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Sulfasalazine to treat cats with IBD safe?

post #1 of 7
Thread Starter 
Hi, my 11 year old cat's been diagnosed with inflammatory bowel disease since about November of 2006 and has had persistent diarrhea since about October of 2006. He's gone from weighing over 20 pounds to about 8 pounds. He's been given prednisone, apo-metronidazole, and a cortizone shot all of which did not help control the diarrhea. The vet has now prescribed sulfasalazine, a quarter of a 500 mg pill once per day. I've read that this drug can be very toxic for cats but have also read that some vets use this medication frequently without negative results. I was wondering if anyone has given this drug to their cat and if there were any negative effects. Thanks.
post #2 of 7
In this type of situation get a second vets imput
post #3 of 7
I personally don't like sulfa drugs since they tend to have alot of side effects. I have used sulfadimethoxine of numerous cats and havn't had any problems though. Since the vet has already tried a bunch of other medications and they didn't work, he might just be resorting to this one hoping that it might help.
If you are worried at all, your best bet is to get a second opinion.
post #4 of 7
Several years ago, I gave Chloe sulfasalazine for her IBD, but she couldn't tolerate it. Here's a thread where I posted about how it affected her.

post #5 of 7
My cat has just been prescribed it, but I haven't yet started using it. The specialist vet I go to said that it is more often used in dogs than cats, but this is because steroids usually work so well in cats that it isn't necessary to use sulfasalazine, whereas steroids don't work as well in dogs.

Side effects can include stomach pain.
post #6 of 7
Yes, we tried Gabby on Sulfasalazine when she was first diagnosed with IBD 7 years ago. She didn't tolerate it well (made her vomit) so we had to re-think that plan. I have, however, heard that it is commonly tried with IBD cats because it is supposed to be a very effective antibiotic for intestinal issues--if the cat can tolerate it.

Gabby's IBD has been treated with Prednisone, (combined w/ Metronidazole on occasion), and a high-fiber food. It can take some pretty high doses of steroids for a couple of wks to get IBD under control initially--depending on the severity of the disease present........gradually tapering off to the lowest possible dose without causing a recurrence of symptoms. Pred & Metronidazole work very well together. Your cat's case sounds pretty severe with some substantial weight loss so you may need to talk to another vet to get a second opinion & formulate a new game plan as far as meds go. It was about a year before my cat's case of it was well under control--she was on high doses of Pred on and off for quite some time.

Good Luck!!
post #7 of 7
Thread Starter 
Thanks for the replies. I haven't tried the sulfa drug yet but am considering trying it once and going from there. If my cat does have a negative reaction, does the reaction usually stop when I stop giving the pill or can it persist for several days/weeks?
I am considering trying another vet. I have read about other drugs, mostly immunosuppresants and anti-diarrhea medications, that may be tried but my current vet hasn't mentioned them even when I asked him if there are other drugs that can be tried. The most common drugs next to Prednisone and Metronidazole seem to be azathioprine and cyclosporine, as there names appear most often. Has anyone tried these? What were your experiences with them?
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