Cats are very sensitive to most medications. Pain relievers that humans and dogs are prescribed can be toxic to cats. They can be up to 5 times more sensitive to NSAIDs (Non-steriodal Anti-inflammatories) than dogs.
NSAIDs relieve pain by inhibiting the enzyme, cyclooxeygenase, which produces prostoglandins, fatty acid compounds that have various hormone-life effects. Prostoglandins affect the body in many ways. They can cause inflammation, pain and fever. On the more positive side, they maintain adequate blood flow to the kidneys, aid in the production of a layer of mucous that protects the lining of the gastrointestinal tract from stomach acid and promote the formation of normal blood clots.
NSAIDs include a number of pain relief medications that can be found in most homes. For humans, aspirin and ibuprofen, for dogs, carprofen, etodolac, deracocib.
Veterinarians prescribing NSAIDs for cats do so cautiously and keep a close watch for any adverse side affects. Doses for cats are much lower than those for other animals. The length of time between doses is shorter as well as the amount of time used.
If your cat is prescribed NSAIDs, watch for vomiting, diarrhea, appetite loss, kidney and liver problems, bleeding or any other abnormal symptoms.
Acetominophen (Tylenol)e is more dangerous for cats than NSAIDs. One regular strength Tylenol can kill a cat. Acetominophen can cause destruction of liver cells, damage kidneys, cause poor oxygen delivery to the entire body and damage tissue.
To help avoid the use of pain medications, especially for long-term use, don’t allow your cat to become overweight. Those extra pounds can put stress on joints and lead to painful arthritis.
Never give your cat pain medications without the approval and close supervision of your veterinarian. Discuss with your vet alternative safe treatments to control pain.