Getting tablets and capsules into cats can be challenging, but sometimes getting them to pass into the stomach can take even more time than we thought.
Did you know this could cause problems?
In an abstract published by ACVIM, Auburn University did a study to see if using butter helped tablets to pass from the mouth into the stomach of cats.
In the study they used fluoroscopy to monitor a tablet as it passed from the cats mouths to their stomachs. In half of the cats it took over 10 minutes!
However, when a small amount of butter was applied to the tablet it was able to pass easily into the stomach in under 1 minute. The same if a small amount of either butter or Nutrical was applied to the cats nose it helped facilitate licking and the tablets also passed in under a minute.
What does that mean? To prevent medications from sticking in the esophagus possibly causing esophagitis it is important to encourage cats to swallow. **only use butter or Nutrical if it approved by your veterinarian**
What is esophagitis and why should we care about it?
The esophagus is the tube that allows food and water to leave the mouth, pass through the thoracic cavity (chest), and go into the stomach. Esophagitis is when the esophagus is irritated and inflammed.
Esophagitis can be caused by:
Esophagitis can cause (symptoms seen):
How is esophagitis treated?
Some of the basic treatments include:
How can we prevent this in cats?
The easiest prevention is from irritation caused by medications. Encouraging your cat to swallow after giving them a tablet helps the medication get through the esophagus down into the stomach where it belongs.
Another way to prevent esophagitis is to speak to your veterinarian about any chronic vomiting or regurgitation. Since the acid in the vomitus/regurgitus can cause irritation, decreasing or stopping it can decreased the inflammation in the esophagus and help pets feel better.
We hope this helps. Let us know in the comments below what you think or if you have any questions!
Griffin, B., Beard, DM., Klopfenstein, KA., Scott-Ritchey Research Center, College of Veterinary Medicine, Auburn University, AL. Use of Butter to Facilitate the Passage of Tablets Through The Esophagus in Cats. P. 78. Retrieved on 3/1/2019 from https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/epdf/10.1111/j.1939-1676.2003.tb02465.x
Sherding, B. "Diagnosis and Management of Feline Esophageal Disease". World Small Animal Veterinary Association World Congress Proceedings, 2001. Retrieved on 3/1/2019 from https://www.vin.com/apputil/content/defaultadv1.aspx?id=3843760&pid=8708&
Yvonne Brandenburg, RVT, VTS (SAIM) is a Registered Veterinary Technician practicing in California and obtained her Veterinary Technician Specialty in Small Animal Internal Medicine in 2016. She is the founder of InternalMedicineForPetParents.com. For more about Yvonne visit her author page here.
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