An answer from an experienced vet
"Tramadol works as a painkiller in two ways. First on the opioid system (i.e. similar to morphine) and secondly on the serotonin system. Both inhibit the firing of “pain nerves”. The effect on the opioid system occurs immediately ie one dose could have an effect but in contrast the effect of the serotonin system requires more sustained therapy.
Therefore one could make the argument that tramadol can be used as a single dose or few days therapy as a “top up” when there is break-through pain (I commonly use it for this) or continuously for more sustained relief. It is typically combined with other drugs although it doesn’t have to be.
However the effectiveness of tramadol may depend on the individual and there has been a report which has suggested that the rapid opioid effect may not be realised in some dogs. Therefore if being used as single doses for break-through pain then it needs to be established (by trial) in each individual that this is the right drug for them.
Hope that helps!
Dr. Clare Rusbridge BVMS DipECVN PhD MRCVS
Chief of Neurology Fitzpatrick Referrals
Reader in Veterinary Neurology University of Surrey"
Cavaliers......Faith, The Ginger Tank and Woody.
Japanese Chins.... Dandy, Benny, Bridgette and Hana.
Remembered with love......... Tommy Tuppence and Fonzi