Efficacy of tolfenamic acid and meloxicam in the control of postoperative pain following ovariohysterectomy in the cat

Vet Anaesth Analg. 2008 Nov;35(6):501-10. doi: 10.1111/j.1467-2995.2008.00407.x. Epub 2008 Jun 19.


Objective: The hypothesis was that Visual Analog Scale (VAS) scores would be lower, and mechanical wound thresholds (MWT) higher, in cats receiving tolfenamic acid compared to those receiving placebo in the postoperative period following elective ovariohysterectomy.

Animals: Sixty-nine client-owned cats.

Methods: A prospective, randomized, blinded and placebo-controlled study was performed in cats which underwent ovariohysterectomy following preoperative tolfenamic acid, meloxicam, or placebo. A second dose of the same analgesic was administered 24 hours postoperatively. Assessments were made 1-hour before induction and 1, 2, 4, 6, 22, and 25 hours postoperatively. Pain was assessed by a blinded observer using Numerical Rating (NRS) and VAS scales. The MWT were measured using a force-measuring device. Group comparison was performed by using one-way ANOVA and chi-squared test for qualitative and quantitative data, respectively, and a mixed model for repeated measurements (p < 0.05).

Results: Sixty-five cats were included in the study. There were no differences between groups at baseline. There was a treatment effect on the NRS scores at 6, 22 and 25 hours. The meloxicam group was less painful than controls at 6 and 22 hours; both treatment groups were less painful than controls at 25 hours. There were no differences between groups in VAS for pain or sedation. The number of animals receiving rescue analgesia did not differ between groups. There was a treatment effect on MWT; thresholds in both treatment groups were significantly higher than that observed in controls at all time points.

Conclusions: Preoperative tolfenamic acid or meloxicam reduced wound sensitivity following ovariohysterectomy in the cat.

Clinical relevance: Tolfenamic acid and meloxicam administered preoperatively provided a similar analgesic effect in the postoperative period lasting 24 hours. Mechanical thresholds may be a better way of evaluating postoperative analgesia provided by nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs in cats.

Publication types

  • Randomized Controlled Trial
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Analgesics / therapeutic use
  • Animals
  • Cats / surgery*
  • Female
  • Hysterectomy / adverse effects
  • Hysterectomy / veterinary*
  • Meloxicam
  • Ovariectomy / adverse effects
  • Ovariectomy / veterinary*
  • Pain Measurement / veterinary
  • Pain, Postoperative / drug therapy
  • Pain, Postoperative / veterinary*
  • Thiazines / therapeutic use*
  • Thiazoles / therapeutic use*
  • ortho-Aminobenzoates / therapeutic use*


  • Analgesics
  • Thiazines
  • Thiazoles
  • ortho-Aminobenzoates
  • tolfenamic acid
  • Meloxicam