Prozac and loss of appetite

tdonline

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I started my cats on 5mg of Prozac on Wednesday night.  I have noticed a dip in their appetites.  For one, she's eating at about 75% of her normal capacity so I'm not too worried about her.  Her sister though, is barely eating at all.  I know loss of appetite is a common side effect of the medication.  Is it a temporary one though?  Will appetites improve as the cats adjust to the drug?

I notice with the non-eater, she is skipping her wet food.  The only way I can get her to nibble is with things she's always viewed as treats--kibble, chicken flavored toothpaste (reward for taking the prozac pill), ham, etc.  So the taste buds seem to be there--she just doesn't want to eat very much.  
 

tulosai

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My first suggestion to you would be to call the vet that gave you the prescription and ask about this.  Obviously you already know that some loss of appetite is normal, but he will be able to best tell you if this is likely to improve and how far you should let this go before becoming worried.

I would not feed kitty flavored toothpaste.  While obviously the toothpaste is safe for cats to ingest some of, it shouldn[t be used as a food or a treat, but only as a toothpaste.

Regarding what else she is eating, how much kibble will she eat? Obviously, your goal probably is to get her back on a canned diet, but will she eat a healthy amount of kibble? If so, I'd just feed her that for a few days and then start trying to slowly reintroduce wet food by mixing a little with the kibble, then adding more. The most important thing right now is that she does eat- what is less important.

If she is only eating a bite or two of the kibble, I think it's unfortunately time to start thinking about force-feeding her.

Good luck.
 
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tdonline

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She is eating snack size portions of kibble every few hours--not enough but at least she's hasn't stopped eating completely.  I'm not crazy about skipping the wet food but this will have to do.  My vet returns to the office on Tuesday.  If she continues to graze, I think I can wait to call then.  I may give her some wet food slurry via a syringe to augment.

I usually do not give toothpaste as a treat--but for now it's what I have to do to get them to tolerate the prozac pills.  Pill pockets and cat treats have zero effect on my cats.  They sniff and walk away.  They like the non-cats stuff--ham, bonito flakes, dried pork flakes, etc.  I'll rotate these things with the toothpaste so they aren't eating the same 'treats' every day. I'm going to order gel capsules and a piller and hope these things will make the medicating process easier on felines and human.
 

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What about toppers like crushed kibble, parmesan cheese, bonito flakes, etc? When I say toppers, I mean on top of the canned? Sorry if I misunderstood your use of treats and have already tried this.

Also, and I certainly understand the concern about anorexia and its complications, but are they drinking water?
 
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tdonline

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Bonito flakes has long been my secret weapon--the fact Dory isn't responding is exasperating.  The prozac is definitely doing a number on her.  I use bonito flakes or a few kibbles to top off wet food and that's worked for years.

Josie is eating almost normally so I'm not too worried about her.  It is taking extra bonito flakes and kibble on top of the wet food--but she eats about 2/3 of it.  She then finishes the rest a little later. 

When Dory doesn't want to eat her wet food--she has perfected the art of picking up the flakes/kibbles/whatever treat off the wet food.

I don't think Dory is drinking.  I will syringe a bit extra water into her tonight.  She was just eating another snack serving of kibbles but stopped when Josie's crying distracted her.  

If there are any other powerful wet food additives, I'd love to know.  I'm a little circumspect with cheese as they have in the past vomited after eating the smallest amount of dairy.  
 
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tdonline

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Dory is drinking--she used the litterbox after I pilled her and there was good volume.  She is getting harder to pill though.  She spat out the pill twice before it finally went down.  She wasn't a happy camper ;(  I barely got a bit of water in her but thought it best to stop forcing things down her throat.

I hope the cap gels and piller works...
 
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tdonline

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I talked to the vet today and he said decreased appetite wasn't an unusual side effect initially.  He said to monitor until next week and if it continued, we would decrease the dosage.  But since I'm going away on a business trip, I wanted to decrease the dosage to 2.5mg today and he agreed.  I wasn't comfortable with them being alone and not eating enough.  I have a very good and knowledgeable cat friend checking in every day.  But without constant supervision, I'd rather lower the dosage and have them eat more.  

