Weight loss is a symptom of a variety of different diseases, including hyperthyroidism, kidney disease, liver disease, and intestinal disease. “Nearly all chronic diseases that creep up on cats cause insidious weight loss,” says Dr. Tasi, a homeopathic vet and owner of Just Cats Naturally. It is paramount that the underlying cause of weight loss is identified as early as possible in a disease process, which is why it’s so important to weigh your cat regularly. Depending on the size of your cat, visible changes to her weight may be far too subtle to notice without actually weighing her.
Getting sick cats to eat
Getting a sick cat to eat can be challenging. There are many natural ways to try to entice finicky eaters, and when all else fails, there are medications that stimulate the appetite. The problem with these medications is that they need to be taken orally, which can be difficult for cat parents whose cats are already not eating, and may be difficult to pill.
Now there’s a new transdermal drug on the market that has resulted in significant weight gain in as little as two weeks. Mirataz can be applied to the cat’s ear, where it is absorbed into the bloodstream. The active ingredient medication in Mirataz, mirtazapine, is not new. It is a human medication and has been used off label in pill or compounded form in cats.
Efficacy of transdermal medications
It’s important to understand that while many medications can be made into transdermal formulas, not all drugs are absorbed well via that route, and unless there are clinical trials that prove efficacy, you may not be giving your cat the medication you think you’re giving her. It is my understanding that the only transdermal medication that has been proven to be effective for cats to date is methimazole, which is given to cats who are hyperthyroid.
Mirataz: proven efficacy
In a clinical trial, Mirataz demonstrated a 3.9% increase in body weight in cats with unintended weight loss in as little as 14 days. 230 cats were enrolled in the field study to assess the clinical safety and effectiveness of the drug. Cats with underlying disease may have received concurrent medications. As with any medication, there were some side effects. The most common ones included application-site reactions, vocalization, hyperactivity, and vomiting (26% of the cats enrolled in the study had vomiting as a symptom at the time of enrollment.)
Mirataz is an appetite stimulant, and will not cure the underlying disease that is causing the weight loss.
Use caution with transdermal medications
When you use any transdermal medication on your cat, you need to be aware that you will absorb some of the medication through your own skin unless you take proper precautions. Wear gloves, and don’t handle the area where the medication was applied for a couple of hours after applying.
For more information about Mirataz, visit KindredBio.com. Mirataz requires a prescription from your veterinarian.