Activated charcoal for cats - Uses and dosage

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Activated carbon is a product that should be kept on hand when living with animals, in fact, it is recommended that it always be included in the first aid kit. This is mainly due to the fact that activated carbon is used to treat poisonings.

Specifically, in this AnimalWised article we will explain how to use the activated charcoal for cats, in which cases it is administered, what is the most appropriate dosage and, in general, everything you need to know about activated charcoal.

You may also be interested in: Activated charcoal for dogs - Dosage and uses Index
  1. What is activated charcoal?
  2. Uses of activated charcoal for cats
  3. How to make an intoxicated cat vomit?
  4. Activated charcoal dosage for cats
  5. Contraindications of activated charcoal for cats
  6. Side effects of activated charcoal in cats

What is activated charcoal?

Activated carbon, also known as activated carbon, is obtained from different materials, so, depending on these and the technique used in its preparation, it will present different characteristics. Although, without a doubt, the main one is its enormous capacity to absorb different substances thanks to its micro-pore structure.

This property is the one that gives rise to its best known use, which is the treatment of poisonings. Although colloquially we speak of absorption, in reality the chemical process that takes place is known as adsorption, which is the adhesion between atoms, ions or molecules of gases, liquids or solids that are dissolved on a surface. Thus, activated charcoal for cats will be effective when the ingested substance is in the stomach.

Uses of activated charcoal for cats

Without a doubt, activated charcoal for poisoned cats it is going to be the most frequent use of this product, although it has other applications. Thus, it is possible to use it, always following the veterinarian's prescription, to treat some digestive problems, as when activated charcoal is prescribed for diarrhea in cats.

In any case, its use is due to its great capacity to absorb other substances. This is what explains the use of activated charcoal to detoxify cats, since it would work by joining toxic products, preventing them from being absorbed by the body. But it must be taken into account that the effectiveness will also depend on the substance that the cat has ingested or the time it takes to start treatment.

Seeing how it works, logically, if we administer it when the cat's organism has already absorbed the poison, it will not have any benefit. Therefore, if we discover our cat consuming a toxic product or we suspect that it is poisoned, before giving it anything we must call the vet to tell us how to proceed. Especially because before using activated carbon you must induce vomiting, and this action is not recommended in all cases because with some substances it would be counterproductive.

How to make an intoxicated cat vomit?

On the internet there are different formulas to induce vomiting in cats. The most widespread is hydrogen peroxide in a concentration of 3%, administering half a tablespoon and being able to repeat the dose once more if after approximately 15 minutes it has not had an effect..

But some authors point out that hydrogen peroxide can cause hemorrhagic gastritis in cats and salty water, which is another remedy that is usually recommended, hypernatremia, which is an elevation of sodium concentration in the blood. That is why the only sure way to make your cat vomit is go to a veterinary center[1].

Activated charcoal dosage for cats

Once the cat has vomited, activated charcoal can be given according to the manufacturer's instructions and the weight of the animal. It can be purchased in tablets, liquid or powder to dilute in water, which is the most recommended and effective presentation. In general, the dose ranges between 1-5 g per kg of weight, in the case of tablets, or 6-12 ml per kg, if it is the suspension. It can be given more than once if the veterinarian so considers it or administered by gastric tube.

If we supply it to the cat at home, we must also go to the vet, since it is the professional who has to assess the general condition of the cat and complete the treatment, which will be aimed at eliminating the toxic as much as possible, as well as controlling the signs that the animal presents.

On the other hand, in cases where activated charcoal is to be used as part of the treatment of digestive disorders, the professional will have to decide the most appropriate dose according to the cat's situation..

Contraindications of activated charcoal for cats

We have seen how effective activated charcoal can be for cats, especially in cases of poisoning, although you should always consult your veterinarian. But, sometimes, from the outset, activated carbon is not used because it is not advisable to induce vomiting, as in the following cases:

  • When the ingested product is cleaning, derived from petroleum or the label indicates that vomiting should not be induced. Wounds in the mouth can make us suspect that the cat has ingested a corrosive poison, in which case it should not be made to vomit.
  • The cat has already vomited.
  • Is practically unconscious.
  • Breathe with difficulty.
  • Shows signs of neurological disturbances, such as incoordination or tremors.
  • Is very weakened.
  • The ingestion has taken place more than 2-3 hours ago.
  • Active carbon is not effective with all substances. For example, heavy metals, xylitol, and alcohol do not bind to it. It is also not recommended if the cat is dehydrated or has hypernatremia..

Side effects of activated charcoal in cats

In general, activated charcoal has no side effects because the body does not absorb or metabolize it. Of course, it will be removed in feces, so we can see that these will be black color, being totally normal.

Nevertheless, in case of not administering it well, especially with syringe, the cat could aspirate it, which could cause:

  • Pneumonia.
  • Hypernatremia.
  • Dehydration.

This article is merely informative, at we do not have the power to prescribe veterinary treatments or make any type of diagnosis. We invite you to take your pet to the vet in the event that it presents any type of condition or discomfort.

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