do we need to have blood work done on a cat who is on phenobarbital

by Ellen Berry
(Grand Junction colorado )

I am trying to figure out why all of a sudden my cat needs to have blood work done every 6 mon
the cat is 15 yrs old been on phenobarbital for many years
about 10 yrs and is on a very low dose
never had seizures since starting on it
not only don't I want to pay for this blood draws
but the cat would not respond well to this trauma either


The main reason that blood work is done periodically (when a cat is on phenobarbital) is to check that the medication isn’t causing liver disease. Typical signs you would notice are vomiting, diarrhea, lack of appetite or a yellowing of the gums and skin.

Since you aren’t noticing any symptoms and your cat appears to be healthy, then I would contact the vet and ask to have the blood drawn once a year instead of every six months. At 15 years old, I wouldn’t expand beyond an annual blood check because oftentimes liver disease doesn’t show too many symptoms at the onset but the blood results would reveal if it is present and if it’s caught early, the progression can be slowed.

For a better understanding of liver disease see: Cat Liver Disease
I hope this helps you. Best wishes to both you and your feline.

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