Medicine

Sucralfate for Dogs - Uses, Dosage and Side Effects

 
María Besteiros
By María Besteiros, Expert veterinary assistant and canine/feline hairdresser.. Updated: February 28, 2024
Sucralfate for Dogs - Uses, Dosage and Side Effects
Dogs

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We think of medications being used to counter the effects of a disease or illness, but it is important to remember they can also be administered for preventive purposes. Sucralfate is a drug with a protective effect for the gastrointestinal system. It can be prescribed both preventively or therapeutically, but it must always occur after diagnosis from a veterinary professional.

In this AnimalWised article, we look at sucralfate for dogs. We understand how the action of this drug functions to protect the dog's gastrointestinal system, as well as finding out the specific uses, dosage and side effects of sucralfate. We also look at the situations where this drug is contraindicated for canine administration.

Contents
  1. What is sucralfate for dogs?
  2. Uses of sucralfate for dogs
  3. Sucralfate for dogs dosage
  4. Contraindications of sucralfate in dogs
  5. Side effects of sucralfate for dogs

What is sucralfate for dogs?

Sucralfate is a type of protective drug, specifically being used t protect parts of the gastrointestinal tract. While it has some mild antacid capabilities, it is not considered a strong antacid drug. Instead, its main action occurs due to its reaction with gastric acid. When passing through the stomach, sucralfate dissociates into two products, specifically sucrose octasulfate and aluminum hydroxide.

Sucrose octasulfate in the acid medium binds to damaged gastrointestinal mucosa and provides it with a protective effect. It does so by turning into a type of paste with a viscous and sticky consistency that is capable of provi9ndg protection for more than six hours. It is the aluminum hydroxide that provides a slight local antacid effect. In addition, the drug absorbs bile acids and increases mucus secretion, among other actions.

The protection sucralfate provides for dogs is when the gastrointestinal mucosa is damaged. Damage can be due to a variety of lesions and it is these lesions which the paste physically covers. Sucralfate provides protection from the acidic secretions from various parts of the gastrointestinal tract. These can cause significant irritation to lesions in the esophagus, stomach, intestines and other digestive tissues.

Sucralfate can be purchased in the following preparations:

  • Oral tablet
  • Oral liquid suspension
  • Rectal suspension

Although not as widely used, research shows good efficacy of sucralfate in enema form[1]. A small amount of the administered dose is absorbed, around 3 to 5%. It is eliminated via the kidneys within 48 hours following administration. Sucralfate should only be prescribed by a veterinarian, but they will determine the best form of administration after considering your dogs individual needs.

Uses of sucralfate for dogs

As we have explained, the action of sucralfate is as a protective agent for lesions and damaged areas of the gastrointestinal tract. There are many reasons why a dog's GI tract can be damaged, so sucralfate can be useful for:

  • Gastric ulcers
  • Acid reflux
  • Esophagitis
  • Surgical damage
  • Duodenitis
  • Tumors

Dogs are relatively prone to ulcers in various types of mucosal tissue, including mouth ulcers at the beginning of their digestive system. The causes of these ulcers are varied and can include:

  • Renal disease
  • Hepatic disease
  • Ingestion of foreign object
  • Neoplasia (abnormal cell growth)
  • Side effect of medication

Various medications can be damaging to the internal mucosa of a dog's GI tract. It is for this reason many medications need to be given with food. Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) can be prescribed for various painful inflammatory processes, but they can be damaging to the mucosal lining. For this reason, sucralfate can be prescribed in tandem with NSAID prescriptions to protect against such damage.

Sucralfate can also be used for dogs suffering from chronic liver or kidney diseases. This is because these pathologies can result in gastrointestinal ulcerations, among various other symptoms. Depending on the circumstances of each case, the veterinarian will assess the joint administration of other drugs. It is for this reason we should never give sucralfate to dogs without express veterinary prescription.

As stated above, the efficacy of sucralfate as an antacid is not a strong as other drugs. Take a look at our guide to cimetidine for dogs to learn about some better alternatives.

Sucralfate for Dogs - Uses, Dosage and Side Effects - Uses of sucralfate for dogs

Sucralfate for dogs dosage

The dose of sucralfate in dogs will depend on various factors. These include the underlying cause diagnosed by the veterinarian, as well as the weight and overall clinical picture of the dog. As a general guide for administration of oral suspension sucralfate, a dog weighing up to 15 kg will need 5 ml of sucralfate per day. A veterinarian may prescribe more for larger dogs.

A course of sucralfate treatment lasts around 8 days on average. However, this will depend on the clinical picture, the extent of the medical problem and various other factors. If given as a protective for use of NSAIDs in dogs, it will usually last as long as the NSAID treatment is required. It is recommended to administer sucralfate to dogs on an empty stomach.

Find out about one type of NSAID used in veterinary medicine with our article on carprofen for dogs.

Contraindications of sucralfate in dogs

Sucralfate is not a safe medication for pregnant bitches. It also cannot be given to dogs sensitive to this drug. It must be given with caution to dogs that have reduced intestinal motility, such as very old dogs. In other dogs it is rare for adverse side effects to occur, as long as we follow the guidelines indicated by the veterinarian. Lactating bitches can consume it.

Side effects of sucralfate for dogs

There are various side effects of sucralfate which may present in your dog, but it is also important to consider any other concurrent drugs being taken when used as a protective agent. Constipation in dogs is a relatively common side effect and treatment may need to be stopped if it is sufficiently serious. In a small percentage of cases, the following side effects of sucralfate may be observed:

  • Diarrhea
  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Stomach ache
  • Indigestion
  • Gas
  • Dry mouth
  • Itching
  • Drowsiness

If the dog is receiving other medicines, we must inform the veterinarian. This is because they may interact with sucralfate and see its effectiveness diminished. In this case, the professional will tell us at what interval both drugs should be administered so that no interference occurs. Although it is uncommon, dogs with very advanced chronic kidney disease may develop aluminum poisoning thanks to the production of aluminum hydroxide[2].

This article is purely informative. AnimalWised does not have the authority to prescribe any veterinary treatment or create a diagnosis. We invite you to take your pet to the veterinarian if they are suffering from any condition or pain.

If you want to read similar articles to Sucralfate for Dogs - Uses, Dosage and Side Effects, we recommend you visit our Medicine category.

References

1. McElvanna, K., Wilson, A., & Irwin, T. (2014). Sucralfate paste enema: a new method of topical treatment for haemorrhagic radiation proctitis. Colorectal disease: the official journal of the Association of Coloproctology of Great Britain and Ireland, 16(4), 281–284.
https://doi.org/10.1111/codi.12507

2. Sikora Newsome, A., Higdon, E., Pierce, D., Gaber, M., & Kumar, V. (2018). Acute Aluminum Toxicity from Combination Therapy Sucralfate and Citric Acid in a Cardiac Surgery Patient. Biomedical Journal of Scientific & Technical Research, 3(1), 3041-3042.
https://biomedres.us/pdfs/BJSTR.MS.ID.000850.pdf

Bibliography
  • (2018). Management of persistent vomiting. Veterinary Portal.
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Sucralfate for Dogs - Uses, Dosage and Side Effects