Metacam (Meloxicam) & Rabbit Information [Updated on: 01/5/20 11:52]








'Standard' 1ml syringe ⇊

'Metacam' dog (kg) syringe ⇊

image source

Please note this information is only for reference purposes only. Please see a rabbit savvy vet for the correct doseage and use for your rabbit's particular condition. "Should not be used in rabbits suffering from liver or kidney failure" -

    • The syringes that come inside the Metacam box are for cats or dogs, not rabbits. The 'Metacam syringe' should be replaced with a standard 1ml syringe as seen on the left of this page (unless the vet has given prefilled syringes.) The 'Metacam syringe' has the weight of a cat or dog on it, this will not work for rabbits and using a 1ml syringe will help avoid confusion. You can use the "Metacam syringe" to transfer the liquid from the bottle to a 1ml syringe. A rabbit dose bears no relation to either a cat or dog dose.

Pre-filled syringes (from the vet) may make it easier for the vet & rabbit owner, but there are issues. You should refuse the pre-filled syringes (to be safe) and get the Metacam in its orginal bottle (manufacturers bottle) from the vet. If the vet is not willing to do this ask for a bottle, that is the correct type, to use at home. A few issues that can occur:
  • Hard to store correctly
  • Easy to lose some of the medication through leakage
  • Can let bacteria in

    • "Store at room temperature in a tight, light resistant, childproof container." - ref
    • "Store at controlled room temperature, 68 - 77°F (20 - 25°C). Excursions permitted between 59°F and 86°F (15°C and 30°C). Brief exposure to temperature up to 104°F (40°C) may be tolerated provided the mean kinetic temperature does not exceed 77°F (25°C); however such exposure should be minimized." - ref
    • "Shake the oral suspension well before use" - ref

    • There are two concentrations for the oral suspension form of Metacam, 1.5mg/ml and 0.5mg/ml, that are used most for rabbits. Most vets will prescribe the 1.5mg/ml version for rabbits. Dosing will depend on the concentration your vet gives you.

  • There are many different names for Metacam in different regions around the world. This depends on who has the manufacturing and/or distrubition rights from the owner, Boehringer Ingelheim Vetmedica GmbH. They all have Meloxicam as their main/active ingredient and a vet may give one of these versions that is marketed for another species. The concentration may differ and so will the dosage amount (the 'detailed' versions of the calculators can take this into account). The others might not 'taste' exactly the same and many not have Metacam's "honey odor", therefore it might be harder to give the medication. All of these are oral suspensions.

        Most vets will give the Metacam dosage amount in ml or cc. 1cc (cubic centimeter) = 1ml (milliliter), these measurement units are interchangeable. It can be confusing as many studies & papers give it in mg/kg and a few rabbit pages give it in cc/lbs or mg/lbs.

Any reference to a dose (ml or cc) based on weight (kg) will not apply to any specific rabbit! The same rabbit that is recovering from a spay, neuter, broken leg, or dental would need a different dose depending on the condition & rabbit. The calculator will only show the dosing based on the data inputted. The results will have nothing to do with the correct dose for your rabbit's particular condition. This must be done by a rabbit savvy vet!!

Below are two calculators that will convert between all the dosage measurements, depending on what information you have, for comparison.

Calc #1
Calculate for ml dosage.
You will need:
  • Dosage in mg/kg
  • Rabbit's weight in kgs or lbs
  • Metacam Concentration in mg/ml
  • Note: 1ml = 1cc
  • Calculate for ml dosage

Calc #2
Calculate for mg/kg dosage.
You will need:
  • Total daily dosage in ml
  • Rabbit's weight in kgs or lbs
  • Metacam Concentration in mg/ml
  • Note: 1ml = 1cc
  • Calculate for mg/kg dosage

Any reference to a dose (ml or cc) based on weight (kg) will not apply to any specific rabbit! The same rabbit that is recovering from a spay, neuter, broken leg, or dental would need a different dose depending on the condition & rabbit. A rabbit savvy vet will determine this!

