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What do vets prescribe for pain relief in cats?

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Quick Answer

In order to relieve cats' pain, veterinarians typically prescribe non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDS), opioids and corticosteroids. Cats take the same types of pain medication as humans and dogs, although they require very careful dosing, say experts at WebMD, as the potential for overdose is quite high. Veterinarians prescribe pain relief in the form of oral pills, such as NSAIDs, and may also give cats injections and patches.

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Full Answer

In addition to their smaller size, diagnosing and treating pain in cats is sometimes difficult as cats naturally hide pain, say experts at VCA Animal Hospitals. However, their nervous systems are quite similar to humans', which makes them tolerant of similar medications.

As with people, NSAIDS are commonly prescribed cat pain relievers. Cats should only have buffered or enteric-coated aspirin. Although it is effective, aspirin has a high risk of toxicity. Cat owners should ideally give cats one baby aspirin to cats every 3 days and always with food, say experts at WebMD.

For skin patches, fentanyl is a common prescription. This patch, like NSAIDS, requires careful administration and oversight, as it also carries a risk of toxicity. This drug, like morphine and codeine, classifies as a narcotic. Vets typically reserve this class for advanced pain relief, such as following surgery or for cancer.

Lastly, veterinarians administer corticosteroids, such as cortisone and prednisone, for allergies. These medications may have long-term consequences, and also require careful dosing.

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