Do Dogs Die In Their Sleep? The Irreverent Vet Speaks Out

Many dog owners will one day face the sad fact that their animal companions are ill and will die soon. A large number of them express the desire to have their dog quietly and mercifully die at home “in their sleep.” This conjures up peaceful notions for pet parents of a solemn and gentle passing.

But what’s the reality? Do dogs really die peacefully in their sleep?

Before I go any further, let me introduce myself for those of you who don’t know me. I’m the Irreverent Veterinarian, and I give you my honest opinion on issues in the animal care world. Some might say that I’m honest to a fault. I speak my mind and I won’t sweet-talk you or sugarcoat the truth. I tell it like it is: to you, the drug companies, the pet product manufacturers, professional breeders, and pet owners. Some of what I say can be controversial, but that doesn’t stop me—it can be hard to hear the truth.

How Long Are Dogs Sick Before They Die?

Death isn’t always swift and graceful. Sick dogs can be ill for hours, days, or even weeks. It can vary from pet to pet, so one might succumb after only a brief illness while another will languish for much longer.

A dog that is so ill that you think it is destined to die likely has no quality of life. If a pet is doing poorly and looks like he or she is “dying,” there’s a very good chance that they are uncomfortable, in pain and unhappy. Their breath might be labored and their body may hurt. Their mind can be clouded and their temper can be short. A dog that is not eating, having trouble breathing, acting lethargic or weak, can’t stand and walk, can’t control urine or bowel movements, or is unconscious is “suffering”. If a dog can’t sleep without discomfort or difficulty, that is suffering too. All in all, they are no longer enjoying their life to any real degree.

Some pet parents have no intention of providing additional veterinary care for their dog. They want their dog to peacefully die. This happens in a number of situations. Perhaps they have limited financial resources or the pet is an injured stray they have found. Maybe they have already treated the dog and it either hasn’t responded to therapy or has a terminal condition. However it happens, these animals often end up in prolonged discomfort or pain because of their owners.

Should You Wait for Your Dog to Die in His or Her Sleep?

If a dog is suffering, “dying naturally” can take a very long time and it can be very painful. Many owners say that they want to give their pet “time to say goodbye” but in the opinion of most veterinarians, you are a kinder friend to your dog by euthanizing and ending their life. An extra few hours or days of suffering isn’t any reasonable quality of life for the dog. It is good only for the humans who are prolonging the dog’s pain for their own needs.

The Conclusion

The expectation that your dog will “die in their sleep” can happen, but it is generally uncommon. It is more likely that a dog dies because they aren’t eating and they get progressive dehydration, which is uncomfortable and painful. It is nice to want your dog to die at home but please consider euthanasia if it is at all likely. You have the power to put a peaceful end to your pet’s suffering; doing so may be your last act of love for them.

Disclaimer **The Irreverent Vet is a columnist that regularly contributes to PetPlace.com. The goal is to add a balanced and alternative view of some controversial pet issues. As happens with all of us, veterinarians can’t say what they really think without offending some clients. This commentary allows vets to say what they think and give you, the pet owner, the opportunity to consider another view. All opinions are those of the Irreverent Vet and not the views of PetPlace.com and are not endorsed by PetPlace.com.**

Related Articles and Other Articles by the Irreverent Vet

Simethicone (Gas-X) for Dogs and Cats

Overview of Simethicone

  • Simethicone, commonly known as Gas-X® and several other names (see below under “Brand names and Other Names”), is an anti-foaming and anti-flatulent agent used to treat discomfort, pain, bloating, burping, and flatulence caused by excessive intestinal gas in dogs and cats.
  • Simeticone works by decreasing the surface tension of gas bubbles which allows the small bubbles to form into larger bubbles.  The larger bubbles are more easily eliminated by burping or passing intestinal gas (flatus). It causes the collapse of foam bottles. Simeticone does not appear to decrease the production or formation of gas but works by improving gas elimination from the gastrointestinal tract.
  • The chemical name for simeticone is α-(trimethylsilyl)-ω-methylpoly[oxy(dimethylsilylene)], mixture with silicon dioxide.
  • Simethicone is available over the counter but should not be administered unless under the supervision and guidance of a veterinarian.

Brand Names and Other Names for Simethicone

Simeticone is marketed under several different brand names and in combination with many drugs in both human and veterinary medicine.

