In memory if Isa
For starters, please do not email me challenging my opinion on this. I will not respond to your email. There is plenty of evidence that ALL NSAIDS are potentially dangerous due to their dangerous side effects. If your rat was on them and did well, thats all good. In fact, most of my rats had it too and had no problems. Not all rats will have bad reactions to metacam, but this article is here to open everyones eyes and make you aware that this drug is NOT without side effects in which the consequences can be fatal!!!
I have not had the time to revise my other pages where I suggest the use of metacam for pain and inflammation, but if you come across them, please write to me so I can mark the pages that need revised. Disregard any time you read where I suggest using this drug.
All rat owners should read this and never forget it:
I am sure that this may bring some mixed emotions, esp between Veterinarians and myself. I have no problem providing this information mainly so people do not think this is a benign drug. It is not. It can be lethal to your rat. It is no longer just my "opinion" that metacam is not the safest choice of medication to relieve our rats pain or help control inflammation, it has now become evident that this drug can indeed have deadly side effects, much easier than the drugs that are not as easily prescribed for our rats use, yet are much safer to use than metacam, such as some narcotic pain medication and even steroids when used properly for short term use. Torbutrol is the drug of choice as far as narcotic pain medication goes to control moderate to severe pain in rats. The accurate dose would be 0.18/lb to 10 mg/lb SQ OR 1mg/lb orally every 4 to 6 hours. For inflammation, I would prefer using childrens motrin for just a few days for inflammation only, not for pain. Pain causes stress, stress can hinder the immune system, so there is no reason at all to allow your rat to be in pain just because rats can handle pain better than many animals.
The suggested dose for relief of inflammation is as follows:
Childrens advil, motrin or pediaprofen. Generic or store brand is ok.
15mg/lb orally, every four hours.
So, what is this page all about? Its to educate rat owners and all pet owners, actually, about the dangers of some medications even those that are deemed "safe" to use on our pets. Some Vets believe that this drug, metacam, is the safest choice for pain relief after surgery and for pain relief from swelling etc... much safer to use than steroids....which is fast finding to be very misleading and if anything, a very inaccurate statement to make.
As some of you know, I answer questions that are related to rat health on All experts.com. which is a very nice website where people can go and search for answers to most anything, from care to your pet to how to rebuild a car engine to how to build a barn...you name it, its there. I have been helping rat owners since late 2007 and was named "expert of the year" for 2008. I dont really feel that the title "expert" is fitting for not only myself, but for anyone, since we learn something new every day, is anyone really an expert on anything really? Lets just say I am confident enough to stand up nose to nose against a person that has gone through school to become a Veterinarian and I am confident enough in my knowledge to defend it, if necessary, regardless of the fact I lack a degree on my wall in Veterinary medicine.
That said, here I am again with a controversial subject, which is metacam. loved by many Vets, this is, aside from baytril, one of the most widely prescribed medication for pain and inflammation for our pet rats. Its nothing more than ibuprofen and in fact, it is used in humans for relief from swelling of arthritis. It can be deadly, and that is why I am making this page on the top...with hopes that people see it and read it and yes, ASK YOUR VET! Print this page....its all from accurate sources. Anyhow, a rat owner had written to me when the his rat had some health problems that led to her having to be spayed. The surgery was without incident...at first. She was put (as usual!) on metacam for post op pain and I became concerned when I had not heard back from Islas owner when I wrote to see how she was doing with her recovery. This is what he wrote to me with the exception of the names of the Vet and the animal hospital, for which I had removed due to privacy rights.
Sorry, it has been a while. Isa had an unexpected, severe reaction to the Metacam pain medication. It poisoned her liver, and caused fluid build up. She is on Lasix, and Lactulose w/ Hepato supplements. Things are tentative right now, and she's going in tomorrow for another check-up. She's at the main hospital. The Vet is very nice and knowledgeable, but the hospital is pricey. We ended up going there because our regular vet wasn't available at the time.
I will never understand the use of Metacam in rats. it is a potent NSAID that is KNOWN to destroy the liver. It is more nephrotoxic than most antibiotics, the ones that vets fear to use like gentocin or amakacin, yet metacam is MORE DANGEROUS than those two drugs together. I never let me vet give my rats metacam post op. Its no more better than advil. People, next time your rat has surgery and your vet wants to give your rat metacam, as him if HE WOULD TAKE ADVIL post op for an incision half the length of his body,. Hell no he wouldnt He would be pumping up with narcotics, which are MUCH SAFER than metacam. In fact, narcotics are made from the poppy plant. Much of it is natural till we get into the synthetic crap.
