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What is Meloxicam Poisoning?

Meloxicam for dogs is known by the brand name Metacam. This NSAID is a veterinary approved treatment for pain and inflammation in dogs. It is often prescribed for osteoarthritis and other conditions that cause short or long term pain. In the recommended dose, the drug has few side effects, and will likely help make your dog with pain.   However, high doses of meloxicam can cause kidney failure and stomach ulcerations, so it is important to only give your dog the prescribed amount and avoid overdose. In dogs, it is given either orally or via injection. The initial dose is usually .2 mg per kilogram of your dog’s weight, followed by a daily .1 mg per kg dose. In clinical trials, dogs were able to take this .1 mg per kg dose safely for 26 weeks with no adverse side-effects; however with higher doses of .3-.5 mg per kg signs of toxicity developed. 

Meloxicam poisoning is typical of other NSAID’s with vomiting and diarrhea being the most common adverse reactions. Vomit and stool may contain signs of blood from gastrointestinal ulceration. GI signs are often combined with signs of kidney failure such as increased thirst and urination. Dogs will lose their appetite and may seem generally weak and depressed. Overdose can cause severe gastrointestinal bleeding, seizures, and fatal kidney failure.

Meloxicam is an nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drug used to treat pain and inflammation in both humans and dogs. It is safe to give to dogs in the prescribed amount, but care should be taken to avoid overdose. Meloxicam overdose can cause stomach ulcers and kidney failure.

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Meloxicam Poisoning Average Cost

From 54 quotes ranging from $300 - $2,500

Average Cost

$750

Symptoms of Meloxicam Poisoning in Dogs

These are the signs you may see in a dog with meloxicam toxicity. Contact a veterinarian immediately if overdose is suspected.

  • Vomiting (with or without blood)
  • Diarrhea (sometimes with blood)
  • Lack of appetite
  • Black tarry stools (melena)
  • Excessive thirst (polydipsia)
  • Frequent urination (polyuria)
  • Lethargy
  • General malaise
  • Abdominal pain
  • Seizures
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    Causes of Meloxicam Poisoning in Dogs

    These are the most common causes and risk factors for meloxicam toxicity in dogs.

    • Giving your dog meloxicam doses more frequently than was prescribed
    • Accidental overdose (container was left open, dog chewed through the bottle)
    • Giving a dog medication intended for humans

     

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    Diagnosis of Meloxicam Poisoning in Dogs

    The veterinarian will diagnose meloxicam poisoning in your dog based on signs, a history of meloxicam use, and blood tests or urinalysis. Diarrhea, vomiting, and bloody stools while your dog is on a meloxicam prescription may suggest the dose is too high, or your dog is not tolerating the medication well. Depending on the severity, lab work will show increase BUN (blood urea nitrogen) and other changes indicative of kidney failure.

    Bring the prescription along so the veterinarian can see the exact dosage and let the veterinarian know if there is any chance your dog accidently overdosed or was given extra. Any other medications your dog is taking are also relevant since meloxicam poisoning can be complicated by adverse reactions to other drugs. The veterinarian will also need to know if your dog had any access to human medication. It’s a good idea to bring a list of the drugs you or other members of the household are taking, especially if you didn’t see the incident and are unsure what is causing your dog’s signs.

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    Treatment of Meloxicam Poisoning in Dogs

    If your dog is showing signs of toxicity with prescription meloxicam discontinuing the dose may be sufficient, depending on the severity of the signs. For significant overdose other treatment will be necessary.

    Vomiting may be induced a few hours after exposure and activated charcoal may be given to reduce absorption in the gastrointestinal tract. This dose may be repeated in 6-8 hours to avoid recirculation from the liver. Cathartic medication can help induce bowel movements and excrete the toxins faster.

    Various medications may be given to treat gastrointestinal ulcers including H2-receptor antagonists like ranitidine and famotidine, or a proton pump inhibitor like Omeprazole. Sucralfate and misoprostol have both been found to protect the stomach and reduce the formation of ulcers so these medications may be prescribed as well.

    If kidney failure is present, IV fluids will be necessary. Your dog will need to stay at a veterinary hospital for monitoring during a 72 hour period, or until the kidneys are functioning normally.

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    Recovery of Meloxicam Poisoning in Dogs

    Metacam has been approved for dogs, but there are still certain risks with taking it. The veterinarian should inform you of the side effects when the drug is prescribed so that you can watch your dog closely and treat any signs of toxicity as soon as possible. Taking the exact dose is extremely important. Cutting up a tablet  or a generic medication designed for humans is not recommended since it is too hard to regulate the amount with this method and you may be accidently giving your dog a slight overdose. Even a fraction of a milligram can make a difference with this medication. If you forget to give your dog a Metacam dose, give it as soon as possible; however if it is too close to the next medication time it’s better to miss a dose than give two at once. 

    Meloxicam toxicity can be fatal so it’s important to get treatment immediately. The best way to manage the condition is to avoid exposure. Keep all bottles securely fastened and store them out of reach of your dog. Coordinate medication with other members of the household to ensure your dog isn’t getting several doses by accident. Keep human and dog medication separate so there is no confusion.

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    Meloxicam Poisoning Average Cost

    From 54 quotes ranging from $300 - $2,500

    Average Cost

    $750

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    Meloxicam Poisoning Questions and Advice from Veterinary Professionals

    Need pet health advice? Ask a vet

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    Dachshund

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    10 Years

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    How much meloxicam does it take to cause a dog to overdose. Dog weighs 23 pounds.

    Jan. 16, 2021

    Owner

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    Dr. Linda S. MVB MRCVS

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    16 Recommendations

    The dose we use is 0.1mg to 0.2 mg/kg. So, at the high end of the dose range this is about 2mg for your dog as either a tablet or in liquid form. There are different strengths of the liquid but the most common one is 1.5mg/ml, so you would give 0.75mls. Typically, we use the measuring syringe that comes with the liquid. Giving more than the recommended dose can cause toxicity.

    Feb. 10, 2021

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    Boxer mix

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    One Year

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    8 found helpful

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    Vomiting

    On Saturday I think our Buster Boy got into an old medication - Meloxicam. There were only a few left in the bottle and o found 2.. I don’t know if he ate one. Last night he started vomiting. This morning between 7am and 10 he vomited at least 6 times. All day Sunday he seemed fine, was his usually hyperactive self. Right now he’s sleeping - breathing okay - hasn’t voomitted in over an hour... so hoping it’s out of his system. I removed his food and plan to give him rice and bland shredded chicken - thoughts? I would take him to the we vet - but I can’t afford more testing right now...

    Sept. 28, 2020

    Owner

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    Dr. Michele K. DVM

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    8 Recommendations

    Thank you for your question. The sad possibility with a toxicity of that drug is that it can cause kidney failure at high doses. I don't know how much he weighs, or how much he may have eaten, and so he may just have an upset stomach, and the chicken may help. Without lab testing, it is hard to say whether there is more going on. If you can take him to see a veterinarian and get lab work oh, that would be ideal. I hope that he is okay.

    Oct. 6, 2020

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    Meloxicam Poisoning Average Cost

    From 54 quotes ranging from $300 - $2,500

    Average Cost

    $750

    Vet bills can sneak up on you.

    Plan ahead. Get the pawfect insurance plan for your pup.

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