Nav: Home

Minitablets help medicate picky cats

March 22, 2017

Of all pets, cats are often considered the most difficult ones to medicate. Very small minitablets with flavours or flavour coatings can help cat owners commit to the treatment and make cats more compliant to it, while making it easier to regulate dosage and administer medication flexibly.

In her dissertation, Jaana Hautala, MSc (Pharmacy), is seeking solutions for facilitating the medication of cats. In order for the oral medication of pets to succeed, the animal must enjoy the taste of the medicine and find it appealing. Palatability is essential both in acute cases and in the treatment of chronic illnesses which require regular, constant medical treatment. Successful treatment of pets is also necessary to ensure the health and wellbeing of humans, communities and the environment.

- Improving palatability through minitablets and synthetic flavourings and coatings tailored for animals improves both the owner's commitment to the treatment and the cat's compliance. They also facilitate the dosage of the medicine and make the administration of the treatment more flexible in the treatment of cats and other pets, says Hautala.

Cats place many demands on their medicine

Of all pets, cats are often considered the most difficult ones to medicate. Both cats and dogs are popular pets, but there are many differences between the two. In terms of oral medication, the most important difference has to do with the preferred foods, eating habits and taste preferences of the two animals. While dogs are omnivores, cats are almost exclusively carnivorous.

Another factor making the treatment of cats more difficult is the fact that few registered drugs have been tailored and made palatable specifically for cats. This means that veterinarians often have to resort to canine drugs to treat cats, and adjusting the dosage to suit the much smaller animal may be challenging for the pet owner. In addition, if cats find the taste, smell, shape or mouthfeel of the drug unpleasant or repulsive, they will refuse the medication, making the administration of the drug more difficult and possibly leading to the complete failure of the treatment altogether.

In search of the optimal taste and smell

In her research, Hautala sought a solution for commercially manufactured, palatable minitablets for the oral treatment of domestic cats in a convenient, flexible manner. The goal was to improve the palatability of the treatment as well as the comfort and treatment compliance of the animals and to boost the commitment to the treatment.

At first, Hautala studied how palatable different types of placebo tablets were to cats. The results were encouraging, particularly since the study involved typical domestic cats and their owners, and the administration of the tablets took place at home, meaning it corresponded to a real-world treatment situation. The study established that domestic cats found the minitablets more palatable than food that was known to be disliked by the pet. However, the results indicate that the flavour and odour of the minitablets must be improved. The fact that the cat owners found the minitablets easy to handle is also significant.

In the second part of the study, synthetic flavourings were used to improve the taste and smell of the minitablets. In the study, Hautala found that potential flavourings for further studies on minitablets could include amino acids, which are known as meat flavour precursors, as well as vitamin B, which is plentiful in yeast extract.

Hautala also studied new flavour coatings and the suitability of atomic layer deposition (ALD) for coating minitablets and improving their palatability. Of the flavourings in the study, substances commonly used as synthetic meat flavours could be considered particularly appropriate for further studies on minitablet coatings. ALD is a promising method, but its use as a pharmaceutical coating is challenging, so further research is required.

Hautala's results are hoped to support cost-effective research and the development of palatable feline medications.
-end-


University of Helsinki

Related Medication Articles:

ADHD medication: How much is too much for a hyperactive child?
When children with ADHD don't respond well to Methylphenidate (MPH, also known as Ritalin) doctors often increase the dose.
Pain medication use by children after common surgeries
About 400 caregivers reported pain medication use by children after common surgeries such as hernia, elbow fracture, appendectomy or adenoid removal in this study.
Bringing cancer medication safely to its destination
Treating cancer more selectively and more effectively -- this could be achieved with an innovative technology developed by teams of researchers at the Leibniz-Forschungsinstitut für Molekulare Pharmakologie (FMP) and the Ludwig-Maximilians-Universität München (LMU).
Bullying linked to student's pain medication use
In a school-based survey study of all students in grades 6, 8, and 10 in Iceland, the use of pain medications was significantly higher among bullied students even when controlling for the amount of pain they felt, as well as age, gender, and socioeconomic status.
New medication gives mice bigger muscles
Researchers from Aarhus University, Denmark, have studied a new group of medicinal products which increase the muscle- and bone mass of mice over a few weeks.
Diabetes medication may protect against a common cause of blindness
Researchers from Taiwan have shown that people with type 2 diabetes who took a common diabetes medication, metformin, had a significantly lower rate of age-related macular degeneration (AMD).
Apps a timely reminder for those on heart medication
New research from the University of Sydney shows mobile apps could potentially save lives by helping people with coronary heart disease keep on top of their medication.
What are the trends in prescription medication use among US children and teens?
Estimates of prescription medication use by US children and adolescents declined overall from 1999 to 2014 and patterns of use varied by medication class.
Do the elderly want technology to help them take their medication?
Over 65s say they would find technology to help them take their medications helpful, but need the technology to be familiar, accessible and easy to use, according to research by Queen Mary University of London and University of Cambridge.
Dementia diagnosis linked to unnecessary medication use
A new international study led by University of Sydney has found that medication use increases in newly diagnosed dementia patients, particularly unnecessary or inappropriate medications.
More Medication News and Medication Current Events

Top Science Podcasts

We have hand picked the top science podcasts of 2019.
Now Playing: TED Radio Hour

In & Out Of Love
We think of love as a mysterious, unknowable force. Something that happens to us. But what if we could control it? This hour, TED speakers on whether we can decide to fall in — and out of — love. Guests include writer Mandy Len Catron, biological anthropologist Helen Fisher, musician Dessa, One Love CEO Katie Hood, and psychologist Guy Winch.
Now Playing: Science for the People

#542 Climate Doomsday
Have you heard? Climate change. We did it. And it's bad. It's going to be worse. We are already suffering the effects of it in many ways. How should we TALK about the dangers we are facing, though? Should we get people good and scared? Or give them hope? Or both? Host Bethany Brookshire talks with David Wallace-Wells and Sheril Kirschenbaum to find out. This episode is hosted by Bethany Brookshire, science writer from Science News. Related links: Why Climate Disasters Might Not Boost Public Engagement on Climate Change on The New York Times by Andrew Revkin The other kind...
Now Playing: Radiolab

An Announcement from Radiolab