Oct 03, 2009
A client felt horrible because she gave a human product to help her constipated 10 year old cat.
She gave a Fleet enema. It sounds pretty benign, as it is described as a “saline enema.” In fact, it contains sodium phosphate, which can be toxic, or possibly deadly in cats.
This type of enemas works by pulling water from the body into the colon, which softens the stool and causes a bowel movement.
A Fleet enema will also pool electrolytes into the colon, which leads to a severe electrolyte imbalance. Signs of toxicity include lethargy, incoordination, seizures, fast heart rate, diarrhea, vomiting and possibly death.
I am thankful that this client had the kindness to inform me of what she did, and asked me to share her story with my readers!
The moral of the story is:
. Never use a medication without first consulting with your vet. That’s what we’re here for.
. Be especially careful when you feel tempted to use a human drug in your pet.
. As a reminder, other human drugs that can be toxic or deadly in cats include acetaminophen (Tylenol), aspirin, ibuprofen (Advil, Motrin), naproxen (Aleve) and Pepto-Bismol. As a general rule, cats are extremely sensitive to human pain killers.
Vets have access to safe drugs for cats (and dogs), whether it is for pain or constipation or other conditions, so please take advantage of it!
Phil Zeltzman, DVM, DACVS
Pet surgeon and author of a free, weekly newsletter for true pet lovers, available at DrPhilZeltzman.com