       Metacam is used for all types of animals and even humans, but there is no 'offical use' for rabbits currently. Using it with rabbits is considered an "off label" use and some non-savvy rabbit vets will not give a prescription [℞]. Most all rabbit savvy vets will prescribe metacam when it's safe for a rabbit, like any other medication. There can be side-effect using any NSAID drug with some rabbits. Please see a rabbit savvy vet for the correct doseage and use for your rabbit's particular condition.

Dosage: There are two issues based on the latest studies and papers, under and nonincremental dosing with rabbits.

        With cats and dogs the dosage is incrementally based on weight, per pound or kilogram, this should be the same for rabbits. This seems to not be the case sometimes... [Example: "Help Me Make It Through the Night" (updated on 1/23/12) from the HRS's Md, DC, & NoVA chapter. Suggests two ranges of weights, a dose of 0.05cc for rabbits weighing upto five pounds and 0.1cc for a rabbit over five pounds.]

       Many vets (especially in the US) may be underdosing. Many of the latest studies point to a dosage of 1mg/kg (about 1mg/2.2lbs): "A dose of 1 mg/kg may be necessary to achieve clinically effective circulating concentrations of meloxicam in rabbits, although further studies are needed." One study shows that the half-life of metacam in a rabbit system is about 8 hours (another study: "the mean time to maximum plasma concentration was 6.5 and 5.8 hours and the mean terminal half-life was 6.1 and 6.7 hours, respectively.") 24 hours after the last dose there is almost no medicine left in the rabbits system ("Plasma drug levels decreased rapidly to near-undetectable levels by 24 h." - "Oral clearance of meloxicam is high in rabbits, indicating rapid metabolism and elimination.")

2014 - Textbook of Rabbit Medicine
2nd edition, updated by Molly Varga (1st edition by Frances Harcourt-Brown)

2014 - BSAVA Manual of Rabbit Medicine
(British Small Animal Veterinary Association)
by Anna Meredith & Brigitte Lord

September 2015 - Merck Vet Manual
by Joerg Mayer, DMV, MSc, DABVP (ECM), DECZM (Small mammal)

  • Note:
    • Long term: 0.3-0.6 mg/kg (The standard range that's safe)
    • Short term: 1.0-1.5 mg/kg (For acute, short term use only, if needed)

Studies & Papers

        If you think your rabbit is still in pain or you think your vet is underdosing, based on old information, you can point them to the recent studies below.

