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Metacam (Meloxicam) for Dogs

By | Last Updated: 22nd February 2023

What is Metacam used for in dogs

Metacam (active ingredient meloxicam) is a nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drug (NSAID) considered safe for treating joint pain, stiffness, and swelling caused by arthritis in small, medium, and large dogs. It may also be used for pain relief in dogs just out of surgery, spaying or neutering, tooth extraction, or those suffering from cancer [7]

How does Metacam (meloxicam) work

It works in dogs by regulating pain and targeting the inflammation-causing enzymes, specifically the COX-2 enzyme. When there is cell damage in some part of the dog’s body, COX-2 (cyclooxygenase-2) gets activated, and resultantly produces prostaglandins, which in turn leads to inflammation, pain, and fever [11].

The medication targets the COX-2, which makes it much gentler on the stomach and intestinal linings [2]. Hence, it is considered safer than most NSAIDs when it comes to usage in pets [1].

Quick Information

Metacam for Dogs

Generic name: Meloxicam

Brand name: Metacam [5] (Boehringer Ingelheim) [10]

Type: Oxicam nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drug (NSAID) [3]

Who can take it: Dogs [8], cats [4]

FDA Approved: Yes [5]

Availability: Through prescription [3]

Available forms: Liquid suspension, injection [3]

Metacam (meloxicam) dosage for dogs: How much to give

Never try this medication without consulting a vet, and follow the prescription to a T. The usually recommended dose is a single administration of 0.09 mg/lb (dog’s body weight) on the first day, followed by 0.045 mg/lb after that [3, 8]. Make sure that smaller dogs do not get overdosed, and to ensure that, put the oral suspension only in their food, never directly into their mouth [3]. Always shake the product well before administering [5].

How long does Metacam take to work

The effects of Metacam peak around 8 hours after administration, and lasts for up to 24 hours [9].

Metacam side effects in dogs

Be on the lookout for the following symptoms, especially during long-term use [5]:

  • Abnormal increase or decrease in appetite
  • Vomiting
  • Altered behavior
  • Diarrhea or constipation
  • Drowsiness
  • Bloody, tarry or black stools
  • Yellowing of the skin, gums, the whites of the eyes, indicative of jaundice
  • Altered drinking and urination habits

All these side effects may make your dog tired or sleepy, while in some cases, they cause restlessness and panting.

Meloxicam overdose

If any of the side-effects mentioned above persist even after they have been addressed by the vet, your dog might have had an overdose. In such a case, immediately contact your vet or call the ASPCA Animal Poison Control Center Helpline (1-888-426-4435).

Contraindications: When not to give it to your dog

Inform the vet about any medication your dog may already be on. Never give Metacam to:

  • A pregnant or lactating dog
  • Those less than 6 weeks old
  • Dogs with renal (kidney), hepatic (liver) or cardiovascular dysfunction [3]

Metacam is usually not prescribed concurrently with corticosteroids like prednisone and cortisone.

NSAIDs like Previcox, Deramaxx may be used as alternatives for meloxicam in specific cases.


    1. Meloxicam for Dogs – DogsByNina.com
    2. Using Meloxicam for Dogs Cats, Generic of Mobic – PetCarerX.com
    3. Meloxicam – PetMD.com
    4. Meloxicam – 1800PetMeds.com
    5. Client Information Sheet For Metacam® (meloxicam) 1.5 mg/mL Oral Suspension – Dailymed.nlm.nih.gov  
    6.  Review Paper: Cancer Chemopreventive Compounds and Canine Cancer –Journals.SagePub.com
    7. After spaying…Meloxicam??? – SpoiledMaltese.com
    8.  Metacam Oral Suspension – Drugs.com
    9. How long does it take Metacam (meloxicam) to work? – Houzz.com
    10. Metacam – 1800PetMeds.com
    11. Get the Facts about Pain Relievers for Pets – FDA.gov

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