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434-985-7924

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Acetaminophen (Tylenol, Percoset, aspirin-free Excedrin, various sinus, cold, and flu medications)


Cats are more sensitive, because they have a limited ability to metabolize acetaminophen

Just ONE 250mg tablet can be FATAL to a cat!

PROMPT VETERINARY CARE IS CRUCIAL TO SURVIVING

SIDE EFFECTS SEEN INCLUDE:

  • Severe liver failure
  • Damage to red blood cells: Hemolysis (destruction), formation of Heinz bodies (defects causing cells to be destroyed sooner), formation of methemoglobin (non-functional type of hemoglobin which doesn't allow red blood cells to carry oxygen, leading to trouble breathing)
  • Occur in stages
    • Stage 1 (0-12 hours after consumption):
      • Vomiting
      • Brown/Pale/white/blue gums
      • Difficulty breathing
      • Drooling/salivation
      • Weakness
      • Increased tear production
      • Increased itchiness
      • Red/brown colored urine
    • Stage 2 (12-24 hours after consumption)
      • Swelling of face, lips, limbs
      • Uncoordinated movements
      • Coma
    • Stage 3 (24+ hours after consumption)
      • Liver failure
      • Painful abdomen
      • Jaundice (yellowing of gums, eyes, skin)
      • Inappropriate mental state
      • DEATH

TREATMENT:

  • Bloodwork can be done to determine how long treatment will be necessary
  • Hospitalization with I.V. fluids (generally 2-4 days)
  • Oxygen support (because of decreased ability of cells to carry oxygen to tissues)
  • Liquid activated charcoal to slow absorption (needs to be repeated every few hours)
  • Acetylcysteine (Mucomyst) to protect the liver from toxic effects (CANNOT reverse any damage that's already been done)
  • Vitamin C to help hasten the elimination of acetaminophen
  • Cimetidine (Tagamet) to protect the liver from ongoing damage
  • +/- blood transfusions
  • +/- feeding tubes

Prognosis is based upon how quickly treatment is administered, if liver damage is severe enough, the pet may not survive despite being treated

Permanent liver damage and subsequent lifelong treatment and monitoring

Death can occur in cats in 18-36 hours due to methemoglobin

Death can occur in dogs in 2-5 days due to liver damage

Sign up using the form or call 434-985-7924 to make your appointment.

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