Managing long-term pain in geriatric cats with chronic kidney disease

Figure 1. The hunched posture of a cat suggesting possible abdominal pain. Advances in companion animal medicine, and heightened interest in feline welfare and geriatric medicine, has led to increased awareness and recognition of the range of medical problems that may be experienced by elderly cats.

Common “age-related” diseases – which are seen with increasing frequency in an ageing cat population – include hyperthyroidism, diabetes mellitus, chronic kidney disease (CKD), various tumours and OA. Chronic pain is most likely to arise from OA or some neoplastic conditions.

The treatment of pain in cats with CKD may present a challenge, given the potential for reduced renal clearance of drugs. The requirements for treating CKD and the painful condition conflict, or that certain forms of pain management are contraindicated in CKD, may be cause for concern. However, with a good understanding of feline physiology and a sound appreciation of evidence-based medicine, we may be pleasantly surprised at the options open to us.

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