Mirtazapine is a medication used typically in the treatment of depression in humans. It is a member of the noradrenergic and specific serotonergic antidepressant class of drugs which is commonly abbreviated as NaSSA. It helps to treat depression by raising the levels of serotonin and noradrenalin within the brain. It also has action upon the H1 receptor in the brain. Its action at the H1 receptor site causes it to have sedative and hypnotic effects. In addition to these effects the activity of mirtazapine at the H1 site can increase feelings of hunger. In human applications this is often an undesirable effect as it can cause rapid weight gain. However, veterinary medicine has found that this effect of mirtazapine is desirable for increasing the appetites of dogs and cats in situations where their appetites are abnormally low.
Mirtazapine for cats
Many veterinarians have begun to prescribe mirtazapine for cats who have an abnormally low appetite due to other conditions. Mirtazapine is effective at eliminating nausea in addition to stimulating the appetite in cats. This is helpful as many times the loss of appetite in cats is due to nausea. With the nausea and loss of appetite eliminated cats are able to eat regularly. It is also used for stimulating the appetite in felines who have chronic kidney disease. Chronic kidney disease can cause a severe loss of appetite which can lead to starvation if not properly treated. Cats undergoing cancer treatment will also benefit from mirtazapine as this can help them to have enough of an appetite to gain back weight lost from the treatment.
Mirtazapine for cats dosage
Cats are usually given the lowest dosage of mirtazapine available twice a week. This is effective in stimulating appetite while limiting side effects. For especially small cats specialized dosages can be ordered from compound pharmacies but this is usually not necessary as toxicity is not an issue with the dosages of mirtazapine given to cats. Mirtazapine for cats side effects typically include drowsiness. The drowsiness is usually the greatest right after the medication is given to them. Due to the low dosage of mirtazapine given to cats the risk of serious side effects are minimal. If pet owners notice anything out of the ordinary they should take their cat to the veterinarian immediately.
Mirtazapine for dogs
Mirtazapine is used for dogs in pretty much the same way as it is used for cats. Often it is given to dogs with stomach disease or renal failure in order to stimulate appetite. It is also effective in stimulating the appetite of dogs who are undergoing cancer treatment. Dogs with kidney or liver problems may also experience a loss of appetite which can be treated with mirtazapine.
Mirtazapine dosage for dogs
Dogs are typically given mirtazapine once daily at the lowest dosage. This should be effective for even the larger breeds of dogs, but is ultimately up to the discretion of the veterinarian treating the dog. Smaller dogs may be given the dosage of mirtazapine less frequently. Mirtazapine for dogs side effects usually consist of sedation and drowsiness. If given along with other drugs it can cause serotonin syndrome. This is dangerous and may be indicated by increased activity in the dog.