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Sodium urate (SU) synovitis was evaluated as a model for feline arthritic pain using a placebo- and positive-controlled (meloxicam) randomized blinded controlled single crossover design. Monosodium urate crystals [20 mg (1 mL) rod-shaped] were injected into alternate stifles of trained anesthetized cats (n = 3) with a 28 day washout.

During the first trial phase, two cats received meloxicam (0.1 mg/kg, PO), a nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drug (NSAID), for three days before and on the day of SU injection; the third cat received placebo. Treatments and stifles were switched for the second trial. Total force, contact pressure and area of the fore and hind limbs were measured using a pressure mat one day and 0.5 h before, and 2, 4, 6, 8, 10, 24, and 30 h post-SU injection. Skin temperature, joint circumference, analgesia, lameness, and visual analogue scale (VAS) pain scores, were measured at the same times. Comparisons were made for each time and for areas under the curve (AUC) using original and change from baseline; P < 0.05 was significant. Significant differences in force mat data and subjective data were found for the hind limb data (total force and total contact pressure at 6, 10, and 30 h; analgesia and VAS for pain at 4 h; lameness at 10, 24, and 30 h) and for AUC0[RIGHTWARDS ARROW]24h and AUC0[RIGHTWARDS ARROW]30h (total force, total contact pressure, and mean lameness score) and for differences from BL AUC0[RIGHTWARDS ARROW]10h (total contact area) and AUC0[RIGHTWARDS ARROW]24h (total contact area and mean lameness score) and AUC0[RIGHTWARDS ARROW]30h (total force, total contact area, and mean lameness). No cats required rescue analgesia.

Injection of 1 mL of monosodium urate into the stifle of a cat causes moderate transitory pain and was suitable for assessing analgesic efficacy of an NSAID with a pressure mat and subjective criteria.