I am so sorry about this Isa should have been on Torbugesic for a few days.
PEOPLE NEVER GIVE METACAM MORE THAN 2-3 DAYS!
I wish I had been more aware of the potential side-effects... From now on, I will definitely be asking what the potential risks are before agreeing. Isa had an appointment this morning, and as I said, I gave the vet a printout of what you had said. She said that she had given it to many rats and never had a problem. We started to go ahead with the check-up, but I noticed immediately that something was wrong. At home she had been sickly but alert, and now, suddenly she was not. I said, "This isn't right, she wasn't like this a little while ago."
The vet stopped what she was doing, and said that she was very stressed. I picked her up and held her, but I recognized the signs. So, looking for confirmation, I asked if she was going into shock, and the vet said that definitely could be it. Most animals who have been to the vet a few times don't like it, but in her weakened state, being back there was now killing her. We weighed the pros and cons of what to do next. They had lifesaving equipment there if she started to die, but being there was what was sending her into this state to begin with.
I decided that she could be taken home in the hopes that being somewhere safe and comfortable might bring her back around, and since my mom is a retired nurse, we were even given some fluids to use depending on her stress level. At the worst, she'd get to die at home in a relatively peaceful way. I held her for 7 hours until she finally died in my arms. That was two hours ago.
I am so sorry. I am absolutely SICK over this and this is something I have gone round and round and round about with many vets, even one of my good friends that is a vet likes metacam and knows the risks. Using it for a day is ok, but after that, there is a potential risk for liver damage. Vets only go by what literature they read, but they dont dig deep enough in most cases and go by the book. I dont. I am not a Vet, so I dont have to go by the book. I go by what I learn through experience with my own rats and many many other rats just by contact with people on the internet etc... Metacam can be deadly, as you have found. I would like to use your little one as an example of what metacam can do to rats to open the eyes of Vets and rat owners if you dont mind. I will make this my very first health topic after my home page on my website, Sandsycrittercity.com with your permission. I would like a step by step of what transpired along with lovely photos of Isa in her memory. Isa can save many lives with her story. Thats the least I can do for her and for the other rats that may have already died from metacam but it was never discovered or diagnosed properly and their deaths were probably blamed on something else other than the use of metacam. Its time to expose this drug for the deadly side effects it can have. This was not just some fluke allergic reaction, it is very real and can happen to any rat, they dont have to be allergic to it. I will NEVER give my rat metacam. I have just a few times, maybe a dose or two, and after reading up on it and going over a few things concerning it, I decided not to use it again, ever, and I am only sorry I did not push this issue more.
I am so so sorry this happend. I am just sick about it. Please email me if you want me to do this story about Isa. I think we can really save lives here if we do this.
my email is SandraContiTodd@yahoo.com
And with that, here we are, in memory of little Isa. May this article send the message to promote awareness of the possible dangerous, if not, deadly, side effects.
If you own a rat that has had surgery or perhaps has had a condition that warranted the use of a medication for either inflammation or mild pain, chances are, your rat has been prescribed metacam before.
*What is Metacam?Metacam is a NSAID, or if you want to be more technical about it, it is a non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drug. In other words, it helps with inflammation but it doesnt contain steroids, which is also an excellent anti-inflammatory drug. NSAIDS also reduce fever.So...whats the big deal?The big deal consists of a few gripes of mine (and many other rat owners as well as some Veterinarians, whom, if need by, will back up my claims pertaining to the side effects of this drug)
For starters, metacam is a drug used to reduce inflammation. Swelling can contribute to pain, of course, so to get rid of the swelling means to reduce pain, right? Well, yes, and no. It depends on the level of pain and the type of pain. One good example is pain from a tooth extraction. If you have had a tooth pulled before, its not the most comfortable feeling once the novacaine wears off. Alot of the pain comes from all of the swelling which causes pressure on the nerves. Once the swelling subsides, the pain goes away too. So, an NSAID works great for this type of pain. However, pain after surgery is on a whole different level, especially if you have an incision down the entire length of your body, like so many rats do after having a mammary tumor removed etc.... This is one instance that the Vet should truly consider giving your rat a narcotic pain reliever such as torbugesic or buprenex. I can almost PROMISE you that if the Vet had surgery and had aan incision that large, he or she would not be taking a piddly drug like metacam. No no no....he or she would be hooked onto a PCA pump, for certain, which is a patient controlled analgesia pump that is programmed to dispense a powerful narcotic pain killer such as morphine every so many minutes when the patient presses the trigger button.
