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What is Meloxicam Poisoning?

Meloxicam for dogs is known by the brand name Metacam. This NSAID that is a veterinary approved treatment for pain and inflammation in dogs. It is often prescribed for osteoarthritis and other conditions that cause long term pain. In the recommended dose, the drug is non-toxic and will help make your dog feel better. However high doses of meloxicam can cause kidney failure, so it is important to only give your dog the prescribed amount and avoid overdose. The margin of safety for meloxicam prescription in dogs is much higher than in cats, where the drug is only prescribed on a single-dose injection basis. 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 symptoms 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 symptoms are often combined with signs of kidney failure such as increased thirst and urination. Dogs will lose their appetite and seem generally weaker 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 poisoning can cause ulcers and kidney failure.

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Average Cost

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Symptoms of Meloxicam Poisoning in Dogs

These are the symptoms you will 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

Types

These are the most well-known meloxicam medications.

  • Metacam – prescription meloxicam medication for dogs; this is the only drug you should give your dog
  • Mobic – prescription meloxicam medication for humans; not safe to be given to dogs
  • Generic meloxicam – non-brand-name medication for humans; not safe to be given to dogs
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Causes of Meloxicam Poisoning in Dogs

These are the most common causes and risk factors for meloxicam poisoning 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 symptoms, a history of meloxicam use, and blood tests or urinalysis. Diarrhea, vomiting, and bloody stools while your dog is on a meloxicam prescription will suggest the dose is too high. 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 symptoms.

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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 symptoms. For significant overdose other treatment will be necessary.

Vomiting will 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 medication will 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 and the veterinarian may also give sodium bicarbonate to help the kidney excrete the toxins. 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 of Mobic 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 bottle 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

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Dachshund

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10 Years

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Unknown severity

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6 found helpful

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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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6 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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Unknown severity

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5 found helpful

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Unknown severity

Has Symptoms

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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5 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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Papillon dachshund mix

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Five Years

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Unknown severity

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3 found helpful

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Unknown severity

Has Symptoms

None

My dog scarfed up my 7.5 mg meloxicam when I dropped it. He is 10#. I'm disabled. Vet is 90 miles away. What can I do for him?

Aug. 5, 2020

Owner

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Dr. Michele K. DVM

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3 Recommendations

Thank you for your question. Unfortunately, that is quite a toxic overdose for him. The dosage that he would take is 0.5 mg, so that dosage is 15 times his dose. He needs to see a veterinarian, and likely be hospitalized on IV fluids. That medication can cause kidney failure and GI ulceration if given at high doses. I hope that you are able to have him seen, and that he is okay.

Aug. 5, 2020

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Maltipoo

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Eight Years

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Unknown severity

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Unknown severity

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Shaking, Panting, Non-Active

My pup is 8. He’s having some kind of potty problem. Vet expressed his swollen anal glands yesterday. He’s eating ok. Walking some. Went out to potty. Did some. Now he is shaking and panting badly. He had a meloxicam dose yesterday and today. I have another dose for tomorrow. Can I give it to him for pain? Can I give him some ibuprofen or something else.? He weighs 5 lbs.

July 24, 2020

Owner

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Jessica N. DVM

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Hello- Please don’t give him ibuprofen or other medications without consulting your veterinarian. Ibuprofen is highly toxic in dogs. It sounds like he needs to be rechecked by your veterinarian as there may be more going on with him. I would give them a call so that you can consult on the next best step. I hope he feels better soon.

July 24, 2020

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Dog

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English Mastiff

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5 Years

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Critical severity

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Death

Had an English mastiff (~150 pounds). Vet prescribed 2 7.5 mg meloxicam pills, twice a day, for several weeks. A couple weeks into treatment he got very sick, including dark tarry stool and dizziness. He died of kidney and liver failure at the veterinary office a few days ago. My understanding of meloxicam is that an appropriate dosage is much lower than what they had him on (30 mg per day for weeks). Is it possible/probable that meloxicam overdose was the cause of this dog's death? He was healthy and only 5 years old, with no other health problems of note.

Aug. 13, 2018

Dog's Owner

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Dr. Michele K. DVM

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11 Recommendations

I'm sorry for the loss of your Dog. The dosage for Meloxicam for dogs is 0.1 mg/kg, once daily. His dose would be about 7 mg every 24 hours. Kidney and liver failure are a possible side effect of a high dose of NSAIDs. Again, I am very sorry that happened.

