Buprenorphine is given to the cats through injection orally. It is usually given 3 times per day.
If you want the medication to work then you have to give the exact amount your vet has advised. You can check the prescription label so that you can be sure that you are giving the correct drug to your cat.
You need to keep in mind some tips before giving the medication your cat—
- When you are pushing the medicine in the cat’s mouth, squirt it under his or her tongue or in the cheek pouch. This way it will work better. If we look at the quantity then the amount is very small which you need to give to your cat. That is why you can not give your cat extra dosage. Only give what your vet has asked you to give. Sometimes veterinarians help you with those. They show you the exact amount and how to put it in the syringes.
- If the vet has asked you to inject the medication under the skin then properly know where and how you need to do it because if you inject it in the wrong place then it can be fatal to your cat.
- When you are doing these shots at home you need to put those needles and syringes inside a sharp disposal container after you have used them. You can not re-use one syringe and needle. You can get these containers by asking your vets to arrange one for you.
- One thing you need to be careful about is that you should never even by mistake stick the syringe in your finger. Do not try to disconnect the needle from the syringe. You should not let children or pets go near the container. When the container gets ¾ full then you need to dispose of it keeping in mind your community guidelines.
- You should also inform your local trash removal services. It would be listed online. You can easily find them around your area in the online government pages. You can also see which methods of disposal are available around you.
- If you are having complications when giving your cat the medication then you should contact your vet or pharmacist to get some tips and directions of the dosage and how to reduce stress in your cat.
What Is Buprenorphine Used For In Cats?
Buprenorphine treatment is given to the cats who have gone through relentless trauma or any severe physical injury. This drug is used so that the cats feel less pain. It makes them feel euphoric after they have gone through major surgeries.
Many cats who are taken to the vet to get neutered or spayed or maybe having any surgeries, are given this medication to help them release the pain and feel better. It is also given in pre and post surgeries. The use of this has been increasing but it is normal.
Buprenorphine is a really strong medication. It is used by the certified veterinarians. They use it on the cat that they believe are suffering from extreme pain or anxiety. It can be because of injuries or surgeries. Buprenorphine is only given when other alternatives do not help in these kinds of situations.
Post operative stress is really traumatic. Anyone who has gone through it has faced it and knows that it is as nocuous as the physical pain. So with cats, buprenorphine helps in reducing their pain which ultimately helps them to eat, discards any negative attitude and anything that is related to the other changes of physical pain.
When it is enhanced more extensively used for pain relief in the cats, buprenorphine still bears risks for cats. The tiny bodies of the cats can react variably when in contact with this drug. That is why this drug is injected or applied by the expert veterinarians so that they can carefully monitor the cat closely after he or she has been given the drug.
Buprenorphine is given either via injection or it is applied in the gums by rubbing them on it. Both the methods are similarly effective. You need to allow the medication to work before it goes out of the body by getting filtered with kidneys and liver. Do you want to know how long an average dosage will stay in the system? It stays 30 to 45 minutes but the effect of this drug will stay up to 4 to 8 hours.
Buprenorphine Dosage For Cats
Buprenorphine dosage depends on a couple of factors. Your vet will decide an exact amount that should be given to your cat.this drug can be therapeutic if given in correct amounts but it is a very strong medicine and the brink of an overdose is very slender. Buprenorphine is used to better cope with any traumatic pain or pain after a surgery or to reduce stress before surgery. It is also used to ease chronic pain which is urged by any disease like cancer.
A cat’s general health and weight needs to be taken in consideration while deciding on a dosage for him or her. Hence FDA has nor agreed that this drug can be used on animals that is why they do not give any information about dosing cats. In the United Kingdom DEFRA gives some information on dosing cats with buprenorphine.
The typical dosage is 10 to 20 micrograms per kg (in the cat’s body).
These reasons justify as to why your vet will only decide how much your cat needs the drug. It will be unsafe if you yourself try to give your cat buprenorphine. It is fine when you are experienced but if you are not then you should better avoid doing this for your cat’s safety.
If you try to find out the effectiveness of morphine and buprenorphine then you will find that buprenorphine has better pain relief effect than morphine even when the dose is 1/10 of buprenorphine. Now you have an idea of how dominant and powerful this drug is.
