Diazepam for Cats - Cat Valium Dosage and Uses
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Diazepam, commonly known as Valium, is a drug we often associated with mental health issues, something we might not apply to cats in the same way as humans. However, it is actually used for various different ailments, many of which cats can also experience. It is a strong drug which needs careful consideration when being administered, so it will require prescription by a qualified veterinarian.
At AnimalWised, we review the characteristics of this drug, as well as its uses and dosages for cats. We also look at possible contraindications and side effects of diazepam for cats.
What is diazepam?
Diazepam is a benzodiazepine known for its hypnotic and sedative properties . It acts as a central nervous system (CNS) depressant and has been used in medicine since the 1950s. Its effect is due to the fact that it enhances the action of certain neurotransmitters and depresses transmission between certain neurons in the CNS. This effect will be greater or lesser depending on the dose administered.
What is diazepam used for in cats?
Diazepam has tranquilizing, anxiolytic, sedative, anticonvulsant and antispasmodic effects at the musculoskeletal level. It is also used as a muscle relaxant. Among its uses, its role as a sedative stands out. This allows it to be included as one of the drugs in premedication and induction of anesthesia. This means it is part of the medical protocol that is followed before general anesthesia of the animal is required before surgical intervention. This use facilitates the management of anesthesia during the course of the operation and improves subsequent recovery.
Diazepam is also used for cats when the animal has seizures or is in a state of hyperarousal. Another use is as an orexigen, i.e. stimulating the appetite in weak cats and those with anorexia. In some cases, it could also be used to treat behavioral problems, such as aggressiveness or urine marking. Of course, it is always to be used with the vet's prescription.
Diazepam for cats dosage
Due to its uses, diazepam is often administered by the veterinarian via injection. It is often used as an emergency treatment. Once the cat is stabilized, it is switched to another type of oral medication that the caregiver can continue to give at home. Diazepam is usually limited to short treatments and can be given intravenously, intramuscularly or rectally by your vet.
The dosage will depend on the reason for the prescription. That is, this will vary depending on what you intend to treat. Dosages for seizures are not the same as anesthetizing the cat or stimulating their appetite. It also depends on the route of administration. It can be given as premedications where a single dose is prescribed or in several doses dependent on the evolution and weight of the animal, etc.
Likewise, there is no fixed duration for its use, but it will depend on each particular case with all the factors we have mentioned. Therefore, we should never administer diazepam to our cat on our own. It can only be prescribed by the veterinarian. They will also have to monitor the evolution of the animal and schedule its withdrawal in the case of prolonged treatments. This is because it is a drug that can create dependence. For this reason, you cannot stop administering diazepam abruptly.
If you consider administering diazepam to help your cat sleep because they are very nervous, active or you need to calm him down for whatever reason, this is not a good idea. In any of these cases, it is best to go to the veterinary clinic so that a professional can determine what happens to your cat. In addition, in this video you will find different ways to relax a cat, as long as they do not have any health problems:
Contraindications of diazepam for cats
Of course, diazepam should not be administered to a cat that has previously manifested a hypersensitivity reaction to this substance or we suspect they may be allergic. In addition, due to the mode of action of diazepam, great care must be taken with its joint administration with other drugs. Therefore, if our cat is receiving any medication and the veterinarian does not know it, we must notify them to avoid interactions that could alter the metabolism or the effectiveness of the drug.
On the other hand, diazepam cannot be given for a long time without strict veterinary supervision. Remember that in these cases dependence is possible. In addition, caution must be exercised when administering diazepam to cats:
- Of advanced age
- Very weakened, in shock or in a coma
- With kidney or liver damage
- Dehydrated or anemic
- In a situation of respiratory depression
- With obesity
- With glaucoma
- In pregnancy or during the lactation period
In the latter case, if the veterinarian decides to use it, the kittens will have to be closely monitored to detect early any signs of sedation that could interfere with the normal feeding of milk.
Side effects of diazepam for cats
Among the side effects of diazepam in cats are:
- Alterations in behavior (aggressiveness or hyperarousal)
- Liver damage (will manifest in depression, vomiting, anorexia and jaundice)
- Increased appetite
In these cases, the veterinarian will have to assess the modification of the treatment. Any other effect that we think is associated with diazepam also has to be reported to the veterinarian. Also, if diazepam is given too quickly intravenously, it can lead to decreased blood pressure, blood clots or heart problems.
Diazepam overdose in cats
Diazepam for cats given at a higher dose than the recommended dose can cause serious adverse effects, such as severe central nervous system depression. This can manifest in disorientation, decreased reflexes or coma. This condition is aggravated if the cat is consuming other drugs which act upon the CNS. Any of these signs is a reason for urgent consultation with the veterinarian, who will have to prescribe a support treatment. A drop in blood pressure and cardiorespiratory depression are also detected in some cats.
This article is purely informative. AnimalWised does not have the authority to prescribe any veterinary treatment or create a diagnosis. We invite you to take your pet to the veterinarian if they are suffering from any condition or pain.
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