If your dog is suffering from ulcers, your veterinarian will develop an individualized treatment plan to relieve the condition. Your vet will often prescribe medication to treat the symptoms of your dog. Sucralfate is one of the medications commonly prescribed for treating ulcers in dogs. The drug is designed to coat the gastrointestinal tract, treating and preventing gastrointestinal ulcers. Here is an exclusive review on Sucralfate for dogs, dosage, benefits, side effects, and everything else you need to know.
What Is Sucralfate?
Sucralfate, famous for its brand name, Carafate® Sulcrate®, is an aluminum hydroxy salt of sucrose octa sulfate used to treat local mucosal in dogs. The drug initially entered the market for the first time as an ulcer medication for human patients in 1968 but did not get FDA approval in the US until 1981. Sucralfate is branded for the treatment of duodenal ulcers, but it’s effectively used in treating ulcers in other parts of the gastrointestinal tract. For dogs, it’s used in treating upper GI disorders and ulcers, often recommended for ulceration and GI erosion in dogs. The medication reacts with the stomach acid to form a protective barrier. This barrier helps the ulcers heal, and it’s resistant to the digestive agents in your dog’s stomach. Hence, it is an effective way of dealing with gastrointestinal ulcers in dogs and other animals, including cats and horses. According to VCA Animal Hospitals, Sucralfate in dogs is ‘off label.’ Many drugs are commonly prescribed for off-label use in veterinary medications. In these cases, follow the vet’s directions and cautions carefully.
What Are the Causes of Ulcers in Dogs?
Ulcers can occur for many reasons and can hurt your dog. The common causes of ulcers in dogs include; lymphoma, irritable bowel syndrome, helicobacter, gastritis, medications, extreme workouts, and others. Such conditions can make your veterinarian prescribe Sucralfate to your dog. Sucralfate works by creating a coating or barrier over the ulcer, protecting it from stomach acids.
How Does Sucralfate Work in Dogs?
Sucralfate is composed of hydroxy aluminum salt of sucrose octasulfate, which acts as a local mucosal defender. When a dog takes the medication orally, it begins to work in the body’s acidic environment and gets sticky. In the acidic environment of your stomach, Sucralfate makes a Gluey substance that sticks to the affected secretion point within the ulcer crater. This protects the gastrointestinal lineage from corrosive acidic juices and enzymes. According to PetCoach, it coats the surface of healthy gastrointestinal tissue and ulcers, functioning like a ‘band aid’ that protects against acidic digestive juices and other irritants.
When Should You Administer Sucralfate to Your Dog?
Sucralfate is commonly used in dogs for ulcers in the esophagus, mouth, stomach, intestinal ulcers, and other diseases such as kidney and liver illnesses, mast cell tumors, and hypoadrenocorticism, inflammatory bowel disease, etc. Veterinarians often prescribe the medication for dogs with GI disorders and upset stomachs. Whether your dog suffers from esophageal ulcers because of gastric reflux or is prone to ulcers due to overdose of anti-inflammatory non-steroidal drugs, Sucralfate is commonly prescribed due to its protective benefits on the gastrointestinal lining. Generally, Sucralfate is commonly prescribed for the treatment of;
- Esophageal ulcers
- Intestinal ulcers
- Stomach ulcers
- Kidney failure
- Ingestion of toxins that might lead to gastrointestinal ulceration
Is Sucralfate Safe for Dogs?
Sucralfate is considered safe for dogs and other animals. However, owners and vets should be careful when it comes to the blood sugar levels of their dogs. The medication might cause elevated blood sugar levels. If your dog has been diagnosed with diabetes, you should be careful because Sucralfate can cause a relative increase in blood sugar levels. Therefore, only administer medication to diabetic pups with a veterinarian prescription. In some rare cases, dogs that take Sucralfate can get diarrhea or constipation.
How Is Sucralfate Given to Dogs?
Sucralfate medication is available in two forms; a tablet and liquid suspension. Your vet will guide you on how to administer Sucralfate to your dog based on the area of your dog’s gastrointestinal system that needs protection. When Sucralfate is intended for your dog’s intestines or stomach, you can give sucralfate tablets intact like usual pills. The tablet will disintegrate in the acidic environment of your stomach, coating the walls of the stomach and the remaining intestinal tract. However, if your dog has ulcerous lessons starting from the esophagus, administering the drug as an intact tablet will provide no significant benefits. The tablet does not dissolve until reaching the stomach. If you are using sucralfate tablets, most vets recommend that you dissolve them in lukewarm water into a slurry. This involves crushing the sucralfate tablet and dissolving it in a little lukewarm water. After mixing the solution well, use a syringe to give your dog an oral administration. On the other hand, if you are using a liquid suspension, shake the bottle thoroughly before administering it. You should give the medication on an empty stomach, so you should administer it to your dog about an hour before food or two hours after taking a meal. Sucralfate is relatively effective and takes effect in one to two hours. The physical effects of the medication will be visible after twenty-four hours. Your dog will have lesser pain from the ulceration they are suffering from. Keep in mind that the veterinarian prescribes the medication off the label, so ensure to follow the veterinarian’s advice.
