Hyperactivity and alopecia associated with ingestion of valproic acid in a cat. Academic Article uri icon


  • A 1-year-old castrated male cat was evaluated because of alopecia of approximately 4 to 5 months' duration as well as hyperactive behavior. It was later determined that the cat was ingesting valproic acid by eating food to which it had been added for daily administration to a child in the household who had cerebral palsy. The clinical signs slowly resolved after the source of valproic acid was removed. This emphasizes the sensitivity of cats to drugs that are commonly used in humans. It was not determined whether the clinical signs that developed in this cat were caused by an adverse reaction or from toxicosis as a result of prolonged hepatic elimination of valproic acid, which requires glucuronide metabolism for disposition. However, the cat recovered completely following removal of the drug and prevention of further exposure. This report emphasizes the importance of obtaining a careful and complete history from the owner regarding an animal and its environment. In the cat of this report, the owner had not considered the impact of the presence of the drug in the child's food.

author list (cited authors)

  • Zoran, D. L., Boeckh, A., & Boothe, D. M.

citation count

  • 8

publication date

  • May 2001