What are the side effects of using buprenorphine for cats?
The reason as to why vets like to rely on this drug is buprenorphine has very less side effects and it works on cats miraculously well. When it is administered properly the cat is relieved of her or his pain for a long time, that gives its body the time to heal without any panicking. The most common side effects that are noticed by vets are low blood pressure, low heart rate and sedation.
Even though there are few side effects of this drug but still some caution needs to be followed. Veterinary partners have declared that cats who have kidney diseases should never be given this medicine. And cats who have liver disease are also at risk but it needs to be carefully used with them. Liver actually filters the buprenorphine and passes it from the system.
There are also some other side effects that are quite risky like —
- Heart failure
- Head trauma
- Respiratory damage
- Pregnancy and lactation.
- Rising body temperature
Another mild side effect is sleepiness. The area where the injection is pushed inside can hurt afterwards. In cats there can also be behavioral changes. It can also cause breathing problems. This is uncommon but can happen.
This medication should stop working after 24 hours. Cats who have kidney disease or liver disease, may experience longer effects of this drug. It is because liver diseases make it hard to remove the drug from the system. So the drug stays longer in the cat’s body. As a result the effect stays for longer.
Animals who are allergic to opioids and buprenorphine never intake this. It will be very risky. Also cats who are on Amitraz (kind of flea collar) can also never be given this drug.
Buprenorphine should be used very carefully around cats who have —
- Low thyroid level
- Liver disease
- Bile disease
- Lung disease
- Addison’s disease
Old cats or cats who are debilitated will need extra careful monitoring while using this drug. Pregnant cats should also be handled very carefully as they are exposed to higher risks than normal cats.
The Dangers of Buprenorphine Overdose
Overdose of buprenorphine can lead to death. If by any chance the vet is not experienced enough and gives your cat the wrong dosage which turns out to be overdose then there might be a chance your cat will die.
That is why we always recommend going to an experienced vet to do this kind of work. However, you can also be careful and keep on reminding the vet to give the correct dose. Doctors sometimes forget too.
Even in humans too, overdose of buprenorphine can kill us.
Treating Buprenorphine Overdose In Cats
If your cat has been given an overdose of buprenorphine then the treatment will be based on various facts.
Vets will measure the amount that has been given and how much overdose has been given. Then they will check all the conditions your cat has. Suppose your cat is pregnant then vets can not give her the same treatment as the cat who is not pregnant.
It will also depend on if your cat has any diseases or not. Like liver disease or kidney failures etc. heart diseases will also be looked at when treating overdose of buprenorphine in cats.
However, if you have given the overdose by yourself without consulting any doctor then you should take your cat to the vet immediately. Your cat’s life will be in danger if you do not take immediate steps.
Does buprenorphine for cats need to be refrigerated?
HPLC did a research and has come to this decision that buprenorphine which are diluted should be stored in glass vials because it has less than 10 percent loss when the same buprenorphine has been stored in a 180 degree temperature refrigerator.
They have also said that if the drug is contained in the syringes then also it loses 28 percent when stored in a 180 degree temperature refrigerator.
Room temperature is an absolute no no because it has the most loss. So researches show not to store it inside any plastic syringes. Glass vials protect more than 90 percent of the drug.
Does buprenorphine make cats high?
Buprenorphine is a pain relief medication. It also releases dopamine that is why the cats feel good while they are on that drug.
They feel euphoric so yes cats can get high on dopamine. They feel extremely good which helps them in being relaxed before and after a surgery or if they are in extreme pain.
Cats also feel less pain so they feel more comfortable and do not become very conscious of their surroundings.
How long does buprenorphine stay in a CATS system?
Suppose your cat is going to have a surgery then this drug that is buprenorphine is given thirty to forty five minutes prior to the surgery. It is because the drug needs time to take effect. It will take about half an hour to actually start working.
If the cat has no health conditions then this drug will stay in his or her system for 8 long hours. After that it will get filtered by the liver and pushed out of the system.
But if the cat has liver disease or kidney disease then it will take upto 24 hours for the drug to go away from the system.