Sunday 19 November 2023

If your cat is really, really anxious going to the vet you can now give them pregabalin in the USA

The FDA has approved pregabalin as an anti-anxiety drug for cats when they go to the veterinarian because, as we know, a trip to the veterinarian is sure to make a cat anxious. And we mustn't forget the cat's owner who is going to be equally anxious or even more so. It's a reason why not enough cats get the opportunity to go to the vet when they need to see a vet. You will see a stark difference between cats and dogs in this respect.

Note: this is a cross-post.

Image: MikeB

The testing of pregabalin called Bonqat in the USA didn't produce stark differences between the drug and a placebo. There was a difference and therefore it does benefit cats who are particularly anxious but the improvements were about 20% on my reading of the facts available to us on the Internet and therefore it begs the question whether alternative methods to reduce anxiety would be preferable particularly as humans are advised to handle this drug with great caution. Why then are we allowed to put it into the mouths of cats?

My overriding feeling is that Bonqat should be used reluctantly to calm down a cat in a pre-vet visit. It'll be a matter of choice whether you think your cat is sufficiently anxious and, in any case, you will need a veterinarian's prescription before you can administer the drug to a cat.

Bonqat is given to cats orally as a single dose of 5 mg/kg (0.1mL/kg) approximately 1.5 hours before the start of the transportation or veterinary visit. It is packaged in 50 mL bottles containing 2 mL of dosing solution with a child resistant closure and that adapter.

Pregabalin is a DEA schedule class V drug which is why it has to be prescribed by a veterinarian. The FDA states the following about the success rate of pregabalin in reducing pre-vet anxiety visit:
A little over half of cats given Bonqat had a good to excellent response during both transportation and the veterinary visit compared to about one-third of cats given placebo. In addition, 83 of 108 (77%) cats given Bonqat showed improvement in levels of fear and anxiety over the course of the two physical examinations, compared to 46 of 101 (46%) cats given placebo.
P.S. please forgive the occasional typo. These articles are written at breakneck speed using Dragon Dictate. I have to prepare them in around 20 mins.

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