Maine Coons developed severe facial ulcerative dermatitis when used as test subjects for a human acne drug

I will have to keep this brief because I am working off an abstract of a study which is a summary. I've seen similar studies where scientists have used Maine Coon cats to test drugs that are used on people suffering from hypertrophic cardiomyopathy (HCM). I guess the scientist wanted to see whether these human drugs work on cats and Maine Coons are predisposed to developing HCM.

Maine Coons developed severe facial ulcerative dermatitis when used as test subjects for a human HCM drug
Maine Coons developed severe facial ulcerative dermatitis when used as test subjects for a human HCM drug. Image in public domain.

On this occasion they tested a drug called Spironolactone (SPIR) in America. As mentioned, they tested it on Maine Coon cats with familial HCM i.e. inherited HCM. They wanted to see whether this drug improved diastolic function and reduced left ventricular mass in these cats.

The conclusion is that it did not work. They tested the drug over four months. For me, a disturbing statement in their summary is this: one third of cats treated with SPIR developed severe ulcerative facial dermatitis. That is 4 out of 13 cats developed this condition.

I don't know what happened but I'm going to guess as I usually do. My guess is that this drug caused a severe reaction in the cats which resulted in their face itching. They scratched themselves which caused the ulcerative dermatitis.

In any event, it is sad to think that beautiful Maine Coon cats were put through this ordeal on a casual test to see whether something worked. You might have thought that as soon as any signs of rejection of the drug was apparent that they would have stopped the test but my impression is that they did not otherwise why did this dermatitis becomes severe?

In the US at least Spironolactone is sold under the brand name Aldactone among others. It is used for hormonal acne in humans among other conditions.

The authors of the study were affiliated with The Animal Care Center of Sonoma, Rohnert Park, CA. (2008). The study title is: Effect of Spironolactone on Diastolic Function and Left Ventricular Mass in Maine Coon Cats with Familial Hypertrophic Cardiomyopathy.

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