NSAIDS use in cats
WHAT IS NSAIDS?
Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) are drugs frequently used in human and veterinary medicine that help to manage pain, fever and inflammation.
All the NSAIDs of veterinary use can only be obtained with a script, as the veterinarian needs to determine the right NSAID for the pet and whether the pet is a suitable candidate for the drug or not. Currently, only two NSAIDS are approved to be used in cats, those are meloxicam and robenacoxib.
ARE NSAIDs SAFE FOR MY CAT?
NSAIDs are crucial for the management of several diseases in cats and improvement of their quality of life. However, some of them can be highly toxic for your pet (such as ibuprofen, aspirin and paracetamol) and its administration might lead to death. It is for this reason that NSAIDs in cats should only be used if prescribed by a veterinarian and at the recommended doses and frequency.
CAN I GIVE IBUPROFEN TO MY CAT?
Never give your cat a human medicine unless prescribed by your veterinarian. Cats have a reduced ability to metabolise NSAIDs compared to other species. Thus drugs such as ibuprofen, aspirin and naproxen are highly toxic to cats and their consumption can lead to death. If your cat accidentally eats a human painkiller contact your veterinarian as soon as possible.
WHAT ADVERSE EFFECTS SHOULD I LOOK FOR?
NSAIDs are usually safe to be used in felines as long as the instructions recommended by the veterinarian are followed. However, some pets can be more sensitive than others and adverse effects can occur. Usually the effects are mild and transient such as:
- Nausea and/ or vomiting
In severe cases NSAIDs can impact directly on the kidneys, liver and gastrointestinal tract, leading to signs such as:
- Blood in faeces or vomit
- Altered (increased or decreased) urination
- Yellow skin, gums and eyes
WHAT PRECAUTIONS SHOULD I TAKE IF MY CAT HAS BEEN PRESCRIBED WITH NSAIDs?
- Don’t administer NSAIDs before discussing it with your vet first
- Make sure you understand the amount and frequency of the medication that needs to be administered
- Administer the medication with food, if your cat doesn’t want to eat it’s better to skip the medication and contact your veterinarian to try to find a different drug.
- Make sure you understand the potential toxic effects of the medication (listed above) and contact your veterinarian in case of any concerns
- In case of senior cats or long term use of NSAIDs regular blood work and urine test (every 6 – 12 months) are advised to make sure the kidneys and liver are working properly prior to the administration of the medication and avoid possible adverse effects.
Being able to manage your cat’s pain is crucial to improve their quality of life and wellbeing. Several cats around the world find benefit from the use of NSAIDs if used properly. If you think that your cat may require the use of painkillers or if you have any concerns about NSAIDs, please do not hesitate to reach out to us!