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Things to Consider While Using Cerenia for Dogs

Things to Consider While Using Cerenia for Dogs

Cerenia is an FDA-approved drug that is prescribed for dogs affected by acute vomiting and/or motion sickness. This DogAppy write-up will elaborate on the things to consider while using Cerenia for dogs.
Smita Pandit
It was in 2007 that the Food and Drug Administration of the United States approved the use of Cerenia for treating acute vomiting and preventing acute vomiting in dogs affected by motion sickness. Recently, this drug has also been approved for treating these conditions in cats.
Maropitant citrate, which is marketed under the trade name Cerenia, is a prescription-only drug that is classified as a neurokinin receptor antagonist. It is an antiemetic, which means that it helps alleviate or prevent nausea and vomiting. This drug is often prescribed for dogs affected by acute vomiting or motion sickness. More often than not, motion sickness affects younger dogs. Though puppies often outgrow this condition, some dogs might require proper conditioning and treatment.
There are times when dogs exhibit the symptoms owing to the fear of a moving vehicle. Under such circumstances, the signs can be observed even when the vehicle is not moving. Though dog owners have the option of using over-the-counter drugs, it is always better to consult a veterinarian to identify the underlying cause. So, if you feel that your pet is carsick or appears to be uneasy in moving vehicles, do consult a veterinarian. More often than not, veterinarians prescribe Cerenia, as it is the only drug that has been approved by the FDA for the treatment of motion sickness in dogs. It might also be prescribed for the prevention of vomiting associated with chemotherapy, gastroenteritis, or pancreatitis in dogs. This drug is available in the form of tablets as well as injections.
Cerenia for Treating Motion Sickness in Dogs
Motion sickness occurs when the central nervous system receives conflicting messages from the inner ear, eyes, pressure receptors in the joints of lower extremities, and the sensory receptors in muscles and joints that respond to stimuli related to the orientation, position, and movement of the body.
Cerenia tablets or injections are prescribed when dogs or cats exhibit the following signs:

Excessive drooling
Excessive panting
Excessive licking of the lips
Dry heaving
This drug helps prevent or treat acute vomiting, which could occur due to the fear or vehicle, motion sickness, anxiety, unhealthy diet, etc. In case of motion sickness, vomiting signals are sent to the emetic center of the brain by the vestibular apparatus. Vomiting occurs when Chemoreceptor Trigger Zone (a region of the medulla oblongata of the brain) communicates with the emetic center. Substance P is one of the neurotransmitters that is associated with vomiting. The active substance of Cerenia is maropitant citrate, which helps in preventing substance P from binding to the Neurokinin-1 (NK-1) receptors, thereby blocking the signals and controlling the vomiting reaction.
Ceremia is available as 16 mg, 24 mg, 60 mg, or 160 mg tablets in blister packs of 4 tablets. The dosage for treating motion sickness in dogs is 8 mg/kg body weight. The tablets are recommended for dogs that are aged 16 weeks and older. Tablets should be administered once daily, for two consecutive days, or for a duration suggested by the veterinarian.
In case of dogs affected by acute vomiting, the dosage is 2 mg/kg (0.9 mg/lb) body weight once daily for up to 5 consecutive days. Also, these tablets are recommended for use in dogs that are 8 weeks and older.
The recommended dosage for subcutaneous administration of Cerenia injection in dogs and cats is 1 mL/10 kg body weight. The injection is recommended for use in dogs that are 10 weeks of age and older. The injection can be administered once daily for up to 5 days in case of dogs affected by acute vomiting.
Contraindications and Side Effects of Cerenia
Studies that have been conducted on dogs affected by acute vomiting and motion sickness revealed good results when they received Cerenia in comparison to dogs that received placebo. Studies have shown that tablets were well-tolerated at dosages up to 10 mg/kg body weight for a duration of 15 days. However, in case of dosages higher than 20 mg/kg body weight, certain side effects were observed. These included:

Vomiting after the initial/first dose
Watery stool
Excessive salivation
Other side effects that have been associated with Cerenia use include:

Lack of appetite
Allergic reaction
Bloody stool
There are some factors that need to be considered while giving Cerenia to dogs.

This drug should not be given to dogs that might be allergic to Cerenia or any of the ingredients used in this drug. Consult a veterinarian immediately, if your pet experiences symptoms such as difficulty in breathing, scratching, onset of diarrhea, vomiting, seizures, hives, loss of consciousness, swelling of the lips, tongue, or face.

It is extremely essential to inform the veterinarian, if the dog has been diagnosed with a liver disease. This is important because this drug is metabolized by CYP3A enzymes that are mainly found in the liver.

Inform the veterinarian about any other drugs (heart medication, anticonvulsants, NSAIDs, drugs for treating behavioral problems) that are being given to the dog for treating preexisting conditions. This is to lower the risk of adverse drug interactions.

There's a lack of information on the effects of Cerenia for dogs that are nursing or pregnant. Thus, caution must be exercised.

This drug should not be given to dogs that have ingested toxins or swallowed a foreign object.

Keep it out of reach of children and other pets. Store this drug at room temperature, preferably at a place where it's not exposed to heat.

You should be careful while handling the tablets or administering injections. Pet owners should watch out for symptoms of localized skin reactions. Wash your hands properly after giving Cerenia to your pet. If the drug comes in contact with your eyes, wash your eyes with water. Consult a doctor if irritation or other symptoms persist.

If your dog is affected by motion sickness, it is advisable to give a small amount of food about two hours prior to traveling. According to the manufacturers, dogs should not be fed for at least 1 hour prior to giving Cerenia. Also, pet owners must not put the tablets in sausages, fatty food, or pill pockets.
Being the only drug that is approved by the FDA to treat acute vomiting and motion sickness, Cerenia tablets/injectable solution are often prescribed by veterinarians. If you have been asked to give this drug to your dog, make sure that you administer it according to the directions given by the veterinarian. Follow the instructions regarding the dosage and the duration for which the drug should be given. Consult the veterinarian if your pet seems to be experiencing any of the aforementioned side effects.
Disclaimer: The information provided in this article is solely for educating the reader. It is not intended to be a substitute for the advice of a veterinarian.