Pain relief for cats
The topic of pain relief in our dogs and cats is one of the hottest topics today in veterinary medicine. There is such a concern about easing pain and suffering in both dogs and cats that many veterinary state practice acts are now including mandatory pain relief medications even for routine surgical procedures.
While there are numerous approved prescription nonsteroidal anti inflammatory pain relief medication for dogs such as Rimadyl, Deramaxx, and Previcox, because of the unique sensitivity and metabolism of domestic cats, our choices are often much more limited in our feline companions. As cats age, they do indeed suffer many of the same painful aging conditions as dogs and people such as degenerative joint disease and arthritis, as well as spinal arthritis, disc problems, as well as the routine discomfort seen post surgery.
For decades we had few options to offer our feline friends, except for a few medications that were mostly injectable narcotic drugs available only in the veterinary hospital setting. However, with the approval and use of such drugs like the nonsteroidal anti inflammatory pain medication Metacam in cats, that has indeed changed. Because of our felines’ sensitivity to such drugs, however, it is important to make sure that pre-drug veterinary blood work and urine testing is done, as well as monitored during long term treatment if Metacam is indeed used. With newer prescription drugs such as the safe alternative Tramadol, we can also combine use of such medications with the nonsteroidal pain medication Tramadol.
For conditions like post operative feline declawing, as well as in painful conditions like feline urologic syndrome (known as FUS) such prescription medications can often offer dramatic symptomatic relief. Recently individual case reports of using the prescription anticonvulsant Gabapentin has shown promise in relieving pain in domestic cats.
We also don’t want to forget the wonderful array of supplements that have been helpful, especially when combined with prescription medications in relieving pain and discomfort. Yucca Intensive by Azmira, as well as the antioxidant Proanthozone have been quite helpful in my practice and experience in those aging arthritic cats. Glucosamine derivatives such as Cosequin for Cats work best when used with some of the other supplements and medications listed here. Finally, we must not forget the use of complimentary medical modalities such as chiropractic and acupuncture in cats, which has offered both animals and humans dramatic pain relief as either a primary modality or as an adjunct to some of the above medications and supplements.