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Ranitidine for Dogs, Cats and Horses

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Contents 

General Drug Information and Indications
How to Give this Medication
Side Effects
Precautions
Drug Interactions
Overdose
Storage
Search for Available Dosage Forms 

General Drug Information and Indications

Ranitidine is used in both veterinary medicine and in human medicine to decrease acid production in the gastrointestinal (GI) tract. In human medicine the trade name for ranitidine is Zantac. Other drugs in this family are cimetidine (Tagamet) and famotidine (Pepcid). The scientific name for this family of drugs is “histamine H2 receptor antagonists”. These drugs prevent the stomach from producing gastric acid by binding at a receptor cell in the stomach.

Ranitidine is used in dogs, cats, and horses to treat or possibly prevent ulcers of the esophagus, stomach and gastrointestinal tract. Ranitidine differs slightly from cimetidine and famotidine in that it can also stimulate motility in the GI tract. It is sometimes used in animals that are vomiting due to decreased GI motility. Ranitidine may be given orally, or by injection in a hospital situation. Like many other drugs in veterinary medicine, this drug is not FDA approved for use in animals and is not available from a veterinary pharmaceutical manufacturer. Instead, it is compounded by a specialty pharmacy. 

How to Give this Medication

Give this medication to your pet exactly as your veterinarian prescribes. If you miss giving your pet a dose of ranitidine, give the next dose as soon as you remember or, if it is close to the next scheduled dose, return to the regular schedule. Do not double dose to catch up. Ranitidine may be given with food.

If your animal is receiving any of the following drugs: antacids, sucralfate, or ketoconazole, your veterinarian may recommend that you allow two hours between drugs.

Wash your hands after giving your pet this medication.  

Side Effects

Be sure to discuss any side effects with your veterinarian immediately.

Ranitidine is a very safe drug, and generally has very few side effects. The most common side effects seen in dogs or cats is mild diarrhea or GI upset.

Your veterinarian may prescribe this drug at a reduced dosage in older animals or in animals with kidney problems. Histamine H2 receptor antagonists have been known to cause some disorientation in older humans.

Precautions

Keep this and all drugs out of reach of children. This drug should only be given to the animal for which it was prescribed. Do not give this medication to a person. Federal law restricts this drug to use by or on the order of a licensed veterinarian.

Ranitidine should be used with caution in animals with decreased kidney function. It is concentrated in maternal milk, and should be used with caution in lactating animals.

Drug Interactions

Be sure to review with your veterinarian any medications or supplements your pet may be receiving.

Ranitidine may decrease the metabolism of acetaminophen. It may affect the levels of ketoconazole, itraconazole, metopropolol, nifedipine, propantheline, and vitamin B-12.

Overdose

If you suspect your pet or another animal was overdosed accidentally or has eaten this medication inadvertently, contact your veterinarian or the A.S.P.C.A.’s Animal Poison Control Center at 888.426.4435. Always bring the prescription container with you when you take your pet for treatment.

If you or someone else has accidentally ingested this medication call the National Capital Poison Center at 800.222.1222.

Storage

Different strengths or dosage forms of ranitidine may have different storage requirements. Read the labeling or ask your pharmacist for the storage requirements of the prescription you receive. 

About the Author

Dr. Barbara Forney is a veterinary practitioner in Chester County, Pennsylvania. She has a master's degree in animal science from the University of Delaware and graduated from the University of Pennsylvania School of Veterinary Medicine in 1982.

She began to develop her interest in client education and medical writing in 1997. Recent publications include portions of The Pill Book Guide to Medication for Your Dog and Cat, and most recently Understanding Equine Medications published by the Bloodhorse.

Dr. Forney is an FEI veterinarian and an active member of the AAEP, AVMA, and AMWA.

The information contained on this site is general in nature and is intended for use as an informational aid. It does not cover all possible uses, actions, precautions, side effects, or interactions of the products shown, nor is the information intended as medical advice or diagnosis for individual health problems or for making an evaluation as to the risks and benefits of using a particular product. You should consult your doctor about diagnosis and treatment of any health problems. Information and statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration ("FDA"), nor has the FDA approved the products to diagnose, cure or prevent disease. 

Wedgewood Pharmacy compounded veterinary preparations are not intended for use in food and food-producing animals.