Buspar for Cats
|Cat on antidepressants due to stress|
Photo by Olivier H (Flickr – creative commons)
Being an anti-drug type person my initial reaction to Buspar for cats is to think that is should be avoided at all costs. But it is for a good veterinarian to make the deciscion whether a cat should be given Buspar or not. I say “good vet” because a few vets might be a little more inclined to prescribe it than should ideally be the case on the basis that it is good for business. Sorry but vets are in the business of making money.
What is Buspar for cats? Buspar is the brand name for Buspirone. Buspirone is a drug that is also prescribed for people with anxiety disorders and depression. It affects the chemical serotonin in the brain, which is a neurotransmitter.
It can be used to cure cats of inappropriate elimination problems – going to the toilet outside the litter box. One cause of this is anxiety. Clearly the best way to treat innapropriate elimination is to discover the cause and try and eliminate that. However, as a last resort, vets prescribe drug treatment. For me it really should be a last resort. I would have thought that its use would or should be rare.
It appears that in three-quarters of the cases when it has been used to stop innapropriate elimination it has worked successfully1.
It takes up to four weeks for the full benefits to be seen. The drug should be given for 8 weeks and the dosage slowly reduced1 combined with resolving the underlying environmental causes if successfully assessed. Clearly the idea is to use Buspar for cats for a limited time. However when used for people for six weeks and then withdrawn no were withdrawal symptoms2.
Other drugs that are prescribed under similar circumstances are: amitriptyline and Prozac both of which are also prescribed for people. It would seem that Buspar could also be used to calm a stressed cat for say territorial reasons.
Warning: People must not give their medications to their cats without veterinarian diagnosis, advice and supervision as cats are sensitive to drugs. This sensitivity stems from a deficiency in cats of the enzyme glucuronidase which metabolises drugs. Dosage has to be precise as a drug can be toxic if slightly over-administered1.
1. Cat Owner’s Home Veterinary Handbook page 552-553. ISBN 978-0-470-09530-0.
2. Murphy SM, Owen R, Tyrer P. (1989). “Comparative assessment of efficacy and withdrawal symptoms after 6 and 12 weeks’ treatment with diazepam or buspirone”. – http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Buspirone