Hi, Cecilb10 and welcome to the forum.
Quite a number of our members have used or are using Metacam (meloxicam) for their adult dogs without incident. When used as prescribed it is considered by veterinarians to be one of the safer nsaids for use in adult dogs.
All drugs have the potential for serious side effects in some dogs. If the occasional use of this drug has been helping your dogs without issues, I would not be overly concerned about continuing to use it.
Some more information on meloxicam and metacam:
Meloxicam should not be used in pregnancy or in lactation.
Meloxicam should not be used in puppies under 6 months of age (safety has not been proven).
Meloxicam should be avoided, if possible, in patients with impaired function of the liver, kidney or heart. It should also be avoided in dehydrated patients and patients with known GI ulcers.
The veterinary formulations of meloxicam are oral liquids (either 1.5mg/ml or 0.5 mg/ml). It is important to compare these sizes to the human tablets which are available in much higher strengths. In general, human strength pills will be too strong except in very large dogs. It is important not to use human medications on pets unless your veterinarian has provided detailed dosing instructions.
Meloxicam (not Petcam) is the generic version of Metacam. It is the human version but is also approved for use in dogs and would definitely be cheaper and could be a good alternative for very large dogs. However, for reasons mentioned above it would not be viable for your smaller dogs due to difficulty in measuring the exact dosage and the danger of accidental overdose.
Metacam, Meloxidyl, and Petcam are veterinarian formulations of meloxicam made by different companies. Metacam is the formulation commonly prescribed by veterinarians in North America. Meloxidyl and Petcam are manufactured in the UK and India respectively and would be commonly prescribed in various countries overseas. Cipla, the maker of Petcam, has been around since 1935 and is approved by five major regulatory bodies including the FDA (see Wikipedia). Still, I would be careful of the legitimacy of some of the websites that are selling Petcam and other drugs without prescription in North America and I still would not want to purchase this product without the approval of a respected veterinarian. Nothing wrong with purchasing drugs online in my opinion. Perhaps I am overcautious but I would only purchase any
drugs online from a proven reputable licensed pharmacy.
Some information from Wikipedia about online pharmacies:
Pharmacies offering medication without requiring a prescription and doctor review or supervision are sometimes fraudulent and may supply counterfeit—and ineffective and possibly dangerous—medicines.
There are a number of members on this forum who have or had dogs that suffered from hip dysplasia. I'm sure some will come along who can offer you some information on some of the things that they might have found helpful.
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1991 to May 24, 2009