Meloxicam and carprofen are nonsteroidal antiinflammatory drugs used to manage pain. They are most often used as postsurgical analgesics for soft tissue and orthopedic procedures. The effects of meloxicam and carprofen on renal function were evaluated in this randomized, crossover study of 12 young, healthy beagles. The dogs received saline, carprofen, or meloxicam IV 1 hour before anesthesia. After a stable plane of anesthesia was established, the dogs were subjected to 30 minutes of intermittent electrical stimulation to mimic the "pain" associated with a brief surgical procedure. Twenty-four hours after surgery, plasma clearance tests for glomerular filtration rates (GFR) and multiple serum samplings for urea and creatinine were done. When compared with saline therapy, there was no significant difference in GFR or serum urea or creatinine values between dogs that received meloxicam or carprofen.

COMMENTARY: There are many instances where pain medication is indicated in clinical practice. In this study, the investigators examined the safety of using either meloxicam or carprofen as preanesthetic analgesics. They found that neither drug caused clinically important adverse changes in renal function. This is important because it provides clinicians with another analgesic choice in an effort to prevent "wind-up"-the phenomenon of central sensitization of the neurons to painful stimuli caused by persistent stimulation of neurons in the dorsal horn of the spinal cord. In other words, wind-up magnifies pain. Administration of pain medication before the surgery often provides more pain relief than if analgesics are given only after surgery. The benefits to the patient and client are obvious. Take-home message: meloxicam or carprofen is safe as a preoperative analgesic in young, healthy dogs undergoing short surgical procedures.

Effect of meloxicam and carprofen on renal function when administered to healthy dogs prior to anesthesia and painful stimulation. Crandell DE, Mathews KA, Dyson DH. AM J VET RES 65:1384-1390, 2004