Join Date: Jun 2004
Location: Simpsonville, SC
Re: Spay pain medication question
Metacam is not labelled for use in cats - dogs only. Says so right on the box. However, vets have been using it "off label" in cats for years. And honestly, MOST cats handle it just fine. However, it can and does cause acute kidney failure. I've personally seen two definate cases (perfectly normal preop bloodwork, sent home metacam and full blown kidney failure within a week) and one that was an iffy case. It is not meant to be given for more than 4 days (usually an injection followed by 3 days of oral medication). I think the injectable form of Metacam is labelled for use in cats, but I'm not sure. I do know we finally just stopped using it all together at the first two clinics I worked at.
The biggest different between the two is that Metacam is an NSAID (nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drug) and Buprenex is an opiod and works purely on pain. While dogs tolerate NSAIDS pretty well, they can still cause long term kidney and/or liver damage in some dogs. There are no NSAIDS that are safe for long term use in cats. A single injection is usually given and there are still clinics who use Metacam for a few days but any longer will most likely cause serious side effects. The clinic I'm working at now uses it for three days, then every three days for a period of time. I'm really uncomfortable with that and haven't decided how to start asking the doctor about concerns with its use.
As far as how widely used Buprenex is, it all depends on the clinic. I think most clinics have started using it. And for a lot, it is the ONLY pain medication they use for cats. So yes, it is perfectly normal as a post op medication for a spay.
"There is no snooze button on a cat who wants breakfast."