Voltaren gel almost killed a cat

Q: At the beginning of the pandemic, my doctor prescribed Voltaren gel for arthritis in my thumbs and wrists. I used it for three weeks and it really helped.

Then one day our cat was wrong, behaved listlessly and did not eat. We took her to the vet and found her creatinine was over 3 and her blood Urea nitrogen (BUN) over 100. She was near death.

The year before, all of her blood counts were normal. The vets couldn’t understand how so much could change in less than a year.

She spent five days in the hospital and received regular subcutaneous fluids for six months. Her kidney function eventually returned to normal, but all of that care cost about $ 4,000.

What happened was that Voltaren gel got off my skin on her fur when I stroked her. Then she groomed herself, which meant she was on the drug. I found an article about it in a veterinary magazine, but our vets had never heard of it. Now that Voltaren Arthritis Topical Gel is available over the counter, your pet readers may want to know.

A: Thank you for sharing your story. We’re relieved to hear that your cat has recovered. Cats are very sensitive to NSAIDs such as ibuprofen, naproxen or diclofenac (Voltaren). Additionally, our veterinary advisers warn that both dogs and cats can get into trouble if they lick certain topical medications, such as hormones, corticosteroids, or minoxidil, off their owners’ skin.

In addition to topical NSAIDs, to keep your cat safe, consider other options for treating your arthritis pain. In our eGuide on Alternatives for Arthritis, we discuss several home remedies along with herbs like Ashwagandha, Boswellia, Turmeric, Ginger, Nettle, MSM, and SAMe. This online resource can be found under the Health eGuides tab on PeoplesPharmacy.com.

Q: Earlier this year you wrote about granuloma annulare (GA). I didn’t know what it was, but I’ve experienced many skin conditions over the years.

I find that using Selsun Blue Shampoo with Selenium Sulfide 1 percent as a body wash is really helpful. It instantly relieves itching and dries out rashes. At some point the skin problem will go away.

The skin is our largest organ. It sweats, expels, and reflects what goes into the body, so eating right is also important.

A: We found no research to suggest that granuloma annulare would respond to Selsun Blue. The ingredient in this dandruff shampoo (selenium sulfide) can help relieve the itching and flaking associated with seborrheic dermatitis. Other readers have used it to treat rosacea, eczema, and jock itch.

Doctors don’t know what causes GA. These round, raised, reddish spots are not contagious.

Some people tell us that Vagisil with resorcinol is helpful for vaginal yeast infections with GA as well. Dermatologists don’t have standard treatment, but pentoxifylline, a drug for peripheral arterial disease, shows promise (Journal of Dermatological Treatment, June 2021).

You are right that diet can play a role. Sometimes GA is associated with diabetes. Japanese doctors also reported success in a patient who followed a strict lipid-lowering diet (Dermatology Practical & Conceptual, January 31, 2014).

Contact the Graedons at peoplespharmacy.com.