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Most pet owners know to keep their detergents and household cleaners safely stored out of their pet's reach, but some are not aware of the serious risk human medications pose to their cats. Both over the counter and prescription medications are often to blame in the case of feline intoxications and fatalities. Though these are not the only toxic medications, this is a list of some of the most commonly ingested by cats.
Non-Steroidal Anti-Inflammatory Drugs (NSAIDs): NSAIDs, the most common cause of pet poisoning, are over the counter pain and fever reducers like naproxen and ibprophen found in brands like Aleve and Advil. In even the smallest doses, these medications can cause irreversible damage to your pet.
Acetaminophen: Most commonly found in Tyelnol, acetaminophen causes severe anemia in cats, damaging red blood cells and inhibiting their blood's ability to transport oxygen through their bodies.
Pseudoephedrine: A common ingredient in over the counter decongestants, pseudoephedrine causes elevated heart rates in cats, which results in raised blood pressure and body temperature and can sometimes cause seizures.
Vitamin D Derivatives: Vitamin D analogue supplements (such as Vitamin D3), when ingested by cats, cause spikes in blood calcium levels and subsequent kidney failure. Symptoms (loss of appetite, vomiting, and increased urination and thirst) usually do not appear until 24 hours or more after initial exposure.
Antidepressants: Antidepressant medications cause fatigue and vomiting in cats. Ingestion of some specific antidepressants will lead to serotonin syndrome. Symptoms of this condition include raised body temperature, heart rate, and blood pressure, as well as stress, disorientation, vocalization, and seizures or tremors.
Methylphenidate: Found in medications like Ritalin prescribed to humans for ADHD, methylphenidate acts as a stimulant and causes life-threatening spikes in heart rate, blood pressure, and body temperature. It can also cause seizures.
Anti-Diabetics: When ingested by cats, orally taken diabetes treatments will dangerously drop pets' blood sugar levels. Symptoms of low blood sugar in pets include disorientation and seizures.
Baclofen: Present in drugs used to treat muscle spasms, baclofen can impair a cat's nervous system. Symptoms include disorientation, vocalization, depression, seizures, and coma.
This is only a short list of medications which are toxic to cats. If you suspect your cat has ingested or been exposed to any medications, call your vet at the first sign. Often with cases of animal intoxication, the quicker you make a phone call and get your pet to treatment, the better chance your pet has of surviving. Always be sure to keep medications stored away tightly where your cat's curious paws cannot reach.
|Jennifer Mathes, Ph.D.|