Home » What Is The Use Of Buprenorphine for Cats? Is it ok to give it to my Cat?

What Is The Use Of Buprenorphine for Cats? Is It Ok To Give It To My Cat?

Updated on June 03, 2023 by Daulton Dougan
Buprenorphine is a partial opioid used to treat acute, chronic pain and even overcome opioid withdrawal symptoms in opioid-addicted individuals. Even the Drug Enforcement Agency approves the use of Buprenorphine if an individual has a licensed health professional’s recommendation. But have you heard about the use of Buprenorphine in cats? Well, there is no denial over this! Vets do recommend Buprenorphine to cats. Your Cat can get entangled in a situation where it has to endure great pain. Alas, it can be in an accident or going through major surgery. Many vets suggest Buprenorphine for cats as an ‘off label‘ or ‘extra label‘ drug in situations like these, where enduring such great pain is not an option. Keep reading to get a better grip on what is Buprenorphine for cats?
Buprenorphine for Cats

What is Buprenorphine for Cats and its use?

As already described, Buprenorphine is an excellent synthetic opioid used to relieve pain. It is mainly extracted from poppy flowers. Buprenorphine works by blocking the pain receptors of the Central nervous system; therefore, the cat is unable to feel pain after its intake. Further, the drug promotes the feeling of calmness and rest. Its effect can continuously last up to eight hours, giving a sedative effect. Buprenorphine is thirty times more powerful than morphine. Therefore, it is the most common drug to relieve pain. Even studies have shown it to have no gastrointestinal side effects, unlike other opiate drugs. The possibilities of misuse of this drug are also negligible. Brand Names of Buprenorphine medication:’

  • Temgesic®
  • Suboxone®
  • Vetergesic®
  • Buprenex®
  • Sublocade®
  • Belbuca®
  • Buprenodale®
  • Subutex®
  • Simbadol®

The usage of Buprenorphine is not limited to treating pain in cats. Veterans also use this medication as an anti-inflammatory drug. The topical inflammation due to;

  • Ischemia
  • Tissue spasms
  • Skin infection
  • Tissue necrosis
  • Wound, Injury, Fracture,

can be used to treat with the help of Buprenorphine.

What is the Buprenorphine Dosage Recommended For Cats?

Vets recommend Buprenorphine as an off-label drug; therefore, the dosage might vary depending on the condition of the Cat, its weight, and even the medical history. Due to its intense action, the dosage is more specific from Cat to Cat. A veterinarian customizes dosage usually based on a Cat’s;

  • Weight
  • Age
  • Pain
  • Medical History
  • and many other factors

Liquid Buprenorphine, Buprenex, is usually described on the bottle given orally once a day. However, as mentioned earlier, dosage may vary from Cat to Cat; thus, it is better to give it as suggested by the Vet. Oral dosage is given by inserting the liquid Buprenorphine under the Cat’s tongue or carefully inserting it around the Cat’s cheeks. If you wonder, Buprenorphine for cats how long does it take to work? Then let us tell you, it will start showing its effect within two hours of giving it to your Cat. A cat who recently got surgery usually gets an injectable dose of 0.02 to 0.04 milligrams per kilogram of Cat’s weight. The Vet might give the injectable dose intramuscularly or intravenously to the Cat. During recovery, an injectable dose of 0.01 and 0.04 milligrams per kilogram intramuscularly, intravenously, or transmucosal is enough. Here terms;

  • intramuscularly represent administration into a muscle.
  • intravenously represent administration into a vein.
  • transmucosal represent administration via mucosal routes.

Injectable doses are better if managed by a professional, i.e., a Vet.

What are the possible Buprenorphine side effects cats?

Buprenorphine has been listed to show the most negligible side effect in cats. However, like any other medication, Buprenorphine is likely to show minor side effects, and that too in a few cases. The most common side effects could be;

  • Elevated heart rate,
  • Lethargy/Sleepiness
  • Diarrhea
  • Nausea
  • reduced blood pressure,
  • Dependency

If your Cat acting strange after buprenorphine administration or shows any other severe symptoms, it’s better to contact the Vet as soon as possible.

Vets should never suggest Buprenorphine to cats with a medical history of renal, liver, heart, and respiratory diseases.
Along with this, a pregnant or lactating cat should also not be on Buprenorphine.

Therefore, if the Vet recommends Buprenorphine to your Cat, don’t forget to mention your Cat’s medical history.

Does the FDA approve the use of Buprenorphine for cats?

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration didn’t support Buprenorphine in animals, but earlier this year, the transdermal application of Zorbium® (Buprenorphine) in cats got approval. Earlier before that, FDA also approved injectable Buprenorphine, i.e., Simbadol®, in cats. You need to apply the Zorbium® solution to your Cat’s neck to see its effect, which the Cat will usually show in less than an hour or two. Zorbium® continues to leave its impact on cats for around four days. Due to its prolonged effect, vets use Zorbium® on cats after the surgery to avoid giving painkillers frequently. The FDA still doesn’t approve the use of Buprenorphine in most animals, but veterinarians are still allowed to recommend this drug to those animals in some critical cases.

Posted in: Health Care

About the Author

Daulton Dougan
Daulton Dougan
Daulton Dougan is a behavioral expert and accomplished writer associated with Fast ESA Letter. With a deep understanding of human behavior and mental health, Daulton leverages his expertise to offer personalized support and guidance. Through his insightful writing, he educates and informs individuals about emotional support animal (ESA) benefits. Daulton's compassionate approach and extensive knowledge empower individuals to navigate emotional challenges effectively. With a commitment to improving mental well-being and advocating for ESA accessibility, Daulton's work and writing contribute significantly to the field of behavioral analysis and mental health support.


  1. Deliaglick Man

    I gave my cat too much buprenorphine

    • Tracy Deslaurier

      Don’t wait for any further and take it to the Veterinarian. Your cat can show buprenorphine overdose symptoms like Nausea, Diarrhea, an Increase in heartbeat, etc, which can be harmful. So, it’s best to keep your cat under an expert’s supervision.

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