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How long for Metacam to take effect? (UPDATE)

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  • How long for Metacam to take effect? (UPDATE)

    Last week, my little 6-year-old Brussels Griffon started experiencing seemingly intense pain in his rear right leg. He would walk and then yelp and tuck the leg under, or show pain when being picked up (as he would extend that leg). There was no known injury or trauma.

    Thinking that perhaps he had just sprained something, he spent a few days on baby Aspirin (per vet's recommendation) with no improvement. Yesterday, we went in for an exam where he showed no signs of pain during palpation of both legs, spine, back, neck, etc. No neurological symptoms either.

    He had Grade 1 luxating patellas briefly as a puppy (during a growth spurt), but was never in pain because of them. Vet says both patellas luxate still and there is thickening in both joints. Vet diagnosed him as having arthritis and prescribed ArthriMaxx and Metacam. Vet also pulled a CBC panel, which we do not know the results on yet.

    He got dosed Metacam at the vets and was in good spirits and much happier all last night—even jumped up on the couch on his own. He woke up around 3 a.m. and yelped when he repositioned himself on the bed. I gave him a little more Metacam and he seemed to settle.

    Today he got his dose of Arthrimaxx and Metacam, but we've not been having a good day... Yelps and tries to snap if I pick him up, was not at all excited to go outside and would occasional cry as he walked and pick up that back right leg. He's sleeping next to me on the couch now, but he's definitely not himself. He has not eaten his dry food for several days now—I've been making a raw mixture for him to get him to eat.

    Does the Metacam just take time? Should I request some Tramadol or something just for the pain? The vet said we'll have good days and bad days but I'm just sick of the bad days—I want my dog back!

    Sorry the novel. Any advice or even sympathy appreciated.
    Last edited by Tha Ridge; Aug. 19, 2013, 08:02 PM. Reason: New update!

  • #2
    As you know, different dogs react differently to pain and pain meds than other dogs do, and the dog can't say if it's a 1 or 10 on the pain scale. I would call the vet and ask his thoughts as he may want to change the dosage or try something else.

    I took my JRT in for almost the exact same sort of pain, in one hind leg, and my vet prescribed rimadyl I think it was, but my dog was acting like he felt worse the next day, so we went back. The vet said that he had underestimated my dog's pain level and he added tramadol which worked great. Now my dog didn't have arthiritis, but I'm sure the level of meds needed is still a bit of a guessing game all the same.
    Rhode Islands are red;
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    • #3
      Becareful giving "extra" metacam. Its a pretty potent drug which can cause some nasty ulcers if overdosed. Hard to tell if the anorexia is due to pain, but skip the metacam if he isn't eating at all.

      Can your vet refer to you an orthopedic specialist? Sounds like something is being missed.

      Metacam should take effect in a few hours and last 24.

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      • #4
        My dog is on Metacam right now. Actually, we had withheld it since he seemed ok, but after talking to the vet on tuesday, we put him back on it. The vet was adamant about the dosage and made sure he was not getting anything else that would be contra-indicated.
        He got his first dose on Wednesday am and I saw an improvement within hours. Less lethargic, more willing to get up and walk, etc.
        I bought the large bottle because he will be on it for a while before and after surgery next week.
        It works!!

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        • Original Poster

          #5
          The anorexia started before the Metacam. He'll eat his raw food, just not interested in the dry stuff, which isn't the end of the world, I suppose, since he does have a full tummy either way.

          We had a relatively good night last night comparatively speaking, so I think it's beginning to work. Vet did tell me to be patient (not my strong suit) and I've read elsewhere that for some dogs, it works almost immediately whereas for others, it can take a day or two. One shelter worker friend said that for some dogs it doesn't seem to work at all—hope we're not that dog!

          If we don't see improvement in the upcoming week, I'll definitely get a referral elsewhere.

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          • #6
            I hope its just taking a while for the Metacam to kick in, but Lyme can cause anorexia, mild to severe and often rotating leg/joint lameness and fever. Are they doing a Lyme test?

