How Long Does Prozac Take to Work in Cats?

Cats are incredibly complicated creatures that can be friendly and outgoing, then act shy and reserved the next. When your cat is excessively moody or exhibits signs of extreme stress or depression, the best thing to do is to consult a qualified pet health expert. This can help you to discover what’s going on. Behavioral disorders in cats are more widespread than many pet owners know. There is an increasing number of cats put on Prozac by their health care providers. For those with extreme cases, owners frequently ask the question, how long does Prozac take to work in cats?

What is Prozac?

Mar Vista Animal Medical Center explains that Prozac is the brand name for the anti-depressant drug Fluoxetine. It’s commonly used in humans to treat depression. The most common use in cats is for the treatment of feline urine marking.

How effective is Prozac in preventing urine marking and how long does it take to work?

Studies have shown that this drug is effective with a 90 percent efficacy rate for eliminating the marking behavior in cats. Most cats that stayed on the medication stopped marking their territory. When the medication is stopped, most cats resume the marking, but a return to the medication is just as effective the second time around. It takes a minimum of 8 weeks on Prozac before behaviors are eliminated. Approximately ten percent of cats on the drug continue marking behaviors.

What other conditions are Prozac used for in cats?

The Happy Cat Site points out it is also prescribed by veterinarians for a variety of other disorders. It is the standard treatment use for felines experiencing the symptoms of anxiety disorders along with other undesirable behaviors. Cats that show aggression may benefit from taking Prozac and become calmer and less aggressive. It can also lower your cat’s stress levels. It’s been discovered that many cats begin marking when they are under an excessive amount of emotional or physical stress.

What are the potential side effects?

Just as humans may experience side effects from taking anti-depressant drugs, so can cats. A common condition is for a box-trained cat to begin having accidents in their toileting behaviors. The vet can alter the dosages and in most cases, this side effect will go away.

How is Prozac administered to cats?

Getting your cat to swallow a pill every day can be nearly impossible. In veterinary medicine, Prozac is dispensed in a variety of different forms. The pills are still prescribed, but the drug is also available in transdermal formulations that are applied to the skin, as well as liquid dosages. The cream form is not as highly recommended because the full dosage is not as well-absorbed into the bloodstream. Since Prozac can cause digestive issues, it is recommended that the medication be given with food, to help prevent these uncomfortable side effects.

What is the dosage?

The dosage of Prozac that is prescribed for your cat will vary depending on the condition that is being treated. In most cases, the medication is given in a daily dose, once every 24 hours. The cat is monitored to determine the effectiveness of the drug at this dosage. If it is ineffective or causes side effects, the dosage may be altered.

There is no standard dosage established for cats. Vets determine the dosage on a case by case basis. If a dose is missed, it should be given when you realize that it is late. If the time is close to the next scheduled dosage, skip the previous dose because it is possible to overdose your cat on this drug. Under no circumstances should you give your cat a double dose of Prozac on the same day, unless recommended by his health care provider.

VCA Hospitals adds that other common side effects associated with Prozac for cats are changes in appetite and sleepiness. Some cats may experience an adverse reaction to the drug. In rare but more serious cases, it can cause changes in toileting behavior, and sleep patterns, anxiety, irritability, aggression, seizures, diarrhea, vomiting, weight loss, incoordination, panting, restlessness, hypersalivation, whining or crying, or panting.

When a cat experiences severe reactions, the medication is discontinued. It can take a few days for the drug to stop working but several days to clear the system if the cat has kidney or liver disease.

There is always that chance that your pet could have an allergy to Prozac. Also, Prozac is not recommended for pets under than age of 6 months, or if your pet is extremely aggressive. It is also prescribed with caution for pets with liver disease, pregnancy, lactating pets, or those with diabetes Mellitus. It is not recommended for pets that have had seizures in the past or currently.

Other tips for Prozac for cats

Animal health care providers further warn that Prozac should not be given in conjunction with flea or tick collars. These two treatment types can cause serious side effects when combined. Prozac should not be administered with aged cheeses, nor should it be consumed on an empty stomach. How much time does it take for Prozac to work? This depends on the condition for which the Prozac is prescribed. It may take a few weeks to 8 weeks before the full benefits of the drug are realized. This drug should not be discontinued abruptly. A weaning-off process is necessary.

Final thoughts

Prozac is a standard treatment for cats who exhibit symptoms of stress that result in undesired behaviors. It is an effective treatment for feline urine marking, anxiety disorders, stress, and other behavioral conditions. Great care should be given when administering this drug to your cat, and you should follow the advice of your cat’s health care provider. If your cat’s symptoms become worse, or if he shows any new behaviors or signs of an adverse reaction, call your veterinarian immediately. Prozac can take up to 8 weeks to realize its full potential for cats that mark their territory with urine.

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