Metacam is a type of analgesic and antipyretic medication intended primarily for dogs and is duly approved by the US FDA in the management of pain and inflammation that typically results from canine osteoarthritis as well as other disease processes where the principal clinical manifestation is inflammation. Meloxicam is the active ingredient of Metacam, a class of non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drug belonging to the Oxicam family of analgesics. It is closely related to the NSAID Piroxicam and comes with a substantially long plasma half-life, allowing it to be administered as a once-daily dose. Another important feature that works to the advantage of Metacam is that it typically exerts its therapeutic effects within 30 to 60 minutes of administration.


Being an oxicam type of NSAID, Metacam (Meloxicam) is commonly indicated in the following.

  • Pain brought about by canine osteoarthritis 

While almost everyone thinks that canine osteoarthritis is inherently a disease of the joints that only affects elderly pets, this is not necessarily the case. The pathophysiology of osteoarthritis does not necessarily have to follow the degenerative process associated with age-related conditions. As a matter of fact, a variety of factors have been implicated in its development that there really is no definitive treatment for the condition. That being said, Metacam or any other pain reliever or analgesic that helps to control the severity and extent of inflammation does not cure or treat canine osteoarthritis. These only form the symptomatic management of the condition, not a definitive treatment that aims to address the root cause of the problem.

We all know that osteoarthritis results from the loss of bone density, especially at the region where to opposing bones meet to form the joints. This leads to inflammation which inadvertently results in impaired range of motion of the joints. What this simply means is that even the slightest movement of the joints can already bring pain. Metacam addresses this by reducing the formation of certain pro-inflammatory substances so that joint mobility is not significantly impaired.

  • Other moderate to severe pain syndromes 

Being a powerful analgesic means you can actually use Metacam for purposes other than the management of pain from canine osteoarthritis. In fact, bone pain is one of the most severe pains in the world. If Metacam can somehow alleviate the pain from this disorder, then it should also provide immediate and long-lasting pain relief from conditions other than osteoarthritis.

  • Fever 

As we shall see later on, Meloxicam can also be indicated in the lowering of the body temperature as what typically occurs when there’s inflammation or even infection. Fever or an increase in body temperature is one of the known cardinal signs of inflammation. Since Meloxicam is an anti-inflammatory agent, then it should also be able to lower down the body temperature of your pooch.

pug laying down

Benefits of Metacam

The analgesic and antipyretic effects of Metacam (Meloxicam) for dogs can bring about a host of notable benefits. These typically includes, but definitely not limited to, the following.

  • Better mobility 

As we have already said, inflamed joints will make your dog not want to move. If you yourself have ever experienced having inflamed joints, then you know just how much you would want these to be immobilized, even temporarily. Even the slightest movement at the joints can bring about severe pain. The same can be experienced by your pooch. While they may not verbalize it, they sure can show it through other means. They will most likely stay in one corner and don’t want to come to you even when called repeatedly. It’s not their fault, actually. The great thing is that Metacam (Meloxicam) can help improve their mobility by reducing the degree of inflammation of the joints. A less inflamed joint allows for greater movement.

  • More improved comfort 

A direct result of a reduction in inflammation and the alleviation of pain is an overall improvement in the level of comfort for your pooch. As already described, your dog with canine osteoarthritis may want to freeze itself just so it will not experience pain. Just imagine how uncomfortable this will be. By reducing inflammation, Metacam can also improve the overall mobility and range of motion of the individual joints. This allows your dog to conveniently position itself in a more comfortable manner.

Related Post: Best Dog Joint Supplements

Likewise, the antipyretic effect of Metacam can also lead to better comfort. If your dog has fever, there is a great chance that it will also not feel good. Look at it this way. If you have fever, do you feel generally upbeat and happy? The thing is that if you have fever every little ache in your body is amplified many times over. The same thing occurs with your pooch whenever it has fever. As such, giving it Metacam can substantially improve its comfort levels.

  • Easy to administer 

What is Metacam for dogs again? It’s an analgesic and an antipyretic that comes in the form of an oral suspension. It also comes with its own graduated syringe complete with accurate weight measurements. It also comes in a highly palatable formulation that pooches will love. Best of all, it can actually be administered two ways. First, you can administer the correct Metacam dosage directly into your canine pal’s mouth. Second, if direct oral introduction is not feasible, you can easily mix it with your pooch’s food. In other words, Metacam (Leoxicam) is so easy to administer that you’re almost always guaranteed of a faster resolution of its symptoms.

  • Enhanced canine quality of life 

Freedom from pain, improved mobility, and increased comfort can surely make life a lot easier for your pooch. It will be able to play with you, explore its surroundings, and socialize with the rest of the pack. It will be able to drink and eat as much as it wants as there will be no pain weighing it down. Best of all, your dog will be able to show you just how much it appreciates what you’ve done. Now, we’re not really sure if there is such a thing as quality of life for dogs, but indulge us in this one as it’s the closest thing we could ever think of to sum up the many benefits of using Metacam for dogs.

How Metacam Works

Meloxicam, the active ingredient of Metacam, works pretty much like Piroxicam, another Oxicam type of NSAID. These substances act on the enzyme cyclooxygenase-1 (COX-1) to halt the transformation of arachidonic acid into prostaglandin H2. Prostaglandin has many physiologic effects in the body. Mostly, however, these are related to the mediation of inflammation resulting in redness, increased temperature, swelling, pain, and immobility or loss of function of the affected body part.

