Feline Arthritis Pain Management with Ketofen for Cats

Ketofen is the brand name for ketoprofen, a drug that can be used to treat the uncomfortable symptoms associated with feline arthritis. The disorder is caused by joint inflammation and often generates pain, swelling and stiffness in cats. Over time, arthritis can also severely limit the mobility of an affected cat. Ketofen may be prescribed by veterinarians to help relieve the soreness and inflammation in cats with this degenerative disease. Here is a summary of how Ketofen can help manage pain related to arthritis, and information on the potential risks and side effects.

What Is Ketofen and How Does It Work?

Ketofen is manufactured by Fort Dodge Animal Health, a division of the drug company Wyeth. It is a non-narcotic, non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drug (NSAID) that is available in tablet and injectable form. Like other NSAIDs, Ketofen helps relieve discomfort, swelling and fever in cats and other animals by blocking the chemicals and enzymes that signal pain in the areas of the body affected by injury or illness.

In the case of feline arthritis, the soft connective tissue that cushions the joints, known as cartilage, begins to deteriorate. This causes a cat's immune system to release the enzyme cyclooxygenase (COX). This substance generates infection-fighting prostaglandins through a process that causes pain and swelling in the affected feline. Although these symptoms are a natural response to cartilage deterioration, they often create intense and long-term discomfort in an arthritic cat. As the disease progresses, the symptoms can also severely interfere with a cat's mobility. Ketofen can help manage pain and swelling by inhibiting the release of COX enzymes in cats with arthritis. By reducing such unpleasant effects, Ketofen may help arthritic felines to lead more active and comfortable lives.

Ketofen Side Effects and Precautions

Ketofen tablets are circular, white in color, and are often available in 5 mg and 20 mg doses. The drug is also manufactured as a clear injectable form, but this product is generally intended for use in horses. Once a veterinarian has determined Ketofen is the best form of pain management, he'll recommend an appropriate dosage that is generally based on a cat's condition, physical form and medical history.

Ketofen is generally well tolerated by cats, but some side effects have been reported, including:

  • Diarrhea
  • Loss of appetite
  • Lethargy
  • Vomiting
  • Weight loss

Ketofen is not intended for cats with allergies to Ketoprofen, aspirin, or other non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs. If your cat is taking steroids, corticosteroids, aspirin or the blood thinning medication Heparin, your vet may advise against using Ketofen. Taking combinations of such medications can increase the risk of complications like stomach ulcers and internal bleeding. Caution should also be used when considering Ketofen use in felines with a history of heart, blood, liver, kidney or gastrointestinal problems.

Seeing the effects of arthritis-related pain and swelling on a cat can be difficult for any pet owner. Although non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs like Ketofen cannot cure arthritis, they may provide a way to improve the quality of life for cats with the disease. Understanding how this drug works and the side effects and precautions associated with its use can help owners make the best decisions regarding pain management for their arthritic cats.