Metacam (Meloxicam) for Dogs

An NSAID, Metacam is chiefly used for the treatment of inflammation, stiffness, and joint pain resulting from arthritis in dogs. However, vets often prescribe Metacam as an off-label drug for relieving post-surgical pain and also for dogs that have been neutered. Metacam is administered to dogs following a tooth extraction procedure as well as for dealing with certain types of cancers.

You may notice a heightened level of activity in your dog once you start administering Metacam. So your pet will be very energetic owing to an intake of the medication and might be very hyperactive. However, you should let your dog increase his activity level on a gradual basis to enable restore depleted muscle mass.

Discuss with your vet the right level or amount of activity that will enable your pet to recover slowly and steadily.

Metacam at a Glance

Brand Name


Generic Name


Drug Type

NSAID (non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drug)

Is the Drug Approved by FDA?


Recommended for

Cats and dogs



Available forms

Oral suspension, injection

What is the Action Mechanism of Metacam in Dogs?

Metacam works on and targets the enzymes that are responsible for causing inflammation, particularly the COX-2 enzyme. When cells get injured and damaged in a specific area of the body the COX-2 enzyme (cycloxygenase-2) springs into action. The activation of the COX-2 enzyme results in the production of prostaglandins which eventually causes fever, inflammation, and pain in dogs.

The action of Metacam on COX-2 considerably slows down the functioning of the enzyme which in turn prevents the intestinal and stomach linings from becoming inflamed. Therefore this medication is regarded to be relatively safer compared to the majority of NSAIDs for administering to pets.  

How Much Metacam Should You Administer to Your Pet?

Always see to it that you strictly follow your vet’s instructions while offering Metacam to your pet. Initially administer the lowest possible dose, and see how your dog is responding to the drug. When you’re offering the medication for the first time or on the first day, make sure you measure out 0.09mg/lb of body weight.

From the next day onwards, offer exactly half of what you administered on the first day i.e. 0.045mg/lb. Oral suspension of Metacam comes with a calibrated syringe that makes it easier for you to measure out the exact dosage. To avoid inadvertent overdosing mix the dose with food instead of administering it straight into the mouth.   

Possible Side-Effects of Metacam in Dogs

Like any other NSAID, the normal administration of Metacam may lead to a few side effects. Some of the more common adverse effects include digestive problems like reduced appetite, vomiting, and nausea. Besides these, other usual side effects comprise:-

  • Abrupt weight loss
  • Peptic ulcers
  • Skin irritation (symptoms include scabs, scratching or swelling)
  • Changes in frequency, color, and smell of urine lead to increased water consumption
  • Jaundice (yellowing of gums, whitening of the eyes and skin)
  • Behavioral changes (aggression, seizure, incoordination, changes in activity level)
  • Diarrhea marked by bloody, tarry or blackish stool

If you notice any of the above side effects or symptoms in your dog stop administering the medication and consult your vet immediately.

What to do if you’ve Overdosed on Metacam?

If you observe the following toxicity signs in your dog, you can assume that you’ve given more than the prescribed dose:-

  • Jaundice
  • Lethargy
  • Appetite loss
  • Vomiting
  • Diarrhea
  • Incoordination
  • Panting or breathing quickly
  • Seizures
  • Enhanced thirst and urination

If you believe that you may have overdosed, you should get in touch with your vet immediately or call the ‘Animal Poison Control Center Helpline (ASPCA) (1-888-426-4435)

When Not to Offer Metacam to Dogs: Drug Contraindications?

Let your vet know about any prescription medications that you’re currently offering to your pet. Your vet may not prescribe Metacam if your dog:-

  • Is suffering from cardiovascular dysfunction or has liver or kidney disease
  • Is a pup aged less than 6 weeks
  • Is nursing or pregnant

You should also not offer Metacam if the pet is already taking a corticosteroid such as cortisone or Prednisolone.

Disclaimer: The above content is based on multiple research articles referred to online. Global Dog Breeds intends to share information, but it's strictly advised to consult a veterinarian and seek advice before using any medications described. We believe each condition and dog is unique, and only after careful evaluation from a qualified professional should you be offering any medications to your pet.

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