How to give interferon to a cat?
October 11, 2005 5:51 AM   Subscribe

Can I mix interferon with food to dose my cat? She's been diagnosed with stomatitis, a viral mouth infection, so she'll be taking interferon for at least a few months. I'm getting conflicting information from the two vets who have seen her about how to administer it.

I've talked to two vets over the past month while getting her problem diagnosed and treated. Both agree that interferon is the best treatment for her right now, but one says it's fine to mix with food and the other says that food will reduce the effectiveness of the medication. The prescription didn't come with any sort of warning label that might indicate the answer one way or another. My attempts to Google the information have come up about 50/50 on both sides of the issue.

I'd really like to be able to mix it with food, since medicating this particular cat via syringe usually results in the loss of blood and possibly a limb or two. But if it's going to improve effectiveness, I will suck it up, wrap her up in a towel, and risk losing my arms. So does anyone have any experience with cats and interferon, or a good reliable information source that I missed while Googling? Or is this just really one of those situations where different vets are going to say different things and there's no definitive right answer?
posted by Stacey to Pets & Animals (7 answers total)
I know nothing about interferon, but perhaps a Cat Sack would make administering the medication easier? If you have to give it to her for several months, it's probably worth the small investment.
posted by junkbox at 6:24 AM on October 11, 2005

Is there a schedule for expected improvement? My approach would be to try the food first, as it's less traumatic for everyone. Also, I would ask the first vet about the information you've found about reduced effectiveness, if you haven't already. They may know about the issue, and have decided that mixing with food was still fine for your cat.
posted by frykitty at 7:43 AM on October 11, 2005

Perhaps there is a middle ground? Maybe just a small snack with the meds inside? Maybe the second vet was concerned that the meds would be given at meal times and that the larger amount of food would indeed slow the uptake?
posted by Pollomacho at 8:01 AM on October 11, 2005

In humans, interferon beta 1a cannot be administered by mouth. The molecule is too big and gets borked by the digestive process.

I have no idea if this applies to felines or if the fact that it's feline interferon omega changes that situation.
posted by tomierna at 9:00 AM on October 11, 2005

We give interferon to our dog and our instructions are to put it on her gums and keep her from eating or drinking for 15 minutes afterwards.
posted by lobakgo at 9:44 AM on October 11, 2005

Not an answer to the question really, but a suggestion about how to administer via syringe. When I had to administer to my (now sadly gone) old guy, I found it easiest to kneel behind him, tilt up his head with my left hand, slip the syringe (quickly) in the corner of his mouth back behind his teeth with my right hand, and depress the plunger. This worked much better for both of us than trying to hold him and force his mouth open to get it down his throat.
posted by justjen at 10:24 AM on October 11, 2005

We did the same, justjen, but it still involved a towel and some blood loss. But, twice-a-day insulin injections? Nooo problem.
posted by clh at 1:07 PM on October 11, 2005

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