Be Careful with Flurbiprofen around Cats

In mid-April, the FDA issued a warning to pet owners about the dangers of flurbiprofen, a non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drug (NSAID) for humans.  It is used in some topical medications to treat muscle and joint pain.  The drug has been blamed for sickening or killing several cats.  I’m not sure if readers of this blog heard about this in April, but I think it bears repeating.

In two cases cited by the FDA, the cream or lotion was not applied directly to the cats.  Instead, it was used on the owners’ neck or feet.  Exactly how the cats became exposed isn’t known.  The two cases cited included two cats in one household that suffered kidney failure, but recovered with veterinary care.  Two cats in a second household that showed reluctance to eat, displayed lethargy, vomiting anemia and black, bloody stools went to a veterinarian, but ended up dying.  A third cat died after the owner stopped using the medication.  Autopsies found evidence of NSAID toxicity in the three cats’ kidneys and intestines.

Fluriprofen is a very potent NSAID that is not recommended for oral use in dogs or cats because of their extreme sensitivity.  Occasionally, the drug is prescribed for pets in eye drops, for some inflammatory eye conditions.  People using these medications should be very careful when applying them in a household with cats.  Even very small amounts could be dangerous to these animals.  Sometimes, fluriprofen cream is combined with other medications, like the muscle relaxer cyclobenzaprine, as well as other varying active ingredients, including baclofen, gabapentin, lidocaine, or prilocaine.