48335Re: Safe tranquilizer for an HCM kitty?
- Jul 2, 2013Hi Katey
The benzodiazepines are the most effective for travel and vet anxiety. These are the drugs that usually end in -pam or -lam. Lorazepam and alprazolam are two that are often used for cats; the dose is titrated up (so you do 'test doses' at home till you find the right dose for your kitty) so you don't overdose or underdose. I'd talk to your vet or cardiologist about this, regardless of whether or not you're moving, because no cat deserves to have such anxiety for the vet. Some cats are so scared that they defecate on themselves -- you have to be incredibly scared, and feel incredibly threatened, to lose bowel control -- and there's no need for this. Using anti-anxiety meds can help these cats tremendously. It can also help fractious cats, who are generally fractious because they are so darn scared.
For anyone with an anxious or fractious cat, ask the vet about anti-anxiety medication and then find the right dose. You'll test it at home till you find what works for your cat. You give the minimum dose and observe -- if nothing happens, you go up. You're looking for the cat to be affected, but not doped. So the cat may move more slowly, be a bit 'dull' but can still walk, still respond to you, etc. The cat shouldn't be a glazed-over lump; that's too high of a dose. Find what makes your cat 'mellow' and then make sure, on the day of any event, that the cat gets the medication before you do anything to indicate you're traveling. Wait till the medication has kicked in before you attempt to put him/her in the carrier. Once the cat is 'revved up', it's much harder to bring them back down from outer space. This is why it's better to give your cat medication at home, than need sedation at the vet; you can get away with less medication if you get it on board before the stressful event happens.
Torb (butorphanol) is a very mild pain medication and a mild sedative. I haven't seen it work that well for very scared or very fractious cats and it doesn't seem to last that long, so if you go to a vet appointment and have given the Torb earlier, it may be wearing off before you get home. I wouldn't use it as a first-line for my own cat, I'd go straight for the benzodiazepines. If your cat needs just a touch of something, it might work and it is also heart-friendly.
Anxiety and stress are NOT heart-friendly so heart kitties who freak out with travel and vet visits can benefit from pharmaceutical help IMO.
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