Help w/administering Metronidazole to cat?

saintpflaDecember 4, 2009

My 15 year old kitty is newly diagnosed with pancreatitis. He also has diabetes. His current treatment consists of a variety of meds including Metronidazole.

He is an absolute nightmare to pill. In lieu of pills, I'm using an oral liquid-tuna-flavored pharm compounded version of the drug. However, after administering, he drools and drools and then barfs after receiving the liquid medication.

I'm concerned that he's not getting enough of the meds to help him.

Does anyone have any 'tricks or tips' with administering this drug? I am aware of it's bitter taste, but unsure as to how to improve my cat's intake of this medication.

Thanks for any help you can provide.

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Will your kitty take/eat pill pockets? I doubt even those will hide the taste of the meds (which is pretty nasty in either form from what I've heard), but if your cat's anything like one of mine, he might gobble down the pill pocket and swallow it whole, without even tasting the pill inside.

    Bookmark   December 4, 2009 at 11:46PM
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Because of the diabetes, he cannot eat pill pockets or any cat treats. They contain too many carbs which spike his BG. :(

    Bookmark   December 5, 2009 at 11:36AM
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I suggest you call your vet and ask for another med. The fact your cat drools and then throws up would concern me.
It not uncommon for animals to have side effects with the drug and my elderly dog was one that could not tolerate it.

There are other drugs available for your vet to prescribe.

    Bookmark   December 5, 2009 at 1:16PM
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A few years ago when one of my cats needed several meds a day, I bought a bag of #4 empty gelcaps...It was a bag of 1000 for $11.00...and it was money well spent. I still use them. If you can cut the pill(s) and stuff them into the gel cap,it goes down more smoothly with no taste on the tongue. I also switched from the more common rubber tipped piller to the "Bullseye" pill gun.

My current cat hates being pilled...I give her a supplement every day in 1/2 a pill pocket. I understand that your cat is diabetic, but is 1/2 a PP really enough to upset her blood sugar? Is she eating any kind of dry food? They are alsovery high in CHO. If the Pill Pocket is absolutely forbidden, I've read that people say that they have stuffed the gelcap in a softened chunk of mild cheddar cheese.

But once again, the key is putting the med into the gelcap.

    Bookmark   December 5, 2009 at 2:29PM
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My understanding is that due to the bitter-taste of Metronidazole, the drooling, etc., is a 'normal' side-effect in cats who receive this med. Even a pill version will cause that effect in just mere seconds on the tongue. Cats really hate the taste.

I switched from pills to liquid because the pills disintergrated so quickly and ended up spit out on the floor.

I was just hoping that someone out here had a clever/creative way to administer this bitter-tasting med to their cat.

    Bookmark   December 5, 2009 at 2:32PM
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Medicating cats is the worst! Do you think if you gave him something immediately after you medicate him it might wash out the taste? If you can manage a second dropper, you could try squirting in something that he likes that tastes good (like the juice from canned food). Maybe even try shoving in a bit of the yummy canned food into his mouth just to get his attention off the medicine. A little smear on his nose might distract his sense of smell, too. Just a thought.

    Bookmark   December 5, 2009 at 3:27PM
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Thanks so much for the responses and the suggestions. I really appreciate it. You all know how stressful it is to medicate your uncooperative pet!

My cat is on a very strict diet due to the pancreatitis & diabetes. It's no dry food, no treats (anything with carbs or sugar) and only canned food/protein. I have three other cats who really miss their dry crunchy food!

My cat hates anything near or in his mouth. He's a huge male Siamese and his head is larger than my hand. I don't have anyone to help hold him, so it can be a struggle to medicate him. He's extremely difficult and will bite when agitated.

The liquid meds were in lieu of pilling him as he would spit/barf any pills, immediately.

Believe it or not, giving him shots/injections is extremely easy. I opt for that whenever possible and highly recommed it to others for difficult pets. But, some meds are not available as injectibles, such as Metronidazole.

After the medication dose, I give him warm pureed turkey (his favorite) in trying to establish a positive reward after the unpleasantness.

Maybe, my expectations are completely unrealistic that there is an easier, less stressful way to do this! ;-)

    Bookmark   December 5, 2009 at 4:27PM
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I second lfnyc's thoughts about using empty gelcaps. I've used them to get a variety of meds into my kitty over the years. Once they get some water behind them, they are so slick that they slide right down.

I also swear by using a pill syringe- one that you fill with water and it has little "jaws" that hold the pill on the end until you push the plunger. These have become hard for me to find locally and I'll have to order them online if we need more. Between a good pill syringe and gelcaps, I'd think that would stand a chance at making things a little better...maybe. The trick is getting the cap positioned right to eject close enough to the cat's throat that he swallows it quickly (and it doesn't turn sideways)- not always easy depending on the cat!

