I noticed no one answered your questions, so I thought I'd chime in. I have given metacam to my geese when needed. It is effective but as your vet said, very hard on kidneys, so use sparingly. If you need to give it for any extended period, my vet is a HUGE fan of adding human pharmaceutical grade fish oil to help. As for converting to glucosamine, again my vet is a big fan of human pharmaceutical grade glucosamine. I have a 1.5 year old dewlap toulouse gander with severely deformed legs/feet and one elderly African gander with crippling arthritis (that my vet rescued and now lives with me). They are both being started on brewer's yeast, glucosamine and fish oil this week, as they are experiencing rapid weight gain with winter approaching, despite their restricted diet. My vet plans to monitor efficacy and adjust accordingly in a few weeks. I would be happy to share results.