Treating cancer pain in dogs and cats - Veterinary Medicine
Medicine Center
DVM Veterinary Medicine Featuring Information from:


Treating cancer pain in dogs and cats
No matter the type of cancer, pain is common at various stages, causing not only suffering but also other adverse physiological effects. Make sure you're aware of and are using the best management options—from surgery to radiation to drugs.


Combination therapy and drug interactions

A multimodal approach is best suited for treating and alleviating cancer pain, often combining two or more analgesics for moderate-to-severe, refractory pain. Use caution when treating geriatric patients with a variety of agents, and introduce new drugs one at a time, in a sequential manner.4 When side effects are encountered or if a drug is used at its maximum safe dose without benefit to a patient, its use should be discontinued.4 Carefully evaluate the possibility of pharmacokinetic or pharmacodynamic drug interactions whenever multiple drugs are used concurrently.

Louis-Philippe de Lorimier, DVM
Timothy M. Fan, DVM, DACVIM (internal medicine, oncology)
Department of Veterinary Clinical Medicine
College of Veterinary Medicine
University of Illinois
Urbana, IL 61802


1. Foley KM. Management of cancer pain. In: DeVita VT, Hellman S, Rosenberg SA, eds. Cancer: principles and practice of oncology. 6th ed. Philadelphia, Pa: Lippincott Williams & Wilkins, 2001;2977-3011.

2. Bruera ED, Portenoy RK. Cancer pain: assessment and management. Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press, 2003.

3. Slavin KV, Tesoro EP, Mucksavage JJ. The treatment of cancer pain. Drugs Today 2004;40:235-245.

4. Lussier D, Huskey AG, Portenoy RK. Adjuvant analgesics in cancer pain management. Oncologist 2004;9:571-591.

5. Patt RB, Lang SS. The complete guide to relieving cancer pain and suffering. New York, NY: Oxford University Press, 2004.

6. Collective work. American Cancer Society's guide to pain control: understanding and managing cancer pain. Atlanta, Ga: American Cancer Society Health Promotions, 2004.

7. Fine PG, Miaskowski C, Paice JA. Meeting the challenges in cancer pain management. J Support Oncol 2004;2(6 suppl 2):5-22.

8. Gaynor JS. Pain management for the oncology patient. In: Withrow SJ, MacEwen EG, eds. Small animal clinical oncology. 3rd ed. Philadelphia, Pa: WB Saunders, 2001;219-232.

9. Gaynor JS, Muir WW. Handbook of veterinary pain management. St. Louis, Mo: Mosby, 2002.

10. Kyles AE, Ruslander D. Chronic pain: osteoarthritis and cancer. Semin Vet Med Surg (Small Anim) 1997;12:122-132.

11. Lascelles BD. Relief of chronic cancer pain. In: Dobson J, Lascelles BD, eds. BSAVA manual of oncology. 2nd ed. Cheltenham, UK: BSAVA Publications, 2003;137-151.

12. Lester P, Gaynor JS. Management of cancer pain. Vet Clin North Am Small Anim Pract 2000;30:951-966.

13. O'Brien MG. Cancer pain management: a review of recent considerations and advancements. Vet Cancer Soc Newsletter 1998;22:1-6.

14. Tranquilli WJ, Grimm KA, Lamont LA. Pain management for the small animal practitioner. 2nd ed. Jackson, Wyo: Teton NewMedia, 2004.

15. Liptak JM, Monnet E, Dernell WS, et al. Pulmonary metastatectomy in the management of four dogs with hypertrophic osteopathy. Vet Comp Oncol 2004;2:1-12.


Click here