Pepcid for Dogs

Pepcid, also known under the generic name Famotidine, is an over-the-counter drug recommended in the treatment of gastric and intestinal ulcers. The first category of ulcers affects the esophagus, small intestine or the stomach and is characterized by a broken or eroded lining of these organs. Canine stomach ulcers may develop as a complication of bloat, kidney failure and primary conditions of the stomach. In addition, ulcers may also occur as a side effect when following a treatment based on steroids or NSAIDs (non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs). Pepcid acts as an anti-ulcer agent and treats the condition, while also helping to prevent further complications.

Pharmaceutical Mechanism of Pepcid

When histamine receptor-2 from the cell membranes of the stomach cells gets stimulated, gastric acid is produced. Pepcid blocks these receptors and thus, stops the production of gastric acid and permits the ulcer to be healed. Alternative drugs with the same pharmaceutical mechanism include:

  • Cimetidine
  • Nizatidine
  • Ranitidine

Since Pepcid is able to control the secretion of gastric acid, it can also be used for treating the acid reflux disease. If left untreated, this condition may lead to an esophageal ulcer. More than that, Pepcid can also be used in the treatment of canine mast cell tumors, as these tumors are able to secrete great quantities of histamine. Famotidine also proved to be effective in the treatment of gastritis and esophagitis.

Even though the drug can be purchased without a prescription, it is highly recommended to consult a veterinarian, as the dog needs to be supervised throughout the entire period when the treatment is followed.

Availability and Administration

Pepcid is available either as tablets or as oral powder for suspension. The tablets come in the following concentrations:

  • 10mg
  • 20mg
  • 40mg

The oral powder for suspension, on the other hand, has a concentration of 50mg and needs to be mixed with 5ml of dispersion medium. The recommended dose ranges between 0.25 and 0.5mg per pound of body weight, once or twice a day, in concordance with the severity of the symptoms. This factor also determines the duration of the treatment. It is highly recommended to complete the whole treatment plan, to make sure that the ulcer does not reappear. The treatment should be terminated without consulting the veterinarian, even if the dog seems to feel better.

Contraindications and Side Effects

Certain dogs may exhibit a hypersensitivity to this drug or may even develop an allergic reaction. These dogs should be administered an alternative to Pepcid, in order to avoid any serious complications. Also, Pepcid should be used with great care in dogs that suffer from health conditions that affect the liver or the kidneys. Some of the side effects that may be experience by your dog include:

  • Collapse
  • Pale gums
  • Rapid heart rate
  • Restlessness
  • Vomiting

For an extensive list of drugs that may interact with Pepcid you need to talk to a veterinarian. There are known interactions between Pepcid and Digoxin and Ketoconazole. When such a reaction occurs, either the efficiency of the drug is diminished or adverse reactions start developing. However, Pepcid is safe in the majority of the cases, especially if the dosage and the indications of the veterinarian are respected to the letter.