New Drug for Cats Terrified of Vet Visits


The Food and Drug Administration has approved a drug called pregabalin to alleviate a cat’s anxiety and fear associated with veterinary visits as well as car rides to the vet’s office. Used in people to ratchet down nerve pain and treat seizures, the drug (trade name Bonqat) is given to cats by mouth in liquid form with a syringe an hour and a half before the trip to the vet begins.

It’s not a miracle drug. In research, a little over half the cats had a good to excellent response during both transportation and the actual vet visit. But so did a third of those cats given placebo. On perhaps a more promising note, 77 percent of the cats studied showed improvement in levels of fear and anxiety over the course of the two physical examinations, compared to 46 percent of those cats given placebo. For those cats who are terrified of the vet and haven’t had relief with other drugs or approaches, it could be worth a try.

Note: Because pregabalin has the potential for abuse by people, it comes with a warning about addiction.


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