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What is Metacam

Metacam, also called Meloxicam, is a pain medication. Meloxicam, the active ingredient in Metacam, is a non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drug (NSAID). This NSAID is used to remedy pain and inflammation from osteoarthritis (OA) in dogs. The Metacam prescription usually comes as an oral suspension. Metacam oral suspension is only for use in dogs that are six months of age or older. Store this medication at room temperature.

OA is a condition caused by cartilage and joint problems. Wear and tear on the dog’s joints may lead to lameness, limping, decreased activity and difficulty in climbing stairs, standing, running or jumping. OA is a degenerative joint disease. This illness causes the joints to become inflamed, painful, and swollen.

Metacam usage

OA affects certain joints and the bones more than others, specifically the knees, hips, shoulders, elbows, and spine. Your dog may have difficulty in getting up or going on walks. The symptoms can severely limit your dog’s ability to move.

For short-term treatment, specially formulated treats and food can be useful. These foods have ingredients that may help repair, reconstruct, and lubricate your dog’s joints. However, if your dog is in the later stages of this disorder, you may need a stronger medication. Your veterinarian may prescribe Metacam. This medicine or other prescription NSAIDs may be helpful for both pain relief and in combating the inflammation.

Understanding how Metacam works

Usually, a veterinarian prescribes Metacam to be used each day over a prolonged time. The active ingredient in this medicine prevents a hormone called cyclo-oxygenase (COX) from producing prostaglandins. Prostaglandins are chemicals made in the body due to tissue damage. These chemicals have a variety of purposes, including regulating inflammation, inducing fevers, and sensitizing nerves to pain. When Metacam inhibits the COX enzymes from producing the prostaglandins, it reduces the inflammation, fever, and pain responses.

Avoiding Metacam for dogs

If your dog has had an allergic reaction to this medicine, they should not be prescribed it again. Dogs that have had allergic reactions to other NSAIDs should not take it as well. Symptoms of an allergic reaction include facial swelling, hives, or itchy skin. If your pet is presently taking a different type of NSAID or any corticosteroids, it can increase the risk of problems. Give it to your dog only if a veterinarian agrees that it is the best course of action.

There has not been enough evaluation for the use of Metacam for dogs who are pregnant, used for breeding or are lactating. It may be better to ask your current veterinarian for a different medication for these types of dogs. Metacam oral suspension may be unsafe for dogs with high blood pressure, heart disease or bleeding disorders. Dogs with liver or kidney disease should not take this medication either.


If you have a mixed pet household, do not give Metacam to your cats. Meloxicam is associated with kidney failure and death in felines. Ask a veterinarian for an appropriate pain relief alternative for your cat.

Understanding Metacam for dogs side effects

Metacam can cause side effects. Vomiting and diarrhea may occur even when giving the approved dosage amount. Usually, these side effects are mild and mainly affect the gastrointestinal system.

Other Metacam side effects may include

  • Black, bloody, or tarry stools
  • Increased thirst and urination
  • Increase or decrease in activity level
  • Unexpected weight loss
  • Jaundice, a yellowing of the eyes, skin or gums
  • Behavior changes such as incoordination, aggression, or seizures
  • Skin irritation indicated by scratching, scabs, or redness
  • Stomach ulcers

It is possible to overdose your pet on Metacam, especially if you give it with other NSAIDs. If any of the following side effects happen, contact a veterinarian or emergency pet clinic right away. These serious side effects include a lack of appetite, change in behavior, dark or tarry stools, seizures, incoordination, fast or labored breathing, jaundice, lethargy, or increased urination or thirst. These issues can be symptomatic of more serious health problems, an overdose, or an adverse reaction to Metacam.

In rare circumstances, the side effects could lead to death. Sometimes NSAIDs cause problems involving the liver, kidneys, or stomach. Watch your dog carefully while you are administering this medication.

Dosage instructions

There are different methods for administering Metacam depending on the size of the dog. Follow veterinarian and manufacturer instructions. Since this medicine comes in an oral suspension, you will use either a syringe or a dropper.

Large dogs

You should receive a syringe for a 1.5 mg/mL container of Metacam. This medical tool fits directly into the bottle directly. Draw the prescribed amount into the syringe. Dispense the pain medication directly onto your dog’s food or distribute it into your dog’s mouth.

Dogs weighing less than ten pounds

Use the syringe to draw the prescribed amount of medication. Do not put Metacam directly into your dog’s mouth. Instead, put the medication onto a small amount of your dog’s food and feed it to them. Try using a favorite food or treat to coax your dog to ingest the medication.

Dogs weighing less than five pounds

For dogs of this size, use a dropper instead of a syringe. Put the prescribed dosage onto their food. You may have received the Metacam concentration that is specifically for small dogs. If this is so, use the syringe or the dropper per the veterinarian’s instructions.

Taking precautions

Inform your pet’s doctor if there are conditions other than OA that may be disturbing your dog. Also, make sure your veterinarian also is aware of any other medications you are giving to your pet. If your dog shows any odd symptoms such as seizures after starting the medicine, stop giving it to them at once and talk to a veterinarian.

Missing doses

If you are unable to give your pet this medicine at the proper time, give the dose as soon as you can. However, if it is nearly time for the next dose, then skip the missed dose altogether. Do not give two doses of Metacam at the same time. Doing so can cause and overdose and side effects such as diarrhea, jaundice, and vomiting. Contact your veterinarian if you think you may have given your dog too much medication.

Giving Metacam with other medicines

Do not administer this medication along with other NSAIDs such as aspirin, etodolac, carprofen or deracoxib. Also, do not also give your pet steroids such as prednisone, dexamethasone, cortisone or triamcinolone with the Metacam.

Inform your veterinarian of any medications your dog has taken in the past or you are planning on giving. This information should include both prescription and nonprescription medications, as well as any health supplements. These supplements can cause negative interactions with Metacam in many cases.

Using Metacam safely

For dogs suffering from OA pain, Metacam oral suspension can be prescribed by licensed veterinarians to help dogs get relief. When your dog feels better, the dog’s activity level and enjoyment of life will increase. You should only give this medication to the dog that has the prescription. Regular check-ups will help determine if your dog is responding well to Metacam. For most dogs, your pet will feel much better after just a short amount of time taking this medicine.

Other advantages

Metacam has a honey flavor that mixes well with food. The oral administration can be very convenient for dog owners. Usually, one dose per day provides pain relief for the whole day.

Metacam is also available as an injection if you would prefer having a veterinarian administer the pain relief. However, this does require a clinic visit. The oral suspension offers simple ongoing administration for dog owners. 

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