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    Medicating my cat
    Cateies posted:
    I am having a terrible time getting my cat to take his antibiotic Baytril, he hates it. I was surfing the web and saw that there are some antibiotics that are in gel form that are put into the ear. Are these new? Why didn't my vet suggest that they be used, are they just for dogs? Life would be so much easier for both me and my cat. He is recovering from surgery from an abdominal blockage and his incision is huge, vet said 8 inches on his belly and 3 three inch incisions in his stomach so I do not want to be rough with him. Has anyone ever used these gel meds?
    srstephanie responded:
    Hi Cateies,

    Yes, I think Baytril is quite bitter tasting. What I did when giving Baytril (and any other pill) to my cat was to put it in just enough cheese to cover the pill. I actually used a little of the Kraft individually wrapped cheese slices. I still gave it as a pill, but all my cat tasted was the cheese, not the bitter medication. I was lucky that she was easy to pill ... as long as I didn't try to restrain her in any way. You can also try the pill pockets made for cats or hide it in other types of food. But if a cat bites into it and tastes it, that can be a problem because of the bitter taste.

    The transdermal gel medications are popular with cat owners, but are not always a good way to give medication. The problem is that it is difficult to determine for each individual cat how much of the medication is absorbed through the skin of the ear ... which may vary for different cats. That makes it very difficult to dose the medication properly. Until proper studies are done to determine how well a medication is absorbed through the skin, and how accurately it can be dosed ... it can be dangerous to give medications that way.

    It is especially true with Baytril which has to be dosed very carefully. It is a very good and strong antibiotic when dosed properly in cats. But if given at more than 5 mg/kg/day it can cause damage to the retinas and blindness. It is very important not to overdose Baytril. So, I suspect that Baytril is one medication that wouldn't work as a transdermal gel ... though I'm not a vet and I don't know if it is ever formulated that way. I have only heard of Baytril being given either as a pill or intramuscular injection ... or by IV, though many don't give it that way anymore because of the increased risk of side effects including blindness.

    You can ask your vet about a different type of antibiotic. There is a newer antibiotic out called Convenia (by Pfizer) that many cat owners like because it is given as an injection and is good for two weeks. But its primary use is for bacterial skin infections. Perhaps that would be okay in terms of preventing an infection at the incision site. But you would need to ask your vet whether it would be a proper antibiotic for your cat's particular needs. Here is the website for Convenia:

    Good luck and I hope your kitty recovers quickly.

    Stephanie in Montreal
    Drew Weigner, DVM, ABVP responded:
    Stephanie's summary of medication options is very good. The biggest issue here is that Baytril is a broad spectrum antibiotic with few equivalents. It is, however, formulated to be chewable, meaning they're supposed to eat it like a treat. While most cats aren't that stupid (!) they often will eat it if it's crushed up and mixed with something they really like, such as tunafish. Try different things that you know your cat likes and see if you can get him to eat it. If not, another option is a "pet piller" which your veterinarian can show you how to use. Also, ask your veterinarian for a can of Hill's A/D which most cats love.

    Drew Weigner, DVM, ABVP
    The Cat Doctor
    Board Certified in Feline Practice
    fishercat responded:
    Have you tried pill pockets for cats? My cat Blue had to take many daily cardiac medications which apparently tasted terrible, but he liked the tuna flavored pill more stuggling with giving him his daily meds. It helped when others pilled him when I was away..I just put the pills in the pill pockets and put the "treats" in the daily pill minder. That way they didn't have to worry giving 1/4 baby aspirin every third day...I just loaded up the pill pocket and put in the appropriate day slot- and as a bonus they kept very fresh in the pill minder.

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