Table 2:

Strategies for making medication ‘easy’ for carers

ProblemPossible solution/s
Giving oral medication is difficultAre other formulations available which may be easier for the carer? Some cats and owners find a liquid preparation easier than a tablet. For example, a recent survey of owners using Semintra (Boehringer Ingelheim) in their cat with CKD indicated a strong preference for a liquid formulation compared to their previous experience of administering tablets (Zimmering and others 2014, 2015)
Are there any palatable formulations available which may prove more popular with the patient? Look for products with an ISFM ‘Easy to give award’ as this may help identify palatable products
Is hiding the medication in a small amount of tasty food possible? Popular treats to hide medication in include butter, cheese, tuna, prawns and cat treats (eg, Greenies, Webbox)
Is parenteral treatment an option? For example, a patient needing extra potassium could receive this in their subcutaneous fluids (see section on hypokalaemia in the main text)
Separate medication from meal times where possible to avoid induction of a food aversion (cats associating stressful events with food may stop eating that food)
Consider having a different person responsible for medicating the cat to those responsible for feeding and other positive interactions
The patient is receiving multiple medications and this is difficult for the carerAs above, plus consider using empty gelatin capsules to contain two or more medications, if needed (Fig 4). If using gel caps, it is important to be aware of possible drug interactions, where known. For example, aluminium hydroxide and lanthanum carbonate phosphate binders may reduce absorption of H2-blockers like famotidine. If using this combination of medications, they should be administered two hours apart. Use of proton pump blockers and H2-blockers can make the phosphate binder calcium carbonate less effective, so this should be considered a possibility, where relevant. Where possible, phosphate binders should be given mixed with food or close to a meal time