So, why dont our Vets just give our rats something like morphine after surgery?
There are a few reasons why, but they vary from Vet to Vet.
1. It is feared the rat may feel too good and "over do" things and possibly hurt himself.
My argument is this *Once you get to know me, you will find that I tend to go nose to nose with Vets in some instances, with confidence mind you, because although I lack a degree in Veterinary medicine, I do know one thing for sure: I have focused on rat health care extensively, inside and out, keeping abreast on the most current treatments etc... when Vets do NOT do this. Their main objective is to study inside and out canine and feline disease and treatments and to keep current on the newest treatments, studies blah blah blah. It would be outrageous, no, actually, IMPOSSIBLE and yes, unfair to be honest, to expect any Vet to know everything there is (or almost everything there is to know about rats) when they have so much they need to know about dogs and cats. Think about it. It took all those years to learn what they had to learn about the most common household pet in the United States if not most of the civilized world, it would take many more years to do that for other small companion mammals. We are not just talking rats here...we are talking birds, reptiles, ferrets (who are from the weasel fmily) lagomorphs (rabbits) and of course, rodents, which not only consist of rats, but hamsters, gerbils, mice etc...all have different needs so its not like the Vet can study gerbils and that should cover rats and other small mammals too. Cavy (guinea pigs) are different than rats in many rats. For example, they cannot produce vitamin C so their diet requires vitamin C in it. Without it, there are diseases that they can get that will kill them.
The side effects of concern are the same with all NSAIDs: stomach ulceration, loss of kidney function, and inappropriate bleeding. These are dependent on the dose of medication used and on risk factors of the host (for example: an aged pet may not efficiently clear a dose of medication from its body leading to stronger and longer activity of the drug). There is also a particular idiosyncratic reaction for NSAIDs that has received a great deal of press. An idiosyncratic reaction is one that is neither dose-dependent nor predictable by any apparent host factor; it simply happens out of the blue. This particular idiosyncratic reaction is a liver toxicity that is rare enough that it did not show up in any of the initial 400 carprofen test subjects, nor in the U.K., and was not recognized until carprofen was used in over a million dogs in the U.S. after its release as the first NSAID. This reaction is reviewed below. While originally it was carprofen use that led to the recognition of this reaction, it is now felt that all veterinary NSAIDs have potential to cause this reaction.
The most common side effects of meloxicam are nausea, appetite loss, vomiting or diarrhea. If any of the above are noted, meloxicam should be discontinued and the pet brought in for a liver enzyme and renal parameter blood test. In most cases, the reaction is minor and resolves with symptomatic relief, but it is important to rule out whether or not the patient has more than just a routine upset stomach.
If a patient has borderline kidney function, NSAIDs should not be used as they reduce blood flow through the kidneys(my underline). It is also important that NSAIDS not be given to dehydrated patients because of this potential side effect. This is particularly true in cats.
The hepatopathy side effect (usually occurs within the first 3 weeks of use).
SOURCE: Metacam KILLS
Here is another source about NSAIDS, period. The case is a dog, which is no shocker since there is very little information out there on pet rats. Keep in mind that the side effects from NSAIDS apply not only to dogs but to other animals as well, including humans!
Educate yourself more by reading this link.
Follow the link or read the story I copied . You can also just do a search for Metacam dangers, side effects, etc.. It can also be simply dangers of NSAIDS.
The story is about a dog that went into liver failure from metacam much like the same story of Isa, the little female rat.
I would like to share the contents of a readers email for your consideration. This is Catherine Shaffers story, one she and I believe is worth sharing with other Dolittler readers.
My comments will follow.
In 2006, we had a ten year old English mastiff named Nala. In October, she seemed to suddenly develop a lot of back pain. She'd been increasingly arthritic, but otherwise in excellent health--ideal weight, etc. The vet ran a metabolic panel, and even commented that all of her enzymes were perfect,whereas normally with a dog that age they see some values drifting out of whack. The vet put her on Metacam (meloxicam) for the pain.
I think Nala had injured herself somehow, we never knew exactly what happened. She began a slow recovery and we dosed her as directed with Metacam hoping she would regain her mobility. Although her injury did seem to heal, and she started moving around more, she also sometimes seemed to be in a lot of pain and was drinking a lot of water and peeing a lot.
