Famotidine for dogs is actually a human medication that’s sold under the brand name Pepcid®. Veterinarians often prescribe it to dogs to help them cope with gastric ulcers. Famotidine is a histamine blocker, and it works to stop the stomach cells from producing gastric acid when they come in contact with food and drink. This in turn allows the stomach ulcer to heal. A vet will sometimes prescribe famotidine to dogs as part of a mast cell tumor treatment regimen, and it can be used in treating dogs with acid reflux. Pepcid® has also shown some success in treating animals suffering from stomach inflammation caused by kidney failure.
A veterinarian will either prescribe famotidine for dogs in pill or powder form. Pills come in 10-, 20-, and 40-mg doses, while the powder must be measured for proper dosage. The recommended dosage is often between 0.22 and 0.44 mg per pound of the dog’s weight. The medication does not require a prescription, but the drug should still be administered under the advice of a licensed veterinarian. Famotidine does not have FDA approval for use in animals, but vets can still prescribe it as an off-label treatment. Food will often counteract the effects of the drug, so it should not be given to dogs at mealtime. It can be administered at 12- or 24-hour intervals, depending on veterinary instructions.
There are some side effects to be aware of when using famotidine for dogs. An allergic reaction is often the most serious effect to watch out for. Reactions can include hive, facial or tongue swelling, or difficulty breathing. Famotidine has also caused loss of appetite and tiredness in some dogs, but this is rare. An overdose of the drug is unlikely, but it can happen if a dose is administered improperly. Overdose symptoms include an elevated heart rate, vomiting, and pale gums. If an owner notices any adverse symptoms in his dog, he should stop giving it famotidine and contact his veterinarian for assistance.
There are some additional precautions that should be discussed with a veterinarian before administering famotidine for dogs. Although the drug can treat stomach inflammation that results from kidney failure, dogs with kidney, liver, or heart disease should be monitored very closely. It can also contribute to additional weight gain in pregnant dogs, so extra caution is advised. Some drugs can interact negatively with famotidine, so if a dog is being given any additional medications, including vitamins and supplements, the vet should be notified.
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