Can Trazodone Kill a Cat? Its Benefits, Dosage, and Effects
Can Trazodone Kill a Cat? Its Benefits, Dosage, and Effects

Trazodone is a medication commonly used in cats to alleviate anxiety and stress. It is a sedative and a serotonin antagonist/reuptake inhibitor (SARI). Serotonin is a neurotransmitter that plays a vital role in regulating mood, behavior, and sleep. But wait! Can Trazodone Kill a Cat?

Trazodone is a medication commonly prescribed to humans for the treatment of depression, anxiety, and insomnia. It is a serotonin antagonist and reuptake inhibitor (SARI), meaning that it works by increasing the levels of serotonin in the brain.

While trazodone is generally considered safe for humans, it can be toxic to cats. The lethal dose of trazodone in cats is unknown, but even small amounts can cause serious health problems.

Symptoms of Trazodone Toxicity in Cats

The following are some of the symptoms of trazodone toxicity in cats:

  • Vomiting
  • Diarrhea
  • Lethargy
  • Ataxia (incoordination)
  • Depression
  • Tremors
  • Seizures
  • Coma

If you think your cat has ingested trazodone, it is important to contact your veterinarian immediately. There is no specific antidote for trazodone toxicity, but your veterinarian can provide supportive care to help your cat recover.

Why Trazodone is Toxic to Cats

Trazodone is metabolized differently in cats than in humans. In cats, trazodone is converted into a compound called meta-chlorophenylpiperazine (mCPP). mCPP is a potent serotonin agonist, meaning that it activates serotonin receptors in the brain.

Serotonin is a neurotransmitter that plays a role in a variety of functions, including mood, sleep, and appetite. Activation of serotonin receptors can lead to a number of side effects, including the ones listed above.

In addition to its effects on serotonin, mCPP can also cause a decrease in blood pressure. This can lead to weakness, collapse, and even death.

How to Keep Your Cat Safe from Trazodone Toxicity

The best way to keep your cat safe from trazodone toxicity is to keep all medications out of their reach. If you are taking trazodone, be sure to store it in a safe place where your cat cannot get to it.

If you think your cat has ingested trazodone, do not induce vomiting. Vomiting can actually worsen the absorption of trazodone into the bloodstream. Instead, contact your veterinarian immediately.

Benefits of Trazodone for Cats

Trazodone can be beneficial for cats experiencing a variety of anxiety-related issues, such as:

  • Fear of travel
  • Veterinary visits
  • Thunderstorms or fireworks
  • Separation anxiety
  • Social anxiety
  • Aggression
  • Destructive behavior

In addition to its anxiolytic effects, trazodone can also be used to help cats with:

  • Insomnia
  • Eating disorders
  • Compulsive disorders

Dosage of Trazodone for Cats

Trazodone is typically given to cats orally in the form of tablets. The dosage will vary depending on the cat’s weight and the severity of their anxiety. The usual starting dose is 2.5-5 mg per pound of body weight, given once or twice daily. The dose can be gradually increased as needed.

Side Effects of Trazodone for Cats

Trazodone is generally well-tolerated by cats. However, some common side effects can include:

  • Drowsiness
  • Lethargy
  • Ataxia (wobbly walking)
  • Vomiting
  • Diarrhea
  • Loss of appetite

These side effects are usually mild and will go away on their own once the medication wears off. If you are concerned about any side effects your cat is experiencing, be sure to talk to your veterinarian.

Drug Interactions

Trazodone can interact with a number of other medications. It is important to tell your veterinarian about all of the medications your cat is taking, including over-the-counter medications and supplements. Some medications that can interact with trazodone include:

  • MAOIs (monoamine oxidase inhibitors)
  • SSRIs (selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors)
  • TCAs (tricyclic antidepressants)
  • Furosemide (Lasix)
  • Cisapride

Things to Consider Before Giving Trazodone to Your Cat

Trazodone should not be given to cats with:

  • Heart disease
  • Liver disease
  • Kidney disease
  • Glaucoma
  • A history of seizures

If your cat is pregnant or nursing, it is important to talk to your veterinarian before giving them trazodone.

Conclusion

Trazodone can be a dangerous medication for cats. If you are taking trazodone, it is important to be aware of the risks and to take steps to keep your cat safe.

Trazodone can help cats with anxiety and stress. If you are concerned about your cat’s anxiety, be sure to talk to your veterinarian about whether trazodone is right for them.

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