Should doses exceeding 0.2 mg/kg of oral meloxicam be given to reduce surgical recovery time in rabbits and should twice daily administration be considered?



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PICO question

In reducing surgical recovery time in rabbits (Oryctolagus cuniculus), should doses exceeding 0.2 mg/kg of oral meloxicam be given and is twice daily administration more effective than a single daily dose?


Clinical bottom line

Category of research question


The number and type of study designs reviewed

Nine papers were critically reviewed, yet no studies were found to directly investigate the effects of twice daily dosing with meloxicam postoperatively in rabbits. There were five descriptive, non-comparative case series; two nonblinded parallel group randomised control trials; one blinded, placebo-controlled parallel group randomised trial and one prospective, randomised crossover trial

Strength of evidence


Outcomes reported

The current recommended oral dose of meloxicam in rabbits of 0.2–0.3 mg/kg once a day was consistently described as inadequate for postoperative analgesia following surgery (Delk et al., 2014). Instead, higher doses of 1–1.5 mg/kg were required to reach a similar peak plasma concentration as found to be clinically effective in other species, such as canines, and provide a better degree of analgesia in rabbits (Montoya et al., 2004; and Delk et al., 2014). Although no studies were found evaluating twice daily administration of meloxicam, the available evidence suggests a dose exceeding 0.2–0.3 mg/kg daily is required for adequate postoperative analgesia in rabbits. Whether this increased dose could be given twice daily should be investigated, providing scope for future research


Further studies are required to directly assess the benefits of twice daily oral meloxicam. However, it is possible that a dose exceeding 0.2–0.3 mg/kg is required and therefore higher doses should be considered in these studies


How to apply this evidence in practice

The application of evidence into practice should take into account multiple factors, not limited to: individual clinical expertise, patient’s circumstances and owners’ values, country, location or clinic where you work, the individual case in front of you, the availability of therapies and resources.

Knowledge Summaries are a resource to help reinforce or inform decision making. They do not override the responsibility or judgement of the practitioner to do what is best for the animal in their care.


Open Access Peer Reviewed


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Carpenter, J. W., Pollock, C. G., Koch, D. E. and Hunter, R. P. (2009). Single and Multiple-Dose Pharmacokinetics of Meloxicam after Oral Administration to the Rabbit (Oryctolagus cuniculus). Journal of Zoo and Wildlife Medicine. 40(4), 601–606. DOI:

Cooper, C. S., Metcalf-Pate, K. A., Barat, C. E., Cook, J. A. and Scorpio, D. G. (2009). Comparison of side effects between buprenorphine and meloxicam used postoperatively in Dutch belted rabbits (Oryctolagus cuniculus). Journal of the American Association for Laboratory Animal Science. [online] 48(3), 279–285. Available at: [Accessed: 5 May 2020].

Delk, K. W., Carpenter, J. W,, KuKanich, B., Nietfeld, J. C. and Kohles, M. (2014). Pharmacokinetics of meloxicam administered orally to rabbits (Oryctolagus cuniculus) for 29 days. American Journal of Veterinary Research. 75(2), 195–199. DOI:

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Goldschlager, G. B., Gillespie, V. L., Palme, R. and Baxter, M. G. (2013). Effects of multimodal analgesia with low- Dose buprenorphine and meloxicam on fecal glucocorticoid metabolites after surgery in New Zealand white rabbits (Oryctolagus cuniculus). Journal of the American Association for Laboratory Animal Science. 52(5), 571–576.

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Vol. 6 No. 3 (2021): The third issue of 2021

Section: Knowledge Summaries

Categories :  Small Animal  /  Dogs  /  Cats  /  Rabbits  /  Production Animal  /  Cattle  /  Sheep  /  Pig  /  Equine  / 

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