Illustrated Articles

Cats + Medications

  • Acepromazine is a sedative/tranquilizer used primarily in cats and dogs as a pre-medication for anesthesia or for chemical restraint. It is given by injection in the clinic or by mouth in the form of a tablet. The most common side effect is low blood pressure. Acepromazine should not be used in conjunction with certain toxicities, or in pets with heart disease, low blood pressure. It should be used cautiously in pets with mild liver or heart disease, clotting problems, or in pregnant, debilitated, or young animals. If a negative reaction occurs, call your veterinary office.

  • Acetazolamide is a diuretic used off label and given by mouth to treat glaucoma or alkalosis. The most common side effect is stomach upset, but other side effects of the central nervous system, blood, kidneys, electrolytes, blood sugar levels, liver, or skin are possible. Do not use this medication in pets with liver or kidney disease, or low sodium or potassium blood levels. Use with caution in pets with acidosis, diabetes, pregnancy or lactation. If a negative reaction occurs, please call your veterinary office.

  • Acetylcysteine is given by mouth, injection, or topically and is used on and off label to treat toxicities or to break up mucus. It is usually a prescription, but some forms may be found over the counter. Give as directed by your veterinarian. The most common side effect is an upset stomach. Do not use in pets that are allergic to it. If a negative reaction occurs, please call your veterinary office.

  • Albuterol sulfate is a bronchodilator, used off label, to treat asthma and cough related to bronchoconstriction. It is administered as an inhalant in cats and by mouth, as a tablet, in dogs. The most common side effects include nervousness, shaking, fast heartbeat, and dizziness. Use with caution in pets with diabetes, hyperthyroidism, high blood pressure, seizures, heart disease, abnormal heart rhythms, or pregnancy. If a negative reaction occurs, call your veterinary office.

  • Allopurinol (brand names Lopurin┬«, Zyloprim┬«) is a drug used to prevent the recurrence of uric acid and calcium oxalate uroliths (stones) in dogs. This medication works by decreasing the production of uric acid in the body. It is also used in the treatment of leishmaniasis in dogs and cats and is usually combined with other drugs. Be sure to tell your veterinarian about any medications (including vitamins, supplements, or herbal therapies) that your pet is taking.

  • Alprazolam is a medication given by mouth as a tablet or liquid used off label in cats and dogs to treat anxiety and phobias. Common side effects include sedation, increased appetite, or uncoordinated walking. This medication should not be used in pets with a paradoxical reaction and should be used with caution in debilitated, geriatric, pregnant, lactating pets, or in pets with liver or kidney disease, or glaucoma. If a negative reaction occurs, please call your veterinary office.

  • Aluminum hydroxide is commonly used off label to treat high phosphate levels in pets with kidney disease. It is given by mouth, with meals, in the form of a liquid gel, powder, or a compounded capsule. The most common side effect is constipation, and therefore should be used in caution with pets with a gastrointestinal obstruction or pets prone to constipation. If a negative reaction occurs, please call your veterinary office.

  • Amantadine is an antiviral medication given by mouth in the form of a tablet, capsule, or liquid, that is mainly used off label for its pain control effects in pets. Common side effects include agitation and gastrointestinal effects. It should not be used in pets that are allergic to it, or that have untreated glaucoma. It should be used with caution in pets with liver, kidney, or heart disease, or in pets with eczema or seizures. If a negative reaction occurs, please call your veterinary office.

  • Amitraz is a topical solution in the form of a medicated dip, spot-on treatment, or collar used to treat demodectic mange or for the prevention of flea and tick infestations. Common side effects include sedation, incoordination while walking, slow heart rate, gastrointestinal effects, skin irritation, and a temporary high blood sugar. This medication is contraindicated in very young, and used with caution in old, debilitated, diabetic, or small-breeds. While animals may exhibit signs of sedation, contact your veterinary office if your pet cannot be aroused from sleep or if the sedation lasts for more than 72 hours. Amitraz is toxic if swallowed, especially in the form of a collar, so contact your veterinary office immediately if this occurs. If they are not available, follow their directions in contacting an emergency facility.

  • Amitriptyline is used off label and given by mouth to treat behavioral and pain disorders in dogs, cats, and occasionally birds. Common side effects include sedation, dry mouth, constipation, and urinary retention. This medication should not be used in pets sensitive to TCAs, seizures, or pets currently using MOIs or flea collars. If a negative reaction occurs, please call your veterinary office.