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Feline: Pet Pharmacy

Our Pet Pharmacy features detailed information on commonly prescribed pet medications. The interested owner can learn how a medication works within the body, how the medication represents an improvement on previously used treatments, and what side effects one should be aware of. Understanding a medication and why it was prescribed is helps a pet owner understand the goals of therapy as well as possible pitfalls.

Many people write in to VeterinaryPartner.com to say "great article, but what is the dosage? I need that part!" It is our policy not to give dosing information over the Internet for many reasons, the most of important of which is that it's not ethical to give dosage amounts for an animal a veterinarian has not examined in person. If the weight given is not correct, or if there are problems unknown to the owner that could contraindicate certain drugs and dosages, dosage suggestions could have serious adverse consequences. It's a violation of most Practice Acts to practice medicine on an unexamined patient, and it is a federal violation to prescribe medication to a patient not examined in the last year, so we hope you understand why we cannot give dosage information.


Acepromazine (PromAce)
 Although acepromazine has several actions that might be useful, it is mostly used as a tranquilizer.
Amitriptyline (Elavil)
 This antidepressant has been helpful for animals with obsessive grooming, inappropriate urination, and separation anxiety.
Amlodipine Besylate (Norvasc)
 Amlodipine besylate is used to treat high blood pressurein cats.
Amoxicillin-clavulanic acid (Clavamox, Augmentin)
 The combination of amoxicillin and clavulanic acid (sodium clavulanate) is similar as for amoxicillin except that the clavulanate is able to protect the penicillin structure from destruction by Staphylococci. This combined medication can be used against anything amoxicillin could be used for plus Staphlylococcal infections (usually skin infections).
Analgesics (Pain Relief) (16)
 Part of a veterinarian's duty is to relieve animal pain. Proper choice of medication is crucial as we want to relieve the pain without making the patient groggy and without side effects. Here are some medications used in pain relief.
Antibiotics (17)
 The fight against infectious organisms is, of course, thousands of years old but in modern times our weapons are formidable compared to ancient remedies. Consider the impact of the discovery of penicillin not so long ago. Here are some medications currently used against infection in our pets.
Anticonvulsants (4)
 Seizure disorders have many causes but in cases where seizures are severe or frequent medications are needed to control the convulsions. These medications are used alone or in combinations and many require monitoring tests to keep blood levels constant and side effects at bay. Here is our sampling and be sure to review the seizure disorder section under the neurology section.
Antifungals (5)
 The development of oral medications to be used in the treatment of invasive fungal infections has represented an immense medical breakthrough. With oral treatment available, human patients no longer require hospitalization several days a week for intravenous treatment of their disease; a more normal and productive lifestyle is now possible. Further, the toxicity profiles of the newer oral drugs represents vast improvement over those of the injectables.
Antihistamines (9)
 Histamine is a mediator of inflammation that is so important in human medicine that a spectacular array of antihistamines has become approved for human use. Many of these have important animal uses.
Aspirin
 Aspirin inhibits an enzyme called cyclo-oxygenase that is involved in the production of inflammatory chemicals called prostaglandins. Arachidonic acid, a fatty acid that is essential in the diet of cats and dogs, makes up cell membranes. When the inflammatory cascade is active, cells begin to convert their arachidonic acid into prostaglandins. Aspirin puts a stop to this.
Azathioprine (Imuran)
 Immune mediated diseases are conditions where the immune system becomes inappropriately active and damages the body. Azathioprine is a common medication used in the treatment of immune mediated disease. It is a drug to respect and use wisely.
Behavioral Medications (8)
 Psychopharmacology is in its infancy in veterinary medicine but we do have some tools to work with thanks to advances in the human field. Here are some of our topics.
Calcitriol (Rocaltrol)
 This medication actually represents activated vitamin D. Vitamin D is not a vitamin in the way other vitamins are or in the way we think of vitamins; vitamin D is actually a hormone. It plays an important role in calcium phosphorus balance and can be beneficial in preventing the progression of kidney failure.
Cephalexin (Keflex)
 Cephalexin is a good broad spectrum antibiotic, which means it is useful in most common and uncomplicated infections. It is especially useful against staphylococcal infections (most skin infections) and is commonly used for long (6-8 week courses) against deep skin infections (pyodermas).
Chemotherapy Drugs (8)
 Medications listed in this section are used in the treatment of cancer. We recognize that the word "chemotherapy" conjures up certain unpleasant images in cancer therapy. It is important to realize that "chemotherapy" simply means treatment using drugs as opposed to treatment by radiation therapy, surgery, gene modification or other techniques. Many "chemotherapy" agents are used in the treatment of non-cancerous conditions as well. We invite you to peruse our growing list of chemotherapy agents.
Chloramphenicol (Chloromycetin, CHPC)
 Chloramphenicol represents years of antibiotic development. Due to its pH, it shines above most other antibiotics in terms of ability to penetrate. Chloramphenicol can easily pass deeply through purulent material to the organisms hiding within, through cell membranes to attack parasites living within, and into organs where other antibiotics cannot go.
