Antifungal Griseofulvin Linked to Congenital Defects

A drug that is used to treat ringworm in cats can cause severe birth defects if used inappropriately.

I have just picked this information up from a book1. I checked the internet to see if there is a prominent reference to it in search results and there is not. It needs to be flagged up because cat owners need to be aware of the dangers.

Griseofulvin is an antifungal agent. It comes in tablet form or in a suspension (liquid form). It is used to treat ringworm in cats. It has been found to be associated with “severe congenital defects”. Congenital defects are anatomical defects in the cat present at birth. In this instance the drug may affect the growth and development of the fetus in utero. This drug may cause:

  • hydrocephalus (enlarged head)
  • spinal cord defects
  • missing eyes
  • cleft palate
  • imperforate anus
  • fused toes

“This drug should never be given to pregnant females….especially in a cattery where ringworm has been chronic and where several individuals might be under treatment.”

A veterinarian would prescribe this drug with care but I know that some expert cat rescuers or cat breeders do administer drugs themselves and it is possible that some may be unaware of the dangers of this drug.

1. Cat Owner’s Home Veterinary Handbook (the quotes are from this book).

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