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Meloxicam for Feline Arthritis

Gunew, M. N., V. H. Menrath, et al. (2008). “Long-term safety, efficacy and palatability of oral meloxicam at 0.01-0.03 mg/kg for treatment of osteoarthritic pain in cats.” Journal of Feline Medicine & Surgery 10(3): 235-241.

Osteoarthritis is a painful condition that typically affects the elbow, hip, and shoulder joints of as many as 1 in 5 senior cats. Affected cats may have a variety of clinical signs, such as difficulty in jumping, lameness, resentment of handling and stiff gait. However, many owners do not recognize the significance of these clinical signs and may attribute them to aging changes. Although this is a common disease, reports of long-term osteoarthritis therapy in cats are rare. Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) have proven efficacy in dogs and humans but there are limited published data on the use of NSAIDs in the long-term management of this condition in cats. This prospective study aimed to assess the long-term safety and palatability of oral meloxicam (Metacam, Boehringer Ingelheim Vetmedica, Inc.) and its efficacy in treating osteoarthritic pain in cats when given at a dose of 0.01 to 0.03 mg/kg once daily. Forty cats diagnosed with osteoarthritis completed the trial with a mean treatment duration of 5.8 months. Gastrointestinal upset in 2/46 (4%) cats was the only adverse effect noted. Three of the cats had stable chronic renal insufficiency (IRIS stage 3). No deleterious effect on renal function was detected in cats studied. Owners subjectively assessed treatment efficacy as good or excellent in 34/40 (85%) of cases. The results of this study showed oral meloxicam to be safe and palatable long-term treatment for osteoarthritis in cats when given with food at a dose of 0.01 to 0.03 mg/kg.
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Related articles:
Clarke, S. P., D. Mellor, et al. (2005). “Prevalence of radiographic signs of degenerative joint disease in a hospital population of cats.” Vet Rec 157(25): 793-9.
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Godfrey, D. R. (2005). “Osteoarthritis in cats: a retrospective radiological study.” J Small Anim Pract 46(9): 425-9.
>> PubMed abstract