Why Should My Cat Take Clopidogrel?

As cat owners, we all feel concerned when our furry friends are diagnosed with a condition that requires medication. One such medication that may be prescribed to cats at risk of forming clots or recovering from the effects of a clot is clopidogrel. In this article, we’ll explore why this medication is needed, how it works, and what you need to know about its administration and potential side effects.

What is Clopidogrel?

Clopidogrel, also known by its brand names, is an anti-platelet drug that targets platelet cells in your cat’s bloodstream. Platelets are small cells that help blood to clot by attracting other platelets and sticking together. However, in certain health conditions, cats may be more prone to forming unnecessary clots. These abnormal clots can break off and lodge in narrow parts of blood vessels, restricting blood flow and causing pain and injury. Clopidogrel works by reducing the ability of platelets to stick together, thus preventing the formation of these harmful clots.

Why is it Needed?

The prevalence of thromboembolism, the formation of clots in cats, is relatively high compared to other species. This is often due to heart disease, particularly hypertrophic cardiomyopathy (HCM), which enlarges the left atrium chamber of the heart and increases the risk of clot formation. Other less common causes include infection of the heart valves and lung tumors.

The most common place for a clot to get stuck is in the aorta, typically at the level of the cat’s pelvis. This can lead to paralysis of one or both hindlimbs, intense distress, and sudden onset. Clots can also lodge in the brachial arteries of the forelimbs, lungs, brain, or other parts of the body.

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To reduce the risk of thrombus formation, cats diagnosed with certain types of cardiac disease may be prescribed clopidogrel. It may also be used as part of the treatment plan for cats with existing clots. Studies have shown that clopidogrel significantly reduces the likelihood of arterial thromboembolism compared to the use of aspirin.

Administration and Side Effects

Clopidogrel is usually given orally in tablet form, once a day. The prescribed dose is typically less than one tablet per day, so always follow the directions provided by your veterinarian. Some cats may experience a bitter taste, causing excessive salivation. If this happens, the tablet can be placed inside a plain gelatine capsule for easier administration.

Regarding side effects, some cats may experience an upset stomach, resulting in poor appetite, vomiting, or diarrhea. However, these symptoms are usually mild and can be alleviated by giving the medication with food instead of on an empty stomach.

It’s important to note that anti-clotting medications, including clopidogrel, carry a risk of bleeding and anemia. While these side effects are rare, it’s crucial to be aware of potential signs such as bruising, blood in stools or vomit, and breathing difficulties. If you suspect your cat is experiencing any side effects or having an adverse reaction, contact your vet immediately. Additionally, inform your vet if your cat is taking any other medications, supplements, or herbal remedies.

What if There’s an Error in Dosing?

If you accidentally give the wrong dose of clopidogrel to your cat, there’s no need to panic. Simply continue with the correct dose the next day and avoid doubling up on doses if one was missed. However, if you have administered an excessive amount of clopidogrel, contact your veterinary surgeon for advice. Depending on the situation, your cat may be monitored at home or require further treatment at the veterinary clinic.

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In Conclusion

Clopidogrel is an essential medication for cats at risk of forming unwanted clots or recovering from a thrombic event. With its anti-clotting properties, it helps prevent the formation of harmful clots and reduces the risk of thromboembolism. Remember to follow the prescribed dosage and keep an eye out for any potential side effects. If you have any concerns or questions about this medication or any other prescribed to your pet, don’t hesitate to consult your vet.

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