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What Are the Uses of Meloxicam for Dogs?

Pair of smooth-haired Dachshund puppies.
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  • Written By: C. K. Lanz
  • Edited By: Melissa Wiley
  • Last Modified Date: 29 August 2014
  • Copyright Protected:
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    Conjecture Corporation
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Meloxicam for dogs is a medication used primarily to relieve the pain and inflammation of osteoarthritis and postoperative pain. It is also given to soothe acute and chronic pain as well as fever. The most common side effects are vomiting, ulceration, and diarrhea, but liver and kidney toxicity have also been reported. Meloxicam is also given to cats, cattle, and exotic animals, but such use presents risk of overdose and organ damage. It is marketed under the brand name Metacam® in the United States.

In the United States, this medication has been approved by the Food and Drug Administration primarily to treat the osteoarthritis symptoms of pain and inflammation. It is also used to relieve fever and postoperative pain. It is a nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drug (NSAID) that helps reduce fever and has an analgesic effect.

This drug works by inhibiting the synthesis of prostaglandins that can trigger the inflammatory process. It also effectively reduces fever. Osteoarthritis is caused by wear and tear on joints and leads to pain, inflammation, and stiffness. Meloxicam for dogs works to relieve the pain resulting from osteoarthritis as well as surgery.

This treatment has broader applications in Europe. There, meloxicam is given to animals in acute and chronic pain. It is also used as a fever reducer. The medication is available for long-term use in cats in Europe, but such use is not recommended in the United States, where it is labeled for one-time injection in felines for postoperative pain.

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Liquid, injectable, and oral forms of meloxicam for dogs are available. Tablets are usually either 7.5 or 15 milligrams. The injectable form is used primarily after surgery. The most common side effects all involve gastrointestinal irritation like diarrhea, vomiting, and ulcers. Pet owners should be vigilant for these signs while administering meloxicam for dogs.

Dogs with a known allergy to this drug should avoid it. Animals with a history of stomach bleeding, perforation, or inflammation should not take meloxicam for dogs. This medication may not be appropriate for dehydrated animals, animals with low blood pressure, or puppies that are younger than six weeks. Dogs with heart failure or liver or kidney disease may not be appropriate candidates for this treatment.

NSAIDs like meloxicam can cause serious side effects, including organ toxicity, especially of the liver and kidney. In dogs, this drug is usually dosed at 0.1 milligrams per pound or 0.2 milligrams per kilogram initially followed by subsequent daily half doses. Toxicity can occur because dogs absorb this drug very quickly.

Most cases of toxicity result when a well-meaning owner administers an NSAID like meloxicam for dogs without knowing or ignoring the toxic dose for his or her animal. Such cases can be irreversible and fatal. As a result, dosage for a particular animal should be determined by a veterinarian and administered under his or her supervision.

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