Can flea medication cause cats to lose weight?

CatChannel veterinary expert, Arnold Plotnick, DVM, discusses weight loss in cats.

Q: My 7-year-old cat, Bambi, who was the runt of the litter, has been losing weight over the past two months. Although he has always been a slim cat, I’ve noticed that his face looks a bit sunken and not as full as it should be. His back hip area appears thinner than usual. He eats well and drinks well. His bowel movements are good. I use Frontline® Plus on him. Because I don’t want Bambi to get the full dosage of the medicine, I split the dose with my other cat, Romeo. Knowing that it is a pesticide to ward off fleas and ticks, I worry about the side effects. What do you think is causing the weight loss?

A: You shouldn’t split the Frontline® Plus dosage. This is a very safe product. By splitting the dose, you may be compromising its effectiveness.

I’m much more concerned about the weight loss. It is not normal for a cat to lose weight despite having a normal appetite and thirst. Your cat should be examined by your veterinarian. If nothing obvious is detected during a physical examination, blood tests should be performed to rule out a metabolic cause for the weight loss, such as diabetes. If the blood tests do not reveal a cause of the weight loss, further diagnostics, such as an abdominal ultrasound or endoscopy, may be warranted. Inflammatory bowel disease, a treatable condition, is a common cause of weight loss in middle-aged cats.

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Behavior and Training · Cats