Sucralfate Dosage for Dogs
Like other medications, particularly those prescribed for off-label use, administering the correct dosage is vital. Always administer any medication in safe mounts to avoid overdosing. Fortunately, you don’t have to be worried even if you miss recommended dosage when it comes to Sucralfate. The drug is relatively safe with few to no side effects. Nonetheless, it’s recommendable to stick to the recommended dosages for the efficiency of the drug. According to Pet Meds, the general dosing guideline for Sucralfate is 0.5 to 1 tablet three times a day. The specific sucralfate dosage varies from one dog to the other based on the dog’s medical history, weight, and any medication that they are taking. The recommendable sucralfate dosage for dogs is:
- Small Dogs up to 20 lbs.- 0.25 to 0.5 gram every 6 to 8 hours
- Medium Dogs 20 to 60 lbs.- 0.5 to 1 gram every 6 to 8 hours
- Large Dogs more than 60 lbs.- 1 to 1.5 grams every 6 to 8 hours
When you miss giving a sucralfate dose to your dog, give it when you remember. However, if the medication is close to the time for the next dose, skip the dosage you missed, administer the medicine at the next scheduled time, and go on with the regular dosing schedule. You should never offer your pet two doses at once or an extra dose. Careful timing of the medication can ensure your dog gets the maximum benefit of both. You should consult your vet on the proper dosage for your dog and the recommended length of time. They are aware of your dog’s medical history and will guide you on the exact amount of Sucralfate your dog should take. Sucralfate is not FDA-approved for animal use, so you should follow your veterinarian’s advice and avoid self-medication. Sucralfate can also result in reduced phosphate levels; hence electrolytes should be kept as first aid before the drug administration.
Other medications might interact with Sucralfate because it might affect the absorption of other medicines. According to Nexgenvertx, Sucralfate can reduce the absorption of several drugs, including; thyroxine, digoxin, theophylline, doxycycline, tetracycline, azithromycin and other antibiotics. This results from sucralfate binding to the medication, inhibiting the absorption. It is hence essential to separate sucralfate administration from other drugs. Ensure to tell your vet about any other supplements or medicines that your dog is taking to ensure Sucralfate is safe for your dog. Keep in mind that Sucralfate creates a protective barrier on your dog’s stomach lining, meaning other drugs will be improperly absorbed. The medication can also affect the absorption of other medicines such as NSAIDs and H2 receptor drugs. So, if your dog is on other medications along with Sucralfate, you should inform your veterinarian for proper scheduling of drug administration. It’s recommended to use the medication separately or administer other medications about 2 hours before the sucralfate dosage. Sucralfate is highly effective on an acidic stomach. Hence, it is best to give Sucralfate 30 minutes before any antacid medications you might be administering to your pet.
Sucralfate Benefits for Dogs
- Sucralfate has been proven effective in preventing and treating esophagus, stomach, mouth, and intestinal ulcers in dogs.
- The medication encourages the healing process of dogs suffering from ulcers and intestinal erosions.
- It heals affected ulcer parts and protects other body parts from corrosion by stomach acids.
- Sucralfate helps prevent gastritis in dogs, usually caused by drugs such as Aspirin
- Sucralfate functions like a charm in several intestinal and gastrointestinal upset problems. It helps in protecting the internal body from contamination from stomach acids.
- The medicine helps to decrease the risk of acid reflux disease.
Sucralfate Side Effects
Medications always feature some side effects. Although Sucralfate has been proven as a safe medication for dogs, some dogs may experience a few side effects. These may include but are not limited to constipation, allergic reactions, vomiting, Hypophosphatemia, and breathing difficulties. The medication might also lessen the rate of gastric emptying and decrease GI transit time. But keep in mind that the list is not exhaustive. So, if you are not your dog experiencing any side effects from this medication, contact your veterinarian immediately. While Sucralfate has minor side effects, overdosing can result in serious side effects.
Potential Risk Factors
According to clinical research, there are no risk factors identified for Sucralfate. Sucralfate remains in the gastrointestinal tract and is not absorbed into the bloodstream. However, don’t use Sucralfate in dogs allergic to it. Also, you should use the medication with caution in dogs with constipation.
How Long Does It Take for Sucralfate to Work in Dogs?
Like other medications, the effect of Sucralfate depends on the health condition of your canine. Usually, the drug starts working within an hour or two. However, the results might not be noticeable immediately. After administering Sucralfate, you should monitor your pup to ensure the drug is working. If you find blood traces in the vomit or stool, it could signify that the ulcers are worsening. If you observe blood, contact your vet as soon as possible.
There are no particular storage demands when it comes to Sucralfate. Like storing any drug in your home, store Sucralfate in a firmly sealed container away from direct light and at room temperature. No refrigeration is required. On the other hand, if your veterinarian makes a unique medication formulation, you should carefully follow the storage and administration instructions.
What Should You Do in Case of Overdosage?
Sucralfate overdose is usually not severe. However, if your dog misses a sucralfate dose, there is no need to double up the missed dosage. Contact your vet’s office immediately if you suspect overdosing or adverse medication reaction. If the vet is not available, consider contacting an emergency animal institution.
Sucralfate is a relatively affordable medication, usually less than $1 per dose. The generic medication forms might go for a lower cost than the branded forms. Sucralfate is readily available from most physical drug stores and chemists as well as online websites. If you don’t know what Sucralfate looks like, it’s typically dispersed in the form of a large, white, oval tablet with a center score. Although veterinarians do not often prescribe Sucralfate in the form of suspension, the liquid form features a light pink color. If your vet has no sucralfate in their stock, they can give you a prescription to get the medication at your human or local pharmacy.
Hopefully, you now understand what Sucralfate for dogs is. Sucralfate is an effective medication against ulcerations and will help your dog’s gastrointestinal problems. Ensure to follow your vet’s instructions on proper administration and maintain a regular schedule. Sucralfate is a relatively safe drug; hence overdoses are rare. However, you should never administer the medication on your own, so you should talk to your veterinarian before doing it.