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Am J Vet Res. 2003 Nov;64(11):1369-75.

Endoscopic evaluation of the gastroduodenal mucosa to determine the safety of short-term concurrent administration of meloxicam and dexamethasone in healthy dogs.

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Department of Clinical Studies, Ontario Veterinary College, University of Guelph, Guelph, ON, Canada N1G 2W1.



To evaluate the safety, with respect to the development of gastric ulcers and erosions, of concurrent administration of meloxicam and dexamethasone for 3 days to healthy dogs.


20 conditioned purpose-bred research Beagles.


Seven days prior to treatment, dogs were anesthetized for endoscopic evaluation of the upper portion of the gastrointestinal tract (ie, the gastric and duodenal mucosa). Five regions of the gastroduodenal area were scored by 2 investigators. Dogs were randomly assigned to 1 of 4 treatment groups as follows: saline-saline, dexamethasone-saline, saline-meloxicam, and dexamethasone-meloxicam groups. On days 1, 2, and 3, dogs received either dexamethasone or saline (0.9% NaCl) solution injections SC twice daily. On days 2, 3, and 4, dogs received either meloxicam or saline solution injections SC once daily. On day 2, dogs were anesthetized for a sham surgery (ie, electrostimulation). On day 5, the gastroduodenal area of each dog was reevaluated by use of endoscopic evaluation and histologic examination of biopsy specimens.


The total endoscopic score of the dexamethasone-meloxicam group was significantly greater than the scores of the other groups. The dexamethasone-saline group had a mean cumulative score that was significantly greater than the saline-meloxicam or saline-saline groups. Endoscopic scores of the saline-meloxicam group were not significantly different from scores of the saline-saline group. No significant differences in histologic findings were found between groups.


In healthy dogs, meloxicam appears to be safe with regard to adverse effects on the gastrointestinal tract. Concurrent administration of dexamethasone and meloxicam is more likely to cause gastric erosions than meloxicam administration alone.

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