Need to stop Metacam – advice needed please

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Hello, My 11 yr old labrador, Tess, has osteoarthritis. A blood test 3 months ago showed a raised liver enzyme and a test 1 week ago shows this enzyme to have risen further. (I think it was ALT and the results were 202 and 273.) The vet has spoken with a specialist and she has suggested that Tess either has a liver ultrasound and biopsy or we drop the Metacam for 3-4 weeks and then redo blood tests to see if it’s Metacam that’s causing it. I’ve opted to stop the Metacam – she was off it last summer but this summer she has been on a dose for a 15kg dog; she weighs 25kg. My questions are:

  1. If it does turn out to be Metacam will I have any other options for NSAIDs?
  2. If she struggles in the period before her blood can be retested what options are there for other analgesics? The vet mentioned Tramadol but I’ve read that there are concerns over whether this metabolises effectively in dogs.
  3. In the intervening weeks, would it be sensible to up her hydro and physio sessions? She currently does hydro once a month and physio (underwater treadmill/laser/pulsed electromagnetic therapy) once a month, alternating so she has something every fortnight. She is also on Yumove Advance 360.

Thanks in advance. I’m really worried that she won’t be able to cope without the Metacam and that there won’t be other long term options. Of course, it may turn out not to be the Metacam…

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Gwen – thank you so much for your comprehensive response. There’s lots of really useful information there as well as reassurance that we will have other options if Tess has to come off the Metacam. I have done lots of work at home covering laminate and tiles and Tess uses a step to get into the car. I also have a ramp but need to do more work with her so she can trust it.

Thank you for your help, it’s really appreciated.

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