The Security of Carprofen in Tablets for Peri-Operative Pain Management After Ovariohysterectomy / Orchiectomy in Cats
World Small Animal Veterinary Association World Congress Proceedings, 2009
C.C.T. Augusto; C.R. Brito; A.M.A. Vianna; B.G. Palmieri; S.M. Gonçalves
Zoonozes Control Department in São Vicente, São Paulo, Brazil


Carprofen is one non-steroidal anti-inflammatory having anti-inflammatory, antipyretics and analgesic properties with high selectivity for cyclooxygenase-2. There is a restriction when it is about the use of antiinflammatory and analgesic after the surgery of cats once these do not have the glucuronic acid as the other species have, besides they are not sufficient for the process of hydroxylization and the consequent oxidation, which may cause an acute hepatotoxicity. A study was accomplished at the Zoonozes Control Department in São Vicente with the objective to test the efficiency and security of carprofen in tablets after surgery in feline species compared with meloxicam (in a dose of 0.1 mg/kg, once a day for 3 days). Twenty cats in total were observed, half females and half males during the period between March and September of 2007. To verify the results it was applied a questionnaire to the owners of the animals to which carprofen was prescribed for three consecutive days after the surgery. The results showed that clinically carprofen in tablets had a very efficient analgesic action; the cats did not present an increase of temperature and the inflammation on the region of the incision was properly refrained. Due to the deficiency of hydroxylization process and consequent oxidation the occurrence of toxic metabolites is described in literature and despite all the clinical observations there is no scientific basis that supports its prescription to the cats. So carprofen can be an option after surgery in case of less traumatic surgery in this specie as long as they do not have any historical of gastric, renal or homeostatic lesion. In a dose of 4 mg/kg, once a day, for three successive days only, is enough to heal the process and do not damage the metabolism, contributing for the health of the animal.


Carprofen is a propionic-acid derivative approved in the United States for use in dogs; it is available in oral and injectable forms. The anti-inflammatory, analgesic and antipyretic properties of the drug are the result of its reversible inhibition of COX-2 and phospholipase A2 at clinically recommended doses. Carprofen is COX-2 selectivity and it makes the oral form effective for long-term and short-term pain management, usually without the development of tolerance or a decrease in drug efficacy (e.g., Curry et al. 2005). The meloxicam demonstrates selective inhibition of COX-2 (e.g., Leece et al. 2005). Carprofen should not be used in animals with known hypersensitivity to the drug. Owners should be warned of the potential for serious side effects when dispensing carprofen. Decreased appetite, diarrhea, melena, emesis, polydipsia, polyuria, pallor, icterus, lethargy, seizures, and changes in behavior are all potential side effects described by the manufacturer (e.g., Curry et al. 2005).

From the in vitro data it will be seen that meloxicam is a more potent inhibitor of COX-1 and carprofen and meloxicam have similar potency for COX-2 inhibition (e.g., Lees et al. 2004). The purpose of this study was to compare carprofen with meloxicam for perioperative pain management after ovariohysterectomy in cats at the Zoonozes Control Department in São Vicente.

Materials and Methods

This work was carried through in the Department of Control of Zoonoses of São Vicente in cats who were submitted to the ovariohysterectomy /orchiectomy, in the period between May and September. The anesthesia used was tiletamine with zolazepam, xylazine 10% and fentanyl. The owners were invited to participate in the research responding to a questionnaire of nine questions, and administrating the medicine at home, returning seven days later. Twenty cats took part in the total, ten males and ten females, in half of them we used Carproflan 25 mg in a dose of 4 mg/kg, called group 1, and in the other half we used meloxicam 0.5 mg in a dose of 0.1 mg/kg, called group 2, once a day, for three successive days only. In this work, we did not use laboratories diagnostic methods, only visual parameters.


After three days of medicine administration, the owner answered a questionnaire with nine questions, and four alternatives each. The answers punctuation varied between 0 to 3, totalizing 27 points. These scores were used to evaluate the intensity of the pain as it follows below:

 0-9 points: hard pain;

 10-19 points: moderate or light pain;

 20-27 points: no pain or discomfort (e.g., Hellebrekers, 2002).

The same questionnaire was used by both groups. Through this study was possible to conclude that 100% of the felines treated with the carprofen have presented points between 20-27 concluding that they had pain absence or only a discomfort. The same resulted was valid in the use of the meloxicam, in which the scores were kept between 20-27.

Table 1.

Group 1--Carprofen

Group 2--Meloxicam



Felino 1


Felino 11


Felino 2


Felino 12


Felino 3


Felino 13


Felino 4


Felino 14


Felino 5


Felino 15




Felino 6


Felino 16


Felino 7


Felino 17


Felino 8


Felino 18


Felino 9


Felino 19


Felino 10


Felino 20


Group 1--cats which used carprofen in tablets
Group 2--cats which used meloxicam in tablets

Discussion and Conclusions

In group 1, ten animals medicated with carprofen, none of them got punctuation smaller than 24, not presenting pain and discomfort. In group 2, the animals medicated with meloxicam, the result was similar to the group 1, that is, without pain signals. In a study with the use of a group controlled with placebo, carprofen administered after the surgery was compared with the fentanyl in 60 cats that had passed for an ovariohysterectomy. Cats in which carprofen had been administered demonstrated less pain after surgical, with the dose of 4 mg/kg being the more effective dose and superior than the fentanyl, from 2-20 hours after the administration. Also, none of these analgesics showed to affect the kidney functions when measured the levels of urea and creatine (e.g., Taylor et al. 1996). Even having deficiency in the acid glucuronic, we saw that the metabolic action of carprofen in cats did not cause poisoning, since none of the animals used in the study demonstrated poisoning signals (e.g., Górniak, 2007). The meloxicam used in the work as a group controlled, is a powerful inhibitor of thromboxanes and prostaglandins with excellent antipyretic and analgesic properties considered, as well as the carprofen, preferential inhibitor of the COX-2 (e.g., Clark., 2006). With the carried through research, carprofen showed to be efficient in those felines in which this was administered. It is important to emphasize that this work was made with felines, in which had not neither fulfilled complementary examinations.


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Speaker Information
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C.C.T. Augusto
Zoonozes Control Department in São Vicente
São Paulo, Brazil

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