Two weeks ago we wrote a story about alternatives to pilling our cats. If you missed that article, here is it is – Non-pill medication for cats from Koshland Pharm, the compounding pharmacy we endorse.
Our contributor, Newton, is a very smart cat and always has something to say. This is a topic near and dear to his kitty-heart! Here’s what Newton has to say about medication.
Newton’s Purr-spective – Medications
Let’s start this column with a quick survey for you cats. Here’s the situation. You go to the vet and the doctor prescribes medication. Choose from the following:
A. a pill
B. a capsule
C. a liquid
D. an injection
E. something else please!!!
I know you all skipped to E, and I don’t blame you. In fact, I’m a huge fan of “something else” – compounding pharmacies that make medicine easier to take. I know I look very cool, but I do stress out when it comes to pills. Cat Faeries recently posted an excellent article which includes the benefits of compounded medication plus a guide to choosing the right compounding pharmacy. http://www.catfaeries.com/blog/non-pill-medication-for-cats-from-koshland-pharm-the-compounding-pharmacy-we-endorse/
Although the list of available medications is growing, not all prescriptions can, or should be compounded. http://www.catfaeries.com/images/newsletter/2014-11-18/Veterinary-Transdermal-Medications-IJPC.pdf
I can testify that my flavored medication is quite tasty. But there are still those of us who are, and will remain, Finicky Felines. This group will likely face the first 4 options.
A. There are many jokes about “how to pill a cat” (usually pages long), but it is truly not a laughing matter. No matter what technique a pet parent uses there is one simple rule. The key to getting the pill into the cat is getting it on the back of the tongue so Kitty swallows, rather than spitting it out. Some people find that a “pill popper” is helpful, especially if they have large fingers. A subsequent dropper of water (plastic only!) will prevent the dry pill from getting stuck. Wrapping Kitty in a towel (aka the kitty burrito) can be calming and reduce injuries.
B. If a medication is particularly bad tasting it may come in a capsule. Here correct positioning on the tongue is even more important than with a pill. Muffin, a friend of mine, accidentally bit into a gelatin capsule of bitter medicine. To make matters worse, it got stuck on her tooth! Needless to say, this was a most unpleasant experience for all.
C. After a bad experience cats demonstrate that they have jaws of steel which will open for nothing. Pet parents may then choose liquid medication. The important requirement is to get the dropper inside the cat’s cheek and administer slowly enough to give Kitty time to swallow. However, can someone please tell me who decided cats are partial to banana or bubblegum flavored antibiotics? My older brother, Indiana Jones, would gag just at the sight of the bottle! Right now I only know of one common cat friendly antibiotic liquid available directly from your veterinarian.
D. There is one injectable antibiotic popular for hard to medicate cats. OK, it involves a small needle – BUT – the shot lasts a full 2 weeks. It isn’t safe for everyone. The manufacturer cautions against use in patients with allergies to penicillins or cephalosporins. https://www.zoetisus.com/products/convenia/pages/convenia.aspx However, clinical trials documented the safety of Convenia in the general cat population. https://www.zoetisus.com/products/convenia/documents/convenia_pi.pdf Any drug has the possibility of causing adverse effects. Once the shot is given you can’t “take it back”. so this method should not be used without careful evaluation of alternatives.
What you choose will depend on availability and on the dosing frequency required. For example, deworming medication may be given only once (with a followup dose in 7-10 days), while antibiotics generally require a full 10-14 day regime. A single dose may be relatively easy to administer. But even a compliant cat may become weary after a week of twice a day medication. Life saving medication for chronic diseases (e.g. hyperthyroidism) involves other considerations. Transdermal methimazole for hyperthyroid cats is often the preferred treatment option.
Remember, the most important thing is your cat’s health. Work with your veterinarian to find the best method available for making sure Kitty gets the full benefit of prescribed medication.