Meloxicam is the common name for a drug approved for both human and veterinary use. Metacam is the veterinary formula and Mobic is the human formula. Both are NSAIDs (non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs) used to reduce inflammation and pain of joint diseases and muscle injuries. While Mobic and Metacam are actually the same drug--meloxicam--they are not identical or interchangeable. Their dosages are different, and the human version should not be given to dogs, nor the dog version to humans.
Your veterinarian may prescribe Metacam, commonly given to dogs to ease pain immediately after surgery. It is also used to reduce fever and as a painkiller for other conditions such as arthritis, injuries, cancer and dental infections. The veterinary formula, Metacam, prescribed for patient use at home, is an oral suspension (either 1.5mg/ml or 0.5 mg/ml).
Vigorously shake the bottle of oral suspension liquid, and measure each dose carefully. Give your dog the prescribed amount once a day. The Veterinary Information Network explains that “this veterinary-approved product comes with a special dosing syringe marked to show how much to give for the pet's weight."
If you notice negative reactions to Metacam, immediately stop treatment and contact your veterinarian. Side effects include upset stomach, appetite loss, vomiting, diarrhea, constipation, dark stools or stomach ulcers. More serious side effects may involve the kidneys (increased thirst and urination) or the liver (jaundiced gums, skin, eyes). Signs of overdose and toxicity are pale gums, lethargy, shedding, lack of coordination, seizures, increased respiration and behavioral changes.
Observe your dog for allergic reactions such as facial swelling, hives, scratching, sudden diarrhea, vomiting, shock, seizures, pale gums, cold limbs or coma.
Human vs. Veterinary Meloxicam
Give your dog veterinary meloxicam (Metacam), not Mobic or generic human meloxicam. Some veterinarians may prescribe Mobic tablets over Metacam oral suspension, because it can be less expensive for people with larger canines, but because one quarter of a 7.5 mg tablet (lowest human dose) is more than enough to treat a 45-pound dog, tablets are inappropriate for small dogs. According to Wendy C. Brooks, DVM, “... human strength pills will be too strong except in very large dogs. It is important not to use human medications on pets unless your veterinarian has provided detailed dosing instructions.”
Do your research before giving your dog any medication. Dr. C. Adams, DVM, of Lone Oak Vet Clinic, warns against using human meloxicam for dogs: “In a study of the adverse effects of Meloxicam, the only fatalities were in dogs that received the human form of [the drug]. ... The fatalities were caused by perforating stomach ulcers due to high overdosages of meloxicam.”
Always read drug labels and ask your veterinarian any questions you might have.