Prazosin for Cats

Prazosin for Cats

General information and indications 

It is a drug used to treat blood pressure, congestive heart failures, and in cats, spasm of the urethra. It works by causing the blood vessels vasodilate making it easier for blood to flow through the blood vessels thus reducing the blood pressure and reducing the workload on the heart. High blood pressure in cats is manageable through prazosin but do not cure the underlying medical condition. Prazosin is not available with vet pharmaceutical manufactures but compounded by a specialty pharmacy for use in animals. The drug is not approved by the FDA for use in animals. It is an effective drug for suppressing posttraumatic stress disorder in humans. It is approved for use by military men after or during military operations and in some civilian cases to relieve nightmares and hallucinations. 

How to administer prazosin to cats

We have seen that the FDA has not approved this drug for use in animals but you can follow your vet’s directions anyway. If you forget to give a dose to your cat, seek guidelines from your vet and if the next dose is near, revert to the regular dose schedule. Do not offer double dose to catch up with the schedule because it can be dangerous for your cat. Give prazosin with the food your cat likes and don’t forget to wash your hands after giving the dose to your cat. 

Side effects caused by prazosin

There may be side effects associated with prazosin dosage. If you see any side effect in your cat, discuss with your vet immediately and describe with precision what the effects are. Most side effects caused by prazosin occur immediately you start giving the medications. These include dizziness or fainting the first time your cat tries to stand after taking the medication. Other side effects may occur to the digestive tract system and cause your cat to vomit, diarrhea, or constipate.  

Precautions and measures

Keep the drug and all other drugs away from children as normally indicated on the label. Only use this drug for the animal prescribed for. The drug is restricted to be used by vets alone. If your pet has low blood pressure or chronic kidney issues, don’t give prazosin medication.  Before giving your cat prazosin, discuss the first other medications your cat may be having to review if they can be contra to prazosin. Do not use other drugs that lower blood pressure with this drug which include; beta-blockers, verapamil, sildenafil, and nifedipine. Using clonidine decreases the effects of prazosin in cats in case the side effects of using prazosin become adverse for your cat.  

Overdose effects

In case of overdose or accidentally your cat accessed the drug and overdosed, contact your vet immediately. Take the prescription with you when you visit the vet for easy intervention measures to be taken and for the vets to know what they are treating. If this drug is ingested by someone accidentally rush them to the hospital as soon as possible. 

Where to store the drugs

Prazosin drugs of different strengths are stored differently. Read the prescription label or ask your vet the best way to store the drugs and the suitable conditions it requires to remain useful for the rest of the prescription dates. Commonly, store drugs under room temperature and inside the cabinet safe (lockable or cat proof) to restrict access by the kids or even your feline friend. 

How the drug works

Our body muscles can be employed voluntarily i.e running, playing, and more, as well as involuntarily i.e intestinal contraction or pupil constriction. Involuntary activities are controlled by the automatic nervous system. Again the auto nervous system is classified into two – sympathetic and parasympathetic. Fight and flight response is supported by the sympathetic system, while parasympathetic supports bodies normal status quo in body functions. The sympathetic nervous system uses receptors called alpha and beta types of receptors to exert their effects. These receptors are located in organs controlled by the sympathetic nervous system with some using alpha and some using beta receptors. Alpha and beta receptors are further subdivided into alpha1, alpha2 or beta1, beta2 receptors. Medications either block or enhance these receptors depending on the effects desired.

Prazosin blocks alpha1 receptors whereby the sympathetic system in control of the urine system blocks alpha1 receptors causing the sphincter to relax the muscle to dilate urethra allowing urine to flow easily. It does the same thing in the blood vessels. It dilates the blood vessels by serving to relax the muscles allowing the blood to flow slowly thus reducing the pressure in blood flow on both arteries and veins.  

Use cases

The most used case of prazosin in cats is where cardiovascular disease is present and where urination is difficult. Prazosin serves to relieve both conditions through the mechanisms explained above. 

For urinary conditions in cats, where the narrowing of urethra is present, the alpha1 blockade facilitates a comfortable passage of urine through the tract. These complications are common in cats after an idiopathic cystitis blockage in cats, cats with prostate tumors, or spinal disease.

For cardiovascular conditions, prazosin is used to contain high blood pressure and to manage congestive heart failure. 

Prazosin is administered 2-3 times a day with the cat’s food and as prescribed by the vet. I know it is in the best interest of a cat parent to treat her feline friend from heart conditions or urethra conditions. But take note that overdose or underdose of prazosin can leave adverse side effects on your cat. Or may even cause fatalities. While administering this drug, take extra care and call the vet in case of any doubt or misinformation about the drug.  


Some pets may be sensitive to this drug and if that happens, this drug may not be a good choice to treat your cat for the conditions mentioned above. There could be alternatives to this drug, so consult at length with your vet if this is the case for alternative drugs co-opted.

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