Will sleeping pills kill my cat
Paracetamol is toxic to cats - never give your cat your own medication !!
Paracetamol causes poisoning in cats
Paracetamol are among the most widely used pain relievers in humans, which can be obtained without a prescription and - as a rule - are well tolerated by bipeds. Unfortunately, even one tablet with the active ingredient paracetamol can be fatal for a cat in the worst case. This also applies to other drugs. Therefore, before we go into detail here, the following rule should apply first of all: Please do not use any drugs that are designed for humans on your pets (whether dogs or cats), as these are different in most cases on tablets and Drops intended for human consumption react. There is an exception only after a prescription by a veterinarian.
Paracetamol is available in different formulations: As tablets and drops and with different active ingredient concentrations; for adults and children. It is important that ALL acetaminophen supplements are toxic to cats.
How does acetaminophen poisoning occur in a cat?
Sadly, most poisoning is due to owners using a tiny bit of paracetamol because they mean it well and want to relieve their loved ones of pain. Occasionally, however, curious cats nibble on freely accessible tablets. Therefore: Keep all medicines in the household not only out of the reach of children, but also out of the reach of all four-legged friends.
Why is paracetamol toxic to cats?
Cats are very sensitive to paracetamol administration, much more sensitive than dogs or humans. Why is that? In all animals and humans, the active ingredient paracetamol is metabolized, i.e. processed, in the liver. However, in contrast to humans and dogs, this leads to a highly toxic degradation product (glutathione) in cats. This substance causes severe liver damage and a reduction in oxygen binding in the individual red blood cells.
What are the symptoms or signs of acetaminophen poisoning in cats?
Affected cats appear seriously ill, the mucous membranes take on a bluish-pale color, the heart rate increases and breathing becomes difficult. The animals are noticeably calm and uninterested and can develop so-called "edema", i.e. swellings, on their paws and face. Without treatment, the disease progresses and the animals show vomiting and dark brown urine. In addition, the skins and mucous membranes can also develop a yellow color ("jaundice"). Unfortunately, without prompt and intensive treatment by a veterinarian, the poisoning quickly leads to the death of the patient.
How can affected cats be treated?
It is important that animals are presented to a veterinarian immediately and that they give them as much information as possible: WHAT medication did the cat swallow, WHEN and HOW MUCH? An individual treatment strategy is developed accordingly. If in doubt, your vet can also contact the poison control center. If you have just given the medication shortly before, or if the cat has just eaten the tablet shortly before, the first step can be to make the animal vomit, or to try a treatment with activated charcoal to absorb the active ingredient from the intestine to stop.
Then an attempt must be made to prevent the body from converting the drug into the toxic substance in the liver. Under certain circumstances, a so-called "antidote" can be used for this. This drug is not always available. For cats that have ingested paracetamol, the counteractive ingredient is called acetylcysteine and can usually be ordered from the pharmacy. In addition, the cats should be supplied with oxygen, intravenous fluids and, if necessary, blood transfusions.
What is the prognosis for a cat with symptoms of intoxication?
The prognosis is very much dependent on how quickly owners and vets react, i.e. the faster the patient is presented and the faster they receive the antidote, the more favorable the prognosis. The more information you can give the vet, the better. The treatment is usually intensive and extensive, and therefore usually very cost-intensive. As soon as several hours have passed after taking the drug, the prognosis can unfortunately be assumed to be unfavorable. So it is unfortunately possible that such a patient will not survive the poisoning.
- NEVER give your cat paracetamol or other pain relievers that are actually made for humans (there may be exceptions to this if a specialist veterinarian expressly prescribes a drug!).
- Never leave medication open; these always belong in a locked, safe place!
- If your cat has been given medication or has eaten, contact the nearest vet on duty IMMEDIATELY !! If anything is unclear, they can then contact a poison control center together.
- It is important to know: WHAT medication did the cat swallow, WHEN and HOW MUCH?
What are the alternatives to treating pain in cats?
There are some pain medications that are approved and available for cats. These pain relievers or anti-inflammatories must always be prescribed by a veterinarian. If you are concerned that your cat is sick or in pain, please contact a veterinary practice and NEVER give medication that is intended for humans or other animals without consultation! Cats are also very special in this regard!
More about pain treatment in cats here.
Image: German group cat medicine
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