Effects of long-term use of the preferential COX-2 inhibitor meloxicam on growing pigs

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Abstract

Meloxicam, a preferential COX-2 inhibitor, is a commonly used NSAID in pigs. Besides having potential side effects on the gastrointestinal tract, this type of drug might potentially affect osteogenesis and chondrogenesis, processes relevant to growing pigs. Therefore, the effects of long-term meloxicam treatment on growing pigs were studied. Twelve piglets (n=6 receiving daily meloxicam 0.4 mg/kg orally from 48 until 110 days of age; n=6 receiving only applesauce (vehicle control)) were subjected to visual and objective gait analysis by pressure plate measurements at several time points. Following euthanasia a complete postmortem examination was performed and samples of the talus and distal tibia, including the distal physis, were collected. Trabecular bone microarchitecture was analysed by microCT scanning, bone stiffness by compression testing and growth plate morphology using light microscopy. Animals were not lame and gait patterns did not differ between the groups. Pathological examination revealed no lesions compatible with known side effects of NSAIDs. Trabecular bone microarchitecture and growth plate morphology did not differ between the two groups. The findings of this in vivo study reduce concerns regarding the long-term use of meloxicam in young, growing piglets.

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