I knew that was a bad sign, but at that point, with her age, we were trying to be minimally invasive with treatments, and so we continued to treat her pain. The drinking and peeing symptoms seemed to abate, and a few weeks later I left for an out of state business trip. Everything seemed normal.
A day or so later, my husband called to tell me that Nala had vomited up a tremendous amount of blood (it turned out to be half her blood volume) on the living room floor and he took her to emergency. Ordinarily, we would probably have euthanized her immediately, but I was out of state and horribly distraught, so we agreed to let the vet give her two units of blood and treat her.
By the time I got home, days later, we'd spent $4000 trying to save her. The final diagnosis was liver toxicity from the Metacam, confirmed by necropsy. The drug company (Boeringer-Ingelheim) ended up reimbursing us $1100 for the diagnostics that they added to their post-market reporting, and they also apologized.
I'm a pharma/biotech writer by trade an have a master's degree in biochemistry, with experience working in pharma research. I know that idiosyncratic drug toxicity happens. But when I researched liver toxicity in dogs and cats, I was surprised to find that the rate of toxicity and death seems much higher than would be tolerated in humans (and this isn't even considering the fact that most pet owners would have followed our first impulse, which was to euthanize and not pursue things further--the true rate of toxicity may never be known).
Also, unlike in humans, the NSAIDs seem to universally cause some stomach irritation, and I have seen recommendations that dogs should be treated proactively for stomach ulcers when they are on NSAIDs, so I suspect that some animals may be more sensitive to COX inhibitors than humans, and that problem is compounded by the fact that they can't tell us they have a stomach ache, not a back ache, when they begin to have symptoms.
Our vet was really shaken by the whole incident, and she shared with me some uncertainty about using Metacam in her practice. I think ultimately she and most vets come down on the side of feeling that the benefits outweigh the risks, but personally, ever since then I won't give an NSAID to any of my pets. Our kitty had a bladder infection a couple of years ago and we were offered Metacam along with antibiotics. I politely declined, and the kitty did just fine.
I still feel horrible that I did not get Nala into the vet when we noticed the issue with the water and peeing. It was our only real clue that something was dreadfully wrong. I honestly feel that if not for the Metacam, she'd have had another year or two of decent quality of life. Although she was ancient for a mastiff, she was an extremely small and lean one, never more than 105 pounds, and until that accident in October, still enjoyed her daily walk.
In response to Catherines story, and many others ve received before hers, I extend my deepest sympathies. Indeed, there¡¯s nothing that seems more senseless than a preventable death.
An explanation is subsequently in order:
NSAIDs (non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs) are the go-to medications for pain in dogs¨C¨Cmuch less so in cats. Though Metacam is approved for use in cats as a one-time, pain-relieving injection, it is the only NSAID available for them. For dogs, Rimadyl, Deramaxx, Previcox, Metacam and others have been approved by the FDA.
These drugs do work. They work so well that a several hundred million dollar industry is built around them. Hundreds of thousands of dogs and cats receive millions of doses of these meds every year for pain relief after surgery, following traumatic events, and to manage chronic pain.
But as with any drug, there are side-effects. Liver and gastrointestinal issues are by far the most common unwanted findings, yet these are considered "minor" by the drug manufacturers and the FDA.
While veterinarians who have seen first-hand the damage NSAIDs can do in no way consider them minor, it¡¯s nonetheless true that our worst horror stories seem minuscule in comparison to the life-saving capacity of these drugs. In fact, the longevity of our large breed canine patients has skyrocketed since they¡¯ve become available.
Of course, that¡¯s no consolation to those who¡¯ve suffered a devastating NSAID-related death or lengthy medical complication secondary to their use. I hear you all. Which is why your cautionary tales are critical. The more you speak out, the more likely we are to counsel our clients on the down-side of these drugs. We¡¯ll more carefully detail what side effects look like so that we can intervene earlier in severe side-effect cases.
I¡¯m especially interested in Catherine¡¯s story because she raises some very interesting points about liver toxicity, gastrointestinal side-effects of medications, and the difference in how we manage our human and animal patients.
In response to her observation: Yes, it¡¯s clear that pet medications, just like pet foods, must leap far fewer hurdles than the human variety. Why else is Celebrex the subject of multi-million dollar class action suits while the owners of Rimadyl side-effect casualties continue to see the drug manufacturers raking it in on these drugs?
It is because the acceptable risk for pets is far lower than for humans. Which means there is even more of an onus on responsible veterinarians to explain these well. No excuses.