Meloxicam for Ducks: Dosage, Benefits and Risks

When keeping ducks, one thing you might not initially think of is what you will do to keep them comfortable if they are in pain. It is easy to tell that a human is in pain because he/she will make noise or write to communicate the same. Figuring out that your duck is in pain is not as straightforward.

Nonetheless, if the bird is quiet, disinterested in feeding, limping, or unresponsive, it might be in pain. Breathing issues and fluffed feathers are also pointers of pain in ducks.

When you notice that your duck is in pain, finding and solving the cause is imperative. Nonetheless, you should also take steps to minimize or negate the pain. This might entail giving the duck pain relievers like meloxicam. Read on to understand what this drug is and how it will change your duck rearing.

What Is Meloxicam?

Meloxicam is an NSAID (nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drug). NSAIDs are the most commonly prescribed drugs for pain in animal medicine. The drugs inhibit enzymes that are crucial in inflammation. The three primary players in inflammation in ducks are COX-2 (cyclooxygenase), arachidonic acid, and prostaglandins. COX-2 is the main enzyme in the inflammation process.

It interacts with a fatty acid known as arachidonic acid distributed throughout the duck’s body. COX-2 changes arachidonic acid into different molecules, including prostaglandin, which is involved in the sensation of pain and inflammation.

NSAIDs like meloxicam intercept the inflammation process by binding to COX-2. In so doing, they inhibit the conversion of arachidonic acid and prostaglandin. This reduces the perception of pain and inflammation, thus making your duck comfortable.

Meloxicam is sold under several brand names, including Metacam, Mobic, Recoxa, Movalis, Melox, and Tenaron. It works within an hour or two after administration, and its peak serum levels can be reached within a week of use.

When Is Meloxicam Necessary For Ducks?

Meloxicam is used “off-label” in ducks and chickens to alleviate pain and inflammation associated with several conditions. Here are some of the common issues for which meloxicam can be prescribed.

  • Arthritis: This often affects older, larger ducks owing to their sizes, but it can also affect small ducks. Ducks can contract arthritis characterized by joint inflammation in one or both feet. When untreated, the condition is characterized by debilitating chronic pain. Regular treatment with meloxicam will keep your duck comfortable. Also, make the environment friendly by reducing steep inclines and giving ducks ramps to help them reach raised places. Maintaining a healthy weight and keeping the joints flexible and strong can prevent arthritis in ducks.
  • Bumblefoot: This bacterial illness affects the footpad of your duck and can sometimes follow arthritis. It leads to pain in an affected foot, swelling, and redness. Meloxicam for pain relief and reduction of inflammation will go a long way in managing the condition when combined with antibiotics.
  • Prolapsed vent: A prolapsed vent can follow straining that pushes the cloaca or rectum out of a duck’s body. It can happen when your duck has diarrhea, is constipated, or is laying an egg. You can gently push the vent back into the body or have it surgically repaired. Either way, the condition is quite painful, so meloxicam can make your duck comfortable.
  • Wry neck: This is primarily evidenced by the duck’s head being in an abnormal position. In severe instances, the bird’s neck might be so twisted that the animal cannot even stand. Meloxicam, antibiotics, and supportive care can help to manage a wry neck.
  • Egg binding: This happens when an egg is unable to pass through the duck’s opening and becomes stuck. It is attributed to malnutrition, calcium deficiency, dehydration, and excessively large eggs. Management of egg binding involves removing the stuck egg manually and supportive care for the pain with meloxicam.

Besides the above conditions, you can use meloxicam to reduce fevers and inflammation in other illnesses affecting your ducks. It is also used to reduce pain in a duck that has undergone surgery.

Meloxicam Dosage and Administration

Meloxicam is available as a solution for injection, disintegrating tablets, chewable tablets, oral spray, and oral suspensions. In ducks, meloxicam is often administered orally as an intramuscular injection. The dosage for oral administration is generally 0.5mg/kg, while the injection is given at 1mg/kg twice daily.

When administered orally, vets recommend giving meloxicam with food to minimize gastrointestinal side effects. The drug comes with a plastic measuring syringe that makes oral administration easy. If you forget to give your ducks meloxicam at the scheduled time, give it as soon as you remember.

You should not double the dose to make up for the missed dose. Continue with your regular dosing schedule.

Precautions, Risks, and Potential Side Effects

Though studies have proven that meloxicam is safe for ducks, the medicine has a few typical side effects to remember. These include:

  • Decreased or increased appetite.
  • Changes in droppings like soft stools.
  • Changes in drinking habits.
  • Behavior changes.

Meloxicam should not be used or should be used cautiously in ducks with:

  • Allergies to NSAIDs.
  • Dehydration
  • Bleeding disorders
  • Pre-existing liver or kidney issues and heart conditions
  • Bloody vomit or stool.

Furthermore, meloxicam should not be mixed with the following drugs:

  • Anesthetics
  • Anticoagulants like warfarin and heparin
  • Antifungals like fluconazole
  • Immunosuppresants like cyclosporine and methotrexate
  • Some antibiotics like amikacin and gentamicin
  • Corticosteroids like prednisolone

Meloxicam should be stored at room temperatures between 20-25 degrees Celsius. When opened, the suspension has a shelf life of six months. If you believe that your duck has overdosed on meloxicam, call a vet because this drug can be fatal in high doses.

Alternatives to Meloxicam

You will notice changes within 3-4 days when using meloxicam for your duck. If there is no change after ten days, this often means that the drug has failed, and the vet will prescribe another drug. Your duck can also get an alternative to meloxicam if it has liver, heart, or kidney issues that will affect the drug’s breakdown and clearance. Here are some common alternatives to meloxicam:

  • Acetaminophen
  • Aspirin
  • Mefenamic acid
  • Carprofen
  • ketoprofen
  • piroxicam
  • Flunixin
  • Celecoxib
  • Ibuprofen

Consult With Veterinarian

Since meloxicam is a common pain relief medication, some poultry keepers might assume they need not consult a veterinarian before administering it. Nonetheless, meloxicam should only be given to a duck under instruction from a vet to guarantee its safety for your bird. Some ducks have kidney, heart, and liver conditions that meloxicam can worsen.

You might come across meloxicam in your storage area when you believe that your duck is in pain and think this is ok to use if a vet has prescribed it in the past for the same. However, you should not give your duck the drug because:

  • The drug might have expired.
  • You are not sure of your duck’s current health. Its organs might not be in as optimal a condition as they were when the vet initially prescribed meloxicam. Moreover, you might not be sure of the ideal dose for your duck.
  • You are unsure of the cause of the duck’s pain and might be masking a significant issue with pain medication.
  • You are unsure of the interaction between meloxicam and other drugs that your duck might be taking.


From the above tidbits, you now understand how meloxicam can make duck rearing comfortable for you and your flock. This NSAID is an antipyretic, anti-inflammatory, and analgesic agent that effectively manages most conditions that affect ducks, including egg binding, arthritis, bumblefoot, wry neck, and prolapsed vent.

Meloxicam is not recommended for birds with heart, kidney, and liver issues since these will affect how the drug will be metabolized and excreted. If there are any contraindications for using meloxicam in your duck, you can settle for acetaminophen, aspirin, ibuprofen, carprofen, mefenamic acid, and flunixin.

Though safe, the drug should be administered according to the directions of a vet to avoid adverse effects.

avatar James
Hey, I'm James, a hardworking homesteader for more than 30 years. I enjoy the feeling of accomplishment that comes from tending my flock. I've raised chickens and ducks for eggs and meat for many years. I also have experience with other poultry too. Learn more

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *