Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drug for dogs – metacam hip dysplasia surgery

Arthritis is a degenerative condition that can affect one or more joints causing pain, swelling and stiffness. This happens when the protective smooth layer surrounding the bones called cartilage, starts to break down leaving the bones exposed to painful wear and tear. There are several causes, sometimes arthritis may be the result of an old injury sustained in earlier life such as a cruciate ligament tear or broken bone, or the joint may simply have become damaged through wear and tear. Genetic predisposition in certain breeds can also increase the likelihood of a dog developing the condition. Breeds prone to arthritis include, Labrador Retrievers, German Shepherd Dogs and Great Danes. This is due to the extra strain and weight placed upon the joints in larger and heavier breeds.


Canine arthritis is typically associated with pain, stiffness and swelling, however any number of symptoms and/or changes in a dog’s behaviour can suggest the onset of the condition. The most obvious change is a reduction in the dog’s mobility, including difficulties jumping into the car, onto chairs or climbing the stairs, limping and stiffness and difficulties in getting up especially after a long nap or sleep. Other signs that may indicate arthritis in a dog include a reduction in the dog’s usual activity level, for example, reluctance to walk and play, sleeping and resting more and lethargy. If the dog’s arthritis is contained to one or two joints a dog may excessively lick, chew or bite at the affected joint, causing fur loss and redness. Lastly it is possible to notice a significant change in the dog’s demeanour, as they may be less sociable and tolerate other pets and children less. It is very important that if a dog has experienced any of these symptoms they are taken to be seen by a vet so an official diagnosis can be made.

To diagnose arthritis a veterinary surgeon will follow a series of steps including a comprehensive physical examination, taking radiographs and performing other diagnostic tests to help determine the cause of the dog’s pain. They will also take a full history to check for previous injuries and consider possible inherited conditions such as hip dysplasia. Once the condition has been confirmed the vet can recommend a suitable treatment plan, which can massively improve the quality of the dog’s life.

Medical management of the condition is a popular treatment option, as arthritis is a degenerative disease that only becomes more painful with time. In addition to treating a dog with anti-inflammatory drugs such as Metacam, there are many other things that an owner can do to help their dog. Controlling the weight of the dog is a very important issue, as the heavier and more obese a dog is the more strain that is placed on the painful joints. A vet will be able to give tailored advice on how to manage a dog’s weight, and there are some excellent specialised veterinary diet foods available, which ensure that the dog still receives all the necessary nutrients without any excess fat.

Exercise plays a big role in the management of arthritis and although a dog with the condition will not be able to exercise as much as a fit, young dog, it is very important to maintain a regular low impact exercise routine. Frequent gentle exercise helps by preventing joints from stiffening up and maintains mobility so the dog can remain active. Energetic exercise such as chasing balls and long hilly walks should be avoided though as this can place far too much strain on the already damaged joints. There are alternative methods of gentle exercise that can be considered, especially for those dogs that may also be obese. Hydrotherapy is becoming a very common way to provide exercise for dogs with arthritis. There are thousands of purpose built pools around the UK that allow safe and controlled swimming for dogs. Swimming helps to build up muscle mass, which is useful for supporting joints, and the low impact nature of the activity means it won’t aggravate the dog’s painful joints.

A comprehensive treatment plan including diet, exercise and medical management with non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs, means that dogs with the degenerative joint disease can still lead a very happy and pain free life. Metacam Oral suspension for Dogs is an oral anti-inflammatory drug, which is presented in a liquid formulation. It contains the active ingredient Meloxicam. Once completely absorbed following oral administration, the drug works by exerting an anti-inflammatory, analgesic, anti-exudative and antipyretic effect.

Treatment using Metacam is to be continued once daily by oral administration at the recommended maintenance dose, however for longer term use, once clinical response has been observed, the dose of Metacam can be adjusted to the lowest effective individual dose reflecting that the degree of pain and inflammation with chronic-musculo-skeletal disorders may vary over time. The oral suspension can be administered either orally or be mixed with food. Most dogs will happily accept the solution which is honey flavoured making it easy to give. A dosing syringe is provided with each bottle to ensure accurate and concise dosing is achieved each time. Metacam is also available in a tablet formulation in two different strengths, 1mg and 2.5mg, however the oral suspension remains the most popular formulation of this NSAID.

Although Metacam is the most widely used drug of its type, there are some animals for which it will not be suitable and/or some animals that may have an adverse reaction to the active ingredient. The treatment is not to be used in pregnant or lactating animals, those suffering from gastrointestinal disorders, dogs with a known hypersensitivity to the active substance or puppies less than 6 weeks of age. Typical adverse reactions which may be seen include loss of appetite, vomiting, diarrhoea, blood in the faeces and lethargy. Any dog displaying these symptoms on commencement of Metacam treatment should be taken immediately to see a vet and treatment should be discontinued. Show more…