Meloxicam for Your Dog

by Lilly

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Meloxicam for Your Dog

Meloxicam is a nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory prescription medication, known as an NSAID. It also goes under the drug names of Loicam, Metacam, and Meloxidyl. It is used to control pain and inflammation from arthritis and other conditions that involve the musculoskeletal system. It works by reducing prostaglandins that cause inflammation and pain. It inhibits the production of these chemicals in the dog’s body along with COX-2 and phospholipase A-2, which are also responsible for inflammation and pain. For dogs, Meloxicam often is prescribed for:

  • Pain
  • Inflammation
  • Joint stiffness
  • Poor mobility
  • Osteoarthritis

Meloxicam is also used as a pain reliever and to reduce inflammation after a pet’s surgery. This drug is used to especially target these issues after your pet has orthopedic work done. Studies have shown that, if a dog is given meloxicam for 24 hours after this type of surgery, they feel less pain and swelling is kept down. Their comfort level increases as they recover from invasive work.

As with any medical intervention product you give to your dog, you need to make sure you check with your veterinarian before using the product or changing the dosage your dog is receiving. In this case, a prescription is needed to obtain this particular drug as you need to work with the veterinarian in discerning for allergies and negative drug interactions before and during its use.

Why Would My Dog Need Meloxicam?

Your dog would need Meloxicam if they are suffering from health issues like arthritis or other joint and orthopedic issues. Meloxicam is also needed if your pup is having troubles other medical issues that give them:

  • Pain
  • Inflammation
  • Fever
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However, it is not a drug that should be taken without thought or basic research. Although it is a solid pain & inflammation medical intervention, it can have serious side effects for some dogs. It is important they are monitored by owners and their veterinarians while taking it, so the overall health costs do not outweigh the benefits.  

When Shouldn’t My Dog Take Meloxicam?

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Your pup should not be taking Meloxicam if they are under six months of age or have allergic tendencies toward certain medications. It must also be avoided if they are hypersensitive to or already taking NSAIDs including Carprofen (Rimadyl), Firocoxib (Previcox), Etodolac (Etogesic), Deracoxib (Deramaxx), Aspirin. They are at further risk if they have:

  • Dehydration
  • Low blood pressure
  • Perforated stomach
  • Perforated intestinal lining
  • Bleeding disorders
  • Allergies to NSAIDs
  • Liver disease
  • Heart problems
  • Pregnancy
  • Lactating
  • Breeding

How Does My Dog Take Meloxicam?

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As with most prescribed medicines, Meloxicam should be given in the lowest possible dose for the shortest amount of time while remaining beneficial for your dog. The dosage needs to be effective. Meloxicam is available in pill, liquid, or injection form. The pill and liquid are easiest to administer. The injectable form is usually done at your veterinarian’s office for post-surgery medical support. Small dogs should take Meloxicam orally if prescribed. This will help prevent overdosing. The liquid form is best for the smallest pets. If you miss one of your pet’s doses, give it to them as soon as possible unless it is close very close to the next dose. You do not want to give your pet two at once or have two very close together in case of overdose. Go back to the regular schedule if this happens rather than risk your pup’s health with too much Meloxicam.

Side Effects of Meloxicam in Dogs

As with almost all medications, there are a number of potential negative reactions. These should not affect your dog if they have no underlying health issues and their veterinarian is aware of all possible drug and food interactions. Minor side effects for your dog from taking Meloxicam include:

  • bloody stools or black stools
  • Swelling
  • Weight gain or loss
  • Fatigue
  • Jaundice
  • Itching
  • Abdominal tenderness or pain
  • Diarrhea
  • Constipation
  • Depression
  • Vomiting
  • Increased thirst
  • Stomach ulcers
  • Increased urination
  • Appetite loss
  • Exhaustion or lethargy
  • Muscle weakness
  • Headaches
  • Nausea
  • Dizziness/reduced coordination
  • Dry mouth
  • Reduction of kidney function
  • A number of behavioral issues

The extremes of these side effects are possible if your dog has taken too much. This can happen if their dosage is measured improperly or if doses are taken to close together when one is forgotten. Following are a number of symptoms associated with Meloxicam poisoning:

  • Diarrhea (with/without blood)
  • Vomiting (with/without blood)
  • Frequently urinating
  • General discomfort
  • Lethargy
  • Abdominal pain and tenderness
  • Possible seizures

It is also vital to understand that all dogs which suffer from problems with their liver, kidney problems, or heart problems never take Meloxicam. Doing so can lead to further kidney issues and possible renal failure. It is extremely important to make sure health issues are brought forward early so your dog’s veterinarian can make an informed decision on if meloxicam is appropriate and what dosage works best for your pooch.

Like any pet owner, it’s important not only to know the possible side effects of a new medication but when to talk to a vet about issues you see arising and or are concerned about. A veterinary checkup is important, especially near the end of the prescription cycle to make sure whatever the issue was properly dealt with or if further or different treatment is required. There should be a post-operative meeting scheduled as well if your dog has had surgery so there is no chance that a side effect or reaction has been missed.


Meloxicam is not an FDA-approved the animal drug, but it is a safe medication when instructions are followed. However, as with any supplement or medication, it’s important to keep your veterinarian involved in your pet’s treatment plan to make sure it’s used in a safe and helpful manner for your pup. It is unusual that there are any strong reactions under normal use but being aware of potential issues if helpful. Using Meloxicam wisely is important not only in the long-term healing of your dog but also their short-term comfort and quality of life.