Adrenalin Auto-injections for Cats

EpiPen

EpiPen

Cats are at risk of getting stung around the head and paws by poisonous insects because cats are curious. Normally, the sting will cause swelling and irritation. It can be dealt with fairly comfortably by the owner or perhaps a vet.

Rarely a cat might be hypersensitive to insect stings such as a bee sting. This may be because the cat was exposed in the past. A hypersensitivity reaction is anaphylactic shock.

I thought of this because Monty, Ruth Young’s black cat, appears to be hypersensitive to bee stings….

“My scariest experience was the day Monty tried to eat a bee and got stung on his tongue by a giant bumblebee. The vet suggested Benadryl, so I put half a tablet in some food, but Monty choked on the food. He ran under the couch. I was able to get him to come out and as I picked him up his tongue was hanging out of his mouth, his little body was stiff and he wasn’t getting any air. I felt so helpless. But then he was able to breathe again somehow. I threw him in his new carrier and called the vet on the way.”

That is part of Ruth’s comment on the scariest moments page.

Monty could not breath. Other signs of “generalised toxity” are agitation, drooling, pale gums, cold limbs, vomiting, and seizures.

I think we can say that Monty is known to have a bad reaction to bee stings. This is a cause for concern for Ruth, who has to watch out for him…

“Monty got outside time in the afternoon today. I kept a watchful eye out for bees, but actually only saw one. He was ok– mostly laid in the shade on the back porch.” (Facebook comment today)

So, I wonder if Ruth’s vet has recommended that she keep an EpiPen kit available at home with instructions on using it. These kits are an injectable epinephrine (an “Auto-Injector”), a drug that counteracts the anaphylactic shock. Epinephrine is adrenalin. Apparently, it has a fairly short shelf live, unfortunately.

Of course it should only be used in emergencies and the cat taken to the vet immediately afterwards as the injection can have side effects.

One of these kits would bring a certain amount of peace of mind to a cat owner whose cat is hypersensitive to bee stings.

Associated page: How many lives has your cat used up?

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Adrenalin Auto-injections for Cats — 6 Comments

  1. Ruth’s experience draws attention to the deficiencies of of some of the drugs prescribed for cats. Not enough thought is given to how to get that medicine inside the cat. Benadryl has a very bitter taste and no animal will take it mixed with food. The same for several other medicines like Trimethoprim Sulfa for coccidiosis and Flagyl for amoebas. If a cat gets Trimethoprim Sulfa on it’s tongue it froths at the mouth like an attack of rabies, but it is sold in ordinary tablet form instead of enteric coated or in well sealed capsules. I get by this by putting these medicines in an empty capsules. Even that way isn’t always practical because severasl of my cats because several of my cats react very violently to any attempt to pout anything in their mouths. There is the drug called fenbendazol for amoebas and giardiasis which is almost tasteless, and for coccidiosis there is Baycox which can be mixed with food. It’s a shame when no veterinarian knew about this and I had to find out for myself.
    Thanks for the tip about EpiPen. That should be a lot more effective than the small capsules of Benadyl that I always have to hand. What I need most of all is something for snake bite. I have already lost a couple of cats to what seems to be snake bite, but that usually happens out of sight and it’s unlikely I could get there in time and probably the only remedy would be an antivenom.

    • I had to take flagyl (metranidazole) for giardia a number of times in my life and I know from personal experience its one of the worst tasting pills there is – you taste it before you can swallow it.

      This kit sounds good. Mine chase bees that come on the balcony and in the house. They would probably try to eat one.

        • I’m not sure Monty is hypersensitive to bee stings, though he could be, having been stung about eight times in his short life. If an animal (or human) gets stung on the mouth, lips or tongue you need to seek immediate medical assistance. Normal swelling associated with the sting can cause the throat to swell and close. Having been told the sting was on his tongue I’m surprised Monty’s vet even suggested trying the Benadryl. My instinct was to bring Monty in right away, but I wanted to spare him a trip to the vet if I could.

          You would think that traumatic event would keep him away from bees forever, but it hasn’t. He still will go after them. He has not been stung since the incident last summer. I take him out mornings and evenings most of the time, when the bees are less active. Cool, cloudy and even rainy days see less bee activity and Monty will play outside even in a downpour. We have had a cool, rainy summer– perhaps this has helped to keep him safe from bees. It seems like there have been fewer bees around even on hot sunny days.

          We now have mosquitoes carrying West Nile Virus in this area. The advice is to keep pets inside mornings and evenings when mosquitoes are most active. So we can’t win. But West Nile mainly affects those with weakened immune systems and rarely affects pets. So we take our chances with the mosquitoes and hide out from the bees.

  2. Thanks for this very interesting article Michael, its a shame this has a very short shelf life and I’d guess it’s expensive too, but what price a life saver like that!

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