Best of luck.

    Bookmark   December 5, 2009 at 5:21PM
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It's difficult at best for pilling cats. If you can try to get the pill back in it's throat. The taste buds of the tongue are at the first one third so if you can get it past the taste buds it might make it a little easier. I had to give pills to my cat for 2½ years before he passed away this past March. He was diagnosed with indolent alimentary lymphoma and during this time I just developed a technique for pilling him.

    Bookmark   December 6, 2009 at 12:21AM
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Thanks again everyone for the suggestions. I appreciate it.

I actually have a lot of experience pilling cats. I had a cat for 18 years who needed medication daily since she was a kitten (asthma) and then various pills for old-kitty issues. She was the exception, though. I could do anything to her and she'd cooperate. Her 'brother' is a different story....

I can't seem to grip his head secure enough to immobolize in order to open his mouth to insert the pill or liquid or whatever. He's a very large male cat. He's neutered, but still has a giant head. I scruff him and he still moves his head too much. I have to have one hand free to insert the meds, so that only leaves one for holding him.

This is why I opted for the liquid meds. It's very difficult to hold him still long enough to shove anything into his mouth. I'm open to suggestions....!

shboom: So sorry about the passing of your kitty. I lost my 8 year old persian-mix kitty two years ago to intestinal lymphoma. Again, so sorry for your loss.

    Bookmark   December 6, 2009 at 11:48AM
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I know you said you can't give treats because of the diabetes, but if you do at-home BG testing so you can monitor his BG and tweak his insulin dose if it should become necessary, then perhaps medicated chews could solve your metronidazole problem. I give carbimazole in medicated liver chews to my two hyperT cats, and they snarf them down eagerly. The pharmacy from which I order them also compounds metronidazole into vet chews. In fact, they offer FREE SAMPLES of their 50 mg metronidazole liver chews to veterinarians upon request. If you can get your vet to order them, you could try them on your big guy and see how he takes and responds to them. Here's the link:

BCP Vet Chews

    Bookmark   December 6, 2009 at 1:32PM
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OMG! Thanks! I didn't even know that they can compound meds into vet chews! That is a great idea! I will check it out for sure!

I'm so worried about this pancreatitis problem. He's losing so much weight and having to give him bitter-medication 2x/day isn't exactly stimulating his appetite. Just to put it into perspectivie, when this started around 7 months ago, he weighed 17-18lbs and he's down to 13.5 now.

    Bookmark   December 6, 2009 at 2:28PM
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LaurieF: thanks again! I printed the info out from the link and am bringing to my vet tomorrow to be ordered! This may be the solution that I need!

    Bookmark   December 6, 2009 at 3:44PM
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I hope the chews work out for you. FYI, BCP offers about half a dozen different flavors of vet chews, and they can compound many different meds into them. When I first order chews from BCP, I asked them which flavor seemed to be most popular with feline patients, and they told me liver. I haven't tried any of their other flavors, but I can tell you that liver is a BIG HIT with both of my hyperT cats.

I'm sorry that your boy is doing so poorly. Has he been tested for hyperT, as well? If not, I recommend you have that done ASAP. Thyroid function should always be checked when rapid weight loss is a symptom.

Has your vet suggested an appetite stimulant? That's something you might want to discuss with him, as well. Cyproheptadine works well for many cats to stimulate appetite.

I hope you can turn things around for your boy.


    Bookmark   December 6, 2009 at 5:02PM
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Just keep in mind, your kitty might readily wolf down the unmedicated chew sample, but turn his nose up at the medicated version. It cost $50 for 10 medicated "treats" for our girl (the smallest am't they would compound for us), and as far as I know, her med wasn't notoriously nasty-tasting like Metronidazole. While she quite happily gobbled down all four flavors of unmedicated samples they sent us (not all at once), she wouldn't eat the medicated ones that we paid for. She'd start to lick/bite them, could smell/taste the added meds, and that was that.

I hope the BCP Chews are compounded differently, mask the meds better, etc., than the "treats" compounded by the pharmacy we'd used, but wanted to let you know about our experience just in case your kitty is like ours;

    Bookmark   December 6, 2009 at 5:08PM
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cat_mom, that shouldn't be a problem with BCP since they will provide the OP's vet with metronidazole medicated chews in free samples to try - not unmedicated chews.

