Ursodiol (Actigall®, Urso®) for Dogs and Cats

Ursodiol (Actigall®, Urso®) for Dogs and Cats

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Overview of Ursodiol for Dogs and Cats

  •  Ursodiol, commonly known as Ursodeoxycholic Acid and known by the brand names Actigall® or Urso®, is used dogs and cats for the treatment of chronic diseases of the liver and for gallbladder stones.
  • The liver is a complicated organ responsible for the synthesis or breakdown of numerous chemicals, drugs and body products. The biliary (bile) system is an important part of the liver. This system is responsible for the production of certain bile acids, important in digestion.
  • Ursodiol is a natural bile acid (ursodeosycholic) found in small amounts in bile. This compound reduces the formation of cholesterol in the liver and reduces absorption of cholesterol from the intestines.
  • Ursodiol also improves the flow of bile in the liver and protects the liver from injury by other bile salts.
  • Ursodiol is a prescription drug and can only be obtained from a veterinarian or by prescription from a veterinarian.
  • 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.
  • Brand Names and Other Names Ursodiol

  • This drug is registered for use in humans only.
  • Human formulations: Actigall® (Ciba) and Urso® (Axcan Scandipharm)
  • Veterinary formulations: None
  • Uses of Ursodiol for Cats and Dogs

  • Ursodiol has been used in the treatment of chronic diseases of the liver (including Chronic Hepatitis). It is sometimes used in cholestatic liver disease (characterized by abnormal bile flow).
  • Ursodiol is also used for the medical treatment of gallbladder stones (cholesterol type).
  • Precautions and Side Effects

  • While generally safe and effective when prescribed by a veterinarian, ursodiol can cause side effects in some animals.
  • Ursodiol should not be used in animals with known hypersensitivity or allergy to the drug.
  • Do not administer to animals with a history of cholecystitis (inflammation of the gallbladder) or with calcified gallstones in the gallbladder.
  • Use with care in animals with a history of pancreatitis, biliary obstruction or cholangitis.
  • Ursodiol may interact with other medications. Consult with your veterinarian to determine if other drugs your pet is receiving could interact with ursodiol. Such drugs include certain antacids.
  • A common side effect of ursodiol is diarrhea.
  • How Ursodiol Is Supplied

  • Ursodiol is available in a 300 mg capsule and a 250 mg tablet.
  • Dosing Information of Ursodiol for Cats and Dogs

  • Medication should never be administered without first consulting your veterinarian.
  • In dogs, ursodiol is dosed at 2.5 to 7 mg per pound (5 to 15 mg/kg) twice daily by mouth.
  • In cats, ursodiol is dosed at 5 to 7 mg per pound (10 to 15 mg/kg) once daily.
  • It is recommended that liver tests be monitored in pets receiving ursodiol.
  • This drug should be administered with food to facilitate its absorption.
  • Your veterinarian may want to perform periodic ultrasound examinations of the liver to monitor the effect of therapy on gallstones.
  • 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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    Hepatic Drugs



    Nephrology & Urology
    Gastroenterology & Digestive diseases


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