Cyproheptadine for Dogs

Although cyproheptadine is more often used in cats, it is also frequently found in canine veterinary medicine. When given to cats, this medicine can help to stimulate the appetite. However, the same effect is not seen in dogs. Cyproheptadine is more commonly used for dogs as a way of addressing allergic reactions and other related conditions. The medicine is known by the brand name formulation drug called Periactin, and is available only through a veterinary prescription.

Cyproheptadine Overview

Cyproheptadine is an example of a drug of the class called antihistamines. Antihistamines work to block the reception of histamine chemicals in your dog's body. When your dog comes into contact with an offending allergen, his body reacts by creating histamine chemicals. These histamines are divided into two groups, classified as H1 or H2. The histamines move through your pet's body and are normally picked up by certain receptor cells, thereby causing inflammation, redness, itchiness and other symptoms of an allergic reaction. Cyproheptadine works to block the reception of H1 histamine chemicals, thereby reducing the reaction to the allergen.

Cyproheptadine is a drug that has been approved by the FDA for use in humans only. However, it can still be prescribed for use by vets in certain cases. Ask your vet if this drug may be helpful in reducing your pet's symptoms associated with an allergic reaction.

Using Cyproheptadine for Your Dog

Because of the potent nature of this medicine, it's important that you work closely with your veterinarian in order to determine exactly how much of the drug to give to your pet. In most cases, cyproheptadine is reserved for dogs that have had negative reactions to other types of antihistamines, so it's especially crucial that you treat the dosing and administration of this drug carefully.

Cyproheptadine is available both in tablet form and as an oral syrup. Both are commonly used for canine medicine, but many owners find the tablet easier to provide to their pets along with a meal or included with a food treat. The dose varies depending upon your dog's size, weight, age, overall health condition, and type of allergic reaction, and is typically given once per day.

Risks and Side Effects of Cyproheptadine

There are certain preexisting health conditions that may exclude your pet from taking this medicine. If your dog has glaucoma, heart or liver disease, or certain other conditions he should not take cyproheptadine. Tell your vet about any and all other medicines or conditions that your pet has before you begin to give him this medicine.

The most commonly seen side effects of cyproheptadine include:

  • Stomach sensitivity
  • Sedation

In the event of overdose, which is very uncommon, your pet will likely experience a heavier sedation. If you notice these or any other types of side effects, however, it's important to tell your vet immediately, because it may indicate the need to change the dose of cyproheptadine.