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Metacam safe for dogs?

Species: Dog
Breed: Lab mix
Age: 2-5 years
Hi,
We have a 2 year old Lab mix from the local shelter. We adopted him as a puppy knowing that his back feet looked somewhat abnormal.
That did turn out to be the case as he grew . . .our orthopedic specialist says that all the bones below his back ankles are not right. Nevertheless, he is an awesome pet, and he is able to walk and even run (bunny-hop mostly) with the help of Medicam. His left back foot is a little worse than his right, and at times he walks on 3 legs . . .especially at a lower level of Medicam. We treat him with a once daily dose--somewhere between a dose level for a 30lb dog and a dose level for a 50lb dog . . .most days around the 35to 40lb level. Samson weighs 60lb.
My question is this: I know that Medicam carries the risk of side effects, and that Samson will probably need it the rest of his life, and he is only 2years old. How can I minimize the risk to him, and, also, how do I determine how much to give him . . .is it more important to keep him totally on 4 legs if, say, a 45lb dose would do that . . .or is it more important to minimize the dose to, say, a 35lb dose since he will need this forever?


Online vet, Dr. Marie

Dr. Marie replied:

Aw, poor Samson. It sounds like he is quite uncomfortable with his condition.

If Metacam works for Samson, then I wouldn't be worried at all about him taking it for the rest of his life. It is an NSAID which means that it is processed through the liver and kidneys but it is really a safe NSAID.

I get worried about using Metacam in dogs that have preexisting liver or kidney problems, but I don't have fears that Metacam is going to cause a liver or kidney problem.

I would continue with the dose that keeps him comfortable and wouldn't reduce the dose. If he is not walking on a leg then it means that there is pain in that leg.

You can also talk to your vet about trying adding on additional medications such as Cartrophen or Adequan injections, Tramadol or Cosequin.

As far as long term treatment goes, if this was my case I would likely be running a blood panel every 6-12 months to look at Samson's liver and kidney enzymes. Again, I don't feel that the Metacam is going to cause a problem. But, if something else happens to cause damage to these organs then we want to know about it and get on top of things quickly!

One other thing that you may want to consider is getting Samson fitted with a wheelchair. That way he would not have to put weight on his back legs at all. Your vet can help you decide if this could be a good option for him.

I hope he continues to do well!

Dr. Marie.


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Disclaimer: Although Dr. Marie is a qualified veterinarian, the information found on this site is not meant to replace the advice of your own veterinarian. AskAVetQuestion.com and Dr. Marie do not accept any responsibility for any loss, damage, injury, death, or disease which may arise from reliance on information contained on this site. Do not use information found on this site for diagnosing or treating your pet. Anything you read here is for information only.

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Dr. MarieDr. Marie is a veterinarian who practices in a busy animal hospital in Ottawa, Ontario. She created Ask A Vet Question as a resource for good, accurate veterinary advice online. Dr. Marie treats dogs, cats, hamsters, guinea pigs, and rats. She has been a vet since 1999.

Is an online vet visit just as good as a trip to your veterinarian? No! But, many times, asking an online veterinarian a question can help save you money. While Dr. Marie can't officially diagnose your pet or prescribe medications, she can often advise you on whether a vet visit is necessary. You can also ask Dr. Marie for a second opinion on your pet's condition.