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Berl Munch Tierarztl Wochenschr. 2004 Jul-Aug;117(7-8):304-9.

Clinical efficacy of meloxicam (Metacam) and flunixin (Finadyne) as adjuncts to antibacterial treatment of respiratory disease in fattening cattle.

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  • 1Boehringer Ingelheim Animal Health GmbH, Ingelheim am Rhein, Germany. friton@ing.boehringer-ingelheim.com


The clinical efficacy of two non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), meloxicam (Metacam 20 mg/ml) and flunixin meglumine (Finadyne), as adjuncts to antibacterial therapy in the treatment of acute febrile respiratory disease in cattle was compared. The randomised blind, positive controlled study was conducted under feedlot conditions in Mexico. Overall, 201 female cattle (weighing 220-250 kg) diagnosed with bronchopneumonia at the feedlot were recruited into the study. On Day 0 all animals were treated with 20 mg oxytetracycline/kg body-weight (Bivatop 200) by subcutaneous injection, in conjunction with either meloxicam (0.5 mg/kg subcutaneously, Metacam 20 mg/ml, n = 100), or flunixin meglumine (2.2 mg/kg intravenously, Finadyne, n = 101). According to label instructions, meloxicam was administered as a single dose, whereas flunixin meglumine could be administered daily for up to 3 consecutive days depending on the rectal temperature (with re-administration, if rectal temperature > or = 40.0 degrees C). Rectal temperature, respiratory rate, appetite, dyspnoea, coughing, nasal discharge and general condition were recorded on Days 0 (prior to treatment), 1, 2, 3 and 7 using a weighted numerical score. Scores were summed to generate a 'Clinical Sum Score' (CSS, range 7 to 24 points). Individual animal body weights were measured on Days 0 and 7. Nasal swabs were collected from 10 animals per treatment group on Day 0 for microbiological culture. Clinical parameters and the mean CSS showed no significant differences between treatment groups with mean CSS on Days 0 and 7 of 16.18 and 10.55 in the meloxicam group and 16.41 and 10.88 in the flunixin meglumine group. However, a significantly lower mean rectal temperature was measured in the meloxicam group on Day 2 (p < or = 0.01). No significant differences in mean body weights were found between groups. Repeated administration of flunixin meglumine was performed in 45% of the animals. No suspected adverse drug events related to treatments were reported. It is concluded that a single subcutaneous dose of meloxicam was as clinically effective as up to 3 consecutive daily intravenous doses of flunixin meglumine when used as an adjunctive therapy to antibacterial therapy in the treatment of acute febrile respiratory disease in feedlot cattle.

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