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How to Use Meloxicam for Dogs

July 2nd, 2019
How to Use Meloxicam for Dogs

Do you often suffer from joint pain or know someone who does? Ask them how much it hurts. On a scale of 1 to 10, they’ll probably place it at 9. The pain isn’t even the worst part. The worst part is that joint pain can severely affect your activities.

We are sure dogs would tell you the same if they could. However, if he can’t tell you, he’s bound to show you how much pain he is in one way or the other. You’ll often find your pup whimpering in pain or walking in a funnily. Seeing your pet in pain may be your worst nightmare. 

What if we told you your dog need not suffer? Meloxicam or Metacam is the answer to all those doggy pains. Whether your dog suffers from some chronic condition or is just injured, Meloxicam can help relieve pain and suffering with as few side effects as possible.

However, that’s not all. It can help treat a wide variety of diseases. So, if you’re in need of pain-relieving medication or an anti-inflammatory drug, then keep reading to find out how to use the drug.

What Is It?

Meloxicam is used as an anti-inflammatory drug to help relieve stiffness, inflammation, and pain. It is basically an NSAID or a non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drug that dogs can use to ease any pain resulting from musculoskeletal system disorders.

It may be surprising for you but dogs tend to suffer from arthritis in their old age just as humans do. In fact, it happens to be one of the most common musculoskeletal disorders in dogs. Vets often prescribe Meloxicam to relieve the pain and inflammation. Apart from this disease, it can help relieve the symptoms of many other diseases that cause pain or inflammation.

How Does Meloxicam Work?

There are certain chemicals in our body that cause pain and inflammation. These chemicals are collectively called prostaglandins. Meloxicam inhibits the production of these pain-causing chemicals in the body. Thus, it helps relieve pain. Furthermore, there are other chemicals such as phospholipase A-2 and COX-2 that cause inflammation and pain. The drug also targets and inhibits these chemicals.

How Can You Get This Medicine?

Meloxicam for dogs is commonly available in the form of tablets. These tablets are small and are of different weights depending on the manufacturer. Furthermore, it is only available on prescription from your vet. So, you cannot simply get it over the counter. The main reason for such stringent measures is that there are various serious side effects of the drug if it's not administered properly. Giving your dog an incorrect dose can even be fatal.

Therefore, the doses require constant monitoring. Not to mention that the drug can interfere and interact with any other medications your dog is already taking. Your dog might also have a few pre-existing conditions that can be elevated by the drug. So, you should consult with the vet and see if the drug is an appropriate candidate for pain relieving for your dog. If it is, get a prescription and start administering it.

Varieties of Meloxicam

Meloxicam is available under a number of different names. The generic name for the drug is mainly Meloxicam. Some brand names are Metacam and Mobin. These are identical drugs that function in a similar way but are used to treat different species. For example, Meloxicam is for treating humans and pets such as cats and dogs.

Apart from this, it is also available in the form of an injection called Loxicom.

About Metacam

Metacam is a specific brand name for Meloxicam that is approved by vets as well. The company that manufactures the drug for dogs has named it Metacam. Meloxicam is a generic name given to the drug. Metacam is specifically designed for dogs as well as cats.

Mobic is another form of the drug that performs the same function as Metacam. Its main uses are to relieve pain and inflammation due to arthritis or rheumatoid. Mobic is specifically for humans and not for dogs. It can result in various side effects if it is given to dogs.

Benefits of Meloxicam

The primary function of Meloxicam is to reduce and relieve pain and inflammation. The pain can be caused by a chronic condition such as arthritis or a temporary injury to the musculoskeletal system. Dogs that suffer from osteoarthritis can often benefit from taking the medication, usually combines with some other supplements.

You can give it to your dog in the form of an injection or a tablet to relieve inflammation in the joint. However, you can also use it for a wide variety of other musculoskeletal disorders which cause pain and inflammation. 

Apart from this, vets also prescribe the drug if your dog has been through an operation. It helps prevent any pain after the operation. Otherwise, there could be various inflamed areas and several complications. This is especially the case for orthopedic surgery where inflammation often occurs.

