Lactulose for Cats

Lactulose for cats has two primary functions as a veterinary medicine: the first is to help treat cases of constipation by working as a laxative, while the second is to address the more serious liver disorder called hepatic encephalopathy. Whether your cat suffers from one or the other of these two problems, Lactulose can be a great way to help address his health issues. However, because the medicine is designed for and tested on humans exclusively, you'll need to find a veterinarian who is willing to prescribe Lactulose as an extra label drug for your pet.

Lactulose Overview

Lactulose is an example of a special type of laxative formed by a disaccharide, or two-sugar solution. Rather than breaking down as normal in the digestive system, lactulose remains intact as it passes through the stomach and into the large intestine. There, it is broken down gradually by bacteria and results in the stimulation and production of additional intestinal acids. These acids have the secondary effect of also breaking down the stool that is lodged in your pet's intestine, thereby helping to reduce the problems associated with constipation.

The creation of these acids helps to also flush out certain chemicals and toxins, like ammonia, from the blood and the liver. Because the buildup of ammonia and others of these chemicals in your pet's blood is a prime cause of and symptom of conditions like encephalopathy, this can also help to reduce your pet's symptoms of this other condition.

Using Lactulose for Your Pet

Lactulose is provided as a liquid medicine that you'll provide to your pet orally. Because many pets do not like the taste of this medicine, it may be necessary to work with your vet in order to find the best ways of providing the drug to your animal.

The frequency with which you provide a dose of this medicine to your pet, as well as the size of each dose, will depend upon whether you're using lactulose to treat constipation or to treat hepatic encephalopathy. For constipation, a smaller dose is provided 2 or 3 times per day, while for encephalopathy, the dose tends to be a bit larger but given less frequently. The exact size of the dose depends also on your pet's weight and size, as well as any other health conditions that he has.

Side Effects and Risks of Lactulose

As with many other drugs, Lactulose carries certain risks when given to your cat. It may react negatively with other types of laxatives or antibiotics in your pet's system, so caution is advised.

The most common side effects from the use of Lactulose in cats include the following:

  • Abdominal cramping
  • Diarrhea
  • Dehydration
  • Excessive flatulence

Due to the risks of dehydration due to added diarrhea, it's important that your cat have constant access to water while he's taking this medicine. If you notice these or any other potential side effects, take your pet in to the vet immediately.