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Mineral Oil-Based Laxatives and Hairball Remedies ( Including Laxatone® and Petromalt®)

Overview

Laxatone® and Petromalt® are commonly prescribed to prevent and eliminate hairballs in cats.  They are laxatives that promote the passage of intestinal contents through the rectum as feces.  Although the two products (and other, similar products) primarily are marketed as hairball remedies, they also are used to treat and prevent constipation.

Both products contain mineral oil as the active ingredient.   Mineral oil acts by lubricating the intestines.   This promotes mobility of the intestinal contents.  Mineral oil is derived from petroleum.   The amount of mineral oil absorbed by the body after use of these products is believed to be negligible.

Form

Mineral oil-based laxatives and hairball remedies are administered orally.  They are readily available as flavored gelatins.

Side Effects

Side effects from products in this class are very uncommon.   In some instances, small amounts of mineral oil may leak from the anus.  When given in large quantities over long periods of time, these products may lead to deficiencies of certain vitamins. Very rarely, inflammation of the liver, spleen, or internal lymph nodes occurs.

Animals that are force fed mineral oil-based products may accidentally inhale a portion of the product.  Contact your veterinarian if your pet resists administration of the product.

Monitoring

Owners should monitor the feces of pets taking mineral oil-based products to ensure appropriate volume and consistency.  These products should not be used continuously unless under the direction of a veterinarian.

Copyright © Eric Barchas, DVM. All rights reserved.
The contents of this page are provided for general informational purposes only. Under no circumstances should this page be substituted for professional consultation with a veterinarian.