With the reported incidents of dog deaths linked to Cerenia, many dog owners might be wondering how Cerenia kills a dog and if there are any alternatives for it.
Cerenia, also known as Maropitant Citrate, is an FDA-approved medication that effectively treats or prevents dogs and cats from vomiting. However, this drug can cause several side effects to dogs, even death when misused.
If you are interested in knowing more about this drug, you are in the right place. In this guide, we will discuss whether Cerenia can kill your dog, its known side effects, and everything you need to know about this drug.
Can Cerenia Kill a Dog?
Like any other medication, Cerenia has adverse reactions, which may result in death in dogs. This is despite the fact that the medication is proven to treat acute vomiting and prevent vomiting due to motion sickness.
In fact, there was a reported death occurrence of 4.9% during the course of a field study in the United States using Cerenia tablets or Cerenia injections in dogs.
However, it is claimed that the reason behind the deaths linked to Cerenia is the underlying cause of the vomiting and not because of the drug itself.
To be clear, although the medication has shown to be beneficial in preventing and reducing vomiting in dogs, it actually only hides the symptoms rather than treating the underlying cause of vomiting.
That said, owners may not be able to address and treat the cause of the vomiting and give the appropriate treatment because Cerenia medication has already stopped the symptoms.
What to Do If Cerenia Killed Your Dog
If your dog died after administering Cerenia, it is important that you get an autopsy report to know whether the Cerenia medication really killed your dog or if the death was caused by other underlying causes.
The Cerenia drug company may pay for the autopsy to evaluate if an adverse reaction was possible. However, this is only if your dog had lab work done prior to giving Cerenia, ruling out any potential underlying disease.
If the autopsy report revealed that your dog died because of this prescription medication, you can contact Zoetis Inc. at 1-888-963-8471 and report the adverse effects of the Cerenia drug.
Likewise, you should prepare and get a copy of your dog’s medical records. You will then be asked for information about your dog and all the events leading to the dog’s death.
The drug company will then have to submit a report of your dog’s case to the Food and Drug Administration after receiving your complaint.
How Does Cerenia Kill a Dog?
There are two possible causes of a dog’s death due to Cerenia drug: allergic reaction to the drug and underlying disease that the prescription drug hid.
Like other drugs, Cerenia can cause side effects. In fact, death is a potential side effect listed in the drug information leaflet.
When the adverse reactions are not managed properly and effectively, your dog can possibly die due to complications. Note that, like in people, allergic reactions can cause death, too.
Another way Cerenia can cause death in dogs is when owners fail to address or treat the underlying cause of the vomiting.
When a dog vomits, it is the body’s way of ridding harmful substances such as toxins, viruses, and bacteria. Unfortunately, when pet owners give Cerenia to dogs, the medication inhibits vomiting and gets rid of toxins.
When dog vomiting stops, dog owners may forego treatment for any underlying causes of vomiting. That is why it is important that owners only use Cerenia after their vet has already run tests to rule out other health issues.
Side Effects of Cerenia in Dogs
Dog Cerenia side effects include diarrhea, excessive drooling, drowsiness, bloody stools, lack of appetite, otitis or inflammation of the ear, endotoxic shock, hematuria, and excoriation.
Likewise, dogs with impaired liver function are at higher risk for these side effects. The same is true for pregnant or nursing dogs since it is not yet evaluated as safe for them to use.
The risks for side effects also increase when Cerenia is taken along with different medications such as phenobarbital, chloramphenicol, ketoconazole, and certain drugs for thyroid hormones and anti-inflammatory drugs.
That is why you must inform veterinary professionals that your dog is taking other drugs so they can recommend using other medications for your dog’s vomiting.
When Should You Not Give Your Dog Cerenia?
Cerenia should never be given to puppies under 16 weeks old and to dogs with known liver conditions. It should be used with caution and under veterinary care supervision if used for dogs suffering from heart and liver diseases.
Likewise, dog owners should avoid administering the drug to pregnant or nursing dogs since it is not yet approved for this use. Unless, of course, a veterinarian deemed it safe to administer.
Additionally, pet owners should avoid giving Cerenia to dogs experiencing any gastrointestinal problems or kidney disease, as these conditions will prevent the medicine from being fully absorbed by the body.
It is crucial to make sure that your dog is under the supervision of a licensed veterinarian when taking Cerenia. Doing so ensures that your dog is taking the right medication and the correct Cerenia dosage.
Alternatives to Cerenia for Dogs
Dog deaths linked to Cerenia can be worrisome for dog owners. That is why it is understandable that owners are looking for safer alternatives to Cerenia.
Here are some alternatives to Cerenia that you can give your furry companion:
Cannabidiol or CBD
Cannabidiol, shortly known as CBD, is derived from the hemp plant, which is a relative of the marijuana plant. Unlike marijuana, CBD is relatively safe for use as it has all the medical benefits your dog needs to prevent vomiting.
CBD oil has anti-nausea effects that can be beneficial in treating motion sickness in dogs. It also helps your pup relax and lower their anxiety.
However, it is crucial that you seek your veterinarian’s opinion before giving this to your dog, as there haven’t been enough studies that show how CBD oil affects dogs in the long term.
