Piroxicam, a nonsteroidal antiinflammatory drug, was given to 62 dogs bearing naturally occurring tumors in a phase I clinical trial. Dose escalation was performed, with oral doses ranging from 0.5 mg/kg every 48 h (q48h) to 1.5 mg/kg q48h being tested. Dose-limiting gastrointestinal irritation/ulceration occurred in all four animals that received 1.5 mg/kg q48h. The maximum tolerated dose was 1 mg/kg q48h. Subclinical renal papillary necrosis occurred in two dogs (initial dosages, 1 and 1.5 mg/kg q48h, respectively). Following dose escalation, an additional group of dogs was treated with 0.3 mg/kg piroxicam q24h per os, the accepted canine dosage prior to this trial. Inclusion of this treatment group enabled evaluation of the toxicity of and tumor response to a daily dosage regimen. No complete remissions occurred in this trial. Partial remission was documented in three of ten dogs exhibiting transitional-cell carcinoma, in three of five animals bearing squamous-cell carcinoma, in one of three dogs displaying mammary adenocarcinoma, and in the one dog that exhibited a transmissible venereal tumor. The results of this study support the additional evaluation of piroxicam in a phase II clinical trial in dogs bearing naturally occurring tumors.