Docusate - Page 1

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By: Dr. Dawn Ruben

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  • Docusate (previously called DSS) is a stool softener that creates less firm bowl movements. This drug belongs to the class of drugs known as surface-active agents.
  • Docusate allows water and fat to penetrate ingested food as the food passes through the intestinal tract. This entry of water and fat results in a softened stool.
  • This drug is not approved for use in animals by the Food and Drug Administration but it is prescribed legally by veterinarians as an extra-label drug.
  • Docusate is available over the counter but should not be administered unless under the supervision and guidance of a veterinarian.

    Brand Names and Other Names

  • This drug is registered for use in humans only.
  • Human formulations: Colace® (Bristol-Meyers Squibb), Surfak® (Hoechst), Kasof® (Stuart), Dialose® (Stuart) and various generic preparations
  • Veterinary formulations: None

    Uses of Docusate

  • Docusate is used to soften the stool and allow for easier passage of feces.
  • Docusate is used in animals that have known dry, hard feces or a tendency toward constipation.

    Precautions and Side Effects

  • While generally safe and effective when prescribed by a veterinarian, docusate can cause side effects in some animals.
  • Docusate should not be used in animals with known hypersensitivity or allergy to the drug.
  • Docusate must be used with caution in dehydrated animals or those with pre-existing fluid or electrolyte imbalances.
  • Docusate may interact with other medications. Consult with your veterinarian to determine if other drugs your pet is receiving could interact with docusate. Such drugs include mineral oil.
  • Cramping, dehydration, diarrhea and intestinal lining damage can occur if used improperly.

    How Docusate Is Supplied

  • Docusate comes in 50 mg, 100 mg, 240 mg, 250 mg and 300 mg tablets.
  • It is also available in a 5 mg/ml syrup.
  • There are various concentrations of liquid docusate available.

    Dosing Information

  • Medication should never be administered without first consulting your veterinarian.
  • For dogs, one to four 50 mg tablets once daily is recommended.
  • For cats, 50 mg per day.
  • The duration of administration depends on the condition being treated, response to the medication and the development of any adverse effects. Be certain to complete the prescription unless specifically directed by your veterinarian. Even if your pet feels better, the entire treatment plan should be completed to prevent relapse.

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