Hopefully at the lower dosage, they will still reap the benefits of the medication and still have their appetite.  
 
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ritz

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Hope your kitties feel better.
Ritz was on Prozac for FHS. Her appetite decreased and I was somewhat alarmed (Ritz lives to eat. Seriously.) Upon consulation with vet, I decreased her Prozac doseage and she regained her appetite within a few days. The lower dose was just as effective.
Note: Prozac can be compounded into a liquid with a flavoring agent added, like bubblegum or tuna/chicken. Pill pockets/cream cheese/butter/all three combined didn't work, so when I have to give Ritz drugs (antibiotics, anti-nausea meds) I insist that it be one that can be compounded into a flavored liquid.
If you can't get the Prozac compounded, then can you mix it with baby food (assuming it comes in a capusule form). You could also sprinkle FortiFlora on the food/drug. FortiFlora is a pro-biotic mixed with animal digest (the same chemicals they put on dry food).
 
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tdonline

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Thank you Ritz.  I'm going to be away for 4 days.  Hopefully, during that time, they will regain their appetite.  Thankfully, they are eating--so it's not a starvation matter but obviously, prolonged--it would be a serious issue.  I'm going to look up Fortiflora.  My cats, normally, much prefer dry food and it took/takes a lot to get them to eat wet food primarily.  So I'm always open to new ways to encourage them to eat wet food.
 
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tdonline

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The good news is the reduced dosage has resulted in a return of their appetites.  I would say they're eating at about 80% their usual volume.

The bad news is they're still fighting 
  It's been 13 days since they started Prozac.  I was really despondent when they were duking it out last night.  But I'll soldier on with prozac and hope for the best.
 
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tdonline

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I have no choice but to hang in there--it's a small apartment, they're going to have to live together.

It was just dispiriting to see them fight so badly after that long of a separation.  But I'm over the shock now and it's back to work.  What is disconcerting is seeing the little things they are doing. Dory is calm when I'm with her, but she also quietly lays on the bed and stares at the door (rather than hang out with me).  Or she sits silently closer to the door...she's obviously on guard.  That's when I question how much of an effect prozac is having on her.  She's not nuts, she's calm, but the territorial vibes are there.  Josie does the same to a lesser extent.  I periodically have to break their concentration.
 
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tdonline

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I can't say if the prozac is helping much but I have figured out a couple of ways to get them to take their meds.  So far they have taken their pills via ham balls made up of half pill pockets and small slivers of ham.  They don't care for pill pockets but love the ham.  I have to use the pill pockets in order to wrap the cut tablets. I place a sliver of ham on top of the cut pill pocket and roll it up into a ball.  More ham isn't necessarily better as you need enough of the pill pocket to roll into a ball and you can't do that with too much ham.  The trick is for the pill to not fall out while they chew.  I try to mitigate this by feeding the balls quickly.  One of my cats knows something is up but I distract her with additional slivers of ham.  So it's working but I expect for them to wise up one day.

So I tried a different method this morning and it worked well.  I gave my cats their first offering of liver pate a couple of days ago and they liked it enough.  Today, I placed the pill in a teaspoon of pate and they lapped it up.  I was a bit worried as I saw one pill exposed as one cat was lapping up the pate but she hoovered up the pill as she wiped the plate clean.

I'll probably alternate the two methods to prolong the acceptance duration.  When I travel, I'll ask the catsitter to use the easier 2nd method.
 
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tdonline

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By the way, I'm also using the forti flora.  It's working well for Josie but she's always had a pretty good appetite when it comes to wet food.  It's hit or miss with my pickier cat.  And she's the one who needs to eat more wet food.  Sigh.  In that sense it's no more successful than using kibbles or bonito flakes.  The latter two are much more cost-efficient though.  In any case, I'll add forti flora to my arsenal of wet food supplements.
 
