12 February 2016

Can I Give My Dog Or Cat Imodium For Diarrhoea?

My dog has diarrhoea, can I give him Imodium { Loperamide }? What is the dose rate for treating diarrhea in the dog using Imodium? How is Imodium used in dogs and cats? Can I give Imodium to my cat for diarrhoea? Is Imodium { Loperamide } safe in dogs and cats? 

Imodium Loperamide diarrhoea dog cat
Imodium has been often used to treat diarrhoea in the dog.

1. Imodium { Loperamide } is an over the counter human drug, it is a synthetic piperidine derivative which is used to treat diarrhoea, it works by slowing the movement of the intestinal tract. While not licensed for use in animals it is nevertheless sometimes prescribed by vets on an extra-label basis and I am aware it is often used by owners to self treat their dogs which have gastroenteritis.

2. A typical dose rate for Imodium in the dog would be 0.04 mg per pound of the dog's bodyweight given orally three or four times a day. This works out as one 2 mg capsule per 50 pounds of the dog's bodyweight. But for dogs below 20 pounds in weight it will be easier to calculate the correct dose with the liquid form of Imodium. As in all drugs you should avoid overdose.

3. I know that Imodium has been and is successfully used in cats to treat diarrhoea but I personally now do not suggest it's use because in a small number of cases it can cause agitation and excitement probably because it is a mild narcotic. It can also often cause cats to drool which is uncomfortable for them.

4. Imodium is generally thought to be a safe drug in dogs when used properly, but drug interactions are also possible so if in doubt consult your vet on this point but avoid the use of Imodium where your dog is also taking such drugs as antihistamines, barbiturates, tranquillisers.

5. Imodium can be a useful drug in your armoury for uncomplicated diarrhoea cases where a dog is otherwise quite bright and happy, where for example a dog has eaten something he should not have out in the yard, or had some unaccustomed rich foodstuff, or somehow has acquired has a minor tummy bug. However there are other measure you can try along with the Imodium which will hopefully increase your success rate in treating uncomplicated cases of diarrhoea in the dog. Here are some examples ...

6. Controlling the diet as well as the Imodium is often a logical step. The basis of this is to give the intestinal tract a complete rest and then bring it back slowly to function, resting the alimentary tract is the critical factor. It would go something like this ...

A. Starve him for 24 hours but make sure he has access to water.

B. The next day feed him four or five small light meals in the day. These meals should be the likes of chicken, fish, scrambled egg etc. with a little rice.

C. If he picks up on this diet gradually reintroduce his normal diet over the next few days.

D. Live yogurt added to the food or given orally can often help. Some gastro-enteritis situations are caused by an imbalance in the bacteria in your dog's gut. Live yogurt is full of " good " bacteria and will seed them into your dog's intestinal tract and restore the balance. You do not need to give much and the amounts are not critical but consider a teaspoon twice a day for a smaller dog ranging up to three tablespoons twice a day for a large dog.

7. As always if any of the above does not quickly start to work or if your dog deteriorates further in any way you should have your vet check him over just to be on the safe side.