Metacam is the brand name for meloxicam, a prescription non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drug (NSAID) for dogs and cats. Metacam reduces pain, fever and inflammation by inhibiting chemicals called prostaglandins. In dogs, metacam can cause side effects, some of which can be severe.
Metacam can cause vomiting, diarrhoea and loss of appetite, as well as more serious side effects such as ulcers, intestinal bleeding, tarry-coloured stools and intestinal perforation. Some of these side effects can appear suddenly and quickly become life-threatening to your dog, petplace.com advises. Using metacam with other NSAIDs can increase the risk of ulcers.
In addition to intestinal bleeding, metacam can cause excessive bleeding elsewhere in your dog's body. All NSAIDs, including metacam, can hinder platelet function, which can lead to clotting problems. Because of this, petplace.com recommends not using metacam in dogs that have a bleeding disorder or in those that have heart conditions or low blood pressure.
Because metacam is metabolised in the liver, it can overtax the organ, leading to liver problems. This is more likely to occur in dogs with existing liver disease or when the dog is taking other drugs that are also metabolised in the liver, according to veterinarypartner.com. This side effect will usually resolve itself if metacam treatment is discontinued in your dog.
Metacam can decrease blood flow to the kidneys, which can lead to kidney failure, especially in dogs with decreased kidney function, according to veterinarypartner.com. The drug can also impair kidney function in dehydrated dogs.