Cisapride for Cats: Indications, Precautions, Side Effects

Cisapride for Cats
Cisapride for Cats

Using cisapride for cats helps with a number of gastrointestinal problems. Here is more on the indications, forms of Cisapride, precautions and possible side effects of using Cisapride for cats.

Cisapride for Cats

It is a drug that is used to smoothen tract muscles in cats to help deal with digestive problems. It is commonly referred to as Propulsid. The movement of food from the stomach to the intestines and finally to the rectum is systematic in nature and it involves the contraction of the stomach muscles known as motility.Any inhibition of motility results in accumulation of food in the stomach resulting in nausea and bloating.

Cisapride, a gastroprokinetic agent helps to fasten the movement of the food thus improving digestion and fastens stomach emptying.It also helps to alleviate constipation and stop any chronic intestinal problems.

Cisapride is unique in its form of treatment as it focuses on stimulating the upper gastrointestinal tract without affecting the pancreas and bile secretions.

How Does It Work?

Serotonin activation

Produced by the intestines and brain, this chemical is responsible for regulating body movement, behavior and appetite among others. Cisapride activates the serotonin which in turn stimulates the intestines, urethra, and bladder sphincter muscle and increase excretion action.

It also activates muscle receptors

Acetylcholine activation

Released from the brain it communicates with the body regarding movement, especially on excitatory functions.  Cisapride activates this neurotransmitting chemical and it will cause smooth muscle contraction and allow for gastrointestinal movements and eliminate constipation.

Uses of Cisapride for Cats

Treatment of Acid reflux disease

Cats swallow food in chunks and the tongue pushes the food down the esophagus to a ring of muscles (sphincter) into the stomach, the sphincter then closes. The stomach releases acids which break down the food, it may require a lot of acids to break down the food since it is chunky. Once broken down it is sent through another sphincter to the duodenum that releases enzymes to counter the stomach acids released.  Food is released to small intestines and the colon to the rectum and anus.

But once the food is released to the stomach there is a communication with the colon which creates a gastrocolic reflex ‘urge to poop’.

However when the sphincter muscles don’t close completely stomach acid flow back into the esophagus causing irritation that can affect the cat’s ability to swallow food.

Cisapride helps to treat this by strengthening the sphincter muscles on the end of the esophagus and the stomach so that food contents are released faster and there is no time for acid to accumulate.

Treatment of Idiopathic Megacolon

Prolonged constipation can damage the colon muscles causing them to dilate.  The presence of hard stool in the large intestine will adversely affect your cat’s health.

Cisapride helps to smoothen the colon muscles. It also supports their contraction movements. That way they are able to allow the passing of stool.  

Treatment of Gut Stasis

Constipation can be aggravated by a  number of factors. This includes anxiety which causes the muscles of the digestive tract to become too slow. The system may shut down. Food that is passed down to the intestines without being released out of the body builds up bad bacteria. This releases gas into the digestive system and it can lead to serious bloating, abdominal pain, weight loss, vomiting and rumbly stomach noises.  Some of the most affected breeds are the Ragdoll and Sphynx cat.

Treatment of Megaesophagus

The esophagus made of muscles helps to push food down to the stomach. However, it may happen that the esophagus muscles loses its elasticity and it’s unable to push food down through the sphincter and the stomach. This means that the food which is still in chunks remains stuck and it is released back to the mouth undigested (regurgitation).

If the food enters the lungs or trachea it may cause aspiration pneumonia an inflammation of the lung that can ultimately cause death.

Cisapride activates acetylcholine a neurotransmitter which helps to activate and smoothen the esophagus muscles and tone it.

Treatment of excessive hairball ingestion

Cats are known for their top-notch grooming behaviors. However, it may become a problem when the cat excessively lick off its fur and ends up swallowing. The chronic disorder caused by genetics, skin disorder, and parasite infections or anxiety is known to because of digestive tract issues. It is difficult for cats to vomit hairball even when they are sick and this can cause serious damage.

