Written By hannah hollinger
Published: 08/07/2020Updated: 08/30/2021
Metacam for Dogs | Wag!

Metacam® (meloxicam) is a non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drug (NSAID) used to treat acute and chronic pain in dogs. The use of Metacam® is most commonly associated with treating osteoarthritis but can be used to manage pain caused by surgery and other skeletal disorders and joint conditions. 

Metacam® is safe to give to dogs when prescribed by a vet. However, negative effects can occur as a result of drug interactions, overdoses, and allergic reactions. Here's everything you need to know about Metacam® for dogs.


Metacam® can be administered in various forms, including by intravenous injection or orally in the form of a liquid or chewable tablet. In the US, Metacam® is also available as an oral spray. Often, the dosage instructions for Metacam® will differ depending on the condition. You should follow your vet's instructions to the letter when treating your dog with Metacam®. Generally, dogs are given an initial dose of 0.1mg/lb and follow-up treatments of 0.5mg/lb. 

Metacam® is only administered intravenously in a veterinary setting. If you are giving your dog Metacam® orally in liquid form, ensure you shake the bottle well before giving your dog a dose. Use a needleless plastic syringe so you can accurately measure the dosage. 

Metacam® can be taken with or without food. However, if your dog weighs less than 10 pounds, make sure you give them Metacam® with food. Do not administer it directly into a small dog's mouth. Metcam® can upset a dog's stomach and cause diarrhea or vomiting. If your dog encounters these side effects, try only administering Metacam® with food or after meals. If you're given an oral spray, spray Metacam directly onto your dog's cheek to maximize absorption.  

Dosage instructions

Liquid Metacam® comes in two different strengths: one for small dogs and one for large dogs. Metacam® for large dogs has a strength of 1.5mg/ml and should be administered according to your vet's instructions. For small dogs, Metacam is more diluted and has a concentration of 0.5mg/ml. Generally, small dogs are given two drops of Metacam® per pound of body weight. This solution should be put directly into their food. If you are given Metacam® in a different form, follow your vet's instructions on the correct way to administer it. 


Metacam® is very effective in relieving pain associated with several common joint and skeletal disorders. Metacam® is also fast-acting, and you may see improvements in your dog's movement within a couple of hours. Despite this improvement, do not start walking your dog for long periods. You should slowly increase the amount of exercise to build up muscle mass and improve mobility. Speak to your vet about the best way to exercise your dog while they're taking Metacam®. 

Side effects

As with most NSAIDs, several side effects can occur during treatment. Common, mild side effects include:

However, serious side effects can occur due to high dosages or sensitivity. If you notice yellowing of your dog's skin (usually on the ear flaps) or discoloration of their urine, contact your vet immediately.


Drug interactions

As Metacam® is an NSAID, you should let you vet know if your dog is currently taking any of the following:

  • Diuretics (furosemide)

  • Antibiotics (amikacin, gentamicin)

  • Antifungal medication (fluconazole)

  • Anticoagulants (heparin, warfarin)

  • Anesthetics 

  • Other NSAIDs

  • Corticosteroids (prednisolone, prednisone)

  • Immunosuppressive drugs (cyclosporine, methotrexate)

Using Metacam® in conjunction with any of these drugs can affect treatment and may cause serious side effects. You should also tell your vet if you're giving your dog any vitamins or supplements as they may affect treatment. 

Allergic reactions and sensitivity

It is possible for your dog to be allergic to Metacam® and other NSAIDs. If you notice your dog is having a severe reaction to Metacam®, contact your vet immediately. Do not give Metacam® to pregnant or lactating dogs. You also shouldn't give Metacam® to dogs who are vomiting, have blood in their stools, or are severely dehydrated. Metacam® is not suitable for dogs who are younger than 6 months old or diagnosed with kidney or liver disease.

You should use caution when administering Metacam® to dogs who are elderly or have a heart condition, a bleeding disorder, or a history of ulcers.

Frequently asked questions

Can Metacam® be given to cats?

Metacam® is safe for cats when prescribed by a veterinarian. However, Metacam® produces different side effects in cats and requires different dosages. Do not give Metacam® prescribed to a dog to another animal.

What should I do if I forget to give my dog a dose of Metacam®?

If you forget to give your dog a dose of Metacam®, you can either skip the missed dose and continue on with treatment. Alternatively, you can give the dose straight away and wait for the allotted time before giving them the next dose. Do not double up or give your dog more Metacam® as a result of missing a dose.

Will my dog need to be monitored while taking Metacam®?

Your vet may want to give your dog blood tests to check liver and kidney function in your dog is still healthy, and to check if your dog has developed ulcers as a result of taking Metacam®.

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