Buprenex for Cats: Common Applications, Side Effects, and Dosing

Buprenex, a brand name of Buprenorphine, is prescribed by veterinarians to relieve or significantly reduce pain in dogs and cats. Buprenex is an opioid based medication, and is acknowledged on the stronger, more powerful end of the opioid painkiller spectrum. For reference, Buprenorphine (Buprenex), is thought to be about 30x stronger than Morphine.

Opioid medications have been used in human medicine for centuries, and they have become somewhat notorious in our society. We know the potential dangers and side effects they can bring, so, what exactly are these drugs (like Buprenex) used for in our pets, more specifically, our cats?

What is Buprenex Used for in Cats? 

With powerful opioid medications, your veterinarian will usually only prescribe them in situations that present moderate to severe pain. Meaning, if your cat has just come out of surgery, has been subject to a serious accident like a broken leg, or is suffering from some kind of overwhelming pain, opioid medications like Buprenex are given to try and relieve the pain. Essentially, opioid medications block or significantly reduce pain signals being sent by the nervous system, to the brain. Once the pain is controlled, this can promote calmness and rest, both advantageous in terms of recovery.

Common Applications in Cats: 

  • Post-Operative Pain 
  • Short-term, Acute Pain 
  • Chronic Pain

Opioids like Buprenex can be very beneficial and comforting for cats coming out of surgery. For this reason, veterinarians, much like human doctors, will mainly use opioid medications for post-operative pain. Buprenex can in fact be used for chronic pain, but it is less common to deploy a strong opioid medication unless the chronic pain is deemed unbearable and other treatments have not seemed to work. The reason being it is not preferred to subject someone (feline or human) to constant opioid intake. In time, overuse of opioids can have negative effects on our cat’s bodies, and even cause dependency.



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