Little amounts of ingested hair are able to pass through the digestive tract and are eliminated through the feces. However if ingested in high quantities it may get stuck in the stomach or intestine.  At the stomach, it produces acids to digest the food and at times due to the presence of a foreign substance the stomach releases excess acids which have other effects.

Cisapride helps to smoothen the muscles within the digestive tract that allows the hairballs to pass through.

Nausea relief

Clogging of food at the stomach or esophagus can cause nausea. Since cats don’t chew their food, the large chunks and the gases produced if not digested can prove very uncomfortable.

Cisapride helps to provide relief as it smoothens the muscles. It facilitates faster movement of food to the rectum. That way, it doesn’t store up in the stomach.

Forms of Cisapride for Cats

It is illegal to produce Cisapride for commercial purposes. It is compounded by expert pharmacies. Cisapride comes in different forms given two or three times daily that include:

Capsules– they are packed in very small pill pockets or packs. This makes it easy to swallow available in 1mg per cap to 40 mg per cap

Chew treat. Cats love to nibble on toys so the use of flavored chew treat is a good way to administer the dosage. Depending on the dosage, chew treats are available in 0.625 mg per chew treat to 15mg per chew treat.

Oral paste available in different flavors can be mixed with food or using a syringe. The dosage is from 2.5 mg per ml to 25 mg per ml

Oral oil suspension. It is available in different flavors. Should be mixed with tuna, wet can food or using a syringe. The dosage is available in 2mg per ml to 20 mg per ml. It has a shelf life of eighty days for the different flavors except for the cherry flavor. The cherry flavored has a shelf life of thirty days. It should be given thirty minutes before a meal. The maximum dose is one mg per kilogram of body weight

Medi melts tablet it is given to cats that have difficulty swallowing. It dissolves when placed on the tongue forming a paste that is easily digestible. The tablet administers 5mg per tab.

Cisapride Transdermal gel – applied through the cat’s skin such as the ear. It is absorbed into the blood stream. There is no risk of throw up or spitting. It comes prepacked in syringes to avoid overdosing. It should be used within sixty days. The dosage is available in 25or 50 mg per 1 ml.

Precautions for using Cisapride for Cats

Cisapride is highly absorbed in the body by the liver. It should not be used by pregnant cats or those with liver problems.

Can increase heartbeat and rate when used on cats with heart problems

Cisapride works well by smoothening the digestive tract muscles. However, if used on cats that have permanent gastrointestinal obstruction, it will worsen the condition.

It should be protected from light and moisture

Possible Side Effects

The scheduled dosage of cisapride is important therefore it should be administered in the correct portions. When combined with other drugs it may be harmful so it needs correct compounding by professionals.

Cisapride takes effect within 48 hours but it may have adverse side effects which include:

Diarrhea which will occur when the reflex muscles become too relaxed such that the food passes at a very high rate from the esophagus to the rectum.

Loss of muscle ability. The release of serotonin and acetylcholine which are responsible for body movement. However in high dosage or if wrongly given it may over stimulate the chemicals leading to loose muscles.

Abdominal pain. The sudden contraction of the stomach muscles may cause stomach problem as the body tries to pass the food for release when administered on a constipated cat.

Allergic reaction as it affects the neurotransmitters that control muscle movement and if in excess it may affect the reflex muscles leading to seizures and tremors.

It may lead to difficult breathing if it affects the lungs or blocks the trachea.

Flatulence which may be caused by the released gases within the stomach.

Rumbling stomach sounds as the food tries to pass through the walls

Illegal so it exists in compounded pharmacies

Can prolong sedation if used with tranquilizers

Alternatives to Using Cisapride

Feeding the cat smaller portions of food to allow for faster digestion and elimination

Use of wet foods that fluids and smaller chunks and prevent constipation.


    • You will need to a scrip from your Vet and they call it into a compounder. Be sure to find a confounded tgst will make it gel firm. My 15 year old kitty just started taking the mini melts. Hope it helps your kitty!

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