OBJECTIVE To investigate the effects of meloxicam administration before long-distance transport on inflammatory mediators and leukocyte function of cattle at feedlot arrival. ANIMALS 60 healthy yearling beef steers. PROCEDURES Single-source steers were assigned to a transported (n = 40) or nontransported (20) group. Then, half of the steers within each group were assigned to receive meloxicam (1 mg/kg, PO) or a lactose placebo (1 bolus/steer, PO). All steers were transported approximately 1,300 km overnight to a feedlot; however, the nontransported group was moved before treatment (meloxicam or placebo) administration and allowed a 17-day acclimation period, whereas the transported group was moved immediately after treatment administration on day –1. Blood samples for measurement of inflammatory mediators and leukocyte function were collected from all steers on days –1, 0, and 3. RESULTS For steers that received meloxicam, mean plasma meloxicam concentration for the transported group was significantly greater than that for the nontransported group on day 0. For steers that received the placebo, mean haptoglobin-matrix metalloproteinase-9 complex for the transported group was significantly greater than that for the nontransported group on day 0. Mean haptoglobin concentration, neutrophil L-selectin intensity, and polymorphonuclear leukocyte count for the transported group were significantly greater than those for the nontransported group. Mean substance P concentration for nontransported steers that received meloxicam was significantly lower than that for the other 3 treatment groups. CONCLUSIONS AND CLINICAL RELEVANCE Results indicated meloxicam administration to healthy steers immediately before long-distance transport did not significantly mitigate the effects of transport-induced stress on leukocyte function or inflammatory markers.