  • Human formulations: Alka-Seltzer Anti-Gas; Anti-Gas Ultra Strength; Baby Gasz; Equilizer Gas Relief; Gas Aid Maximum Strength; Gas-X; Genasyme; Maalox Anti-Gas; Mylanta Gas; Mylicon; Mytab Gas; and Phazyme.
  • Simeticone COMBINATION products may include:
    • Alamag Plus® (containing Aluminum Hydroxide, Magnesium Hydroxide, Simethicone)
    • Aldroxicon® (containing Aluminum Hydroxide, Magnesium Hydroxide, Simethicone)
    • Almacone® (containing Aluminum Hydroxide, Magnesium Hydroxide, Simethicone)
    • Balanta® (containing Aluminum Hydroxide, Magnesium Hydroxide, Simethicone)
    • Dixlanta® (containing Aluminum Hydroxide, Magnesium Hydroxide, Simethicone)
    • Flatulex® Tablets (containing Activated Charcoal, Simethicone)
    • Gas-X® with Maalox® (containing Calcium Carbonate, Simethicone)
    • Gelusil® (containing Aluminum Hydroxide, Magnesium Hydroxide, Simethicone)
    • Gen-Lanta (containing Aluminum Hydroxide, Magnesium Hydroxide, Simethicone)
    • Imodium® Advanced (containing Loperamide, Simethicone)
    • Losospan® Plus (containing Magaldrate, Simethicone)
    • Low Sodium Plus® (containing Aluminum Hydroxide, Magnesium Hydroxide, Simethicone)
    • Lowsium Plus® (containing Magaldrate, Simethicone)
    • Maalox® Plus (containing Aluminum Hydroxide, Magnesium Hydroxide, Simethicone)
    • Magaant® (containing Aluminum Hydroxide, Magnesium Hydroxide, Simethicone)
    • Magagel® Plus (containing Aluminum Hydroxide, Magnesium Hydroxide, Simethicone)
    • Magaldrate Plus (containing Magaldrate, Simethicone)
    • Magalox® Plus (containing Aluminum Hydroxide, Magnesium Hydroxide, Simethicone)
    • Maldroxal® Plus (containing Aluminum Hydroxide, Magnesium Hydroxide, Simethicone)
    • Masanti® (containing Aluminum Hydroxide, Magnesium Hydroxide, Simethicone)
    • Mygel® (containing Aluminum Hydroxide, Magnesium Hydroxide, Simethicone)
    • Mylagel® (containing Aluminum Hydroxide, Magnesium Hydroxide, Simethicone)
    • Mylagen® (containing Aluminum Hydroxide, Magnesium Hydroxide, Simethicone)
    • Mylanta® (containing Aluminum Hydroxide, Magnesium Hydroxide, Simethicone)
    • Ri-Gel II® (containing Aluminum Hydroxide, Magnesium Hydroxide, Simethicone)
    • Ri-Mox® Plus (containing Aluminum Hydroxide, Magnesium Hydroxide, Simethicone)
    • Riopan® (containing Magaldrate, Simethicone)
    • Rolaids® Multi-Symptom (containing Calcium Carbonate, Magnesium Hydroxide, Simethicone)
    • Rolaids® Plus Gas Relief (containing Calcium Carbonate, Simethicone)
    • Rulox® Plus (containing Aluminum Hydroxide, Magnesium Hydroxide, Simethicone)
    • Titralac® Plus (containing Calcium Carbonate, Simethicone)
  • Veterinary formulations: Various

Uses of Simethicone for Dogs and Cats

  • Simethicone is used to treat discomfort, pain, bloating, burping, and flatulence caused by excessive intestinal gas. When used to treat flatulence in dogs, it is most effective when combined with dietary modifications. Get more tips on how to treat flatulence in dogs. It is sometimes used to break up gas production in dogs at risk of or in conjunction for treatment of “Bloat”, also known as Gastric Dilatation-Volvulus.

