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Meloxicam & African Grey Parrots

Clinician's Brief (Capsule)

Exotic Animal Medicine

|January 2017

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Relatively little is known regarding the adverse events caused by NSAIDs in birds. Meloxicam pharmacokinetics have been established for only one parrot species and for a single dose.

This study evaluated renal changes, blood parameter changes, and clinical sign changes in healthy African grey parrots (Psittacus erithacus) after meloxicam administration at a clinically relevant dosage of 0.5 mg/kg IM q12h for 14 days. Blood samples and renal biopsies were obtained from 11 healthy adult African grey parrots on days 0 and 14. The birds’ clinical signs were monitored daily throughout the study and then weekly for 18 months. Meloxicam was administered with a 30-gauge needle in the pectoral muscles.

Meloxicam at 0.5 mg/kg IM q12h for 14 days does not appear to cause renal disease in African grey parrots.

All birds remained clinically healthy for the 18-month period. The only significant changes on CBC after treatment were an increased eosinophil count and a decreased basophil count, although both remained within normal reference range. The only significant plasma biochemical changes were decreased phosphorus and increased ß-globulin and corresponding total globulin concentrations; all remained within the normal reference range. Increased ß-globulin has been associated with infection, acute inflammation, and nephritis; possible sources include renal biopsy, IM injections, and meloxicam treatment. Postmortem examinations would provide more information but were not pursued. Mild glomerular lesions were present in one posttreatment biopsy sample but were considered unrelated to meloxicam treatment.

Based on these results, meloxicam at this dosage does not appear to cause renal disease in African grey parrots, but further study with longer treatment and follow-up times is encouraged.


Because of extralabel use and dosage extrapolation, the need to evaluate potential side effects of medications is just as important as pharmacokinetic studies in birds and exotic pets. Meloxicam, commonly used in avian medicine for various applications, is without an accepted definitive and safe dosage. This study evaluated a small number of healthy African grey parrots, and the potential for renal complications with this NSAID at a specific dose should be considered low. Additional studies are needed to evaluate the renal damage potential in other avian species.—Anthony A. Pilny, DVM, DABVP (Avian)

References and Author Information

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