            And FWIW, my vet adamantly cautions against overdosing with NSAIDs, and says generally it takes 36-48 hrs or longer to see results. I've found Metacam to be one of the most effective NSAIDs, and with the least side-effects. My husband likes his meloxicam too, yes he does

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            • Original Poster

              #7
              Originally posted by lovey1121 View Post
              I hope its just taking a while for the Metacam to kick in, but Lyme can cause anorexia, mild to severe and often rotating leg/joint lameness and fever. Are they doing a Lyme test?
              Yep. Not 100 percent sure yet, but lyme seems unlikely—no fever, and living in Manhattan, he doesn't ever spend time in wooded areas where ticks would be common. There's also no apparent pain when the joint is palpated. It's a good suggestion though—it was the first thing the vet asked.

              Hoping that the Metacam is just taking its time, especially since it does seem like it's relatively safe and easy on the dog compared to other options. I talked to the vet again today and we're going back for X-rays on Tuesday if we don't see anymore improvement.

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              • #8
                Originally posted by Tha Ridge View Post
                Yep. Not 100 percent sure yet, but lyme seems unlikely—no fever, and living in Manhattan, he doesn't ever spend time in wooded areas where ticks would be common. There's also no apparent pain when the joint is palpated. It's a good suggestion though—it was the first thing the vet asked.

                Hoping that the Metacam is just taking its time, especially since it does seem like it's relatively safe and easy on the dog compared to other options. I talked to the vet again today and we're going back for X-rays on Tuesday if we don't see anymore improvement.
                A lyme test is pretty cheap. My last cocker didn't exhibit pain when being palpated either, but she definitely had Lyme. Lyme doesn't necessarily present with a fever and you can still pick it up in a city...rodents carry Lyme ticks and are an interim host.

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                • #9
                  In my experience (and I'm not a vet), I would expect the Metacam to be fairly effective within 48 hours. If it's not, there are other options and/or combinations. But it's not wise to make changes without talking to your vet because of potential interactions. I sure hope you can get your critter feeling better soon.
                  A good horseman doesn't have to tell anyone...the horse already knows.

                  Might be a reason, never an excuse...

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                  • Original Poster

                    #10
                    He's been taking the vet-recommended dose of Metacam. It was only that first night that he got a little more. I did ask the vet if that was OK and they said it was fine that once, so no more need to bring it up. It's about 48 hours now, and pain is still consistent.

                    It sucks, but I'm beginning to feel a little like it may be something more intense like osteosarcoma. I hope I'm just being a worrywart.

                    ETA: We *are* testing for Lyme, just don't know results yet. Also awaiting results from a CBC panel.

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                    • #11
                      Try not to worry. I know its hard, but statistics are against osteosarcoma, so try to stay positive that its something not so sinister!

                      A chronically luxating patella can be painful, as can a cruciate tear or meniscal tear. Xrays should help rule things out, and hopefully diagnose a problem that can be fixed

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                      • Original Poster

                        #12
                        Thanks! Just sucks to see your best friend in pain.

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                        • #13
                          I would add that it would be wise to limit his movement, especially if/when the painkillers kick in. No jumping on the couch or jumping up etc. Calm, short walks only until you know what is going on. If he has a sprain or other orthopedic injury, he could be aggravating it by being too active as he feels better and then you are back where you started (or worse!)

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                          • Original Poster

                            #14
                            Still no improvement with the Metacam... We're going in for x-rays this afternoon or first thing tomorrow.

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                            • Original Poster

                              #15
                              Well, we did X-rays this afternoon. The vet palpated again and got a pretty violent reaction around the hips, so we did two views of his hips.

                              They showed us what we already sort of knew—arthritic changes in the knee and a little bit of dysplasia in the right hip, that we'll continue managing with Metacam, as needed, and ArthriMaxx for day-to-day.

                              BUT the biggest thing the X-rays showed: bone fragments passing through his intestines, especially in his colon which is perfectly in line with the pain he showed today and the pain he's been showing when he's picked up. They are small enough to pass on their own (with a little help from Lactulose) but definitely big enough to be causing pain. I did at least get some Tramadol in case his pain persists for a few more days.

                              So that is my anti-climactic, non-romantic answer! I don't know where he ate bones (but he does eat all sorts of things here off the street in the blink of an eye), but I'm glad that it's nothing tragic. He took a giant poo upon leaving the vet's office and seems to be in better spirits already.

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                              • #16
                                Yay, glad to hear!!

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