If a dog is diagnosed with ulcers in the stomach, small intestine, mouth, or esophagus, a veterinarian can prescribe treatments and provide guidance on how to help them feel better. Recommendations might include a special diet for dogs with ulcers as well as medications that support healing, like sucralfate.
Sucralfate is sold under the brand name Carafate. Although the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has only approved sucralfate for use in humans, it is permitted in veterinary medicine when it can be prescribed under an "off-label" designation. It is a drug with few side effects, and your veterinarian will decide if it's right for your dog.
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How does sucralfate for dogs work?
Sucralfate works in a straightforward way to help ensure an ulcer will heal more efficiently. Basically, once in the body, it is able to turn into a substance that can cover an ulcer so stomach acids won't be able to cause further irritation and damage. With the ulcer coated and protected, it can heal.
What is sucralfate used for in dogs?
In addition to being used as a treatment for existing ulcers, sucralfate can help protect against the development of ulcers. In other words, it can help prevent ulcers from forming.
Therefore, it might be prescribed to a dog who has to take a medication, such as aspirin or a nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drug (NSAID), that might cause ulcers as a side effect. Or if a dog accidentally ingests an NSAID or aspirin — a situation that requires immediate veterinary attention — a veterinarian might prescribe sucralfate to help prevent ulcers.
Sucralfate dosage for dogs
Your veterinarian will provide you with dosage instructions for your dog, so be sure to follow those closely.
Available in tablet and liquid forms, sucralfate needs to be given to your canine on an empty stomach. Also, if administering a tablet, it's best to crush it up and mix it with some water to turn it into a paste or slurry before giving it to your pet.
Since it passes through the system fairly quickly, dogs usually need two to four doses of the drug daily. For example, your veterinarian might tell you to give your dog one tablet three times daily.
Sucralfate side effects in dogs
Ask your veterinarian about the potential side effects of sucralfate to know what to look for and contact them if your dog develops concerning symptoms after a dose of sucralfate.
Constipation is the most common side effect associated with sucralfate. If your dog is prone to constipation, tell your veterinarian.
If your dog develops constipation after taking sucralfate, call your veterinarian as soon as possible. They might advise switching to another medication or may recommend dietary changes to get your dog moving again. Once your dog is no longer taking sucralfate, their bowel movements should return to normal.
Also, if your pet suffers from megacolon, an enlarged colon resulting from long-term constipation and feces retention, sucralfate may not be safe or appropriate, so let your veterinarian know.
Sucralfate allergies in dogs
Some dogs might be allergic to sucralfate. Signs of an allergic reaction include breathing difficulties, swelling, or hives. Severely affected pets might experience seizures or fainting. If your dog experiences any symptoms of an allergic reaction, stop giving them sucralfate and contact your veterinarian right away.
Sucralfate reactions with other drugs and medications in dogs
This drug might interact with other medications, such as antibiotics, by inhibiting their absorption. Let your veterinarian know about any other medications and supplements that your dog is taking so they can confirm that sucralfate is appropriate.
If your pet is taking another medication, like digoxin, that could interact with sucralfate, you may be given instructions on how to properly space out every dose of each medicine to ensure proper absorption of the treatments your pet needs.
If your dog has kidney disease and is on an aluminum-containing antacid, you shouldn't give it at the same time as sucralfate. Your veterinarian should tell you how many hours to wait between administering these gastroprotectants.
Sucralfate for dogs is a medication that is only available by prescription from a DVM, so you can't buy it over the counter. It is prescribed to help prevent and treat ulcers of the gastrointestinal tract, including intestinal ulcers, esophageal ulcers, stomach ulcers, and mouth ulcers. Because it is not known for causing many side effects, with constipation being the most common side effect, it can be a good option for many dogs. However, your veterinarian will carefully evaluate your pet's overall health as well as any other medications they're taking to determine if this drug is right for your canine companion. Once prescribed, follow dosage instructions closely to ensure the best results.