Characterization of osteoarthritis in cats and meloxicam efficacy using objective chronic pain evaluation tools

M Guillot, M Moreau, M Heit, J Martel-Pelletier, J-P Pelletier, E Troncy
Veterinary Journal 2013, 196 (3): 360-7
This study aimed to characterize osteoarthritis (OA)-related chronic pain and disability in experimental cats with naturally occurring OA. Peak vertical ground reaction force (PVF), accelerometer-based motor activity (MA) and the von Frey anesthesiometer-induced paw withdrawal threshold were used to define OA and to test the efficacy of meloxicam. A diagnosis of OA was based on radiographic and orthopedic examinations. Cats with OA (n=39) and classified as non-OA (n=6) were used to assess the reliability and sensitivity of the parameters to assess OA over 3weeks while being administered placebo medication. A randomised parallel design study was then used to investigate the effects on OA of daily oral meloxicam treatment for 4weeks at different dose rates (0.025mg/kg, n=10mg/kg; 0.04mg/kg, n=10; 0.05mg/kg, n=9), compared to cats administered a placebo (n=10). The test-retest repeatability for each tool was good (intra-class correlation coefficient ⩾0.6). The PVF and the von Frey anesthesiometer-induced paw withdrawal threshold discriminated OA (P<0.05). Meloxicam did not add to the PVF improvement observed in placebo-treated cats during the treatment period (adj-P⩽0.01). The 0.025 and the 0.05mg/kg meloxicam-treated cats experienced a higher night-time (17:00-06:58h) MA intensity during the treatment period compared to the placebo period (adj-P=0.04, and 0.02, respectively) and this effect was not observed in the placebo group. The high allodynia rate observed in the 0.04mg/kg meloxicam-treated group may explain the lower responsiveness to the drug. The von Frey anesthesiometer-induced paw withdrawal threshold demonstrated no responsiveness to meloxicam. The results from this study indicated that daily oral meloxicam administration for 4weeks provided pain relief according to night-time MA.

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