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Dr. Laura Devlin, DVM, DABVP
Dr. Laura Devlin, DVM, DABVP, Veterinarian
Category: Cat Veterinary
Satisfied Customers: 1801
Experience:  Canine and Feline Specialist, DABVP, Veterinarian since 2000
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is arnica montana safe to give to cats orally

Resolved Question:

is arnica montana safe to give to cats orally ?
Submitted: 6 years ago.
Category: Cat Veterinary
Expert:  Dr. Laura Devlin, DVM, DABVP replied 6 years ago.
This is Dr. Devlin. I am a board certified specialist in canine / feline practice.

Has Salem had recent blood work (last month or two) and does he have any liver or kidney disease? Any other medical problems (heart disease, etc) that I should know about?

Laura Devlin
Customer: replied 6 years ago.
No kidney or liver problems. Blood work Ok as far as I know. He was just diagnosed with 3rd degree heart block which they said was possibly exacerbated by his back pain. The heart rate has improved after they treated Salem for his pain. He had a steroid shot, DepoMedrol , and pain med of Buprenorphine.

I want to wean him off the pain meds and avoid any more steroid shots. Which is why I wanted to try the Arnica orally. As I mentioned this is what I did with my little poodle and it worked beautifully. The Neurosurgeon was even impressed.
Customer: replied 6 years ago.
Just waiting on the arnica question...thank you
Expert:  Dr. Laura Devlin, DVM, DABVP replied 6 years ago.
I just saw your second reply. I'm sorry, I was finding the abstracts for you and it took a few minuts.

I understand about the steroid risk and hesitation. I would be hesitant to repeat, also.

That's wonderful that your dog did so well!

With the A. montana, there are two forms. The herbal form and the homeopathic form. They are different. I believe you are likely referring to the homeopathic form as what you used with your dog if it was administered orally.

In general, I don't recommend A. montana in cats. It is toxic in herbal form, and in homeopathic form, it can still cause side effects depending on the potency and how long it is given.

From Int J Toxicol. 2001;20 Suppl 2:1-11.
Final report on the safety assessment of Arnica montana extract and Arnica montana.

"Ingestion of A. montana-containing products has induced severe gastroenteritis, nervousness, accelerated heart rate, muscular weakness, and death" This particular report focused on the safety of arnica topically in cosmetics and things, and noted the potential for hypersensitivity reactions, especially since this plant is a member of the daisy family, as is ragweed and lots of other common allergens.

And from Veterinary Herbal Medicine's monograph on Arnica:

"Type IV allergic contact dermatitis has been reported frequently in sensitive persons or with prolonged use. Internal use may lead to stomach pain, vomiting, diarrhea, vomiting, kidney pain, dyspnea, tachycardia, cardiac arrest, and liver failure. One author (Kuhn, 2001) writes that a single gram dose can lead to heart damage and cardiac arrest in humans."

In addition, for your specific cat, I'm finding at least one reference that lists bradycardia as a possible side effect of A.montana. It could be very dangerous for your cat depending on the cause of heart block.

I would recommend looking into acupuncture as an alternative to the A. montana, or working with a local homeopathic veterinarian to develop a safe treatment course for her.

Please let me know how else I can help with your cat, and if you have any other questions.
Laura Devlin
Dr. Laura Devlin, DVM, DABVP and 2 other Cat Veterinary Specialists are ready to help you
Expert:  Dr. Laura Devlin, DVM, DABVP replied 6 years ago.
I just wanted to check in and see if you needed anything else. I'll be getting off line in about 30 minutes, but I'll be back tomorrow if you need further assistance.