Benadryl and Dramamine
Both Benadryl and Dramamine are antihistamine drugs that can be bought over the counter. These two drugs are proven to be effective in reducing the amount of acid in the stomach, reducing inflammation, and nausea.
These medications have sedatives, which will help your dog keep calm and relaxed.
However, despite being easily accessible, it is best not to administer these medications to your dog without your veterinarian’s guidance as both have side effects such as an upset stomach and decreased appetite.
Reducing Food Intake
When planning to take your dog for long drives, planning its meal quantity and meal hours before and during the trip will help a lot in preventing your dog from vomiting during the trip.
Give your dog a smaller amount of food prior to traveling. Likewise, never feed your dog while in a moving vehicle, as this can cause car sickness. Make sure that they always have access to fresh water whenever possible.
Condition Your Dog to Car Rides
Aside from motion sickness, your dog may vomit while traveling because of stress. This is especially true for a few dogs that are not used to car rides and those that haven’t traveled long-haul before.
The car’s movement may cause your dog’s sensitive stomach to produce more acid and experience more inflammation, which can make it feel ill and nauseous.
Before taking them for a long trip, you can practice driving them around your neighborhood to help them feel comfortable with the car’s movement and environment.
It is crucial that you seek a vet consultation prior to traveling so you’d know what’s best for your dog.
While these alternatives have been proven to work in many dogs, there’s no hundred percent assurance that they will prevent your dog from vomiting.
For more motion sickness alternatives for your dog, you can watch this video:
How to Avoid Cerenia Overdose in Dogs
Often, veterinarians will base the Cerenia dosage on your dog’s body weight and dog’s age. That is why it is best to avoid giving the drug to your dog without consulting a veterinarian. Overdose on Cerenia can be fatal.
To treat vomiting, dogs can be administered Cerenia at a minimum dose of 3.6mg per pound of the dog’s body weight. Make sure to give this to your dog once daily for up to five consecutive days.
Meanwhile, to prevent vomiting due to car sickness, the dog owner can administer Cerenia tablets at a minimum dose of 3.6mg per pound of the dog’s body weight once daily for up to two consecutive days.
Note that Cerenia should be given to dogs on an empty stomach for it to work more effectively. This means you should not feed your dog at least one hour prior to giving Cerenia and at least two hours before traveling.
Still, it is important that you contact and strictly follow your veterinarian’s Cerenia dosage instructions to make sure your dog is receiving the right treatment.
Frequently Asked Questions
Can I Give My Dog Cerenia on an Empty Stomach?
While it is arguably safe to give Cerenia to your dog on a completely empty stomach, it is essential that your dog had a light meal or snack at least an hour before receiving the medication.
This is because other animals have shown reactions like vomiting after being administered with Cerenia on a completely empty stomach. Hence, prolonged fasting should be avoided.
How Fast Does Cerenia Dissolve?
The medication should reach its maximum efficiency about two hours after ingestion. That is why it is recommended to administer the drug at least 1 to 2 hours before traveling to prevent vomiting from motion sickness.
What Happens If I Give My Dog Too Much Cerenia?
Giving too much Cerenia can cause an overdose in dogs. When a dog overdoses on the drug, its central nervous system gets affected, and your dog will experience muscle tremors, irregular breathing, and diarrhea.
If you suspect an overdose, make sure to contact your vet immediately since it can get worse over time and may lead to death.
What If My Dog Vomits After Cerenia?
If, in any case, your dog that has been given oral Cerenia still keeps vomiting, it is best to call your veterinarian immediately. The vet may give your dog a Cerenia injection instead.
Cerenia injection can be used as an alternative for oral Cerenia and will be very helpful for dogs that are unable to keep food or drink due to severe vomiting.
How Long Does Cerenia Stay in a Dog’s System?
The Cerenia medication will stay in your dog’s system for 24 hours. That is why it is important that you follow your veterinarian’s recommendation as to how many days you should give this medication to your dog.
In most cases, Cerenia is given for five consecutive days to treat acute vomiting. Never stop giving the medication before your veterinarian’s prescription, as it can cause the vomiting to come back.
Does Cerenia Help With Pancreatitis?
With its anti-inflammatory effect, Cerenia is beneficial and is a highly-effective antiemetic and anti-sickness medication for pancreatitis.
Likewise, the medication is also a potent reliever in addition to reducing nausea. That said, it is a good idea to keep a few of these medications on hand at home.
While there have been reported cases of Cerenia-related deaths in dogs, Cerenia is still considered to be a safe drug. At this time, there is no direct evidence linking the use of Cerenia to these deaths.
Like other medications, Cerenia has side effects that can be detrimental to your dog’s health.
That is why it is always emphasized to use the drug under the guidance of a veterinarian, take precautionary measures, and check the drug label carefully.
If you have any doubts about the medication, it is important to seek veterinary consultation first before trying to give it to your dog. In that way, you can lessen the risk of side effects.
Have you ever administered Cerenia to your dog? Let us know your experience in the comments.
My name is John Carter and I absolutely love pets, especially cats and dogs. I’ve got a Bachelor of Science degree in Animal Behaviour and Welfare and have several years’ experience working in animal shelters and rescues. My passion for animals started at a very young age as I grow up on a farm with several horses, cows, cats, chickens, and dogs on our property.