Cat Skin Irritation Treatment with Chlorpheniramine

Cat skin irritation can result from many different conditions or diseases, and produce many different types of symptoms. Cat skin irritation can be caused by allergens, fleas, mites, lice or dermatitis. Symptoms can be accompanied by obsessive itching, licking, head shaking, bumps, crusts and inflammation. Antihistamines are usually given for the treatment of most types of cat skin irritation.

Treatment with Chlorpheniramine

Chlorpheniramine is a mild antihistamine which is popularly used for the treatment of cat skin irritation, including miliary dermatitis. This drug is available in the form of tablets, capsules and liquid. Aside from its effectiveness and lack of serious side effects, some of the reasons for chlorpheniramine's popularity are that it is readily available, can be purchased over the counter, and is relatively inexpensive. The FDA has not approved this drug for use in veterinary medicine, however it is considered off-label, meaning its use is a commonly accepted practice to recommend this drug for use in cats, due to the positive results. Recommended dosage for cats with skin irritation is 1 to 2 mg every 8 to 12 hours.

Drowsiness As a Side Effect

Besides being highly effective for treating cat skin irritation, chlorpheniramine is popularly used because of its low instance of dangerous side effects. The main side effect of chlorpheniramine is drowsiness. Ironically, this drug so effectively produces drowsiness that it is often used to treat motion sickness as well. Some believe this is a main reason for its effectiveness with cat skin irritation. The theory is that if the cat is sleeping, it won't be scratching, which allows for healing of the skin. Keep in mind however, that chlorpheniramine is an antihistamine, designed to block the chemicals causing the reaction to allergens. There is some concern over the severity of drowsiness which may occur. Typical dosages for your cat may be lowered if drowsiness becomes cause for alarm.

Other Possible Side Effects

While uncommon, other side effects are possible when treating cat skin irritation with chlorpheniramine. Cats may experience vomiting, loss of appetite, diarrhea, dry mouth or urinary retention.

Do Not Combine Supplements

As a rule, omega-3 fatty acid supplements will be given alongside antihistamines to enhance the effectiveness of fighting infection. This combination is thought to synergize, creating a more effective method of treatment for allergies and cat skin irritation. The opposite is recommended with chlorpheniramine, however. Do not use chlorpheniramine in conjunction with other antihistamines, tranquilizers or pain relief medications. Dangerous over-sedation and other serious problems can occur.

Getting Around the Bitter Taste

Chlorpheniramine has a very bitter taste. Cats have been reported to refuse taking it after the first few administrations. If you are using chlorpheniramine in liquid form, you may consider switching to pill form, or alternating different types of antihistamine treatments. If using chlorpheniramine in pill form, note that it too, has a bitter taste. Cat pill pockets can be purchased to remedy this situation. Pill pockets are a tasty and nutritious treat with a pocket specially designed for hiding a pill.