Kaopectate for Cats

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Kaopectate ® Reformulation Contains Salicylates: Caution for Cats

Kaopectate ® is a very popular over-the-counter anti-diarrhea treatment for humans. Pet owners have frequently used Kaopectate ® for cats and dogs, often without the recommendation of a veterinarian. Originally, Kaopectate ® was a combination of kaolin and pectin, which had adsorbent and protectant properties, but was later reformulated to contain attapulgite, an inert clay aluminum. The formulation was recently changed again, and Kaopectate ® now contains bismuth subsalicylate (which is chemically related to aspirin), and may cause salicylate poisoning in cats that are overdosed.

   In the past, veterinarians have recommended the previous formulation of Kaopectate ® off-label to treat diarrhea in cats and dogs. However, the new formulation may exceed the range of recommended salicylate dosages that have been published for cats (10 mg/kg every other day to 25 mg/kg every day). A tablespoon of reformulated Kaopectate ® contains 130 mg salicylate, and extra-strength Kaopectate ® contains approximately 230 mg salicylate. A tablespoon of extra-strength Kaopectate ® given to a 5-pound cat would yield approximately 100 mg/kg salicylate and would likely result in toxicosis, says Dr. Steve Hansen, a diplomate of the American Board of Veterinary Toxicology and director of the ASPCA’s Animal Poison Control Center.

DVM Newsmagazine 1/1/04


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