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Acetaminophen poisoning in cats: symptoms, diagnosis and treatment



Acetaminophen poisoning in cats: symptoms, diagnosis and treatment

Acetaminophen poisoning in cats: symptoms, diagnosis and treatment – Paracetamol poisoning in the cat is an emergency, we see the cause, symptoms and treatment to save the feline.

The biggest mistake that can be made is paracetamol poisoning in cats. (Photo Pixabay)

Despite this, the cat is famous for its ability to take care of its hygiene and to self-cure itself if it feels bad, our love for our four-legged friend makes us make mistakes often also very serious towards our animal.

Quite wrongly, some people think they can treat their cat on their own without consulting the vet. Self-medication is a bad habit that we use to do on ourselves and on our animal friends.

The biggest mistake that can be made is paracetamol poisoning in cats. We see in the next paragraphs what the causes, symptoms, treatment and prognosis of this bad situation for the cat.

Is Paracetamol for the Cat Correct?

cure cat medicine
The dangerous human drugs for the cat (Photo iStock)

Paracetamol is found in many forms and can harm our pets. This includes liquid formulas for children, tablets and powders in sachets. This drug, which is easily obtained without a prescription, is generally used to relieve pain.

Paracetamol is the most commonly prescribed drug in humans. It is present in almost all homes and is widespread and therefore also widely used by men to combat pain or fever. But do you know that this drug is highly toxic to the cat? Paracetamol poisoning in cats causes cat death with just one tablet in some cases.

Remember never to give medicines for dogs or cats for human use as they can react very differently from us. The cat is very sensitive to paracetamol, much more than dogs and humans.

In all species, paracetamol is digested by the liver, but for the cat it happens differently and unfortunately, this results in a toxic substance that leads to serious complications. There is severe liver damage and a decrease in the ability of red blood cells to carry oxygen around the body.

Cause of paracetamol poisoning in cats

Vomiting the cat
Vomiting the cat: the possible reasons and what to do to help him

L‘Paracetamol poisoning in cats is generally the result of self-medication by the owner or, more rarely, of accidental ingestion by the cat. A single 600 mg dose can be lethal in our animal, as it also causes liver failure.

The administration of paracetamol to our cat to avoid pain or fever is another of the most common cases of feline poisoning. The administration takes place because the owner supplies it to the cat when he sees it down, aching (falls, stomach) or thinks that the cat may have a fever.

Very rarely can a cat eat a pill on its own perhaps because it has fallen to the ground or has been left unattended by the owner. The poor cat can experience toxicity levels with a minimum of 10 mg per kg of body weight.


The clinical symptoms are similar to those caused by an allergic reaction (Photo Pixabay)

In cats for unknown reasons, the clinical symptoms are similar to those caused by an allergic reaction. The most common signs that can be triggered by paracetamol poisoning in cats can be the following, about one to two hours after ingestion:

  • swollen face, neck or limbs;
  • brownish-gray gums;
  • wheezing of the cat;
  • hypothermia (abnormally low body temperature);
  • He retched;
  • jaundice (yellowish color on the skin, whites of the eyes), due to liver damage.

Treatment of paracetamol poisoning in cats

veterinary cat
Paracetamol poisoning in cats. (Photo Pixabay)

In general paracetamol poisoning in cats is treated as an emergency. If you have reason to doubt that the animal may have swallowed paracetamol, for one of the reasons described above, contact your doctor immediately, as treatment may be necessary.

The veterinarian will perform a chemical blood profile, a complete blood count and a urine analysis on the cat to determine the level of toxicity, so that a potential treatment can be prescribed. Timely treatment is essential to give your cat the best chance of recovery and survival.

Early treatment is essential to give your cat the best chance of recovery and survival. If the intoxication is recent the veterinarian may evaluate the possibility of resorting to vomiting-inducing drugs associated with the administration of activated charcoal to reduce the absorption of the ingested drug as much as possible.

The prognosis of the animal depends on the speed with which it is accompanied by the veterinarian and on the possibility of administering the antidote. A quick reaction from the owner who realizes that his cat has ingested paracetamol or a quick report to the vet that the cat has taken this drug can save the cat’s life.

If paracetamol poisoning in the cat, if treated promptly, it will give a good prognosis. If the cat is not treated for several hours after consuming acetaminophen, it may not survive. Cats are obviously very different from humans and it is simply risky to give cats drugs for human use.

Non-prescription pain relievers useful for humans should not be given to cats. There are many cat-safe painkillers developed specifically for them and are available from your vet. The doctor can recommend small doses of over-the-counter medicines for animals, considering the weight of the animal and assessing its dosage. If you are concerned about your cat’s health, call the vet first.

Raffaella Lauretta

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