• cyclooxygenase-1 (COX-1);
  • cyclooxygenase-2 (COX-2);
  • cyclooxygenase-3 (COX-3);
  • non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drug (NSAID);
  • septic peritonitis


Objective: Five canine cases of gastrointestinal (GI) perforation and septic peritonitis associated with the routine use of meloxicam are reviewed.

Series summary: Selective cyclooxygenase-2 (COX-2) non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) are being used more extensively and routinely for acute and chronic pain as well as for perioperative management of pain. These medications are safe and effective but can be associated with known GI and renal side effects. The patients in this case series had no significant concurrent illness, were not on any concurrent medication known to potentiate the ulcerogenic effects of NSAIDs, and in most cases did not display clinical signs that were apparent to the owners until the time of perforation.

New or unique information provided: Despite the preferential selectivity for COX-2, newer NSAIDs still carry the risk of GI performation. The incidence of GI perforation may be increased with inappropriate dosing regimens, with use of non-veterinary products and in animals that are at high risk for toxicity. Early signs of toxicity may include alteration in appetite, and subtle signs of nausea during treatment. Warning owners to monitor their pet for vomiting, melena, and hematemesis may not be sufficient to avoid the potential disastrous consequences of GI ulceration.