Precautions and Side Effects

  • While generally safe and effective when prescribed by a veterinarian, Simethicone can cause side effects in some animals.
  • Simethicone should not be used in animals with known hypersensitivity or allergyto the drug.
  • If your dog is showing signs of restlessness, large abdomen, nonproductive vomiting, please see your vet as soon as possible. These symptoms could be caused by a potentially life-threatening condition called Gastric Dilatation-Volvulus (Bloat).
  • The most common side effects of Simethicone in dogs and cats are diarrhea, nausea, vomiting, and lethargy.
  • The safety of Simethicone use in pets pregnant or lactating has not been established however it is considered safe for use by many veterinarians.
  • Simethicone is commonly used with other medications including antibiotics and those for nausea.
  • Consult with your veterinarian to determine if other drugs your pet is receiving could interact with

How Simethicone is Supplied

  • Simethicone is available in multiple forms and strengths that include but are not limited to tablets, chewable tablets, liquid, capsules, syrup, suspension, solution, and fluid-filled capsules.
  • Most formulations of Simethicone can be stored at room temperature.

Dosing Information of Simethicone for Dogs and Cats

  • Medication, even over-the-counter (OTC) medication such as Simethicone, should never be administered without first consulting your veterinarian.
  • In dogs, the dose of Simethicone recommended for treatment of excessive gastrointestinal gas ranges from 25 mg total dose for small dogs and up to 200 mg total dose for large dogs every 6 to 12 hours as needed.
  • In cats, the liquid formulations are most often used with doses that range from 3 mL to 0.5 mL every 8 to 12 hours as needed.
  • The duration of administration depends on the condition being treated, response to the medication and the development of any adverse effects. Be certain to complete the prescription unless specifically directed by your veterinarian. Even if your pet feels better, the entire treatment plan should be completed to prevent relapse or prevent the development of resistance.
  • Can be stored at room temperature. Keep away from light and moisture.

Resources & References:

  • Plumb’s Veterinary Handbook by Donald C. Plumb, 8th Edition
  • Textbook of Veterinary Internal Medicine, Ettinger & Felman
  • Current Veterinary Therapy XV, Bonagura, and Twedt
  • ASPCA Pet Poison Hotline
  • Pet Poison Helpline

Great Tips to Help You Give Your Cat Medications

How do you make your cat take a pill or liquid medication? How how about applying topical medications?

I’ve found that a lot of people hate it just as much as their cats do! Unfortunately most cats need some kind of medication at least once in their lives so today I want to share some resources which can make the process much easier.

Giving medication to a cat can be a real challenge. Here are some tips from our veterinarians and veterinary technicians on how to give your cat pill, topical, liquid, ear, and eye medications.

How to Administer Pill Medication to Your Cat – This article has some very good tips on how to get your cat to swallow pills.

How to Apply Topical Medication to Your Cat – Learn how to apply topical medication with the least amount of stress to your cat.

How to Administer Ear Medication to Your Cat– Many pets are especially fussy when it comes to medications for ear mites and ear infections so these tips are very useful.

How to Administer Eye Medication to Your Cat– These medications can be a real challenge but a few shortcuts can make giving them easier.

How to Administer Liquid Medication to Your Cat. Many antibiotics come in liquid form which work great for small cats. Here are some tips.

How to Give Injectable Medication to Your Cat – This isn’t common but occasionally veterinarians will prescribe injectable medications that you give at home. Learn more here.

For pets that are really impossible to pill – you can get Flavored Medications for Cats.

These instructions are worth printing and keeping in a first aid or health file for your pet. You never know when you will need it.

One more thing. You should only give your cat medications that your veterinarian has approved. Giving “human” medicines to your cat can be very dangerous.

I hope these tips help you give your cat different types of medications weather in liquid, pill, or topical forms.

Does Your Puppy Need a Bordetella Vaccine?

Dr. Debra,


I have a 12-week-old puppy and wanted to know if I should vaccinate him for Bordetella?


Thank you so much for your great puppy info! It has really helped me housetrain my puppy!


Beth Ann Zippos, Boston MA

Hi Beth Ann,

Thanks for your question about puppies and the Bordetella vaccine. Bordetella is one of the bacterial causes of "kennel cough." If your puppy is to be boarded, go to the groomer, dog park, and doggy day care or interact with other dogs on a regular basis, the Bordetella vaccine is recommended.

If your puppy is boarded at a kennel, the kennel will require this vaccination.

Bordetella is highly contagious, and readily transmitted through the air or by direct contact. Signs of kennel cough include coughing which can be mild in healthy adult dogs or severe in unvaccinated dogs or dogs with other health issues.

A puppy’s risk of kennel cough is determined by the probably of exposure to other dogs. If the risk is great, a vaccine against bordetella is recommended.

The bordetella vaccine can be given by the intranasal (in the nose) route or by injection. The intranasal vaccine may work faster to give immunity but either method is acceptable.


