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Objective—To determine analgesic efficacy and adverse effects of preemptive administration of meloxicam or butorphanol in cats undergoing onychectomy or onychectomy and neutering.

Design—Randomized controlled study.

Animals—64 female and 74 male cats that were 4 to 192 months old and weighed 1.09 to 7.05 kg (2.4 to 15.5 lb).

Procedure—Cats received meloxicam (0.3 mg/kg [0.14 mg/lb], SC) or butorphanol (0.4 mg/kg [0.18 mg/lb], SC) 15 minutes after premedication and prior to anesthesia. A single blinded observer measured physiologic variables, assigned analgesia and lameness scores, and withdrew blood samples for each cat at baseline and throughout the 24 hours after surgery. Rescue analgesia (butorphanol, 0.4 mg/kg, IV or SC) or administration of acepromazine (0.025 to 0.05 mg/kg [0.011 to 0.023 mg/lb], IV) was allowed.

Results—Meloxicam-treated cats were less lame and had lower pain scores. Cortisol concentration was higher at extubation and lower at 1, 5, and 12 hours in the meloxicam-treated cats. Fewer meloxicam-treated cats required rescue analgesia at 3, 5, 12, and 24 hours after extubation. General impression scores were excellent or good in 75% of meloxicam-treated cats and 44% of butorphanol-treated cats. There was no treatment effect on buccal bleeding time; PCV and BUN concentration decreased in both groups, and glucose concentration decreased in meloxicam-treated cats.

Conclusions and Clinical Relevance—Preoperative administration of meloxicam improved analgesia for 24 hours without clinically relevant adverse effects in cats that underwent onychectomy or onychectomy and neutering and provided safe, extended analgesia, compared with butorphanol. (J Am Vet Med Assoc 2005;226:913–919)

Full access
in Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association


To evaluate adequacy of analgesia provided by postoperative administration of butorphanol to cats undergoing onychectomy.


Randomized controlled trial.


63 cats undergoing elective onychectomy.


Cats were randomly assigned to a treatment (n = 42) or control group (21). Cats in the treatment group were given butorphanol parenterally immediately and 4 hours after surgery and orally for 2 days after surgery. Rectal temperature, heart rate, and respiratory rate were recorded and scores were assigned for temperament, recovery, sedation, analgesia, and lameness for the first 24 hours after surgery. Owners provided scores for appetite, personality, and lameness the first and second days after discharge from the hospital.


Heart rate, respiratory rate, rectal temperature, and temperament and sedation scores were not significantly different between groups at any evaluation time. Recovery scores were significantly better for butorphanol-treated than for control-group cats 10 minutes after extubation. Analgesia scores were significantly better for butorphanol-treated than for control-group cats between 5 and 24 hours after surgery. Fewer butorphanol-treated than control-group cats were lame at the time of discharge from the hospital. The first day after discharge, owners reported that percentages of butorphanol-treated cats that ate normally, acted normally, and had only mild or no lameness were significantly higher than percentages of control-group cats that did. Significant differences between groups were not detected the second day after discharge.

Clinical Implications

Results suggest that for cats undergoing onychectomy, administration of butorphanol the day of surgery and the first full day after surgery provides effective analgesia and improves recovery, appetite, and gait. (J Am Vet Med Assoc 1998;213:246-250)

Free access
in Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association