Canine Piroxicam

Labrador dog lying next to bottle of pills and medication, close-up

Piroxicam is a medication that is used to treat some tumors in dogs. It is occasionally used to relieve pain and inflammation caused by arthritis, although this is a rare occurrence. Feldene, a brand name for piroxicam, is another name for it.

What Does Piroxicam Do?

Piroxicam is a kind of NSAID (non-steroidal anti-inflammatory medicine). It belongs to the oxicam family of nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) and is a nonselective COX inhibitor, meaning it inhibits both COX-1 and COX-2. COX, or cyclooxygenase, belongs to the isozyme family of enzymes. Each kind creates prostaglandins, which are lipids found in body cells that act like hormones.

COX-1's prostaglandins have an effect on homeostasis, which is the balance that allows the body to operate normally. COX-1 has an effect on renal function, digestion, and blood coagulation. When the body is inflamed, COX-2 prostaglandins are produced, which help with pain, swelling, and fever.

The drug relieves pain and inflammation, but it can also affect processes related to homeostasis, potentially leading to undesired side effects.

Piroxicam is also used to treat some malignancies in dogs and has been demonstrated to have anti-tumor properties. The mechanism by which piroxicam affects tumors is unknown; it is thought that in some cancers, it inhibits the formation of new blood vessels and induces cell death.

Piroxicam is not commonly used to treat pain and inflammation in dogs as there are more effective NSAIDs available. Its most common usage is to treat responsive types of cancer.

Diseases/Issues Piroxicam Can Treat

Piroxicam is occasionally used to help decrease inflammation and discomfort associated with osteoarthritis. It is, however, more routinely used to treat some cancers, particularly bladder cancer. Because piroxicam is designated for pain and inflammation, using it for therapy is termed "off-label" or "extra-label."

Piroxicam is most typically used to treat bladder cancer. Cancers of the colon, prostate, and mammary glands may also be treated with it. Transitional cell carcinoma, squamous cell carcinoma, and mammary adenocarcinoma are the cancer types that respond best to piroxicam.

Piroxicam is usually given to dogs as a once-daily dose. To reduce the risk of gastrointestinal discomfort, this medication should be taken with meals.

Side Effects of Piroxicam Use

Typical side effects of piroxicam are much like the side effects of other NSAIDs.

  • (with or without blood)
  • (with or without blood)
  • Loss of appetite
  • Gastrointestinal ulceration and/or bleeding
  • Black, tarry stools (digested blood in stool)
  • Kidney damage
  • Liver damage
  • Prolonged or unexplained bleeding/clotting difficulty
  • Central nervous system issues (uncommon)

Stop providing piroxicam to your dog if you observe any negative side effects and call your veterinarian straight away. Bring your dog to the nearest open veterinary clinic if you see excessive bleeding, acute lethargy, abrupt collapse, or other significant indications of disease.

Considerations Before Using Piroxicam for Dogs

Your veterinarian will most likely order lab tests to check your dog's organ functioning and overall health before administering piroxicam. Piroxicam is not recommended for dogs that have increased renal parameters or liver enzymes. Furthermore, because dogs with a history of heart disease are at a higher risk of problems with piroxicam, your veterinarian may wish to discuss the risks and benefits of the medicine with you.

Some drugs should not be taken along with piroxicam. Unless your veterinarian advises otherwise, additional NSAIDs (such as aspirin, carprofen, meloxicam, deracoxib, and others) should be stopped before commencing piroxicam. This is because taking many NSAIDs at once raises the risk of adverse effects such as GI distress, GI ulcers, liver or kidney damage, and irregular bleeding. Giving steroids with piroxicam might have the same negative consequences.

Antibiotics (such as aminoglycosides), chemotherapy (such as cisplatin and methotrexate), heart and blood pressure medicines, immunosuppressive drugs (such as cyclosporine and tacrolimus), anticoagulants, phenobarbital (a seizure medication), and certain antidepressants are among the pharmaceuticals to avoid. Make sure your veterinarian is aware of any drugs, vitamins, or herbal cures you're giving your dog.

Long-term piroxicam medication requires regular monitoring. Blood tests are usually done every three to six months to ensure that the organs are not damaged. In addition, your veterinarian may prescribe that your dog undergo routine checkups. This allows your veterinarian to check for piroxicam-related harm as well as evaluate the effect on your dog's cancer.