25 Mar Healing Hearts: Hope for Foster Kitten Rena with the Help of a Compounded Medication
Meet Rena, one of Best Pet Rx’s adorable patients. In many ways, Rena is a typical kitten – she’s sassy, she enjoys playing with her feline foster brothers, and she adores cuddling with her foster parents. However, Rena’s story is far from typical. In her short life, she has already faced significant challenges.
At three months old, Rena was rescued by For Animals, Inc., a non-profit animal welfare organization committed to ending homelessness of abandoned and stray animals. Their volunteer team observed Rena’s breathing was at times labored and that she had difficulty meowing. An initial veterinary examination revealed that Rena was suffering from a severe heart murmur, and her case puzzled the experts.
Within a few months, Rena was further evaluated by two teaching hospitals that performed additional tests. The veterinary specialists treating Rena discovered that she has a Patent Ductus Arteriosus (PDA) – an extra blood vessel that connects her pulmonary artery to her aorta and the blood flows in the wrong direction through that vessel.
Her doctors hope to reverse the direction of blood flow using a drug called sildenafil. They have started her on a small amount and will gradually increase the dosage. If the medication has the desired effect, they might be able to surgically close off the extra blood vessel, which would make her heart function normally.
Like many medications used to treat animals, sildenafil (the active ingredient in Viagra®) is only available as a human-labeled product. As a result, the commercially available dose options are not always suitable or convenient for veterinary needs. In Rena’s case, her foster parents were provided with 20 mg tablets that had to be quartered and administered twice daily.
If medicating a kitten isn’t challenging enough, cutting the pills precisely to ensure proper dosing added yet another layer of difficulty. When the For Animals, Inc. team contacted our pharmacy about compounding Rena’s medication, we were happy to lend a hand. Through our BPRX to the Rescue program, we are proud to provide medication assistance for pets in the care of registered 501(c)3 organizations. Best Pet Rx has been working with For Animals, Inc. since 2017, helping to treat animals with complicated medical conditions like Rena’s.
Our pharmacy team suggested compounding sildenafil into a flavored liquid formulation, which is often easier to administer to cats than pills or capsules. With over 20 hypoallergenic flavors to choose from, we can make medications more palatable by adding a yummy flavor the pet will like. Additionally, compounding Rena’s medication into a liquid allows for easy adjustments to her dosage based on the veterinarians’ recommendations.
Best Pet Rx compounded sildenafil in a 20mg/ml tuna-flavored, liquid formulation. Her foster parents started giving her 0.25ml twice daily which has been gradually increased to 0.45ml twice a day, a routine they find much easier. This increase would not have been possible without Best Pet Rx’s compounded medication. Rena now seems to even enjoy taking her medication!
Without the assistance of For Animals, Inc., Rena’s story and many other companion animals’ stories would sadly have very different endings. While Rena’s prognosis is still guarded, she has been given the best possible chance at recovery and enjoys the love and affection of her foster family.
We are thankful for the dedicated volunteers at For Animals, Inc., who work to make the world a better place for the companion animals we cherish. To learn more about their organization and the animals available for adoption, visit www.foranimalsinc.com. Please consider making a donation to support their life-saving work helping rescues like Rena!
For Animals is a 501(c)3 registered non-profit animal welfare organization based in NYC. Since its inception in 2001, For Animals’ TNR program has helped thousands of cats across hundreds of colonies, and educated dozens of caretakers about proper care for feral cats. During this time the For Animals adoption program has also placed a multitude of homeless cats and kittens (and the occasional dog and other assorted rescues) in loving, permanent homes while raising awareness about companion animal homelessness and the importance of spay/neuter.