Chlorpheniramine Maleate (Chlor-Trimeton)
 Chlorpheniramine maleate has several important effects and uses. Most obviously, it's an antihistamine and it's used for acute inflammatory and allergic conditions such as snake bites, vaccination reactions, blood transfusion reactions, bee stings and insect bites, and to manage itchy skin.
Clindamycin Hydrochloride (Clindadrops, Antirobe, Cleosin)
 Clindamycin is an antibiotic of the lincosamide class and possesses similar properties to its sister compound lincomycin. To understand how these medications work, it is important to understand how cells make proteins.
Dexamethasone (Azium, Voren)
 Dexamethasone is a member of the glucocorticoid class of hormones. This means they are steroids but, unlike the anabolic steroids that we hear about in sports, these are catabolic steroids. Instead of building the body up, they are designed to break down stored resources (fats, sugars and proteins) so that they may be used as fuels in times of stress.
Diazepam (Valium)
 There are many uses for this medication since it is effective as an anti-anxiety medication, a muscle relaxant, an appetite stimulant, and a seizure control drug. The injectable form of diazepam is often used in anesthetic protocols.
Diphenhydramine (Benadryl)
 Diphenhydramine has several important effects and thus several uses. Most obviously, diphenhydramine is an antihistamine and it's used for acute inflammatory and allergic conditions such as snake bites, vaccination reactions, blood transfusion reactions, bee stings and insect bites.
Doxycycline (Vibramycin)
 The tetracycline antibiotic family provides broad anti-bacterial protection by inhibiting bacterial protein synthesis. The body possesses many barriers through which antibiotics have difficulty penetrating. Infections behind these barriers can be difficult to treat. Doxycycline represents a modification of the basic tetracycline structure to enhance its ability to penetrate such biological barriers and to increase its duration of action.
Enalapril Maleate (Enacard, Vasotec)
 The ACE inhibitor group of heart failure medicines has doubled the survival of heart failure patients. This is the only ACE inhibitor approved for non-human use.
Enrofloxacin (Baytril)
 This medication may be used in either dogs or cats to combat different types of infections, especially those involving Pseudomonas. Enrofloxacin is also active against Staphylococci, and thus is commonly used for skin infections.
Famotidine (Pepcid AC)
 More commonly known by its brand name Pepcid AC, this drug can be helpful in the treatment of Helicobacter infection, inflammatory bowel disease, canine parvovirus, ingestion of a toxin that could be ulcerating (overdose of aspirin, for example), any disease involving protracted vomiting, or chronically in combination with medications that irritate stomachs.
Fentanyl (Duragesic Patch)
 The primary use of the fentanyl patch is to provide a continuous delivery of pain reliever to a patient with on-going pain. These patches are especially useful after a surgical procedure but are also helpful in the management of cancer pain, or after injury.
Flea Product Comparison
 Confused about flea protection? This FAQ compares the popular topspot flea control products to assist you in determining which is right for your situation.
Furosemide (Salix, Disal)
 The kidney is one of the most complicated organs of the body. Furosemide acts on the kidney to increase the body’s loss of water and assorted minerals and electroyltes.
General Topics (40)
 Most of our pharmacy section concerns specific medications; however, there are other topics that pertain to the pharmacy. We have separated them out for easier selection. These topics concern the actual administration of medicines, sources of unusual medicines, and other topics that are more general in scope. Please browse our list.
Glipizide (Glucotrol)
 This oral medication works by causing the pancreas to release insulin more effectively. It also helps increase tissue sensitivity so that smaller doses of insulin may have a greater effect. Some cats will respond adequately to this treatment and thus avoid the use of insulin injections at home.
Glucosamine/Chondroitin Sulfate (Cosequin, Glycoflex, Cartiflex, Arthri-Nu)
 Degenerative joint diseases are painful conditions frequently treated with over-the-counter anti-inflammatory agents. It has been of interest to seek a medication that might actually strengthen damaged joints rather than simply blocking pain. Glucosamine and chondroitin sulfates theoretically represent a solution.
Griseofulvin (Fulvicin)
 This medication is used to treat ringworm, a fungal infection of the skin involving fungi. While it's possible for a ringworm lesion to be localized and require only topical therapy, this is not the usual situation and oral medication is necessary to control the skin disease.
Hormones (3)
 Hormones are regulatory biochemicals produced by "endocrine" glands and expected to circulate through the body to their target organs. They are effectively messengers telling different organs what to do, when to do it, and how hard to work at what they are doing. There are hormones naturally produced in the body; however, most therapeutic hormones are modified versions of their natural counterparts, designed to maximize the effects that a doctor might want maximized. Different hormones have tremendous therapeutic benefit. Here are some examples.
How to Give Your Cat a Pill
 Don’t forget to check the cat’s mouth before releasing him. Many cats know you are waiting to see the licking motions and will try to fool you.
Hydroxyzine (Atarax)
 This drug is an antihistamine used to deal in various ways with itchy skin. Hydroxyzine is frequently included in antihistamine trials for allergic skin disease.