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We've crossed the 3 week stage and still no improvement.  The only reason I'm sure they're not taking placebos are the side effects.  The eating issue has largely been resolved but I've noticed they don't urinate as often.  They normally go about 2x daily.  It seems like they go about once a day or every two days now.  Their defecation schedule has also changed.  I'm not sure if it's a litter box issue or a result of the prozac.

They are still separated but I've begun the process of the cats sighting each other.  I wonder if that is increasing their anxiety?  
 

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Can you post an update to your use of Prozac?  I just started three of my cats on it, and it's causing my Sophie to not eat.  They've only been on it two days, but I can't her to eat at all, so I'm taking her to the vet tomorrow.  I'm going to halve tonight's dose from 5 mg to 2.5 mg.
 
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tdonline

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Hey Lisa.  My cats experienced a number of side effects/changes when they started prozac at 5mg daily.  They overcame almost all of them and I even forgot about the loss of appetite issue and that I even started this thread. I started  dosing at a lower dosage and going from daily to every other day.  I also added more treats (kibble) and amping up the bonito flakes to the canned food.

When I restarted my cats on prozac this summer (they had a 2 month break), they didn't really have any issues with their appetite as I went with the every other day dosing right away..  And I think that probably helps a lot.  I also noticed urinary retention isn't as severe either.  This was another side effect that was really obvious when they first started prozac.  They still don't pee as often as they would off-prozac but it's a fairly minor change.

The only remaining side effect is constipation.  It's mild for one cat and pretty severe for the other.  For the mild sufferer--she actually poos more when she eats kibble.  So though I'm not happy about it, the cats get a little more kibble and smaller servings of wet food.  I think the crap/fiber combo in dry food regulates one of my cats.  For the other, she gets Cisapride every other day.  I'm running out, this reminds me to contact the vet...

I discovered the kibble helping one cat poo after returning from a trip.  My cat sitter kept a daily journal of the kitties' litterbox ways and since my cats are separated while I'm away, we know exactly who did what.  For the week while I was away, Josie, pooed 5 days out of 7.  And that floored me as prozac usually limits her to pooing about every other day, occasionally every 2 days.  The only thing I could think of that changed was their diet.  When I'm around, they eat almost exclusively canned food.  When I'm away, they eat one canned meal daily and lots more dry food.  So I started giving them more dry food on SOME days and sure enough, Josie became a little more regular.  I still can't bring myself to feed lots of dry food daily but I give enough so Josie goes every other day.  And this an acceptable threshold that mitigates the need for medication.  Unfortunately kibble doesn't do much for her sister, Dory other than to fatten her up.  Thus, she's on Cisapride.

And yes, they're on Miralax and get fish and coconut oil.  Probiotics doesn't work.  Slippery elm bark makes them sick.  They love grass but it actually slows their digestive system even more.
 

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Thanks so much for responding.  I started 3 of my 6 kitties on Prozac on Sunday--my timid, anxiety-ridden Sophie, and her two tormenters, Edgar and Jack.  The boys are doing fine, but Sophie has stopped eating and drinking, so we're going to the vet this morning.  The vet wants to run blood work (goodbye money!) to make sure there isn't something wrong.  I'm going to suggest starting her off on an even smaller dose (2.5 mg instead of 5) and maybe every other day, as you did.  Hopefully I can get her to eat and drink again soon, as she's 13 and so very small.  She doesn't have any weight she can afford to lose.
 
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tdonline

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I hope Sophie makes out okay.  Keep in mind prozac also takes a bit of time to work.  So it may be weeks or months before the cats feel the beneficial effects.  Or it may be that prozac isn't the right medication for Sophie.  If it works on the boys and lessens the bullying--Sophie is benefiting from prozac in a roundabout way.

Also wanted to add that if she's very small to begin with--5mg daily may be too of a shock.  Dory, who suffers from prozac-induced constipation, is almost 12 pounds and she couldn't handle 5mg daily.
 
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