At last check we were giving Phoebe a break (pardon the pun) from her splint to see how she handled it. She did not act as if she was in was in pain when the vet poked around her paw, yet she started to limp after walking a short bit and was lame if she picked up speed. The options were not so great – pins, remove the bone or replace the splint. Ah! Then we all had an epiphany. Meloxicam.
What is Meloxicam?
Meloxicam is a non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drug (NSAID) that is similar to ibuprofen, naproxen, and other medications we humans use for aches and pains except the side effects are not as risky.
How is it Working on that Broken Paw Bone?
Phoebe has been on Meloxicam for six days. After two full days, we definitely noticed a difference. Phoebe was able to walk a bit further and a tiny bit further before she started to limp. We are not trying to go from zero to sixty, our goal is to continue crate rest, but keep an eye on how things change when Phoebe comes out for her potty / stretch breaks.
The third day on Meloxicam, she managed the potty/stretch routine with no limp. On day four I took her for small walk around the lawn. She made it all the way around and started to show a slight limp before we made the full circle. Hey – she walked nearly twice as far as she did two days ago. Day five her leg fatigued pretty quick, so we have been taking it real easy the past two days.
Since she is barely coming off full crate rest, I do not want to push her. We will not be doing another lawn circuit, but will take her on her potty/stretch routine one or two extra times a day. We hope that over time she will be able to walk further and further (maybe even trot) without pain or surgery.
What is the Long Term Solution?
Used occasionally, we can use Meloxicam indefinitely. We will need to be aware of Phoebe’s limits and work around them. For example, she may manage day to day walks and hanging around the yard with no problem, but start getting a little limp if running around the doggie park. It’s times like those that we would need to plan accordingly. There isn’t / won’t be a magic formula. In fact it is exactly like me and my herniated disc. I should have, but didn’t have surgery. Instead, I know my limits. If I walk too far, too fast or too long I feel it. Then I pop some Alieve and take it easy for a day or so.
If Phoebe can be her crazy doggie self at the cost of giving some Meloxicam when she shows signs of wear, I am all for it. I am feeling very hopeful right now.
Why You Cannot Use Plain Ol’ NSAIDs
The risk-benefit ratio of giving dogs NSAIDs is definitely tipped to the negative side. Side effects include stomach ulcers, reduced blood flow to the kidneys and they impact platelets so blood does not clot well.
In order to understand why Meloxicam is so cool, we first need to understand why the mainstream human NSAIDs are so risky. In the simplest terms, inflammation is the result of an enzyme called COX-2. A similar enzyme, COX-1, maintains proper blood flow to the kidneys and GI tract. Until recently, it was impossible to inhibit one enzyme without inhibiting the other. In other words, in order to reduce inflammation, you also have to reduce the ability to provide a normal blood supply to the kidneys and GI tract. Not a good thing in a little doggie body. Then along came Meloxicam.
According to Wendy C. Brooks, DVM, DipABVP , Educational Director at VeterinaryPartner.com,
“Meloxicam…preferentially [inhibits] COX-2 over COX-1. This new ability to inhibit only the inflammatory COX proved to be revolutionary for pain management not only for pets but for humans as well. The introduction…has reduced stomach and intestinal side effects by 50% in humans and has made FDA approval of NSAIDs possible for pets. Meloxicam has only been approved in the U.S. for canine use since 2003 but has been available in Canada and Europe for years before.”
Sure. Meloxicam has the same side effects as other NSAIDs, but from what I have researched, it has far less risk of occurrence and the level of side effects
Here’s hoping that Phoebe is up and running, well walking, real soon.