Will this drug kill my cat?
September 23, 2008 6:20 PM   Subscribe

Will the drug that my vet prescribed kill my cat? It's unapproved for use in the US.

I have a cat that was prescribed Metacam 1.5 mg/mL oral suspension for post surgery pain after three tooth extractions. I've been reading online that Metacam in oral suspension is not approved for use in cats. I've read a lot of horror stories, and some studies saying it might not be safe for cats, notably in this dosage. Does anyone have any experience with this drug with their cats, or any evidence to support or alleviate these concerns?

There has been no blood work done to determine if there are any preexisting kidney issues, which the manufacturer's website warns against. The cats were adopted a year ago when they were about 6, so there's a fair bit of history unknown, though there have been no visible symptoms of kidney issues apparent.
posted by Braeog to Pets & Animals (11 answers total)
Sounds like a lot of variables.
My 12 year old dog takes it every night in her dinner, hasn't caused her any problems. But I don't have any experience with cats.
One thing : this stuff stinks.
posted by mannequito at 6:39 PM on September 23, 2008

I work at an animal hospital (in administration/coordination, I am not a medical professional) and we prescribe metacam fairly often for cats in pain. It reeks like ferrets and we usually prescribe just a few small oral syringes' worth, but I have not heard of any problems. Didn't realize it was not approved.
posted by juniper at 6:48 PM on September 23, 2008

There are a lot of drugs used in veterinary medicine that have not been approved for use in animals so that is less of an issue. We use Metacam in cats all the time. Metacam can be a problem for any animal that is on it long term and blood work should be done. Your vet didn't do preanesthetic bloodwork? I work in a specialty practice and we do bloodwork on ALL animals going under anesthesia. I know a lot of general practice hospitals don't but they should. The Metacam probably won't be a problem but if it were my cat, I would get the bloodwork done.
posted by little miss s at 7:33 PM on September 23, 2008

I don't have any answer for you, but our cat goes to a cat-only vet and just got the same prescription for the same circumstances. He was rapidly tapered off: 5 drops one day, 3 the next, and so on.
posted by redfoxtail at 8:38 PM on September 23, 2008

You are right, oral Metacam is a known cause for kidney failure in felines. There are alternatives to this drug, so you can definitely talk to your vet and figure out plan B.

After loosing a cat to CRF (chronical renal failure), I can tell you I'd NEVER give a cat of mine oral Metacam or NSAID, unless in case of extreme necessity - that is, life and death.
posted by neblina_matinal at 2:19 AM on September 24, 2008

I used to work in a feline only practice and we regularly dispensed oral Metacam. It's not something they should be on long term without regular blood work though.
posted by mabelcolby at 3:01 AM on September 24, 2008

One of my cats had oral Metacam after tooth extractions with no problems. My understanding is that it's pretty common and most likely won't hurt your cat - but of course, you never know what any particular cat is going to have a bad reaction to. So it's always a bit of a crapshoot, and you might want to err on the side of starting with a safer drug.

However, another cat had tooth extractions more recently, and was given a stick-on patch on his side, rather than an oral medication. Totally apart from any safety issues, that was awesome just because trying to get a syringe into the painful mouth of a cat who's just had a bunch of his teeth yanked out is not fun at all. Unfortunately I don't remember the name of the medication dispensed via patch, but I will definitely be asking for my cat painkillers in that form from now on for any oral surgeries. Might be worth asking about if there's oral surgery to be done on the cats in the future.
posted by Stacey at 4:21 AM on September 24, 2008

It is a very common off-label use for this drug. For short-term use, it's usually just fine. We use it all the time in cats where I work. It's an NSAID and works very well. THAT SAID: just Metacam is not normally adequate pain control for post-tooth-extraction pain, we normally prescribe Metacam (mainly for the anti inflammatory properties) AND an actual analgesic together for tooth extractions (normally buprenorphine with cats).
posted by biscotti at 6:05 AM on September 24, 2008

Stacey, the patch was most likely fentanyl.
posted by little miss s at 6:41 AM on September 24, 2008

IANAV and others know much more about this topic than I do, but my anecdote is that it was given to my cat as a painkiller when he was seriously ill with a respiratory illness. Like your cat, mine is 6+ and I had no idea of his medical history as I adopted him from a shelter. He made a complete recovery and has suffered no (apparent) ill effects. That said, it was probably a last resort, as it was touch and go for a while as to whether he would survive.

The package said that the medicine was for dogs, so I did a bit of online research to make sure that there hadn't been a mix-up at the vet, and discovered that it wasn't approved for cats.

He has lived on to shed happily all over my couch ever since :-) I wish your cat a speedy recovery.
posted by different at 2:27 PM on September 24, 2008

Thanks little miss s - now that I see the name, I'm sure that was it. That seemed to work really well, even though I'm sure he was in a lot of pain, having lost several teeth at once.
posted by Stacey at 2:31 PM on September 24, 2008

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