Torbutrol Side Effects for Cats

Torbutrol is an opiate-based medication for controlling pain in cats. Its most common uses include management of pain after an operation, or administration during a trauma situation where a fast-acting pain relief may be required. This medication can be used as prior to anesthesia and for cough suppression as well. Also called butorphanol, this drug is a narcotic and therefore a scheduled class IV drug. It requires a carefully monitored prescription, and veterinarians must have the proper DEA licensing to prescribe it.

Use of Torbutrol

Torbutrol is registered with the FDA for use in cats and is generally considered a safe drug. There is a potential for rapid build up of a tolerance to the drug, and for this reason torbutrol is not a good choice for long term management of pain. Its use is recommended for periods of 12 to 24 hours before a more suitable pain killer should be provided. Administration is done using intranasal spray, given orally or by injection.

This drug can also be formulated into a topical gel for placement inside the ear or applied to a shaved spot on the neck. In liquid form it's tasteless, so cats shouldn't give much resistance to swallowing or taking by oral ingestion. It should be noted that this medication delivers a very painful sensation if given by injection, and this can also lead to subsequent pain at the injection site. Effects of this drug begin to work after about 20 minutes and should last up to 8 hours. Side effects are possible, but torbutrol is considered to be less risky than other traditional opioids and narcotic pain killers.

Side Effects of Torbutrol

Some common side effects of torbutrol include loss of appetite, vomiting, restlessness and uncoordinated movements. Some reports also include behavioral changes that could be uncharacteristic of certain cats. This may include sudden biting and aggression or an increase in affection. Sedation is common as well, but unlike other opiate medication, torbutrol doesn't have as severe an effect of suppression of the respiratory system and decreased breathing rates. Mixture with antihistamines or tranquilizers, however, will likely cause this effec

t.Uncommonly, diarrhea or decrease in heart rate can occur, but not generally in cats without underlying illness. Coma, seizures and anaphylaxis, which is a severe and life-threatening allergic reaction, are rare, but possible. Older cats, or cats with secondary illness such as Addison's disease, liver disease, kidney failure, thyroid problems or severe debilitation may experience more serious side effects.

Considerations When Using Torbutrol

Cats that are known to have sensitivity to this type of drug should be prescribed an alternate form of pain relief. Signs of allergic reaction include facial swelling, skin reaction, hives or difficulty breathing. Any cats with trauma to the head or any dysfunction associated with the nervous system should also avoid use. Negative interaction with other medications is common, so strict attention should be paid to prescribed or over-the-counter medications that the cat is currently taking.