What are the Side Effects of Metacam in Dogs?

Meloxicam, or Metacam is a nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drug useful in the treatment of pain and inflammation in dogs with osteoarthritis. Most dogs that receive this prescription medication from their veterinarian will take it for life to help with mobility issues. Metacam has possible common and severe side effects that need monitoring to prevent long-term damage to organs.

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"Whee! My new medication can make me fly."
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Common Side Effects

The most common side effects when your canine friend is taking Metacam include digestive issues including vomiting, nausea or diarrhea and a decrease in appetite. Watch your dog closely and report these changes to your veterinarian immediately. If the digestive issues continue, your vet may want to change your dog's medication or alter the dosage.

Severe Side Effects

If your dog vomits blood or has blood in his stool, stop giving him the Metacam and immediately call your veterinarian. Blood in the stool may be tarry, black or red. This can occur with stomach ulcers. Increased water consumption or changes in urinary functions can affect your fur buddy's kidney function. Any changes in your dog's activity level where he is overly tired or rambunctious, is uncoordinated, shows aggression or has seizures are all severe side effects that require veterinary intervention.

Adverse Drug Interactions

Five different classes of drugs exist for arthritis in dogs including NSAIDs, opionoids, glycosaminoglycans, neutraceuticals and herbal remedies. According to Dr. Jon Geller, DVM, an emergency veterinarian at Fort Collins Veterinary Emergency & Rehabilitation Hospital in Colorado, your pet should take only one drug in each class for arthritis. Dogs with decreased liver or kidney function should not use Metacam, because it can aggravate the disease. When used in conjunction with phenobarbital, Metacam decreases the level of effectiveness of both drugs by affecting liver enzymes and metabolism.

Long-Term Care

Your veterinarian will order liver and kidney function tests for your four-legged friend at intervals if he is to remain on Metacam. By closely monitoring his results, your veterinarian can determine if Metacam is the best treatment for your furry friend without any adverse side effects.