Aug. 13, 2018

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Ginny

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Jack Russell Terrier

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8 Years

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Moderate severity

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Moderate severity

Has Symptoms

Blood In Stool

My Jack Russell was spayed 4 days ago. She was given metacam for pain relief. She weighs 4.6kg and I gave her 4.5 on the syringe as instructed once day on fri and sat. She then developed watery diarrhoea, increased thirst and went off her food, was lethargic and depressed. I obviously put this down to side effects of metacam. Today (day 4 post op) she has started with bloody diarrhoea, bright red blood. Background history, she has elevated liver enzymes which have been investigated by CT scan, liver biopsy and repeated blood work every 2 months which show deteriorating liver function ( but cause unknown as yet, biopsy suggested secondary causes rather than primary liver disease) she also had 2 phantom pregnancy episodes which is why we took the decision ( on advice of 2 vets) to get her spayed at age of 8yrs old. A recent US scan of her abdomen showed a mildly enlarged adrenal gland? We are considering investigating her for atypical Cushing disease once she recovers from her spay operation and we recheck her bike acid bloods despite her not having any clinical signs of it

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Sierra

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Golden Retriever

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14 Months

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Critical severity

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Critical severity

Has Symptoms

Diarrhea
Bleeding
Renal Failure

I am shocked that the FDA and Health Canada continues to have this drug on the market given its terrible track record. Our 14 month old Golden Retriever was administered Metacam after a minor procedure. This was 7 years ago this week! Nearly full Kidney shutdown; she then had to have nearly two weeks of IVs, others drugs and liquid food. Cost was nearly $20,000. To this day, she has to have blood test check up on her kidneys, she is on a highly restricted diet prescribed by two internal specialist. Boehringer Ingelheim Canada settled with us for the initial medical costs, but I don’t understand why they have developed a screening test for reaction to this drug. Please, please take the time to talk to your vet and see if they know of way to quickly check for serious reactions. My dog is still with us because we would not give up on her...

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Katie

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Border Collie

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14 Years

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Moderate severity

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pill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filled

Moderate severity

Has Symptoms

Lethargic
Confusion
Muscle Fatigue

My husband brought our dog to the Vet on Wednesday because she was limping from her arthritis in her front wrists. The vet prescribed Metacam (meloxicam). It made her very lethargic, confused and unsteady. By Saturday morning her hind legs would not work at all. We gave her the prescibed dose and no more. I refused to give her her does this morning and right now it is 230 pm and her hind end is still failing. The vet this morning said it's old age and she never heard of this reaction to this medication. I know our dog is old and would not be with us much longer but I believe this medication has robbed us of the little time left. I am not sure if her hind legs with improve, if not we will need to put her down this week because its absolutely cruel to watch what has happened to her in 3 doses. Do give this medication to your pets. This medication has taken any quality of life left in our dog, bringing her to her death.

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Dazie

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Breagle

dog-age-icon

Two Years

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Critical severity

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Critical severity

Has Symptoms

Dazie was spayed a week ago today. When we picked her up we where given Meloxcam, told to start her on rec dosage next day for 3 daysas she had already been give that days dose.Day .2.still uncoordinated, gave her the Meloxicam . Day .3. about the same started to worry, but gave her the medication anyway. Day .3. Something very wrong took to the vet, they changed the medication sent her home. Day .4. back yo the vet, advised very sick dog would have to go one a drip. .7. days later she is still on a drip, she has kidney frailer ####DO NOT GIVE YOUR DOG THIS MEDICATION #######

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Baby

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Chihuahua

dog-age-icon

5 Years

pill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filled

Fair severity

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0 found helpful

pill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filled

Fair severity

Has Symptoms

Shaking
Uncoordination
Drooling
Muscle Weakness
Exhausted
Growling In Sleep

So I’m not sure if it’s an overdose or just a bad reaction but my dog is a 5-6 pound chihuahua, she’s never had this injection before but my vet gave her a 0.11 dosage of metacam. She suffers from pinched nerves every now and then. We recently got home and she can’t stay awake like she’s fighting sleep, when she stands she seems to be a bit uncoordinated, and her back legs will slowly fall, and she’s shaking and drooling. I’m hoping these are normal symptoms but I’m really worried. She’s only had one dosage and i was never told to give another

Meloxicam Poisoning Average Cost

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

Average Cost

$750

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