How to give liquid medication to a cat

How to give liquid medication to a cat

Hi, my name is Dr. Uri Burstyn. I’m a veterinarian in Vancouver BC and I’d like to welcome you to my series
of practical skills for pet owners. Claudia and I are here to talk to you
today about a much requested topic of how to administer
liquid oral medication to cats. Now I already have a video on
how to give pills to cats but veterinarians often prescribe
liquid medications to felines and we’re gonna talk a little bit about why,
and then we’re gonna show you the how. But before we do that,
please hit like and subscribe below. And don’t forget to squish
that bell notification button so that you get updates whenever
I upload a video or do a live stream. And off we go! So Claudia, here is an awesome little cat. She can be quite wriggly though. And when it comes to medicating cats, when cats get sick, like all of us it’s really important to take
your medication on time and unfortunately,
not all cats understand this and not all cats are terribly cooperative
about taking their meds. And sometimes giving a
liquid form of a medication is much easier than giving a pill. Now this is not always the case. Some cats are easier to medicate by pill. Some cats are easier to medicate by liquid. It is just good to have options. Now there’s also,
just for general information, there’s a couple other ways
to get medication into a cat as well. Pills and liquid are the obvious oral routes. There are also transdermal formulations which are typically pastes
that you can actually rub, usually on any part of the skin
that doesn’t have hair, usually on the inside of the ear in cats. So usually on the inside of the ear in cats, right in there that will get absorbed They have their own pros and cons. There are palatable pastes that
some compounding pharmacies make. But giving those is essentially the same
as giving a liquid medication so you’ll be able to see
how to do that today. And of course, there’s also injections and other more technical ways of
getting meds into your patient, but the oral route is always the
simplest, easiest, and cheapest. and most of the time, with the majority of
cats, with a bit of practice, you can do it. Giving medication to a cat, whether it’s liquid, or pill,
or transdermal, is a skill. And like any other skill, it’s hard the first couple times you do it
and then it becomes easy. So you just stick with it, practice and I promise you that 99% of the time, unless you have that one in a hundred cat
that is just impossible to handle, you will find medicating them
to be easy and simple with just a little bit of know-how
and a lot of practice. So one way in which veterinarians
will try to make your life easier- I’m just gonna let Lancelot out. Mr. Lance wandered by. And like a proper cat he’s standing in
the doorway half in, half out of the room. Nope, nope, he now wants to be in the room. Don’t stare at Claudia. Get outta here. Bye Lance!
[Laughs] So here’s the tools you’ll need
to give your cat liquid medication. Now most vets will try
to make it easier on you and try to give you the smallest volume
of drug they can. This will be limited by two factors: One is just the concentration
of the medication and how little of a volume
you can get away with. The other one is the taste, because we often compound medications using some flavor or… to mask- -to mask the taste of the drug, one advantage of giving medications
in capsule or pill form is that often that they’re coated
and they don’t have any taste whereas medications and drugs
are often quite bitter or unpleasant-tasting otherwise. And when you do use liquid medications, you quite regularly have to
compound them into something. You know, chicken paste or even something simple as
glycerin syrup just to kind of mask the taste and texture
and make it a little bit more palatable, meaning to make it taste good enough
that a cat will take it without objecting to it. And usually you will get medication and you will get it in a bottle and
you’ll get either a 3 mil syringe or a 1 mil syringe to administer it. And it’s important to know the difference. So a 1cc syringe contains a maximum volume
of 1 mil of medication. And it’s broken up into 0.1 mil gradations. So this is half a mil, this is 1 mil, this is 0.1 mil. A 3cc syringe will have
a total volume of 3 mils. So this is 3 mils. You’ll probably never
give this much to a cat, because the problem with larger volumes
too is you get a lot of spillage and your drug administration isn’t as reliable. This is 1 mil, this is half a mil. This is a very small volume that you
should probably use a 1cc syringe for. So you have to know- You have to make sure you have
the right kind of syringe. Hopefully your veterinary team
will show you exactly how to use it. But these are the two kinds of syringes
you’re likely to come across when orally medicating cats. So we try to give you the smallest volume
possible to get the job done. And the next step is to draw up
the correct amount! I have a little kidney dish of water here
and I’m just gonna draw up… Let’s say around 0.2ccs.
Pretty easy volume to administer. Now like I said, one of the major issues with giving a larger volume
of liquid medication to a cat is you do get some spillage. The other thing to be aware of is,
because cats can often taste liquid meds, more than they will a capsule or pill, you may get this very alarming
foaming phenomenon. Now when cats taste something that
they find unpleasant or noxious, they can foam at the mouth
