Walker Street Veterinary Surgery (Fraser Coast Veterinary Services)

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Medical Case

Case of Interest - Ibuprofen toxicity in cats

Maxie, a 2yo male castrated domestic cat, presented to the clinic after his owners came home to discover him playing with a packet of ibuprofen. Young cats are often inquisitive, but unfortunately it can get them into trouble!

Maxie had eaten a 200mg ibuprofen tablet – a normal dose for a human, but unfortunately far too much for a little cat. His owner’s called our after hours veterinarian who advised then to bring Maxie straight to the clinic for examination and treatment.

Ibuprofen is a class of drug called a ‘non-steroidal anti-inflammatory’. They are commonly used in both human and veterinary medicine, but it is important that our animals only receive the veterinary formulation. Ingestion of the human medication can cause severe gastrointestinal ulceration, vomiting and diarrhoea. High doses can cause irreversible kidney failure and can even be fatal. There are often no signs of toxicity initially, but if preventative treatment isn’t started then animals can become very sick within a matter of 24-48 hours. Often, once animals are showing signs of toxicity, treatment outcomes are less successful.

Maxie was immediately started on intravenous fluid therapy to help protect his kidneys from the medication, in addition to gastro-protectant medication. Thankfully, Maxie’s toxicity was caught quickly enough and he didn’t develop any illness. He remained in hospital for 48 hours on intravenous fluids, until the medication had cleared his system. Whilst in hospital his appetite, urine production and demeanour were monitored closely for any changes. Blood tests 48 hours after admission gave his kidneys the all clear.

Maxie was very lucky to have observant owners who obtained quick veterinary treatment. Left untreated, Maxie’s toxicity would have likely been fatal.

Maxie’s story is an important reminder about the dangers human medication posses to our furry friends. Always keep medications out of reach of inquisitive pets and never give your pet any human medication, unless specifically prescribed by a veterinarian.


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