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FDA warns pet owners, veterinarians of NSAID toxicity from use of topical flurbiprofen
Three cats have died, others sickened after owners applied cream or lotion containing the anti-inflammatory drug.
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has issued a warning that even very small amounts of topical pain medication containing the nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drug (NSAID) flurbiprofen can cause illness and death in pets. The agency is encouraging veterinarians who have patients who show signs of NSAID toxicity to ask their clients if anyone in the household has used topical medications containing flurbiprofen.
The FDA says it has received reports of cats in two households that became ill or died after their owners used topical medications containing flurbiprofen. "The pet owners had applied the cream or lotion to their own neck or feet, and not directly to the pet, and it is not known exactly how the cats became exposed to the medication," the FDA states in a release.
In one household, two cats developed kidney failure and recovered with veterinary care, according to the FDA. Two cats in a second household developed signs that included reluctance to eat, lethargy, vomiting, melena, anemia and dilute urine. Both died despite care. The FDA says a third cat in the household also died after the owner stopped using the medication. Necropsies on all three cats found evidence of NSAID toxicity.
Veterinarians should encourage clients to take precautions with flurbiprofen medications, the FDA says. It recommends that pet owners do the following to prevent or reduce pet exposure:
> Store all medications safely out of the reach of pets.
> Safely discard or clean any cloth or applicator that may retain medication and avoid leaving any residues of the medication on clothing, carpeting or furniture.
> Consult your healthcare provider on whether it is appropriate to cover the treated area.
> If you are using topical medications containing flurbiprofen and your pet becomes exposed, bathe or clean your pet as thoroughly as possible and consult a veterinarian.
> If your pet shows signs such as lethargy, lack of appetite, vomiting or other illness, seek veterinary care for your pet and be sure to provide the details of the exposure.
The FDA has not received reports of dogs or other pets becoming sick in relation to the use of topical pain medications containing flurbiprofen; however, these animals may also be vulnerable to NSAID toxicity after being exposed to these medications.
Pet owners and veterinarians can report any adverse events to the FDA at fda.gov.