(?)

The American Animal Hospital Association (AAHA) provides the following vaccination recommendations:

  • Puppies can be vaccinated using the intranasal vaccine as early as 3 weeks of age (depending on the product label). A second vaccine dose should be given two to four weeks later.
  • Puppies can receive the injectable vaccine starting at 6 to 8 weeks of age, followed by a booster three to four weeks later – between the ages of 10 and 12 weeks.
  • For puppies older than 16 weeks, the intranasal vaccine can be given once OR the injectable vaccine can be given twice, two to four weeks apart.
  • Dogs should receive boosters every 6 to 12 months, depending on exposure risk.

For all bordetella vaccines, it is important to vaccinate at least 5 days before potential exposure. Vaccines do not work immediately. It takes time for the body to respond to the vaccine, develop immunity and provide protection against the specific disease.


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How Much Should I Feed My Puppy?

Our question this week was:

How much should I feed my puppy?

Every brand of food has different nutrients, caloric densities and feeding recommendations. There is no set formula for how much to feed a puppy. Always consider your pup’s age, weight, and activity level when deciding on the “amount” to feed.

 

Weigh your puppy each week and check the manufacturer’s recommendations on the bag for the amount to feed based on his new weight. More active pups may burn more calories and require more food. The opposite is true for less active pups.

When your puppy is between 3 to 6 months old feed three meals per day. As your puppy ages, his size increases, and he will need more food each day. This amount of food is divided into 3 feedings.

Once your dog is over 6 months of age, his adult feeding pattern can be established. Some dogs do well on one feeding a day but two feedings a day is usually recommended. Small breeds and toy dogs should continue to be fed three times a day, to help prevent low blood sugars.

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To read most recent questions Click here!

Click here to see the full list of Ask Dr. Debra Questions and Answers!

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Introducing a puppy to other dogs

Our question this week was:

How should I introduce my puppy to my other adult dogs?

Introduce your new puppy to other members of the pet population s-l-o-w-l-y. If there is more than one other animal in your menagerie, introduce the newcomer to one pet at a time, so you don’t overwhelm him. Let your new charge and the incumbent(s) sniff and inspect each other. They may growl and bark at first, but this may simply be a sign of insecurity.

Try reassuring all of your pets that everything’s fine. Make sure you don’t neglect them as you try to make the new pet welcome. Don’t use physical force to put the older animals in their place; this may make them wary of the new arrival. Never leave your new puppy unsupervised with any of your older pets until you’re sure they all get along well.
To cut down on sibling rivalry, let your older pets know they’re still an important part of the family and that the new puppy isn’t a replacement for them. Spend 10 to 15 minutes alone with each of pet, so that each one gets your undivided attention for a while, at least.

Our question this week came from Brenda H. St. Louis, MO.

Dr. Debra

To read most recent questions Click here!

Click here to see the full list of Ask Dr. Debra Questions and Answers!

Introducing a puppy to other dogs

Our question this week was:

How should I introduce my puppy to my other adult dogs?

Introduce your new puppy to other members of the pet population s-l-o-w-l-y. If there is more than one other animal in your menagerie, introduce the newcomer to one pet at a time, so you don’t overwhelm him. Let your new charge and the incumbent(s) sniff and inspect each other. They may growl and bark at first, but this may simply be a sign of insecurity.

 

Try reassuring all of your pets that everything’s fine. Make sure you don’t neglect them as you try to make the new pet welcome. Don’t use physical force to put the older animals in their place; this may make them wary of the new arrival. Never leave your new puppy unsupervised with any of your older pets until you’re sure they all get along well.

(?)

 

 

To cut down on sibling rivalry, let your older pets know they’re still an important part of the family and that the new puppy isn’t a replacement for them. Spend 10 to 15 minutes alone with each of pet, so that each one gets your undivided attention for a while, at least.

Our question this week came from Brenda H. St. Louis, MO.

Dr. Debra

To read most recent questions Click here!

Click here to see the full list of Ask Dr. Debra Questions and Answers!

(?)

 

 

How Much Should I Feed My Puppy?

Our question this week was:

How much should I feed my puppy?

Every brand of food has different nutrients, caloric densities and feeding recommendations. There is no set formula for how much to feed a puppy. Always consider your pup’s age, weight, and activity level when deciding on the “amount” to feed.

