My Cat Ate Venlafaxine What Should I Do? (Reviewed by Vet)

Reviewed By Emma Chandley, BVetMed MRCVS PGCertSAS •  Updated: 02/18/23 •  3 min read
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Cat Ate Venlafaxine

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Many of us take various prescription medications for different types of illnesses and conditions. If we have pets, then it’s imperative to prevent them from gaining access to these medications. However, accidents will happen, and a cat (or dog) may somehow gain access to our medicine.

Has your cat eaten venlafaxine? Are you worried venlafaxine will make your cat sick? If so, then you’ve come to the right place.

We understand it can be scary when our feline friends eat something they shouldn’t. In this article, we’ve put together some information about venlafaxine and whether or not it can make your cat sick. Let’s get started!

It is strongly recommended to contact a Pet Poison Helpline or your veterinarian.

What is Venlafaxine?

Venlafaxine is a prescription medication that’s used to treat depression, nerve pain, generalized anxiety disorder, and social anxiety disorder. This medication may also go by the name Effexor. This medication is usually prescribed in tablet or capsule form. And it’s available in immediate-release and extended-release forms.

This medication is called a serotonin-norepinephrine reuptake inhibitor (SNRI), and it works by increasing levels of serotonin and norepinephrine in the brain. This is how it eases depression and anxiety symptoms.

While this medication can help humans, what happens if a cat ingests venlafaxine?

Venlafaxine & Cats

This medication is toxic to cats. The ASPCA  claims that cats will readily eat capsules of venlafaxine, this means that Venlafaxine is a common cause of poisoning in cats. If your cat has ingested venlafaxine, then call the vet immediately. Keep in mind that if your cat has eaten an extended-release version of this medication, symptoms may not show up for 6-8 hours after ingestion.

Don’t wait for symptoms to appear. Call the vet if you know your cat has eaten this medicine.

Symptoms of Venlafaxine Ingestion in Cats

You may notice these symptoms if your cat has ingested venlafaxine:

If you notice any of these symptoms in your cat, call the vet immediately. This is a medical emergency.

Treatment of Venlafaxine Ingestion in Cats

There’s no specific treatment for ingestion of venlafaxine ingestion in cats. So, the vet will provide supportive treatment such as IV fluids, medications to treat symptoms as they arise, and possibly an antihistamine if your cat develops serotonin syndrome (too much serotonin).

The vet may also try to induce emesis if you present within an appropriate time window. They may also treat your cat with activated charcoal to help keep your cat’s body from absorbing the medication.

The vet will also closely monitor your cat’s blood pressure and breathing rates and watch for signs of tremors and seizures.

It is possible for a cat to survive after ingesting venlafaxine; however, they must be treated by a veterinarian as soon as possible after eating the medication.

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Emma Chandley, BVetMed MRCVS PGCertSAS

This article has been reviewed and approved by an independent Veterinarian: Emma graduated from the Royal Vet College in London in 2011. She has a keen interest in surgery and went on to do a post graduate certificate in small animal surgery and was then awarded advanced practitioner status in the same discipline.

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