It can also help relieve the stiffness caused by osteoarthritis in dogs. A study in 2000 effectively found that the drug was the most effective in treating osteoarthritis with minimal side effects.

In some cases, vets prescribe the drug for controlling fever in dogs as well.

Meloxicam Dosage

All dogs are different. Even dogs from the same breed have different metabolism and may react differently to drugs. Some may already be on other medications while others may be a victim of some pre-existing conditions. It is important that your vet tailor the dose to meet your dog’s needs.

Usually, your dog’s weight affects the dose. For example, if your dog is a huge Labrador, then the dose might be greater than for a small dog such as a Daschund.

Generally, the dose decreases as the days go by. The typical dose for the first day is about 0.09 to 0.1 mg per pound. After the first day, we highly recommend that you decrease the dose to about 0.045 to 0.05 mg per pound daily.

Your dog may not be able to properly ingest the medicine on its own. This is why most vets recommend that you give the dose with food. This will ensure that there are as few digestion problems such as diarrhea and vomiting as possible.

It is important that you follow your vet’s instructions to a T. However, it is also important to educate yourself on the accurate dosage. The dosage should be as low as possible. This way it will still effectively treat the problem while reducing the chances of any adverse reactions.

Another point to note is that extensive treatment with the medication can increase the possibility of poisoning and side effects. Thus, ensure that you only give it to your pet for a limited amount of time.

What if I Miss a Dose?

If you miss a dose, then we recommend that you give the dose immediately. However, if a lot of time has passed and it’s almost time for the next dose, then we recommend that you administer the second dose and forget about the first one. However, do notdouble up the dose as it can lead to poisoning and severe side effects.

Forms of Meloxicam for Dogs

The usual forms of meloxicam available for dogs are:

  • Meloxicam in the form of 7.5 mg tablets is often prescribed for smaller and medium-sized dogs.
  • Vets prescribe Meloxicam 15 mg tablets less often. However, if your dog is huge, then you might find yourself buying this one to reduce the daily doses.
  • Most dogs might not be able to eat it in the form of tablets. You might have trouble administering it. In such a case, a liquid suspension of the medicine is available as well. Usually, Metacam sells this form of liquid suspension and provides you with a dosing syringe so you can have the accurate amount. Also, remember that the suspension should be administered with food. Otherwise, it can lead to accidental overdosing. This is especially true if you have a smaller dog nevertheless, we recommend administering it with food for all dogs.
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    Loxicom injections in 10ml and 20ml bottles are also available for properly administering the drug.

Side Effects of Meloxicam for Dogs

A Non-steroidal Anti-inflammatory drug (NSAID) such as meloxicam can often result in unwanted effects or side effects. These side effects are vast and can be due to a number of different reasons. This includes any pre-existing conditions as well as any medications your dog is already taking. Another major reason for side effects is improper dosage. 

Due to the long list of side effects of the medication for dogs, we strongly advise you to look for possible alternatives that have fewer adverse effects.

Physical Side Effects

The following physical side effects are often associated with Meloxicam administration:

  • Bloody stools
  • Black stools
  • Stomach ulcers
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    Increased need to urinate
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    Headaches
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    Dry mouth
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    Abdominal tenderness
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    Swelling caused by fluid retention, most often in the stomach
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    Diarrhea
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    Seizures
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    Loss of weight or weight gain
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    Loss of coordination/ dizziness
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    Weakness in muscles
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    Abdominal pain
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    Vomiting, with or without blood
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    Increased thirst
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    Loss of kidney function
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    Loss of appetite
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    Exhaustion
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    Jaundice
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    Skin irritation (including redness and scabs)

Behavioral Side Effects

You might be scared by the long list of physical side effects, but there’s even more. Meloxicam is often associated with a number of behavioral changes that can be either minor or quite aggressive. The complete list of behavioral side effects in dogs include:

  • Aggression
  • Decreased energy/increased lethargy
  • Depression
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    Uncoordinated steps and movement

Therefore, you might often find that your dog is too aggressive or sluggish due to the drug. He may be walking funny as well as he is unable to coordinate his movement and steps.

