Against a background of extended lifespans of urban and rural cats, there is much focus, at present, on the use of nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) in geriatric cats. For decades, veterinarians considered that cats did not tolerate NSAIDs well. When this notion was challenged and these drugs first started to gain widespread acceptance for use in cats, severe side-effects were sometimes observed. Although the benefits of NSAIDs now appear to outweigh their risks in many cats, likely because of better drugs or more careful patient monitoring, we still need to understand the risks.
Broad coverage of the use of NSAIDs and other analgesics in a variety of settings, in which acute, chronic, surgical, or neuropathic pain is observed, is provided by guidelines that were recently published by the World Small Animal Veterinary Association (WSAVA). In the geriatric cat, long-term therapy for chronic pain is a major concern, and is the primary focus of this review article.