  • Metacam® [meloxicam by Boehringer Ingelheim Vetmedica, Inc.]
    • 2014; "Molecular analysis of the microbiota in hard feces from healthy rabbits (Oryctolagus cuniculus) medicated with long term oral meloxicam."
      Eshar D, Weese JS. (2014) BMC Vet Res. 2014 Mar 11;10:62. doi: 10.1186/1746-6148-10-62. PMID:24618207 [Article]
    • 2014; "Pharmacokinetics of meloxicam administered orally to rabbits (Oryctolagus cuniculus) for 29 days."
      Delk KW, Carpenter JW, KuKanich B, Nietfeld JC, Kohles M. (2013) Am J Vet Res. 2014 Feb;75(2):195-9. doi: 10.2460/ajvr.75.2.195.PMID: 24471756 [Abstract;]
    • 2013; "Effects of multimodal analgesia with LowDose buprenorphine and meloxicam on fecal glucocorticoid metabolites after surgery in New Zealand white rabbits (Oryctolagus cuniculus)."
      Goldschlager GB, Gillespie VL, Palme R, Baxter MG. (2013) J Am Assoc Lab Anim Sci. 2013 Sep;52(5):571-6. PMID: 24041213 [Abstract;]
    • 2013; "Pharmacokinetics of meloxicam in rabbits after oral administration of single and multiple doses."
      Fredholm DV, Carpenter JW, KuKanich B, Kohles M. (2013) Am J Vet Res. 2013 Apr;74(4):636-41. doi: 10.2460/ajvr.74.4.636. PMID: 23531074 [Abstract;]
    • 2009; "Single and multiple-dose pharmacokinetics of meloxicam after oral administration to the rabbit (Oryctolagus cuniculus)."
      Carpenter JW, Pollock CG, Koch DE, Hunter RP. (2009) J Zoo Wildl Med. 2009 Dec;40(4):601-6. PMID: 20063804 [Abstract;]
    • 2009; "Behavioural effects of ovariohysterectomy and oral administration of meloxicam in laboratory housed rabbits."
      Leach MC, Allweiler S, Richardson C, Roughan JV, Narbe R, Flecknell PA. (2009) Res Vet Sci. 2009 Oct;87(2):336-47. doi: 10.1016/j.rvsc.2009.02.001. PMCID: 19303122 [Abstract
    • 2009; "Comparison of Side Effects between Buprenorphine and Meloxicam Used Postoperatively in Dutch Belted Rabbits (Oryctolagus cuniculus)"
      Coreen S Cooper, Kelly A Metcalf-Pate, Christopher E Barat, Judith A Cook, and Diana G Scorpio (2009) J Am Assoc Lab Anim Sci. May 2009; 48(3): 279-285. Published online May 2009. PMCID: PMC2696831 15141807 [Abstract; Article]
    • 2006; "Effect of meloxicam and butorphanol on minimum alveolar concentration of isoflurane in rabbits."
      Turner PV, Kerr CL, Healy AJ, Taylor WM., (2006) Am J Vet Res. 2006 May;67(5):770-4. PMID: 16649908 [Abstract;]
    • 2006; "Pharmacokinetics of meloxicam in rabbits after single and repeat oral dosing."
      Turner PV, Chen HC, Taylor WM., (2006) Comp Med. 2006 Feb;56(1):63-7. PMID: 16521861 [Abstract;]
  • Articles
  • Other [for reference]
    • Metacam® (Meloxicam) 1.5 mg/mL Oral Suspension for Dogs MSDS Sheet - Issue Date: 07/25/2012 [PDF File / Local copy; 108KB]
    • Metacam® (Meloxicam) 0.5 mg/mL Oral Suspension for Dogs MSDS Sheet - Issue Date: 06/27/07 [PDF File / Local copy; 101KB]
    • Metacam® "Client Information Sheet", 1.5 mg/mL Oral Suspension for Dogs [6015272-01] - Revised 01/2014 [PDF File / Local copy; 2MB]
    • Metacam® "Professional Insert", 0.5 mg/mL Oral Suspension [601413-01] - Revised 01/2014 [PDF File / Local copy; 216KB]
    • Metacam® "Package Insert", Oral Suspension for Dogs [NADA 141-213] - Revised 08/2012 [PDF File / Local copy; 108kB]
    • Metacam® "Professional Insert", Oral Suspension for Dogs [NADA 141-213] - Revised 01/2005 [PDF file Local copy; 2MB]

"A tip for administering ORAL Metacam to bunnies who are mouth shy or with injuries like a jaw fracture is to make a small tsp pile of oats, drop the Metacam dose onto them and roll them all into a small pile or ball. The bunny will normally then eat them and the absorbed medication at the same time due to the pleasant honey taste of branded Metacam (would not work with generic meloxicam here, with its different taste)." - D.Tomlin [from MediRabbit]


- Dani.T for the Beau video, input, & many suggestions!

- Jo.H for the correct & important tech info in the red breakout boxes.

- LerinS2009 for the use of the Skippy video.

- Kathrisi for the use of the Paula video.

- /u/ret-conned for the use of the 'trick' video.

- Panda & Tarza for the "I ❤ Metacam" t-shirt picture.

- Against All Odds Rabbit Rescue for Haru's video. Their FB Page.


-Unsafe Medical Abbreviations
- Understanding Pharmacology: Essentials for Medication Safety
- Dosage Calculations
Another option (cleaner) to transfer Metacam to a syringe is to pop off the 'inner nozzle' of the Metacam bottle. You can pop this off if you use something like a bottle opener to lift it. It can get messy if you are transfering from the metacam bottle -> metacam syringe -> 1ml syringe. Doing this with 1ml of medicine can get messy.

Places to buy Metacam & generics cheaper....
- You will need a prescription from your vet.

Prices for 180ml bottle of oral suspension Metacam 1.5mg/ml (Info snapshotted on Mon Jul 2, 03:43:15 PDT 2018)
Thanks to Panda & Tarza for the "I ❤ Metacam" t-shirt picture.
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