Veterinarians prescribe Metacam, a non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drug, to treat arthritis in dogs. The drug lowers the dog's body temperature and reduces inflammation without causing drowsiness; however, the medication can present complications such as diarrhoea, nausea, vomiting and rarely, kidney or liver disease. Typically digestive symptoms clear up after two to three weeks of discontinuing Metacam, but occasionally symptoms can worsen after discontinuation.
General complications include depression and lethargy, pale gums and behavioural changes like withdrawal from play, shyness or aggression. A swollen or distended belly results when fluids build up in the abdomen when circulation in that area is impaired due to liver dysfunction, which can occur with Metacam.
Symptoms of liver disease include intermittent or recurring abdominal or gastrointestinal upset, decreased appetite, vomiting and diarrhoea or constipation. Liver disease can affect a dog's psychological state producing symptoms like depression or lethargy. Seek veterinary assistance if these symptoms appear while your dog is taking Metacam.
Signs of kidney disease show up as suppressed appetite, increased thirst and excessive urination, and a dull, poor-quality coat. Psychological changes such as depression also has been observed. Dogs taking Metacam should have their kidney and liver values checked often.