Amitriptyline Use In Cats

Veterinarians often prescribe cats amitriptyline in order to reduce anxiety and depression in pets. Unlike feline antibiotics and other cat pills that are designed to address a disease that may have cat flu symptoms or other negative physical features, amitriptyline is most effective at adjusting behavioral issues in pets. Many pet owners choose to use oral or topical amitriptyline over giving their cat injections or other drugs or behavioral treatments. Still, amitriptyline is a dangerous drug that can cause as many problems as it helps to remedy, and it is crucial that you use it with the helpful guidance of a veterinarian.

Amitriptyline Overview

Amitriptyline is an anti-anxiety medication that falls into the category of drugs classified as tricyclic antidepressants. It functions by increasing the levels of serotonin in your pet's body. Additionally, amitriptyline is an antihistamine that may also have effects on your pet's allergies and breathing. Due to its dramatic effects on animal personality and behavior, however, this is not the primary function of the drug. Rather, if separation anxiety and other types of trauma have left your cat ill, medicine like amitriptyline can help to reduce his mental anguish.

Prescription Amitriptyline

Amitriptyline is available through a veterinary prescription only. You will not be able to provide it to your pet without first taking him to a veterinarian for an evaluation. If you notice any signs of anxiety or depression, including mood swings, frightened or skittish behavior, spraying indoors and refusal to eat or drink, take your pet to the veterinarian for a physical and mental evaluation.

Frequently, symptoms that may appear to indicate depression or anxiety can also be linked with other physical ailments. In these cases, your vet can help to advise you how best to address your pet's symptoms and to eliminate the condition at its source. If the symptoms do appear to be linked with depression, anxiety or some other emotional trauma, however, your vet may choose to prescribe a treatment regimen of amitriptyline.

Administering Amitriptyline

Amitriptyline is bitter tasting, so many cats refuse to eat pills of this drug. Rather, you may find that the topical treatment is easier to use. The exact dosage depends upon your cat's condition, his previous medical and medicinal history, and his weight and size. It is important to follow your vet's dosage instructions carefully, as overdoses of amitriptyline can be harmful to your pet's health.

Side Effects of Amitriptyline

One of the most dangerous elements of amitriptyline in veterinary use is that it is highly reactive to certain medications that may already be present in your cat's system. If your pet has taken any other drugs or supplements in the past few weeks, make sure that you let your veterinarian know of this before beginning the treatment program.

Otherwise, there are a variety of side effects associated with amitriptyline. These include:

  • Dry mouth or excess salivation
  • Lethargy
  • Bruises
  • Change in appetite and weight
  • Constipation
  • Swelling or puffiness
  • Abnormal heart rhythms
  • Seizures
  • Convulsions
  • Paralysis

While most of the side effects associated with this drug are temporary, others may prove to be lasting or even fatal. If you choose to treat your pet with amitriptyline, keep a close eye on him and alert your vet immediately if you notice any unusual side effects.