like a rabid dog. Just a dramatic, dramatic,
just salivate like crazy. The mouth foams. It looks terrifying to the owner. So sometimes I get owners calling me
like wondering what the heck happened. It’s not harmful. It’s not a bad thing It just means the cat tasted
something they didn’t like and they really object to it,
and so they just foam up. To avoid this happening, you just need to get the medication
to the back third of the tongue. Inevitably this happens when that bad tasting medication
hits the front of the tongue, and the cat reacts poorly to it, and then they may sort of avoid
medication in the future. So the trick here,
just like when giving the pill- and you can look at the
“How to give a cat a pill” video that I published some time ago
for cross reference- is always to get the medication,
whether it’s a pill or liquid, to the very, very back of the tongue. So… Now that we draw up our medication, we’re gonna position ourselves for success, and I feel this is a very, very important
principle in veterinary medicine. You always want to position yourself
for success. In this case, positioning yourself
for success means having your little cat
facing away from you. If you’re right-handed like me, you’re gonna use your left hand for cat, and your right hand for syringe. Usually I just hold it like this with my index finger Bigger syringe is just as easy.
Hold it like that. Gonna put this in the cat’s mouth
and you’re gonna give it the meds. Now the technique here is very, very
similar to “How to give a cat a pill”. You want them pointing,
looking up at the ceiling. You wanna deliver the medication
to the very very back of the throat, and then you want to close their mouth and point their chin at the ceiling
for a count of three. So allow me to demonstrate. Cat positioned. Now, I always sweep the whiskers back
and kind of hold them by their top lips. Medication in.
Back of the tongue. Squirt. One, two, three. Just like that, all done. Cat medicated. Like I said, it’s a skill. First couple of times you do it it’s
difficult and then it becomes easy. So let me demonstrate one more time. Whiskers swept back. Cat up. You work the pill- you work the syringe
into the side of the mouth. Just till they start opening.
Squirt to the back of the mouth. One, two, three. Stroke their little chin.
Easier to swallow. And medication has been administered. So that is how you give a cat liquid meds. Now honorable mention goes to
one particular medication that cats often get called buprenorphine. This is a very common painkiller used in cats. It also comes in liquid formulation but the cool thing about buprenorphine, is that it gets absorbed through
the mucous membranes of the tongue and the gums so a cat doesn’t even need to swallow it. And now when I give buprenorphine
I use exactly the same technique. But if you have a difficult to handle
or aggressive cat, Excuse me, Claudia.
You’re so difficult to handle. You can actually just kind of squirt it
in the side of their mouth. If you guess, you’d get away with
much sloppier administration than you do with most liquid meds. And in really angry cats, you can even wait for them
to open their mouth to hiss at you and you squirt it into their mouth. That’s something you often do in
the hospitals or in shelters when you’re working with really, really
anxious aggro cats. Not something that most owners
have to deal with but just so you know. Medications absorbs through
the mucous membranes you can just be a lot of sloppier
about administrating them and they’ll still do the job. So in terms of pitfalls there really
aren’t that many like I said before. If you hit the front of the tongue
and the medication doesn’t taste good, you will get this dramatic foaming effect. You might also just find the cat
will just drool out or spit out a portion
of the medication dose. This can be avoided by just giving the
liquid meds to the very back of the throat and just pointing that chin
at the ceiling for a count of three. Thank you very much, Claudia. You’ve been a really, really
generous little demonstration cat. Just done wonderfully. I’m gonna give you a little pat on
the bottom. Good cat. Good cat, yes. Squish you. Oh, yeah, of course if they’re wriggling
and trying to get away from you, you can squish them. But positioning yourself for success, again. I think I’m gonna close this video
with just emphasizing that again. Positioning your cat correctly
is the absolute key to having a good experience at this. Don’t try to do it with them
in any sort of angle, awkward angle where you’re reaching around them or
have to really, really contort yourself. You know, they’ll just back up and
you’ll lose the cat, you’ll lose the battle. Just try to have them- as close to
facing away from you as possible. it just really lets you be tucked into your
left arm if you’re right-handed like me. And this really lets you
just manipulate them and my right hand is ready for squishing
until I grab the med. Bam. Cat medicated. Well I hope you found that
to be educational and helpful. If you’d like to see more videos like this I would really appreciate your support which you can express by joining me on Patreon where I have a wonderful community of patrons already, or by getting some “squish that cat”
merchandise like this t-shirt. I also have mugs and a bunch of other stuff! So please support me. I look forward to making more videos
like this and until next time, have fun with your pets
and I’ll see you again.


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