Immunosuppressive Drugs (5)
 Sometimes the immune system simply goes wrong and reacts against the cells and tissues of our bodies. When this happens, medications to suppress the immune system become necessary.
Insulin Administration in Cats
 Insulin is the injectable medication you use to control your diabetic cat’s blood sugar. This beginner's guide will explain how to give your cat insulin injections.
Itch Relief
 Is it possible to relieve a pet’s itchy skin without the use of cortisone derivatives? Yes, it is.
Itraconazole (Sporonox)
 Itraconazole works by inhibiting the fungal enzymes that produce ergosterol, an important component of the fungal cell wall. Without adequate ergosterol, the fungal cell becomes weak, leaky and ultimately dies.
Ivermectin (Ivomec, Heartgard 30, Acarexx, Iverheart Plus)
 Ivermectin is effective against most common intestinal worms (except tapeworms), most mites, and some lice. It is not effective against fleas, ticks, flies, or flukes. It is effective against larval heartworms (the microfilariae that circulate in the blood) but not against adult heartworms that live in the heart and pulmonary arteries.
Ketoconazole (Nizoral)
 This drug fights fungal infections both minor and life threatening, but because of the way it works it can also be used to treat Cushing’s disease (a cortisone imbalance).
L-Asparaginase (Elspar)
 The battle against cancer must exploit biological differences between cancer cells and normal cells. Asparagine is an especially important amino acid for lymphatic cancer cells and asparaginase is able to destroy it in a way that hurts cancer cells only. L-Asparaginase is a helpful chemotherapy agent, especially in the treatment of lymphatic cancers.
Loperamide (Imodium AD)
 If your pet has diarrhea, it may be a condition that disturbs your well-being as well as your pet's. One medication that can help in some circumstances is the human medication Imodium AD. One interesting little fact: this medication is a member of the opiate class of drugs!
Lufenuron (Program)
 Insects are protected in the world by a hard exoskeleton made of a material called chitin. Lufenuron, Program's active ingredient, inhibits the production of chitin in insects.
Meclizine Hydrochloride (Bonine, Antivert, Meclizine Hydrochloride)
 An excellent product for people that can also be used for car-sick pets, meclizine hydrochloride is generally used for nausea relief due to motion sickness. It is also used to control the nausea resulting from vestibular disease, a syndrome characterized by vertigo and loss of balance.
Metoclopramide (Reglan)
 Motility disorders are common and may be chronic or of sudden onset. When motility is reduced in the stomach, food pools there and creates a sensation of nausea and bloating. In some cases, bile refluxes from the intestine into the stomach, causing irritation and more nausea. Metoclopramide (Reglan) normalizes stomach contractions so that food and bile can pass in the correct direction.
Metronidazole (Flagyl)
 Metronidazole is an antibiotic especially effective against anaerobic infections. In addition, it has anti-inflammatory properties in the large intestine and is an effective anti-diarrhea medication. It's also an effective antibiotic against certain protozoal infections, especially Giardia.
Orbifloxacin (Orbax)
 Orbifloxacin may be used in dogs and cats to combat different types of infections, especially those involving Pseudomonas. This medication is also active against Staphylococci, and thus is commonly used for skin infections.
Phenobarbital
 In dogs and cats, phenobarbital is probably the first choice for seizure suppression. It is effective, safe if used responsibly, and is one of the least expensive medications in all of veterinary practice.
Praziquantel (Droncit)
 Praziquantel is primarily used against parasites known as "Cestodes" (tapeworms). It is also effective against flukes.
Prednisone/Prednisolone
 Prednisone and prednisolone are members of the glucocorticoid class of hormones. They break down stored resources (fats, sugars and proteins) so that they may be used as fuels in times of stress. We do not use the glucocorticoids for their influences on glucose and protein metabolism; we use them because they are the most broad anti-inflammatory medications that we have.
S-Adenosylmethionine (SAMe, Denosyl, Novifit, Vetri-SAMe, Denamarin)
 In veterinary medicine, this product is chiefly used in liver disease.
SI and U.S. Standard Measurements: Conversion Confusion
 SI is the modernized version of the metric system of measurement. It is the language universally used in science and medicine. SI is an abbreviation from the French Système International d’Unités, or International System of Units.
Sucralfate (Carafate)
 Sucralfate was developed as an adjunctive treatment for stomach ulcers in humans. It dissolves to form a protective covering over stomach ulcers and injuries. It's effective in the upper GI tract: stomach, duodenum, and possibly the esophagus.
Theophylline (Theo-Dur)
 This medication has been a helpful airway dilator for humans with asthma and animals with heart disease or bronchitis.
Trimethoprim-Sulfa (Bactrim, Tribrissen, Septra, Sulfatrim, Cotrim)
 Trimethoprim-sulfa is known by many names as it's a commonly used antibiotic in both human and veterinary medicine. It's become a popular choice thanks to its broad spectrum and inexpensive cost.

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