When your cat becomes ill, the most likely course of action you will take is to visit the vet to seek their professional advice. The vet will then examine your pet, identify the problem, and then decide on the best treatment for your cat. In many instances, this will include a prescription for a course of medication. What drugs a vet will prescribe depends entirely on the type of health condition from which your cat is suffering. If the cat is in pain, then one of the most common drugs that a vet will prescribe is called buprenorphine. This is a powerful short-term analgesia. Buprenex is the name of the brand that most commonly manufactures this drug. In humans, this drug has an entirely different use as it is an opioid that is helped to wean people off heroin or other opioid drugs. In cats, this drug is used just as a painkiller. Here is what you need to know about buprenorphine.
What Are Analgesics and Opioids?
The term analgesic is used to describe something that takes away the pain. They vary significantly in strength and effectiveness. For example, analgesics include over the counter medication, such as aspirin and ibuprofen, while also including addictive and potentially dangerous drugs, such as buprenorphine and morphine. The terms opioids and opiates is technically a medication that is derived from the opium found in a poppy plant. However, chemicals with the same effect are now synthetically produced. Opioids do not take away the pain, they simply block receptors in the brain that send pain signals to other parts of the body.
What is Buprenorphine?
Cats have a low tolerance for opioids, so alternatives are usually prescribed. Although buprenorphine is an opioid, it was found to be an exception to this rule. This semi-synthetic drug was found to be not as long-lasting or strong as other opioids. It is also less addictive than alternatives, such as morphine or hydrocodone. Furthermore, buprenorphine did not impact on breathing as much as some of the alternatives. When this drug is given to a cat, it is prescribed in doses that are much smaller than those given to humans. The vet will decide just how much a cat needs based on their weight. They will also take into account a range of other factors, such as the health of the cat, before prescribing this medication. The liver and kidney function of a cat is something important that they need to consider, and this will be tested in the general blood tests. If the cat has any existing conditions with organs such as their kidney and liver, then it is unlikely that the vet will prescribe buprenorphine for your cat. Although it has less of an impact on breathing than other opioids, the cat may not give this drug if the cat has existing respiratory problems.
Why is This Drug Prescribed for Cats?
In most cases, a cat is prescribed buprenorphine after they have suffered a significant trauma or they have undergone major surgery. That is because the drug is a strong painkiller and cats who have significant injuries or large surgical wounds need something strong to take away the pain. A vet will usually only prescribe this medication if they believe that an animal is suffering from a significant amount of pain and distress. In addition to reducing the amount of pain the cat experiences, it can also reduce levels of stress and anxiety. Due to the strength of the drug, the vet will usually prescribe it and then administer the drug themselves in case of reactions. It is a drug that is usually used while an animal remains under the care of the vet rather than something they would prescribe for you to administer yourself at home.
Are There Any Side-Effects?
This type of medication does not last long in a cat’s system, so it is something that you will give them in regular doses. This is usually two or three times a day for up to five days. The vet will usually then recommend that they discontinue taking buprenorphine as it can negatively affect the appetite and weight of a cat. Another side effect which they may experience is slowed respiration. Just like with all medication, some cats may experience an allergic reaction to this drug. Vets advise that buprenorphine is not taking alongside other medications, including over the counter treatments like flea tablets.