Allergies

There may be a slight possibility that your dog is allergic to the medicine. You might not be aware of it, but you’ll find out once he takes the medicine. In such a case, there’s a high chance that your pup will go into anaphylactic shock.

Poisoning or Overdose

Meloxicam overdose or poisoning can result from administering double doses or improper doses of the medicine. The side effects are quite similar, but they are much more severe. You’ll notice that the symptoms are much more evident in case of an overdose.

This also means you can quickly note that the dog is overdosing and call for help. If you suspect that your dog is overdosing, then call a poison control center or the Pet Poison Helpline.

If not given proper attention, meloxicam overdose can quickly result in death. The following symptoms can often indicate an overdose:

  • Severe vomiting, with or without blood
  • Lethargy
  • Severe diarrhea, with or without blood
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    General discomfort
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    Abdominal pain/tenderness
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    Lack of appetite
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    Pale gums
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    Fast and uneven breathing
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    Excessive thirst
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    Seizures
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    Black tarry stools (also referred to as melena)
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    Frequent urination

In addition, please note that these are not the only symptoms. Your dog could be showing any other signs of an overdose. So, if you notice anything unusual about the dog, it is important that you take him to the vet.

As we already mentioned, an overdose can be a result of an improper or higher dose of the medication than the dog can handle. Apart from that, your dog can spill the liquid or tablets and chew them up. This can cause an accidental overdose and you should rush him to the vet immediately. An overdose may also be the result of using medication that was intended for humans such as Mobic. 

If you’re careful enough, you can easily avoid the overdose and save your dog’s life. Thus, ensure that the formula of Meloxicam you buy is intended for your dog. Always consult a vet for the proper dose. If you feel the vet is incorrect, visit another one and see what they think. Whatever the case, you need to give the prescribed amount only.

Also, ensure that all the meds are far away from the reach of your dog. This would prevent an accidental overdose.

Precautions When Administering Meloxicam

There are a wide variety of side effects to the drug. Thus, it is important that you learnas much about the drug as you can. An important fact to know is contraindications. Some dogs cannot handle the dosage and may overdose. Here are a few precautions you should take before administering Meloxicam for your dog:

  • Do not use the drug for dogs that are less than six weeks of age
  • Any dogs that are lactating, pregnant or breeding should use a more natural alternative to the medicine
  • Ensure that your dog has no bleeding disorders
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    If your dog is suffering from dehydration, it is best not to use Meloxicam
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    Dogs that suffer from renal, hepatic, or cardiovascular dysfunction should not take this medicine
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    Do not give it to a dog who has an ongoing diuretic therapy
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    If your dog is facing any heart problems or kidney issues, then it is imperative that you do not give him any Meloxicam medication as it can result in complete organ failure
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    If your dog has shown an allergic reaction to NSAIDs or Meloxicam, then do not administer it

Drug Interactions

Do not administer the drug if you’re already giving your dog another form of NSAIDs such as:

  • Carprofen
  • Etodolac
  • Deracoxib
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    Firocoxib
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    Aspirin

Also, do not use the drug with any corticosteroids such as:

  • Prednisone
  • Dexamethasone
  • Triamcinolone

In addition to this, you may be giving your dog some over-the-counter drugs such as cold or cough medications. These may contain traces of aspirin. Take to your doctor before you administer it.

Are There Any Alternatives?

Since Meloxicam can have severe side effects and can even result in several complications, many pet parents look for alternatives. There are various alternatives to the drug thatare safer and even more effective. These alternatives are natural ones that can reduce the chances of any side effects. Some most common alternatives to Meloxicam for dogs may be:

  • CBD treats
  • Comfrey
  • Devil’s Claw
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    Yucca
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    Turmeric
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    Licorice
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    Acupuncture

We recommend that you talk to an herbalist near you and find the best alternative medicine for you.

The Final Verdict

While Meloxicam has various side effects, it is quick and immensely effective. You’ll find your dog active and happy within no time. The drug is perfect for musculoskeletal disorders such as osteoarthritis. However, ensure that you use the drug carefully. An overdose can result in death, so it is important that you talk to your vet.

All in all, it can be just what you and your dog need if administered properly.