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Famotidine for kidney disease.

Species: Cat
Breed: No specific bread. B
Age: 11-15 years
Coco had an ultrasound scan yesterday to confirm she has bilateral kidney cancer. She had lost nearly 2 kg in weight since before Christmas. The vet has told me, and i accept, not treatable. The vet has prescibed analgesia(applied to the lips) and also an antacid. I understand the reason for the antacid but it is very distressing for Coco to take this tablet. She is not eating at all today. Tried all tempting foods. She is drinking and passing urine. She is not very active at all-sitting on her bed by the window. MY QUESTION:Should I put her through the stress of the antacid? I feel since two visits to the vet, this week, she is very low in mood. Until yesterday she was behaving normally. But not today. When I walk in the room, her eyes say "leave me alone". I am a paediatric nurse, so I am used to medicating uncooperative patients.

Thanks you

Martha Worrell (Glasgow Scotland)


Online vet, Dr. Marie

Dr. Marie replied:

So sorry to hear that Coco has kidney cancer. This is definitely not good news.

The antacid that she is on is likely something called Famotidine (also known as pepcid). The reason why we give this to cats with kidney disease is that it helps to reduce some of the nausea that goes along with kidney disease. The kidneys are supposed to release toxins from our body. When they are not working properly, then toxins build up and they can cause nausea. Sometimes the Famotidine can help to reduce that nausea and therefore increase appetite.

My gut instinct is that this lack of appetite and the looks that says, "leave me alone" really has nothing to do with the antacid. It sounds to me like the kidney disease is getting worse. If this is the case, then forcing the antacid into her is not going to make a lot of difference either way.

You may want to talk to your vet about possibly administering subcutaneous fluids each day. I have had this help for a number of cats who are in kidney failure.

Additionally, famotidine (the antacid) can be given as a subcutaneous injection. It's possible that your vet would allow you to do this as you are a nurse.

But, I think we need to prepare ourselves that the behaviours that you are seeing today can be a sign that we are losing the battle.

I wish I had better news.

Dr. Marie.


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Disclaimer: Although Dr. Marie is a qualified veterinarian, the information found on this site is not meant to replace the advice of your own veterinarian. AskAVetQuestion.com and Dr. Marie do not accept any responsibility for any loss, damage, injury, death, or disease which may arise from reliance on information contained on this site. Do not use information found on this site for diagnosing or treating your pet. Anything you read here is for information only.

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Dr. MarieDr. Marie is a veterinarian who practices in a busy animal hospital in Ottawa, Ontario. She created Ask A Vet Question as a resource for good, accurate veterinary advice online. Dr. Marie treats dogs, cats, hamsters, guinea pigs, and rats. She has been a vet since 1999.

Is an online vet visit just as good as a trip to your veterinarian? No! But, many times, asking an online veterinarian a question can help save you money. While Dr. Marie can't officially diagnose your pet or prescribe medications, she can often advise you on whether a vet visit is necessary. You can also ask Dr. Marie for a second opinion on your pet's condition.