Now, don’t be confused with COX-2 which is shorthand for cyclooxygenase-2. COX-2 is also an enzyme that helps prevent the formation of pro-inflammatory prostaglandins from arachidonic acid. The only difference is that COX-1 also produces prostaglandins that protect the lining of the stomach as well as stimulate the aggregation of platelets. As such, COX-1 inhibitors, of which Metacam is an example, has this uncanny side effect of increasing the risk of gastric ulcers and bleeding because it prevents the formation of prostaglandins that provide such benefits. On the other hand, COX-2 inhibitors, the Coxibs, are quite selective in that they don’t affect prostaglandins that stimulate platelet aggregation and protect the lining of the stomach from highly acidic gastric secretions.

Here’s where Metacam works its magic. It is a COX-1 inhibitor. However, when given in lower doses, it actually works more like a COX-2 inhibitor. What this simply translates to is that it has the superior analgesic and antipyretic properties of COX-1 inhibitors but with the safety of COX-2 inhibitor. Studies have shown that Metacam’s effects on thromboxane-A doesn’t significantly impair platelet functioning unlike other drugs of the same class. This makes it a lot safer that Diclofenac, Naproxen, and even Piroxicam.

Potential Side Effects

As we have already said Metacam (Meloxicam) is a very potent analgesic and antipyretic. Unfortunately, because of its effects on certain prostaglandins, it still poses quite a significant number of side effects that often include the following.

  • Loose, watery stools
  • Upset stomach
  • Swelling or edema
  • Digestive problems
  • Nausea
  • Gas

As a COX-1 inhibitor, Metacam has also been shown to bring about the following adverse reactions.

  • Black, tarry or bloody stools
  • Unexplained weakness
  • Unexplained rapid weight gain
  • Blood in the vomitus
  • Abdominal tenderness or pain
  • Intense itching
  • Yellowing of the conjunctiva of the eyes

In such cases, it is important to consult with your vet at the soonest possible time. You will also be required to discontinue the medication and bring your pet immediately to the clinic, preferably one with emergency vet services. The same is true if your pooch develops a severe allergic reaction which is typically manifested by the following.

  • Labored respirations or difficulty breathing
  • Muscle or abdominal cramps
  • Swelling of the face including the tongue and lips
  • Seizures

Things You Should Know about Metacam

Metacam is a pain reliever and anti-fever medication approved by the FDA for the exclusive use in dogs. It should never be given to cats or any other pet. It is available in several formulations.

  • 5 mg/mL oral suspension in 15 mL dropper bottles
  • 5 mg/mL oral suspension in 10 mL, 32 mL, 100 mL, and 180 mL dropper bottles

The usual Metacam dosage is 0.1 milligrams per pound of your pooch’s body weight to be administered on the 1st day of treatment. Succeeding dosages are reduced to 0.05 milligrams per pound. If any of the side effects are noted while your pooch is undergoing Meloxicam therapy, it is okay to continue with the medication; however, you should still inform your vet about the side effects. If, however, what you observed are adverse reactions or even allergic reactions, then it is a must that you bring your pet dog to your vet at once.

What You Should Tell Your Vet before He Prescribes Metacam

If your pet has allergies to NSAIDs or even aspirin, you need to inform your vet about it. Also, dogs that have a history of gastric ulcers or any form of bleeding in the digestive tract should not be given Metacam. Other contraindications include hypertension, fluid retention, kidney or liver disease, bleeding disorders, and disease conditions of the cardiovascular system, especially the heart. Lactating and pregnant pooches are also not supposed to be given Meloxicam.

How to Give Metacam to Your Dog

Make sure to shake the dropper bottle well before drawing the recommended Metacam dosage. It is imperative to adhere to the dosing recommendation of your veterinarian. You can also give Metacam by mixing it with your dog’s food. Alternatively, you can place the medication directly in your pooch’s mouth. This is the ideal route of administration as mixing it with food may not provide the desired effects if your pooch won’t finish its food. The current recommendation is to mix the formulation with food if you’re going to give it to puppies or dogs weighing less than 10 pounds or younger than 6 months. Direct oral administration is recommended for dogs that weigh at least 10 pounds or are older than 6 months.

What to Do If You Miss a Dose

As always, if you miss a dose, just give it the moment you remember it. However, if it’s near the next dose, forget the missed dose and proceed with the next dosing schedule. Don’t double up.

sleepy dog

What to Do in Case of Metacam Overdose

We already said that any adverse or allergic reaction exhibited by your dog while on Metacam therapy should warrant immediate consultation with a vet or even an emergency vet clinic. The same is true for any sign of toxicity or overdose.

Some Drug Interactions

Other NSAIDs and aspirin may have an adverse effect on the action of Meloxicam. Cough and cold medications as well as warfarin, furosemide, and anti-allergy medications can also interact with Meloxicam. It is always best to discuss the possible interaction Meloxicam may have on any other medications or supplements that your pooch is currently taking.

Metacam is a powerful COX-1 inhibitor type of pain reliever and antipyretic. It also mimics the superb safety profile of COX-2 inhibitors, making it one of the most amazing pain reliever you could ever give to your pooch in moderate to severe pain.

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Olivia Williams
Olivia is our head of content for, mum of one and a true animal lover. With 12 different types of animal in her family, it's never a dull moment. When she isn't walking the dogs, feeding the cats or playing with her pet Parrot Charlie, you will find her product researching and keeping the site freshly updated with the latest products for your pets!


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