Weigh your puppy each week and check the manufacturer’s recommendations on the bag for the amount to feed based on his new weight. More active pups may burn more calories and require more food. The opposite is true for less active pups.

When your puppy is between 3 to 6 months old feed three meals per day. As your puppy ages, his size increases, and he will need more food each day. This amount of food is divided into 3 feedings.

Once your dog is over 6 months of age, his adult feeding pattern can be established. Some dogs do well on one feeding a day but two feedings a day is usually recommended. Small breeds and toy dogs should continue to be fed three times a day, to help prevent low blood sugars.

Here is a link to an article that might be useful as it contains other common questions about feeding.

Our question this week came from Belmar, from New Jersey.

Dr. Debra

To read most recent questions Click here!

Click here to see the full list of Ask Dr. Debra Questions and Answers!

 

 

Should a Pet Be Off Antihistamines or Steroid Before Allergy Testing?

Dr. Debra,

My dog has severe allergies. I’ve thought about doing allergy testing but could not decide. He is a 3-year-old Labrador and he suffers from ear infections, skin infections and constant itching.

He has been off and on antibiotics, steroids, and antihistamines for the past 2 years. It seems like he does better on these drugs, goes off then breaks out again.

If I go ahead and do allergy testing – does he need to be off the steroids, antihistamines and antibiotics prior to allergy testing?

Connie B., Norfolk, VA

Hi Connie,

Thanks for your excellent question. Allergies in dogs are so frustrating for both you and your dog. As you said is the case with your dog, many dogs are treated with antibiotics, antihistamines and/or steroids to control the symptoms and once you go off, the symptoms come back.

Many types of antibiotics are used to treat canine skin infections. Antihistamines used in dogs may include: Benadryl, Zyrtec, Chlortabs, or Allegra just to name a few. Steroids may include injectable or oral medications including Prednisone or Dexamethasone to name a few. They are often used together to try to control allergic symptoms. The term used for being off the drug is called the “withdrawal time”.

To answer your question – “Does your dog need to be off steroids, antihistamines and antibiotics prior to allergy testing ” – here is the answer.

There are two basic types of allergy testing. One is an intradermal test and the other is a blood test. For more information – go to: allergy testing in dogs.

The recommendations for how long a dog needs to be off a drug depends on the drug being used, how often that drug is given and the type of allergy testing your dog is going to have.

  • Antibiotics – There is no required withdrawal time for antibiotics.
  • Antihistamines – Based on my discussions with dermatologists, they recommend discontinuing oral antihistamines 1 to 2 weeks prior to Intradermal skin tests in dogs or cats. For dogs getting Allergy Testing (IgE serological tests), many dermatologist indicate that it is not necessary to discontinue antihistamines prior to testing.
  • Steroids – For steroid drugs, there are different types of steroids and some last longer in the blood than others. The type of steroid and how frequently they are used can affect testing. For example, a steroid that lasts longer but only given once may have less issues with testing than a shorter acting steroid given regularly.

A withdrawal time is the amount of time a dog or cat needs to be off the drug (the drug is withdrawn from their system) prior to testing:

Drug Withdrawal Times for Intradermal Skin Tests

  • Oral Steroids

    • Prednisone – 14 – 21 days
    • Triamcinolone – 21 days
  • Injectable Steroids
    • DepoMedrol – 1 – 3 months
  • Other
    • Oral antihistamines – 14 days
    • Cyclosporine – depends on dermatologist but many say no withdrawal time is needed
    • Fatty acids – no withdrawal
    • Vitamin E – no withdrawal
    • Apoquel – no withdrawal
    • Antibiotics – no withdrawal
    • Antifungal drugs – no withdrawal

Drug Withdrawal Times for Allergy Testing (IgE serological tests)

  • Oral steroids

    • Prednisone – 45 days (if the dose is > 0.25 mg/kg)
    • Prednisone – 21 days (if the dose is < 0.25 mg/kg)
    • Methylprednisolone – 45 days
    • Triamcinolone – 60 days
  • Injectable steroids
    • Triamcinolone – 60 days
    • Methylprednisolone – 90 days
  • Topical steroids
    • Otic and ophthalmic preparations – 30 days
    • Steroid shampoos – 30 days
    • Sprays – 30 days
  • Other treatments
    • Cyclosporine >30 days – contact vendor performing test (However some resources do say there need be no withdrawal time)
    • Antihistamines – Most say no withdrawal (However some resources do say 2 weeks)
    • Fatty acids – Most say no withdrawal (However some resources do say 2-4 weeks)
    • Vitamin E – no withdrawal
    • Apoquel – Most say no withdrawal (However some resources do say 48 hours)
      Antibiotics – no withdrawal
    • Mometamax- (ear medication) 7 days

Many dogs with allergies when tested end up having allergies to multiple things including fleas, pollens, weeds, mold and food.

