The Scooter Cat

Scooter's Supplies for Chronic Renal Failure (CRF)

About Gel Caps


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Gelatin capsules are a convenient way of giving cats pills, liquids and powdered medications. Gel caps allow you to:

  • combine multiple medications in one easy dose, e.g., 1/4 tablet of Pepcid AC and .15 mL of fortified vitamin b complex.
  • hide the taste of "foul" tasting medications.
  • assure that the medication gets down.  Cats are clever at "fake-swallowing" small pills and spitting them out later.  A gel cap, however, is swallowed almost automatically if you get it on the back of the cat's tongue.
  • gelatin caps dissolve rapidly (5-10 minutes) and completely in the stomach.

Gelatin caps consist of beef gelatin, glycerite and water.  Most cats prefer the beef gelatin caps to "vegetable caps."  Only gel cap vendors are listed below but many of these same vendors also carry "vegetable caps."  Gel caps may be available locally at drug and health food stores.

Ask your vet about administering gel caps and pills to cats.  Many put a little butter on the cap to help it slide down.  Some squirt some water in their cat's mouths after to help the capsule/pill on its way.  Some give the cat food immediately after.  And some do nothing.  There are recent studies that suggest that 5-6 mL of water or a small amount of food administered immediately after a gel cap or pill will speed the transit of the gel cap/pill to the stomach.  See:


Internet Vendors

  • Healthgenesis.com sells gelatin capsules in a variety of sizes.  Size #3 is $8.84 for 1000 plus $5.95 shipping.
  • iHerb.com sells gelatin caps in a variety of sizes.  A bag of 1000 #3s is $9.55 plus $6 shipping.
  • Always Affordable Vitamins sells gelatin caps in sizes #000 to #3 (search for "empty gel caps").  Size #3 is $8.99 for 1000 plus $6.95 shipping.
  • ThrivingPets.com, (303) 333-1899, is a veterinary pharmacy that carries more than 100 kidney supplies, compounds pet medications, and sells other medications and supplies directly to pet owners and veterinarians.  ThrivingPets supplies capsules of the following sizes- #00, 0, 1, 2, 3, 4, and the very hard to find #5 capsules, 100 capsules for $3.  ThrivingPets also sell aluminum hydroxide dried gel powder (a phosphorus binder), potassium gluconate powder (potassium supplement), compounded calcitriol liquid (a treatment for renal failure)and a variety of other drugs and supplies used for treating animals CRF.  See their web site for their CRF formulary.  Feedback from customers has been excellent.
  • Vitaglo.com sells Now Vitamins gel caps in sizes #000 to #3, excepting #2s.  Size #3 is $7.19 plus $10 shipping and handling.  Search for "Now Vitamins - gel caps."  Orders of $50 and more ship free!  (Vitaglo also has an excellent price on potassium gluconate powder.)
  • Capsuline.com sells gel caps in sizes #000 to #4.  Size 3 gelatin capsules: 1,000 @ $18.99 plus free shipping.
  • Torpac Inc. sells 20 different sized gelatin capsules - prices quoted on request.




Gel Cap Sizes

Table 1.  Gel Cap Size, Volume and Fill Weight (1)

Size (#) 

5

4

3

2

1

0

00

00

Volume (mL)

.13

.21

.30

.37

.50

.68

.95

1.37

Typical Fill Weight (mg) (2)

60-90

95-210

135-300

165-370

225-500

305-680

430-950

615-1370

(1)  Information above is from Torpac Inc.
(2)  Fill weight varies with the density of the fill material.

Torpac Inc., maker of empty capsules and capsule fillers, has the best Internet gel cap information and  size charts.  Torpac recommends sizes 3, 4 and 5 for feline use.  But many in the Feline CRF Support Group use bigger capsules with their pets.  Consult your veterinarian for what size is viable for your cat.


Table 2.  Cost to Buy 1000 #3 Gelatin Capsules
from Selected Vendors


Vendor

1000 #3
Gel Caps

Shipping &
Handling

Total

Healthgenesis.com

$8.84

$5.95

$14.79

iHerb.com

$9.55

$6.00

$15.55

Always Affordable Vitamins 

$8.99

$6.95

$15.94

Vitaglo.com

$7.19

$10.00

$17.19

Capsuline.com

$18.99

Included

$18.99




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