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Famotidine for Dogs, Cats and Horses

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General Drug Information and Indications

Famotidine is used in both veterinary medicine and in human medicine to decrease acid production in the gastrointestinal tract. In human medicine the trade name for famotidine is Pepcid. Other drugs in this family are cimetidine (Tagamet) and ranitidine (Zantac). 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.

Famotidine is used in dogs, cats, and horses to treat or possibly prevent ulcers of the esophagus, stomach, and gastrointestinal tract. Famotidine 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.

How to Give this Medication

Give this medication to your pet exactly as your veterinarian prescribes. If you miss giving your pet a dose of famotidine, 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.

If your animal is receiving any of the following drugs: antacids, metoclopramide, sucralfate, or ketoconazole, your veterinarian may recommend that you separate giving the famotidine from these drugs by two hours.

Wash your hands after giving your pet this medication.

Side Effects

Be sure to discuss any side effects with your veterinarian immediately.

Famotidine 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 those with heart, liver or kidney problems. In older humans, histamine H2receptor antagonists have been known to cause some disorientation.


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.

Famotidine should be used with extra caution in animals with heart, kidney, or liver problem

Drug Interactions

Be sure to review with your veterinarian any medications or supplements your pet may be receiving.

Famotidine may decrease the metabolism of acetaminophen. It may also decrease the absorption of cephalosporin antibiotics, oral iron salts, ketoconazole, itraconazole, 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 famotidine may have different storage requirements. Read the labeling or ask your pharmacist for the storage requirements of the prescription you receive.

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About the Author

Dr. Barbara Forney

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.