FDA warns of pet illnesses from topical NSAIDs

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Three cats died and two more were sickened in the past several years from exposure to owners’ topical NSAIDs, and Food and Drug Administration officials are warning about the risks.

An FDA alert published in April attributes the deaths and illnesses to flurbiprofen, which is used in humans to treat muscle and joint pain. The cats were from two homes, and in both cases, the owners had applied the lotions to their own skin.

“Understand that, although the FDA has not received reports of dogs or other pets becoming sick in relation to the use of topical pain medications containing flurbiprofen, these animals may also be vulnerable to NSAID toxicity after being exposed to these medications,” the alert states.

Necropsies on three of the cats, which all came from one of the homes, revealed gastrointestinal and renal damage indicating NSAID toxicosis, FDA information states. The other two cats recovered following treatment for kidney failure.

The alert states that veterinarians who see clinical signs consistent with NSAID toxicosis should ask clients whether household members use topical pain medications containing flurbiprofen. The alert also tells pet owners to seek veterinary care if their pets have clinical signs such as lethargy, lack of appetite, or vomiting.

Information for clients is available here.