Advil Poisoning in Cats

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Ibuprofen Toxicity in Cats

Ibuprofen is a non-steroidal anti-inflammatory medication commonly used in humans as a pain reliever and to reduce fever. It is available in many over-the-counter formulations (Advil, Motrin, Midol) as well as in prescription strength medications. Though relatively safe for people, ibuprofen can be toxic for cats and has a relatively narrow margin of safety, meaning that it is safe for cats only within a very narrow dosage range.

Ibuprofen toxicity can occur in both dogs and cats. If you would like to learn more about how it affects dogs, please visit this page in the petMD health library.

Symptoms

Symptoms of ibuprofen poisoning in cats may include:

  • Vomiting
  • Diarrhea
  • Bloody feces
  • Blood in vomit
  • Nausea
  • Lack of appetite
  • Weight loss
  • Gastric (stomach) ulcers and perforation
  • Increased thirst
  • Increased urination
  • Decreased or lack of urine
  • Seizures
  • Incoordination
  • Coma
  • Death

Causes

Ultimately the cause of poisoning is the ingestion of Advil or other medications containing ibuprofen. However, although most cases of ibuprofen ingestion in cats is accidental, there are some instances in which pet owners administer ibuprofen-containing medications to their cat believing them to be safe.

Ibuprofen inhibits COX enzymes which normally have a protective effect on the mucosal barrier of the gastrointestinal tract, keep blood flowing normally to the kidneys, and help regulate platelet function. When COX enzymes are inhibited, the mucosal lining of the gastrointestinal tract becomes damaged, causing symptoms such as vomiting, nausea, diarrhea, intestinal upset and causing gastric ulcers to form. Reduced blood flow to the kidneys results in kidney damage. Reduced platelet aggregation leads to an increased tendency to bleed abnormally.

Diagnosis

After asking you questions regarding the cat's medical history, your veterinarian will perform blood and urine test results in order to assess possible kidney compromise and the appearance of gastrointestinal, renal and neurological signs associated with ibuprofen poisoning in cats.

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