Here are some helpful articles:

Atopic Dermatitis in Dogs
Flea Allergy Dermatitis in Dogs

IMPORTANT – please check with your veterinarian for the individual
requirements based on the lab they are using. Every lab has slightly different recommendations on withdraw of the various drugs. The above is what I use from the laboratory I used and based on my conversation with various dermatologists.

Is Catnip Safe for Cats with Health Problems?

Dr. Debra,


My cat has hypertension (high blood pressure) and is controlled with a medication called Amlodipine. She is doing great.
My question is, can she have catnip? Is catnip bad for her if she has hypertension?


Ann S., Newark, Ohio

Hi Ann,

What an interesting question. There is still a lot of mystery surrounding catnip regarding how and why it affects cats.

This brings up the question of whether catnip is dangerous to cats with illnesses. Whether it is hypertension, like this reader’s kitty, or other conditions such as heart and lung disease, pregnancy, seizure disorders, epilepsy, or hyperthyroidism, this is an important question. After quite a few phone calls to specialists and a lot of research, I have the answer to Ann’s email.

For those if you that don’t know, cats do get hypertension. Here is a link to an article on hypertension so you can learn more about the condition.

First, let’s talk a little about how catnip works. This plant affects cats differently and the effect is considered to be somewhat based on genetics. Not all cats are susceptible to the effects of catnip. Some get more excited than others and will display more excitatory behavior while others will have a more laid-back reaction. Why does this happen? Learn more here.

In those cats who get energized from a whiff of this plant, the catnip has an excitatory effect on those parts of the brain in and around the hypothalamus, the region which controls appetitive as well as predatory and sexual behavior.
A number of cats react in the opposite manner and become very relaxed when exposed to catnip. Evidence has suggested that a molecule called nepetalactone, present in catnip, has an opium-like action on the feline brain. It stimulates certain types of opioid receptors in the same way morphine does. It has been shown that exposure to nepetalactone can have an amphetamine-like effect in some animals and will cause certain repetitive behaviors. This goes along with the theory of opioid activation as opioids in some species – cats and horses included – do cause stimulation of "go system" neurochemicals (a.k.a. catecholamines) the same way amphetamine do.

If your cat’s body is sensitive to nepetalactone that means the opioid-receptors, pleasure centers, and "go" systems of the brain will be activated and the cat will roll around in ecstasy after smelling or eating catnip.
It seems to me that catnip can affect cats differently the same way that alcohol affects people. Some people under the influence of alcohol become funny drunks, mean drunks, angry drunks, “I want to pick a fight” drunks, or laid-back relaxed drunks. We see similar reactions in cats. Some cats will run around like crazy, some lay on their backs and nap, and others want a snack. It really depends on the individual.

So back to the question: is catnip safe to use with cats with hypertension?

Most research on the effect of catnip has been completed on rats. Some research suggests that there is a transient increase in blood pressure in some cats that exhibit certain behaviors. Other reports suggest that catnip reduces blood

vessel constriction and is safe, perhaps even lowering blood pressure in humans.

I also checked a veterinary information channel and saw various specialists comment about catnip, especially whether if it was a concern with various feline ailments and diseases. In general, catnip was not a concern in cats with lung disease, heart disease, or high blood pressure among specialists who responded. In addition, catnip does not appear to interfere with anesthesia.
Another post questioned whether catnip creates a problem with the regulation of diabetic cats. One feline specialist answered that that they have never seen a problem with diabetic regulation when regular use of catnip was involved.

Is catnip dangerous to cats with hyperthyroidism? The answer seems to be that it shouldn’t be a problem. Catnip does not interact with the cardiovascular system; it only has olfactory and possibly central nervous system effects.

However, catnip is a concern in hyperthyroid cats being fed an iodine-restricted diet due to the iodine content of catnip. The exact amount is thought to vary depending on the source. Hill’s® Diet y/d™ suggests not giving catnip during the initial feeding of the diet until the cat’s thyroid level is controlled, then introducing it slowly and monitoring for problems.