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Cats and Aspirin

Can You Give A Cat Aspirin?


Aspirin - Steven Puetzer/Getty


Steven Puetzer/Getty
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Related: Can I give my dog aspirin?

Cats are not small dogs. Cats metabolize drugs such as aspirin very differently than dogs or humans. It is important to never give medications to your cat unless directed by your veterinarian; accidental toxicity and death are possible when medications such as aspirin or acetaminophen are given to cats.

Q: Can I give my cat aspirin?
A: In general, I do not recommend this drug for cats. Cats are much more sensitive to aspirin than dogs or humans. Cats cannot break down aspirin as quickly as dogs (or humans), and thus, the cat can be easily overdosed with the accumulation of the drug in the body.

In contrast to dogs and humans, cats are typically given much smaller doses at intervals of 48-72 hours. This drug, as with all drugs, should be only used under recommendation and monitoring by your veterinarian. There are alternative drugs available - please speak with your veterinarian.

Aspirin is in a class of drugs called NSAIDs - Non Steroidal Anti-Inflammatory Drugs, and dogs are particularly sensitive to the gastrointestinal effects of; pain, bleeding, and ulceration that can be a side effect of these drugs. Coated aspirin helps with the gastrointestinal effects.

Aspirin may cause birth defects, so it should not be given to pregnant animals.1

Aspirin also interacts with several other drugs, particularly cortisones, digoxin, some antibiotics, Phenobarbital, and Furosemide(Lasix®).2

Newer and better drugs are now available for dogs and cats.

Check with your veterinarian about what is going on with your pet and what would be the best drug for the problem.

Q: Can cats be given glucosamine/chondroitin for arthritis?
Yes. Check with your veterinarian for available preparations and dosages. Never give dog medications to cats or vice versa.

Glucosamine/chondroitin supplements, such as Cosequin, are an example of one glucosame/chondroitin supplement for arthritic cats and may be used alone or with NSAIDs or other therapies.

Q: What about other drugs, like Tylenol® and Advil®
In a word, NO for both of the above. Tylenol is fatal to cats. Neither drug (acetaminophen and ibuprofen, respectively) is routinely used for arthritis.

As always, please see your veterinarian to have your pet evaluated for pain, overall health (and bloodwork to check liver and kidneys, if indicated) prior to using these medications.

If you suspect that your pet has gotten into a poison or overdosed, call your veterinarian or national hotlines, such as ASPCA Animal Poison Control Center. or Pet Poison Helpline.

As with any drug, only administer under the advice and supervision of your veterinarian.

Additional Reading:
Toxicology Links

Please see the vet questions archive for more Q & A topics.

Text: Copyright © Janet Tobiassen Crosby DVM. All rights reserved.

1 = Source: Veterinary Drug Handbook, 3rd ed., Donald

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