Tramadol is an opiate agonist, and is relatively safe to use for pain relief for cats as well as dogs. It effectively blocks pain receptors in the brain.
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For conditions like post operative feline declawing, as well as in painful conditions like feline urologic syndrome (known as FUS) such prescription medications can often offer dramatic symptomatic relief. Recently individual case reports of using the prescription anticonvulsant Gabapentin has shown promise in relieving pain in domestic cats.
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Detection of clinically relevant pain relief in cats with degenerative joint disease () is complicated by a lack of validated outcome measures and a placebo effect.
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Degenerative joint disease involves the deteriorationof the articular cartilage and is most commonly associatedwith age-related changes from chronic use over the years. A joint is defined as any junction of two or more bones,whereas a synovial joint is defined as a moveable joint. Synovial joints are composed of a joint capsule that secretesprotective and lubricating synovial fluidthat nurtures the articular cartilage. The articular cartilage is the protective layerthat covers the surface of the junction of any synovial joint. These components allow for a smooth, controlled and protective movementof a joint. Degeneration of the articular cartilage leads to inflammatory changesof adjacent tissues within the joint and is then termed osteoarthritis. This inflammation results in an alteration in the synovial fluidof the joint capsule, ultimately decreasing the nutritional supplyto the articular cartilage and leading to increased damage. The most common joints that seem to be affected in the catare the shoulder and elbow. This could be attributed to the cat's propensityof jumping from tall or long distances and the resultingrepeated impact on these inflicted joints. Intervertebral disc disease is also a common sourceof chronic pain in the cat. Often resulting in the narrowing of vertebral segmentswithin the lumbar-sacral region, compression of the intervertebral discs,and associated impingement of exiting nerve roots to the limbs.Life-style changes including weight loss and physical therapyare excellent options for controlling the progression of the diseaseand offering the feline relief from discomfort. Weight loss is one of the most effective management toolsto alleviate the inciting cause of the pain. The loss of excessive weight with gradual diet restrictionis an ideal form of management that can have profound effectsthat decrease the strain and stress on affected jointsand ultimately improve the overall health of a cat. It is important that a cat's diet is adjustedunder the supervision of a veterinarian because catshave the potential of developing hepatic lipidosiswhen drastic reductions of food are made. Weight loss should be carefully monitoredto ensure a steady reduction.