BUT, I do have another option for the OP. BCP can also compound metronidazole into a transdermal gel that is applied to the inside of the cat's ear flap, thereby foregoing any oral administration at all! If the cat won't eat the chews or her vet thinks they might compromise his BG stability, the transdermal gel could be the perfect solution.

saintpfla, go back to the BCP website and print out the page on transdermal gels, as well. That'll give you and your vet another option to consider. BCP will also provide free samples of the transdermal metronidazole to your vet upon request.


    Bookmark   December 6, 2009 at 5:24PM
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Cat_Mom: good to know your experience and glad you are familiar with the challenges of administering Metronidazole. It's absolutely horrible tasting stuff. I tasted the tiniest bit myself to see 'why' it was so really awful stuff. I don't know why they don't coat the pills with something like they do with Advil. I am wondering if BCP will be able to successfully mask the taste?

Laurie: I did see the transdermal info and will discuss with my vet as well. My kitty actually had HyperT but was treated with Radioactive Iodine treatment successfully two years ago. Then, unfortunately, this new problem developed.

Pancreatitis is very difficult to diagnose especially combined with diabetes. We had the blood check done and it was finally confirmed after months of symptoms but negative blood test results. I encourage anyone with elderly cats to get familiar with this disease as it is easier treated early than late.

Info on Pancreatitis:

It's so hard watching your pet-companions get old and ill, isn't it?

    Bookmark   December 6, 2009 at 6:23PM
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Indeed it is. My oldest cat, Billy, is hyperT, hyperPTH, CRF, and has had one of his ear pinna amputated due to skin cancer. My other hyperT cat has "something else" going on, too, as yet undiagnosed. Old cats with chronic illnesses are challenging, to say the least.

With your cat's history of hyperT and current weight loss, I have to wonder if he might not be one of those rare individuals whose hyperT recurs after radioactive iodine. We recently had a cat on the hyperT mailing list who had to go in for a second I-131 treatment when his hyperT recurred, though I can't remember how long after the first treatment the hyperT showed up again. In any event, it'd be a good idea to get your boy's TT4 tested again if you haven't done so recently. Hopefully pancreatitis is all he's dealing with (as if that's not enough), though you never know what else may be at play in an elderly cat.


BTW, I have found the BCP pharmacists to be pretty up front about their products. It's worth giving them a call and asking how palatable their metronidazole chews are with feline patients.

    Bookmark   December 6, 2009 at 6:48PM
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My cat has been rechecked for HyperT. It's definitely not that. We had the blood work done for the pancreatitis test and it was confirmed via that test. There's a special (ie: expensive) test via Univ. of Texas A&M where this is done.

The core symptom of pancreatitis is malabsorbtion of food along with vomiting. So, it's common for cats (or anyone) with the disease to eat like a horse and continue to lose weight.

Last night (because this is given 2x/day...yaaay.), I tried squirting salt-free chicken broth into his mouth immediately after. It seems to only slightly help things. I'll take even a microscopic improvement at this point.

I'm definitely excited about the Vet Chews. Even though it's not cheap, either is buying meds over and over that end up spit up on the floor. Maybe he'll willingly eat the Pred Vet Chews so I only have to struggle with the Metronidazole administration? Who knows...I'm getting kinda desperate.

    Bookmark   December 7, 2009 at 11:51AM
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I just saw this. Too late, probably, but there is a way to administer Metronidazole to a cat without creating such a fuss. First you have to get it in pill form. For a 10 lb cat you can cut a 250mg pill into four parts and that would be close to the correct dose (normally 15mg per 2.2 lbs of body weight). Then you take pancake mix and make a little bit of dough. Use the dough to cover the pill as thin as you can without leaving any spots uncovered. When the pill dries it will harden into a nice coating that will make the pill palatable to the cat. I moisten the pill a little before giving it so it is slick and will go down easier. I have used this method with complete success with many kinds of pill including metronidazole. It's a bit of work, but well worth it. Good luck.

    Bookmark   January 10, 2013 at 10:41PM
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sadly it turns out metronidazole is not absorbed transdermally... was a good idea, though. It turns out almost NO medications are absorbed transdermally in the cat, except (thankfully) methimazole. Most other medications tested have not even shown up in the blood stream, except rarely in minutest quantities, and even those were very unpredictably absorbed at all. Transdermal treatments were all the rage for a while there, but almost none turned out to work.

    Bookmark   January 13, 2013 at 12:51AM
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i put my cat in a towel or something to keep the claws
away, and then pry the mouth open w/my left fingers and
have the pill ready to shove down his throat as far as u can
get it and then wait till they swallow a time or two.
been doing this 40 yrs.
the drooling is not dangerous - i 've had them do that b4 i
got my routine down..

    Bookmark   February 25, 2013 at 9:53PM
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