As Veterinarians, What Can We Do To Help Cats With Pain?
Few things are more worrisome for cat owners than when their cat is expressing signs of pain. Cats don’t always vocalize when they’re in pain, so when they do, you know she’s in severe pain.
Of course, vocalizations aren’t the only sign that your cat might be feeling pain. Other signs can include:
- Changes in her personality
- Withdrawal from the family
- Hiding for long periods of time
- Loss of appetite
- Weight loss
- Excessive sleeping
- Increased aggression when attempts are made to pick up or hold her
- Decreased grooming (or increased licking in one spot)
Medications Used to Treat Pain in Cats
Pain management therapies for cats often include the use of pain-relieving medications. Veterinarians usually use medications from one of the following categories:
- Nonsteroidal Anti-Inflammatory Drugs (NSAIDs)
They type of pain medication used is determined by the severity of the pain, its cause, and the cat’s overall health.
NSAIDs are used only in certain situations and typically in low doses because they can be toxic to cats in high amounts. Drugs in this class can cause damage to a cat’s liver, kidneys, stomach, and gastrointestinal system. When they are used, some of the most common include meloxicam, firocoxib, deracoxib, and carprofen.
NSAIDs can be effective at treating cats suffering from inflammation, allergies, and cancer. For cats that are very sensitive to NSAIDs, tramadol is a common alternative. This medication is an analgesic that binds to opioid receptors, but it is not an opioid, nor does it have the sedative and addictive side effects of opioids.
When a cat is in severe pain, then she will require something stronger than NSAIDs, so the veterinarian will typically prescribe an opioid-class medication. Most commonly, opioids are used to treat cats with post-surgical pain, severe arthritis, and advanced forms of cancer. They are also used as maintenance drugs for pain-relief cats suffering from chronic pain. Examples of opioid-class drugs include morphine, fentanyl, and buprenorphine.
Corticosteroids are used to treat cats dealing with pain that’s caused by allergies or arthritis. These drugs work by reducing the inflammation in the body. Examples of corticosteroids include prednisolone, methylprednisolone, and dexamethasone.
What to Do at Home for a Cat in Pain
Medications are just one part of a dedicated program for helping your cat deal with her pain. The drugs help to take the edge off her pain, but there are some things you should do around your home to help make the drugs more effective.
For starters, you should provide your cat with a comfortable and cozy place to rest and sleep. Make it easy for her to reach; you don’t want her to have to climb or jump into it.
Place her litter box, food dishes, and water bowls near her bed so she doesn’t have to exert too much energy to reach them. If the litter box has high sides, then you may want to replace it with one that is easier for her to get in and out of.
Keeping her environment stress-free, quiet, and relaxed is also a key factor in your cat’s comfort.
Get Your Cat’s Pain Meds Filled at Diamondback Drugs and Save
If your cat is suffering from pain and your veterinarian prescribes her medications to help manage it, then you can get her medications for less at Diamondback Drugs. We can custom formulate your cat’s medications into easy-to-administer formulations, thus making dosing her less stressful for both her and yourself.
Diamondback Drugs can even provide you with a free quote for the medications so you know the cost before you have your scripts filled. Diamondback Drugs can help you get your cat the medications she needs to live with less pain – try us today!
Author: Giano Panzarella