Metacam is a form of nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory pain medication that is now used to treat many different types of animals such as dogs, cats, rabbits, cattle, guinea pigs and exotic pets. Meloxicam is the name of the drug included in the treatment and is the active ingredient, it is approved for use in cats in many countries including countries within the European Union.
However, in the United States it is heavily governed by the U.S Food and Drug Administrations regulations due to safety of treating cats. It is only dispensed via prescription only and is used for treating pain and inflammation in joints as well as helping to reduce fevers.
With cats being a popular pet it is not approved for long term use and is deemed as being safe for using as a one-off treatment that is injected into the cat. Metacam for cats is used before the cat undergoes surgery, and it is used mainly to ease the postoperative pain that the cat may feel following a spay or neuter for example. A repeat injection is not recommended and is not safe to be administered as an oral medication.
Another animal that it is used on are horses and this is used to help alleviate the problems surrounding musculo-skeletal disorders. It has also been used to help ease the pain linked to colic in horses. When given to horses it has to be mixed with food or put directly into the mouth with the dosage being measured at 0.6mg per kg of body weight. This can be given to the horse once daily for up to 14 days. It can also be administered via a suspension and this is done using a syringe which comes with the medicine and also helps to measure out the right dosage per kg of bodyweight.
As with all drugs there is a potential for side effects and the side effects experienced by the animals are the same or similar to those experienced by humans. The main side effect is gastrointestinal irritation which includes vomiting, Diarrhoea and ulceration. There are also other rare side effects which are important to remember such as liver and kidney toxicity.
However, it should be used with caution where animals have known hypersensitivity or an allergy to the drug. Repeated use in cats can lead to acute renal failure and even death. For those animals with a history of bleeding, inflammation or perforation of the stomach, Metacam for dogs should be avoided for puppies less than six weeks old should not be given the drug. Stools can become dark and tarry and there is a possibility of a loss of appetite.