What are some signs and symptoms of pain in my cat?

Alright, so big topic, big topic. Signs and symptoms of pain in a cat. A lot of times it's basically inactivity. They, I don't know if you've ever heard the term, me loafing. A cat will just get in a ball and sit there all day, 23 out of 24 hours. Sometimes a sign of pain. Not urinating or defecating in the litter box is a very big symptom, and a lot of times those cats are painful climbing into the litter box, so they will go outside of the litter box. Crying out in pain is usually not something you will see. Your cat limping around, possibility, but like I said, cats try to hide that pain, so looking at subtle changes is very important.

Dr. Robert Gribble
Vets of East Texas

Why is it important to avoid self-diagnosing pain in your cat?

So, interesting question. Why is it important not to self-diagnose pain in your cat? The number one biggest reason is because you're going to miss it, and it is there. In older cats, the numbers are astounding. Cats over 7, 8, 9 years old, almost three-quarters of them have symptoms of arthritis.

What are some possible conditions that can cause cat pain, and what are some of the pain treatments?

So, arthritis is the number one cause of pain in a cat. You should see those symptoms as the cat gets older, their activity level gets lower. They will sometimes put on weight because they do not do as much physical activity as they used to, so they don't burn as many calories, and that makes things actually worse when they get overweight. It makes arthritis worse. So, studies are very convincing that tell us older cats, especially overweight older cats, have arthritis. We have a wonderful treatment for cat arthritis now called Silencia. It is for cat osteoarthritis pain. A lot of times, we will diagnose osteoarthritis by using this drug. We give them a Silencia shot, and over the next month, we want to see how active that cat is, and cats with arthritis respond very well, and owners will notice that increase in activity level almost within the first week, and this shot lasts for about a month.

What types of pain medications might a veterinarian prescribe for my cat?

So, Silencia number one, the osteoarthritis pain. We have some other pain medications for more severe pain. Say, if we had a cat that had an orthopedic procedure or injured themselves, and they needed something a little stronger, we use something called buprenorphine. It's topical. It lasts 48 hours. We also use a drug called Simbidol, which is a different formulation of buprenorphine. Buprenorphine is an injection that lasts 48 hours, so buprenorphine and Silencia are probably our top two go-to pain medications.

What is the most important consideration when it comes to cat pain management?

So, that's an opinion question, and my opinion is you want to over-treat pain as opposed to under-treating pain in a cat. You want to assume it's there, as opposed to assuming that it's not.

My cat has been hiding. Does that mean my cat is in pain?

If your cat's hiding, it could mean that. Cat behavior is a very subjective area, so hiding could mean a plethora of things in a cat, pain being one of them.

How do I know if I need to bring my cat to a veterinarian for pain?

If you suspect it at all, you are probably to the point you need to bring your cat in, because most of the times cats are hiding that, and if you have noticed anything abnormal, then that pain has probably already been there for a while.

Can I give my cat human pain medication?

Great question. Do not do it. We treat cats, especially in our practice that sees a lot of urgent care, after-hours care, we see cats with acetaminophen toxicity, Tylenol. Tylenol is very toxic to cats. They cannot tolerate it, their liver does not like it, and it can kill them. Do not treat your cat with NSAIDs of any kind at home.

What is the best way to give my cat pain medication?

The best way is the newest drug we have, Silencia, which is a once-monthly injection, and you do not have to give anything to your cat during that month. Our clients are very happy about not having to orally medicate their cat.

Are there any all-natural painkillers for cats?

All-natural painkillers for cats, I'm sure they're out there. I'm sure there's someone that's going to say CBD does the trick. I'm not familiar with those treatment modalities, so I don't really have much of an opinion on it.

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