Sulfasalazine for Dogs

Although sulfasalazine is commonly used to address the problems associated with rheumatoid arthritis in human patients, it is more commonly used to treat colitis and irritable bowel syndrome in dogs. This medicine is used to help reduce inflammation in your pet's intestines and bowels, thereby helping to calm his system and reduce the total severity of the symptoms. Known also by the brand name drug called Azulfidine, sulfasalazine is a potent drug that can be very helpful in managing your pet's bowel condition.

Sulfasalazine Overview

Sulfasalazine has properties of an antimicrobial drug as well as an anti inflammatory medicine. The exact method by which this medicine works is not understood completely, but it is uniquely well suited to reaching the intestinal wall. This process can be done in a very short amount of time, meaning that the benefits of sulfasalazine are frequently seen in dogs taking this medicine much faster than the benefits of other medicines would turn up.

Though sulfasalazine can be prescribed for use in pets by veterinarians, it is specifically designed as a human medicine. For this reason, it's very important that you only give this drug to your dog in cases in which your vet has specifically recommended it to you.

Using Sulfasalazine for Your Pet

Because sulfasalazine is a drug designed for human use, it comes in tablets that are sized much too large for many dogs. The tablets are generally given at 500 milligrams and 1000 milligrams. Most dogs will require a dosage of between 15 and 25 milligrams per pound, provided every 8 hours or so. The maximum time that you should give your dog this medicine is about 6 weeks, though most regimens will run shorter than that. Because of the dosing issue, it's important that you carefully split up the tablets as recommended by your vet. This will allow you to provide your pet with the proper amount of the drug.

Sulfasalazine can be ground up and mixed in with food or provided along with a pet treat. These tend to be more successful ways of conveying the medicine to a pet then just giving him the drug directly.

Risks and Side Effects of Sulfasalazine

Sulfasalazine may react with many different medicines in your pet's system. For this reason, you should tell your vet about all other health conditions that your pet is suffering from, as well as all other medicines that he's taking, before you begin a treatment involving sulfasalazine. It should not be given to pregnant dogs.

The most commonly noted side effects associated with sulfasalazine include:

  • Gastric upset
  • Vomiting
  • Diarrhea
  • Anemia
  • Rashes
  • Renal damage

Because of the wide range of side effects associated with this medicine, it's crucial that you work closely with your vet to monitor your pet's health as he's taking sulfasalazine. Regular check ups and blood tests are necessary in order to ensure that the medicine isn't interfering with his blood chemistry. For more information about sulfasalazine, consult with a vet.