Treating Cat Fluid Retention With Furosemide

There are many different causes of cat fluid retention. Some are serious but the majority of underlying conditions are treatable if they are dealt with quickly. If you think your cat has fluid retention, it is important it see a vet immediately. If you have already seen a vet, they may have prescribed Furosemide, which eases fluid retention.

What Causes Cat Fluid Retention?

There are many different potential causes behind feline fluid retention. They range from treatable to life-threatening:

  • Feline Infectious Peritonitis (FIP) - a rare, but incurable disease
  • Internal bleeding or injury
  • Cancer
  • Heart disease
  • Kidney disease
  • Liver disease

Although these problems are serious, most of them are treatable if quick action is taken. Cats are vocal creatures, but it is your responsibility to check your pet for signs of illness.

What Are the Symptoms of Cat Fluid Retention?

The following are all potential symptoms of fluid retention. However, they are not unique to cat fluid retention and may also be an indication of another underlying condition.

  • Swollen legs, face or stomach
  • A ‘squishy' feeling when you stroke your cat
  • Loss of appetite
  • Purring with a rattle
  • Laboured breathing
  • A reluctance to lie down
  • Coughing
  • Very rapid weight gain
  • Nasal discharge

What Is Furosemide?

Furosemide is a drug that is prescribed by vets to ease fluid retention. It is a diuretic and can be used by both cats and dogs. It prevents the absorption of salt and fluid in the kidney tubes, which will cause your cat to urinate more. Furosemide works effectively on a sick cat and is available in tablet form.

What Are the Potential Side Effects of Furosemide?

Like most medications, Furosemide does have possible side effects, so if your cat has been prescribed this drug it is important to keep a close eye on them. Potential side effects include:

  • Heightened skin sensitivity to sunlight
  • Dehydration
  • Adverse reaction to other medications

If your cat has been prescribed Furosemide, you must ensure they have access to a good supply of water. Dehydration is not just caused by lack of fluids, but also a drop in the number of electrolytes in the body. Allergic reactions can sometimes occur and are usually characterised by swelling in the cat's lips, tongue, face or throat. Other side effects are rare but may occur and these include:

  • Vomiting
  • Dizziness
  • Lack of appetite
  • Diarrhoea or constipation

If these symptoms occur, stop giving your cat Furosemide and contact your vet immediately.

When Should Your Cat Not Take Furosemide?

Although you will have discussed your cat's symptoms with a vet, there are a few circumstances in which Furosemide should either not be taken or used with caution.

If your cat is not urinating at all, then the drug should not be administered. You should also inform your vet if your cat has liver or kidney disease or diabetes. It is also not suitable for pregnant or nursing cats.