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Metacam - anyone used it?(17 Posts)
We're thinking of putting our 12 year old GSD on metacam as her back legs are getting pretty bad.
She struggles to stand up if shes been sitting for any length of time, can't walk further than round the block and sometimes falls when walking up the stairs to get home.
Her health is ok otherwise (but prone to earmites and occasional hot spot dermatitis) I don't think she is at the stage we should get her put down yet but I would like her quality of life to be a bit better with regards to mobility.
Does anyone have any experiences of metacam? Side effects / cost (including the regular bloodwork etc)? Does it give a big improvement on mobility?
My dog has been on metacam for hip dysplasia since she was 2, she is now 11. We have had no side effects, she is on a liver support vitamin mix and regularly gets blood tests done to check liver function. It does help her with pain. It is expensive (I am in Canada though, might be different in UK).
That said, my first thought for a GSD of that age would be degenerative myelopathy, has she been checked by a vet? DM is not painful so you would not need metacam.
Have you considered something like hydrotherapy? Great for older dogs with reduced mobility.
I know 4 dogs on permanent Metacam - 2 rotties, a cocker spaniel and a lurcher/GSD cross.
They have injections every 8 weeks. By the end of week 7/8 you can see that they need them. They start to limp again, stiffen up, won't jump up onto their chairs or into the car. Within 24 hours of the injections they are doing all this and running through the fields chasing rabbits!
I know it can be expensive, but for me quality of life is more important. None of the dogs I know have suffered side effects, I don't know how likely they are. In all 4 dogs the improvements in mobility are nothing short of outstanding when you know what they were like the previous week.
One of the rotties had a hip operation when he was 2 and was put on Metacam pretty much straight after. He's now 6 and you wouldn't know there was ever anything wrong with him unless you saw him in week 8.
My dog's on permanent metacam as he has elbow dysplasia, he has it orally every day though. It costs about £40 for 5 months worth (you can get it cheaper online but you'd need to pay for a prescription and my insurance covers it anyway), he has to have a check up every 6 months for the repeat prescription (so whatever your vet charges for an appointment)...he doesn't get bloods done though, I assume because he's a very young dog so no real need to worry about kidneys or liver yet and as he's already had an operation and been neutered within the last year they were done then anyway.
I know that a full bloodwork costs about £60 at my vet though as I get my cat done every 3 months.
The side effects can be stomach problems, but mine tolerates it fine.
Yes it does make a huge difference, it's an anti-inflammatory so it relieves pain and swelling.
I dispense hundreds of bottles of metacam each year. The most common side effects are vomiting and diarrhoea which resolves when the metacam is stopped when the try other NSAIDs. The main serious side effect is the risk of kidney failure in dogs I have only seen one case in 17 years and I only look test at risk case regularly. If you Google metacam you fill find some sad stories of side effects, but these are really very rare and most are in the USA where there is a tendency to use much higher doses than are used in the UK.
It is a very useful medication as once you have had the initial three month period you can then gradually titrate down to the lowest effective dose for that dog.
I believe the massive improvement in quality of life it gives dogs massively out weighs the chances of see effects. Though I am very much in the best possible life even if it is a bit shorter camp.
As an aside to the advice already given, I had an elderly dog whose back end was getting progressively worse during her final year, but who was otherwise very happy and cherished. We did some things to help her you might find useful-or not!
-put cheap door mats in key places round the house for her to have some grip
-made a little 'sling' for under her hips (length of fabric with sponges sewn in), to kind of support her back end when we walked her
-short, regular walks to stop her seizing up
-glucosamine joint tablets
-helping her in and out of the house, up onto the bed etc.
-a doggy 'wheelchair' frame (this was a complete disaster)
-kept cheerfully chivvying her along, despite wanting to weep at her body letting her down
She wasn't in pain though, her back end just wouldn't work properly, and one day she very much let us know she had had enough, something changed and there was nothing more we could do.
My dog couldn't tolerate it - made her vomit. You could try turmeric - a fantastic anti-inflammatory.
I had a dog with elbow dysplasia who was on and off Metacam all his life as and when he needed it - it helped enormously.
I'd echo what PassAFist said though, have you had a diagnosis from the vet? Metacam could help with arthritis or hip dysplasia, if it's a herniated disc the dog needs an operation (and usually they have a good recovery), if it's DM sadly nothing helps.
The vet knows her mobility is bad (she was on 6 months ago for an operation to remove a tumour from her mammaries) but hasn't suggested anything to help with it.
We were planning to take her to the vets to get her assessed and see if they think metacam is the answer but I wanted to research it a bit beforehand. My vet won't offer tests or a medication unless we mention it first.
I'm not the biggest fan of out vet TBH (had a few disagreements with him when he was my horse vet many years ago) I think they are not the best at providing solutions. For example 2 years of recurring earmites infestations and not one of them suggested we buy something to spray on the carpets and to treat the rest of her body as they can migrate to the paws etc. DH had our dog before we met and he doesn't want to change vets.
I think I will request an x ray to see if it is her hips and go from there. Curious about the metacam injections as I didn't know you could get this (giving her tablets is a nightmare)
Oh oral Metacam isn't a tablet, it's a liquid...smells a bit like honey, tastes sweet and you stick it in their food, most dogs really like it - even mine, who won't eat a ridiculous amount of actual food stuff.
Metacam comes in three formulations for dogs. Injectable form which lasts 24 hours and is often used to start a course, it is not suitable for anything more than sporadic use.
Then orally there are chewable tablets and a liquid personally I prefer the oral liquid as it is much easier to titrate a dose than with tablets.
If I were you I would go to an orthopedic specialist vet. The situation is potentially complicated to diagnose and you're better off with a specialist from the start.
Our dog has had oral Metacan, and will happily lick it up straight, it obviously takes quite nice. But then he does seem to quite like drugs, and comes running when he hears the sound of medicine bottles opening. He had recurring issues with pain/stiffness for the last few winters and last winter we talked to the vet about having him on a low dose right through the winter to try to head off the pain, but then suddenly got a lot worse and was referred to to a specialist hospital where they found he had a tumour on his spine (which luckily turned out to be a cyst).
The metacan was very effective up to that final episode, it really did help and we didn't experience any side effects.
Ours got serious stomach ulcers from the oral medication. Be extremely careful about only giving it with food (immediately after a meal).
DDog is on permanent metacam - he's 14 (big dog, husky X), and it has made a massive difference to his quality of life - he bounds out for walks again.
He has it in liquid form, squirted on his food. No immediate obvious side effects, and to be painfully honest, at his age any long term issues are really not that worth worrying about relative to the short term improvement in quality of life.
14 yr old lab has been on it daily for about 15 months now. He tolerates it fine. Vet doesn't do blood tests but won't give repeat prescription without giving him once over.
For Arthritic - type problems, acupuncture can also be very helpful. Not for degenerative problems though. Most insurance companies will cover it. The Association of British Veterinary Acupuncturists have a list of vets that do it. ( Non-vets aren't allowed to do it).
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