your purchase from a reputable supplier. 

Side Effects of Meloxicam

Almost all side effects associated with meloxicam use in dogs involve gastrointestinal upset, similar to all other NSAID medications. If symptoms persist or worsen, however, you should contact your veterinarian immediately. They may want to adjust the dosage or prescribe an alternative treatment.

Common side effects associated with Meloxicam include:

  • Black or bloody diarrhea
  • Bloody vomit
  • Increased thirst
  • Fatigue
  • Jaundice
  • Itchiness
  • Abdominal discomfort
  • Behavioral changes

As with most medications, there is a risk of your dog having an allergic reaction that may lead to anaphylaxis. If you see any signs of an allergic reaction, be sure to contact your vet immediately.

Natural Alternatives

A few notable Chinese herbal formulas thought to help with arthritis in dogs include:

  • Ligusticum
  • Corydalis
  • Hindquarter weakness

Indian herbs such as Turmeric and Boswellia are also known to be effective anti-inflammatories. The same goes for the omega-3 fatty acids commonly found in flaxseed oil, sardines, and krill.

Bone broth can also be given to your dog to serve as a natural preventative measure against Osteoarthritis. It helps your dog build his or her cartilage and protect his or her joints. A simpler method is to purchase glucosamine/chondroitin supplements, like our mobility chews for dogs which contain the same joint-protecting compounds without the mess.

Lastly, you may consider talking to your vet about CBD oil for dogs. A study conducted in 2018 found that CBD oil has the potential to help dogs manage pain caused by Osteoarthritis. The study involved administering either a placebo or CBD for four weeks, twice daily.

The study found that the dogs who received doses of CBD oil showed a significant decrease in the symptoms of pain associated with arthritis. These dogs became more active and experienced much less pain when compared to the dogs given placebos.

More research is needed to draw a complete conclusion on CBD oil for dogs with arthritis, but so far, it is very promising.

If you are interested in taking the route of natural and alternative treatments for your dog, such as the treatments listed above, you may consider consulting a holistic veterinarian who has experience dealing with natural or alternative remedies.

Natural remedies for pain in dogs have not been formally evaluated by the FDA, so use them at your own risk.


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