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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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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This content is intended for counseling purposes only. This content is informational/educational and is not intended to treat or diagnose any disease or patient. No claims are made as to the safety or efficacy of mentioned preparations. The compounded medications featured in this content have been prescribed and/or administered by prescribers who work with Wedgewood Pharmacy. You are encouraged to speak with your prescriber as to the appropriate use of any medication. Wedgewood Pharmacy’s compounded veterinary preparations are not intended for use in food and food-producing animals. All product and company names are trademarks™ or registered® trademarks of their respective holders. Use of them does not imply any affiliation with or endorsement by them.