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Metacam for Cats (Meloxicam) – a Pet Owner GUIDE

What is Meloxicam? What Does it do for Cats? 

Metacam for cats, otherwise known as Meloxicam, is a non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drug (NSAID) used to ease discomfort and alleviate inflammatory, pyretic (fever), and painful conditions of the musculoskeletal system such as osteoarthritis and soft tissue inflammation/injuries. 

It inhibits the release of a chemical called prostaglandin that triggers a natural pain response and an inflammatory process within the body. It is sold under trade names such as Loxicom, Meloxicam, Metacam, and Meloxibell; however, Meloxicam and Metacam for cats are the only products licensed for cats. 

image of prostaglandin

How do I Give Metacam to my Cat?

Metacam For Cats is an oral liquid suspension that needs to be administered via the mouth. The product comes with a measuring syringe that can be used to draw up the required volume of Metacam from the plastic tube. 

You can try to offer the syringe by bringing it close to your cat’s mouth to see if they are happy to take it voluntarily. However, if your cat does not show any interest, then the medication in the syringe needs to be given using the following steps:

  1. Have your cat sit in front of you with the head facing away from you.
  2. Place your non-dominant hand under your cat’s chin and gently lift the head so the head is looking up at the ceiling.
  3. Using the thumb and the index finger of your non-dominant hand, gently support each side of the jaw for more control.
  4. Hold the syringe with your dominant hand.
vet preparing to medicate a cat with a syringe
  1. Gently insert the syringe at the side of their mouth (roughly at a 65-degree angle from the front of the face just behind the canine tooth) to encourage the mouth to open.
  2. Administer the medication once the mouth is large enough that the tip of the syringe can touch the cat’s tongue. 
  3. Pull the syringe out and let your cat close the mouth, and swallow the medication.
  4. Gently bring the head down and remove your hand once they’ve finished swallowing.

The Potential Side Effects of Metacam For Cats

The adverse reactions of Metacam may include lethargy, inappetence, vomiting, diarrhea, stomach ulceration, and haematochezia (bloody stool). These side effects may be seen within the first two weeks of treatment. 

Should you notice any unusual/unwarranted behavior and abnormality, discontinue Metacam and seek veterinary attention as soon as possible. Precautionary measures must be taken for Metacam use in kittens less than six weeks of age and geriatric cats due to potential additional risks.  

When Should a Cat NOT Take Meloxicam?

Use of Metacam is contraindicated in:

  • Pregnant or lactating queens.
pregnant cat 1 I Love Veterinary - Blog for Veterinarians, Vet Techs, Students
  • Cats suffering from cardiac (heart), hepatic (liver), or renal (kidney) disease
  • Cats that are currently on steroid medication.
  • Cats with known hypersensitivity to meloxicam.

Metacam For Cats – a Vet’s Perspective

Metacam for cats is one of the standard veterinary medications used for feline patients as it is widely distributed and readily available at many veterinary clinics. The first and the utmost reason is its legality as the only oral pain relief currently approved and licensed for use in cats.

This is then followed by its practicality and therapeutic efficacy. Its liquid form makes the medication easier to administer than tablets or injections and often more tolerable by many cats. Metacam has a relatively fast onset of action (within one to two hours post-administration). Its therapeutic peak level can be achieved within a week of the treatment being initiated!

These advantageous points certainly make Metacam a desirable magical medication for many cats. However, meloxicam inhibits prostaglandin synthesis to provide the clinical effect, which means prostaglandins cannot execute their regular roles, including kidney homeostasis, as a result. This can be problematic for cats with pre-existing conditions that cannot spare any pause of prostaglandin synthesis.

Moreover, long-term use of meloxicam can increase risks of organ dysfunction (especially the kidneys) and adverse reactions even in cats without any pre-existing condition. Therefore, veterinary advice and a regular health check must be sought to minimize the risks and adverse reactions.  

Contraindications of Meloxicam

Meloxicam can be passed on to kittens from their queen via a vertical transmission (mother-to-offspring transmission) through the placenta during pregnancy and by kittens ingesting their queen’s milk during their lactation period. 

kittens drinking milk

Prostaglandins play significant roles in significant organs, especially in kidneys. Therefore, inhibition of prostaglandin synthesis by meloxicam can add further pressure on already-compromised organs in cats with cardiac, hepatic, and renal disease. 

Many studies have shown severe reactions after a concurrent administration of steroid and non-steroidal medications, such as gastric bleeding, deep gastric ulceration, and kidney dysfunction/failure.

FAQ’s on Metacam for Cats

Does it come in tablet form?

A: No! Metacam for cats is an oral liquid suspension. Although there are Metacam tablets, the tablets are currently approved only for dogs and not licensed for cats. 

Can Metacam be purchased over-the-counter?

A: No, Metacam (meloxicam) is a veterinary prescription medication, therefore only available upon consultation with your veterinarian.

How do I store Metacam?

A: Metacam should be stored at a controlled room temperature (20 – 25 Degrees Celsius).

How long does Metacam last?

A: Shelf life is six months once the bottle is opened. 

Can I use it for my other animals?

A: No, the product is a veterinary medication that is licensed for cats. Consult with a veterinarian for off-label use if you wish to use it for non-feline species.

Can I mix Metacam in cat food?

A: It is not recommended to be mixed in food. However, it is recommended that you offer food before and after medicating to prevent stomach upset and gastric ulceration. 

It has been several weeks since I started a course of Metacam, I still have not seen any improvement. What do I do?

A: You need to inform your veterinarian as soon as possible, so he/she can reassess your cat’s condition. 

I think my cat is in pain, and I found a leftover Metacam from one year ago. Should I give it to her?

A: No, you must consult with your veterinarian first. Here are several reasons why:

  1. It has been opened for over six months (expired shelf life).
  2. The health condition of your cat is unlikely to be the same as one year ago, which is an essential factor in deciding on medication, its dose, and what is appropriate for your cat.
  3. The origin of this assumed pain has not been established (unknown). 

Does Metacam for cats cause drowsiness?

A: Yes, one of the known side effects is apathy.

I have meloxicam for dogs and meloxicam for horses. Can I dilute it to use for my cat?

A: No, as Metacam for cats has a different concentration. Consult with your veterinarian. 

Conclusion

Metacam (Meloxicam) is an oral non-steroidal anti-inflammatory prescription drug for cats.  It has several known side effects such as lethargy, inappetence, vomiting, diarrhea, stomach ulceration, and haematochezia (bloody stool), and precaution must be taken if it needs to be given to young kittens and senior adults. 

Also, it is contraindicated in pregnant or lactating queens, cats with any pre-existing disease that may be negatively impacted by Metacam (cardiac disease, hepatic disease, renal disease, hypersensitivity), and cats are on steroid mediations. 

Metacam is a recognized and commonly used veterinary medication due to its legality, practicality, and efficacy. Yet, exigent risks come with both short and long-term use; therefore, you must always consult with a veterinary professional before use. 

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