If your cat is not as playful as in the past, unable to jump, stiff when getting up or walking, and showing other signs of slowing down, your pet may be a candidate for a free clinical study being conducted by the Comparative Pain Research Laboratory at NC State University’s Veterinary Teaching Hospital.
The purpose of the 10-week study is to develop an owner-based assessment system that veterinarians can use to determine the level of chronic musculoskeletal pain in cats before and after treatment.
“At present, there are no approved drugs for chronic pain in the cat,” says Dr. Duncan Lascelles, associate professor of small animal surgery and an expert in pain management in pets. “One reason for this is that there are no validated ways of determining if a cat is suffering from musculoskeletal pain. The questionnaire developed by this study will allow veterinarians to determine if a cat is experiencing pain, the level of that pain, and effectiveness of treatment. The tool may also help pharmaceutical companies assess the efficacy of medications for chronic pain in cats.”
To be eligible for the study, cats must be indoor pets without any clinically significant blood or urinary issues or currently be on steroids or pain killers. After completing a qualifying telephone interview, an owner will receive a questionnaire and consent form along with an appointment time to have their pet examined. The exam—at no cost to the owner—includes an orthopedic evaluation, blood work and urinalysis, and survey X-rays.
Study participants will be fitted with a collar containing an activity monitor. Every other week the owner will bring the cat to the hospital for a re-check appointment, to download monitor information, and to complete a questionnaire. In addition, owners will be given a liquid to administer to the pet for a two-week period beginning the second and sixth week. One treatment period will involve a nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drug (NSAID) and the second treatment a placebo. The cat will be thoroughly examined a second time to conclude the 10-week study.
The Veterinary Teaching Hospital is part of the NC State University College of Veterinary Medicine.
Updated Nov. 8, 2010