Pain management in cats


GP West Fund



Research Period


Area of study



Investigator(s): Dr Polly Taylor, Feline Advisory Bureau (now International Cat Care)

Cats are one of the most common domestic pets. However, historically they were somewhat neglected when it came to the development of appropriate techniques for managing pain. Since the 1990s there have been a number of studies in feline analgesia, in both laboratory and clinical settings, which have addressed this deficiency. This led to considerable improvement in clinical pain management in the cat, particularly through better understanding of the use of opiates (morphine-like drugs) in this species. The other major group of analgesic drugs, the non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs or NSAIDs (aspirin-like drugs), also have a role to play in feline analgesia, but these have proven more difficult to study in a controlled manner.

Previous studies demonstrated that NSAIDs are better investigated non-invasively in cats in the laboratory by using a pressure stimulus rather than the thermal stimulus which has proved effective for investigation into opiates. This investigation was designed to develop a pressure-testing device for feline analgesia studies so that NSAID treatment protocols could be developed specifically for use in the cat, in the way that the thermal testing has been used for opiates. The aim of the study was met, in that a humane method for laboratory study of NSAID analgesia in cats was developed and validated. It is suitable for further study of analgesics of this type in cats.

Full peer reviewed papers published from this project

  • Dixon MJ, Taylor PM, Steagall PVM, Brondani JT, Luna SPL (2007) Development of a pressure nociceptive threshold testing device for evaluation of analgesics in cats. Research in Veterinary Science 82, 85-92. doi:10.1016/j.rvsc.2006.03.010
  • Taylor PM, Steagall PVM, Dixon MJ, Luna SPL, (2007) Carprofen and buprenorphine prevent hyperalgesia in a model of inflammatory pain in cats. Research in Veterinary Science (in press). doi:10.1016/j.rvsc.2007.01.007


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