FDA Warns that a Topical Painkiller is Toxic to Cats

Cat drinking

On April 17, the Food and Drug Administration warned pet owners, pharmacists and vets that a topical painkiller is toxic to felines.  The toxic topical painkiller is said to contain flurbiprofen, a nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drug (NSAID).  The warning came after the FDA received reports that pets that were exposed to topical pain medications that contain “flurbiprofen” are having health issues.  Two cats in one household were reported to become ill after they were exposed to the topical painkiller that their owner used to treat pain in their muscles and joints.  The medication was said to have been applied on the owner’s neck and feet and not directly to animals.  How the felines got exposed to it remains unknown.

Two cats from the same household suffered from kidney failure and recovered with extensive medical care.  Two cats from another household weren’t so lucky and perished even with vet care after developing symptoms and signs that includes vomiting, lethargy, decreased appetite, melena (black, bloody and tarry stools), dilute urine and anemia.  Another cat also died from the second household after the owner stopped using the pain medication.  Vets did necropsies on all the cats that died.  The he vets discovered NSAID toxicity evidence in the felines’ intestines and kidneys.

The recommendations below are issued by the FDA:

Safely store all medications out of pets’ reach.

Safely clean or discard any applicator or cloth that may retain medication.  Also, try to avoid leaving residue of medications on clothing, furniture and carpets. Ask your healthcare provider if the treated area needs to be covered. Contact your vet when your pet shows any signs and symptoms that includes lethargy, vomiting and decreased appetite.

Although the FDA hasn’t received any reports about other animals being becoming ill in connection to the use of the topical painkiller, they may also be susceptible to the dangers of the NSAID toxicity once they are exposed. Products that contain “flurbiprofen” include lidocaine, baclofen, gabapentin and prilocaine.  Individuals who are prescribed with a topical medication that has flurbiprofen in it should use and handle it with care especially if they have pets because even a small amount can really make them ill and even cause their death.  Pharmacists and healthcare providers are also ask to warn their patients about the risk of their pets being exposed to the said topical painkiller.

Image via NCBrian at Flickr.com

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