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Cerenia for Dogs – Side Effects

Excessive drooling, diarrhea, vomiting, loss of appetite, and mild pain (from injection) are a few common side effects of Cerenia for dogs.

It is never fun when your dog vomits!  Vomiting usually happens at the worst possible moments. Motion sickness, a bad diet, or illness can cause vomiting.

Thankfully, there’s a great medication that prevents motion sickness and vomiting in dogs.

Cerenia for Dogs

Cerenia (Maropitant) has been on the market for more than 10 years, and is designed to work specifically to prevent vomiting in dogs and cats.

The drug works by binding to the receptors in parts of the brain that trigger vomiting. Cerenia effectively treats a broad range of gastric symptoms.

Cerenia can prevent motion sickness in dogs. It can also help a dog tolerate chemotherapy, or ease them through the symptoms of gastritis or pancreatitis.

It works well at stopping the vomiting associated with eating inappropriate things (assuming that there is no likelihood of a toxin or foreign body still in your dog’s system).

Cerenia is primarily an antiemetic, but it also has mild effects in preventing pain, anxiety and inflammation.

Why Use Cerenia for Dogs?

Cerenia is not appropriate for all dogs.  You should talk with your veterinarian if you think your dog needs a prescription.

Motion Sickness

Cerenia works very well at preventing nausea associated with motion sickness. Anyone who has ever had a dog who puked at the mention of a car ride will appreciate the power of Cerenia!

Cerenia can stop vomiting for a full 24 hours. It should be given several hours before a trip.

If you dread taking car rides with your puking pooch, Cerenia may be just what you need to get back to day tripping!

Medication-Induced Nausea 

Cerenia can prevent this nausea/vomiting when given a couple of hours before the other medication.

Cerenia is also a common component of pretreatment for surgery. Many of the medications used before and during a dog’s surgery can cause nausea or vomiting. Having an owner pretreat with Cerenia can make these dogs much more comfortable as they recover.

Veterinarians sometimes use Cerenia as an injectable medication at the time of a surgery, or during the recovery period. 

Upset Stomach

Sometimes your dog is vomiting, and you have no idea why. As far as you know, they didn’t get into anything. They just starting puking, and maybe they have diarrhea as well.

Often, we try to treat an upset stomach at home, using a bland or homemade diet, probiotics, and maybe even over-the-counter medications. But when the upset tummy continues on for a couple of days, getting a veterinarian’s opinion becomes essential.

It is pretty common for a veterinarian to give a dose of Cerenia when they are faced with a puking but otherwise health-looking dog.  Staff will give some fluids under the skin to rehydrate the dog, and then inject the Cerenia into this fluid pocket.

Cerenia stings when it is given as a subcutaneous injection. I will mention this again in the side effects section, but it is true that getting this drug injected hurts a bit. But it hurts less when it is injected into a fluid pocket. Using the injectable form is the best way to treat a general upset stomach.

Side Effects of Cerenia for Dogs

Cerenia is a pretty safe medication, but any drug can have side effects. Most of the time, these side effects are not severe enough to prevent a dog from using Cerenia.  Always check with your vet if you notice any of these side effects while giving Cerenia.

If you look at list of common side effects, you may notice that most of them are the same symptoms the Cerenia is being given to treat!  It can be difficult to tell  Cerenia is causing the side effects or if it isn’t working and that is why you are still seeing these symptoms.

Signs of negative reactions appear soon after Cerenia is administered.  The medication can affect the stomach, especially if the stomach was already upset.  This can cause vomiting.

The injectable form is often used if a dog’s stomach is already upset.

How to give Cerenia to Your Dog

Veterinarians usually prescribe Cerenia in tablet form.

Keep the tablets wrapped in the silver foil until they are given to your dog and keep the medication out of the heat and in a dark location.

The active ingredient breaks down when exposed to air and light, so protect your investment.
Cerenia is best given on an empty stomach. 

Don’t feed your dog for at least an hour before giving the medication. Administer the tablet with food. It prevents your dog from vomiting the dose back up.

Don’t wrap the pill tightly in food. Instead, loosely use a bit of bread or deli meat to get your dog to take the tablet.
Tightly wrapped medicine might not get fully absorbed. If that happens, it’s not as effective.

When to Give Cerenia for Dogs

Offer your dog Cerenia about 2 hours prior to the trip/medication dose. This gives your dog time to absorb the Cerenia and get it working effectively. A dose of Cerenia is good for 24 hours.

Most of the time, the veterinarian will recommend you only use the Cerenia for 2 or 3 days in a row, up to a maximum of 5 days in a row. It depends on your dog, though. Follow your veterinarians instructions and call them if you have any questions or concerns.

Contraindications of Cerenia for Dogs

Dogs with liver disease may not tolerate the medication well.  NSAIDS and other medications may react with Cerenia.  Be sure your vet knows everything your dog is taking before prescribing Cerenia.

Cerenia is designed for use in dogs older than 16 weeks of age.

The injectable form may be used short term in puppies as young as 8 weeks. Uncontrolled vomiting is the main reason Cerenia is administered to puppies.

Cerenia should not be used if a dog is suspected of having ingested a toxin, or if a veterinarian thinks there may be a foreign body trapped (intestinal obstruction, for example).

Cerenia vs Maropitant?

I will note one interesting thing about Cerenia and veterinary medicine: In clinics, most vet staff refer to Cerenia by its medical name, Maropitant.

The reason for this is to avoid confusion with another medication with a similar sounding brand name. Convenia is an injectable antibiotic used to treat abscesses and other infections in pets who don’t tolerate oral antibiotics.

But when you are busy, it is very easy for the brain to confuse Cerenia and Convenia! So, staff are often trained to always use the name Maropitant to avoid making mistakes.

I hope this explanation of Cerenia is helpful to you and your dog! It is a great medication that really benefits the majority of dogs who are prescribed it. Good luck with the vomiting, and I hope your dog feels better soon!

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