The FDA in America has approved pregabalin oral solution for alleviating anxiety associated with transportation and veterinary visits in cats to use their words. In America pregabalin oral solution is labelled Bonqat. You give it your cat 1.5 hours before they go to the vet and it can be given it on two consecutive days.
In a field study they compared its effectiveness with a placebo. The FDA reports that, “A little over half of cats given Bonqat had a good to excellent response during both transportation and the veterinary visit compared to about one-third of cats given placebo”. The difference between not giving the cats pregabalin and those given pregabalin is about 20% on my calculation. In other words, pregabalin was better than no drug in 20% of cases.
And, further, 77% of cats given Bonqat had reduced levels of fear and anxiety when visiting veterinarians compared to 46% of cats given a placebo.
There are potential adverse reactions such as mild sedation, ataxia (loss of coordination) and lethargy.
My assessment is that the improvement in the lives of cats going to vets is not huge judging by these statistics. It’s not black and white. And on that basis, I would have thought that it would be unwise to give cats pregabalin unless they are genuinely highly fearful. The drug should only be given as a last resort in my opinion. What do you think?
Cat owners avoid vet visits
And there will be alternative non-drug methods of reducing anxiety although I freely admit that taking a cat to a vet can be equally traumatic for both cat and owner. It’s a big put off which is one reason why not enough cats visit veterinarians often enough.
In America you can obtain a prescription for Bonqat from a licensed veterinarian. It’s not an over-the-counter drug as it is a DEA Schedule Class V drug which is used by humans as well. And it’s got to be administered with care and precision by a professional.
Handle with care
The FDA says that Bonqat should be handled with caution by humans who should avoid contact with it. That’s a bit of a put-off for me. If it’s so dangerous to people, why are we putting into the mouths of cats?
The FDA says that “People exposed to pregabalin should seek medical advice”. Strange that.
The product comes with an oral syringe and is administered as a “single dose of 5 mg/kg (0.1 mg/kg) approximately 1.5 hours before the start of the transportation or betony visit.”
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