Don’t Fear, Sucralfate for Cats is Here!

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Sucralfate for Cats 

Vets often prescribe the off-label use of sucralfate for cats for gastrointestinal ulceration or erosion. Sucralfate creates a protective barrier over an ulcer and prevents gastric acids or intestinal content from coming into contact with the affected area. 

This action enables the mucosal lining of the gastrointestinal tract to recover faster and alleviates pain associated with ulcers.

Cat in the nature

How Does Sucralfate Work in Felines?

Sucralfate falls into the gastroprotection medication category and helps treat ulcerated mucosal linings in the upper gastrointestinal tract. It acts locally on lesions which means it does not need to be absorbed into the bloodstream to be effective.  

Sucralfate’s exact mechanism of action is unknown. The research proposes that ulcerative lesions exude a protein called albumin, and sucralfate binds to the protein to form a protective film that inhibits the diffusion of hydrogen ions.

The film creates a barrier between the exposed mucosal lining and acidic gastric secretions, pepsin, and bile byproducts.

Owners must administer the medication orally; a single dose is effective for up to six hours. The healing time of an ulcer ranges from two to eight weeks, depending on the cause and depth of ulceration. 

Veterinarians prescribe sucralfate to cats with gastritis secondary to conditions such as chronic renal failure, adverse drug side effects, or acid reflux. 

Administering Sucralfate to Your Cat

Sucralfate comes in a tablet form or a liquid suspension. Sucralfate cat dosing presents owners with difficulties as cats do not like oral medication. They tend not to eat food that contains medication, so it is essential to learn how to properly administer oral medication to ensure you can comply with your veterinarian’s dosing schedule. 

Frequently Asked Questions About Sucralfate

Can sucralfate be crushed?

Yes, you can crush sucralfate. It is best to use a pestle and mortar, or owners can place the tablet in some cellophane or between two pieces of paper, apply pressure with a rolling pin to crush it and then place the powder into a bowl.

Can I dissolve sucralfate in water?

Yes, owners can dissolve sucralfate tablets in lukewarm water after being crushed and administered with a syringe.

Sucralfate for Cats – Dosage Instructions

Doses range from 0.01 to 0.18 ounces (0.25 to 0.5 grams) for cats. The attending veterinarian will determine the dose according to the cat’s weight. 

Prepare the medication and the items needed before restraining your cat, ensuring the most efficient medication administration. Sucralfate is an oral medication most effective when given on an empty stomach. One hour before meals is an ideal time to give the medicine.

Place the cat on your lap or wrap the cat in a towel or blanket to gain proper restraint and avoid injuries. If a spare pair of hands are available, enlist their help as administering medication to a cat is complex by yourself.

Once the cat is secure, hold the syringe with the medication with your dominant hand. See if the cat will lick the syringe while slowly depressing the plunger. 

If the cat resists the medication, you can gently hold the cat around the back of the head and tilt the neck back to allow the mouth to open slowly. Place the syringe tip behind the canines in the gap and angle the syringe horizontally to the teeth. This angle ensures that medication disperses onto the tongue and not into the back of the throat.

Do not give the medication too quickly as it may forcefully enter the throat, and the cat may inhale the liquid.   

When the symptoms subside, it is still essential to complete the entire course to avoid recurrence or partial healing. Only stop the medication if the cat develops adverse effects.

Store sucralfate in the original container at room temperature 59 to 86°F (15 to 30°C), protected from direct sunlight. 

How to Make a Sucralfate Slurry for Cats

A sucralfate slurry preparation is an easy way to dose cats. The slurry is stable at room temperature for two weeks and passes well through a syringe or a nasogastric tube.

Steps to make a sucralfate slurry:

  1. Break the 1 g tablet with a knife into the correct size required for your cat. Crush the tablet and place the powder into a small bowl.
  2. Measure 0.18 to 0.35 ounces (5 to 10 ml) of warm water and mix the tablet with lukewarm water to form a paste. 
  3. Aspirate the fluid into a syringe and administer it to the patient.
Small cute cat

Sucralfate for Cats Side Effects

There are few side effects associated with sucralfate. The most common side effect reported is constipation. Some cats also experience vomiting after sucralfate; loss of appetite occurs if cats develop a dosing aversion after vomiting.

If your pet experiences severe vomiting, inflamed gums, or diarrhea, it may be allergic to sucralfate. If these symptoms ensue, stop administering the medicine and seek your vet’s advice. 

Possible Feline Sucralfate Interactions

Sucralfate impairs the absorption of other medications, so vets advise that it is dosed separately from other medicines. Patients on concurrent aluminum-containing antacids should not use sucralfate, especially if they suffer from renal impairment.

Discuss all medication your pet is taking with your attending veterinarian to enable your vet to determine a proper dosage regime. Tetracyclines, digoxin, and cimetidine may have adverse effects, and owners should not dose these medicines simultaneously with sucralfate.

How Long Does it Take for Sucralfate to Work on Cats?

Sucralfate should begin to provide relief within one to two hours of administration. The effects of the medication may take longer to show in some cats. Owners are encouraged to monitor stool color, frequency, and consistency.  

How Much Does Sucralfate Cost?

The average retail price for the sucralfate 1g (0.04oz) formulation is around $29.41 for brand products, but generic products are available. Some online websites even offer rates as low as $14.32. 

What to do When You Miss a Dose

A missed dose will not set your pet back in its treatment regime, but it is important not to administer a double dose. Check when the next dosage is due, and if it is within 4 hours of the next scheduled dose, then wait those few hours and administer the dosage as per the regular schedule. 

Do not administer double doses, as this may cause adverse effects. Follow your veterinarian’s recommended treatment duration to ensure your pet receives the full benefits from the medication.

Cat in different colors

Final Words

Sucralfate for cats offers relief for pets suffering from gastrointestinal discomfort caused by ulcers. The alleviation of pain improves a sick cat’s appetite and also affords them a more comfortable recovery.

Sucralfate has very few side effects but can be tricky to administer. If your vet prescribes sucralfate for your cat, follow the dosing schedule for the entire prescription to ensure the ulcer heals fully. 

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Dr. Kaylee Ferreira, a South African vet from Johannesburg, excels in diverse veterinary roles. Founder of Kubuntu Veterinary Services, she's a dedicated animal lover and adventurer.