Supporting your veterinarian!

a VIN company

Back Top Bookmark this page
By Wendy C. Brooks, DVM, DipABVP
Educational Director,

The information provided in the Pet Pharmacy Library of Medications is a list of medications commonly prescribed for the treatment of dog and cat medical conditions.

Information in the form of medication information sheets is provided by both brand name and generic name.

This information DOES NOT replace professional veterinary care. It is solely for educational purposes. Your pet's medical condition should be evaluated by a veterinarian before any medical decisions are implemented. If there is a potentially life-threatening emergency involving your pet, take your pet to a veterinarian or veterinary facility IMMEDIATELY.

Although acepromazine has several actions that might be useful, it is mostly used as a tranquilizer.
There is one reason to use allopurinol: to reduce uric acid in the blood stream.
Alprazolam, like its more famous cousin Valium, is a benzodiazepine tranquilizer. Alprazolam lasts longer than Valium.
Amantadine was first used as an antiviral medication against influenza, but its main use now is as a type of pain reliever.
This antidepressant has been helpful for animals with obsessive grooming, inappropriate urination, and separation anxiety.
Amlodipine besylate is used to treat high blood pressurein cats.
Amoxicillin represents a synthetic improvement upon the original Penicillin molecule. Amoxicillin is better able to resist damage from stomach acid so less of an oral dose is wasted. While it is still susceptible to destruction by Staphylococcal enzymes, it does have a much broader spectrum against the Gram negative cell wall and is able to last a bit longer.
The combination of amoxicillin and clavulanic acid (sodium clavulanate) is similar as for amoxicillin except that the clavulanate is able to protect the penicillin structure from destruction by Staphylococci. This combined medication can be used against anything amoxicillin could be used for plus Staphlylococcal infections (usually skin infections).
Arthritis pain causes discomfort and loss of mobility in aged pets, and there are numerous remedies on the market. Which ones can be combined? Which are proven reliable and which may only work in some individuals?
Aspirin inhibits an enzyme called cyclo-oxygenase that is involved in the production of inflammatory chemicals called prostaglandins. Arachidonic acid, a fatty acid that is essential in the diet of cats and dogs, makes up cell membranes. When the inflammatory cascade is active, cells begin to convert their arachidonic acid into prostaglandins. Aspirin puts a stop to this.
Atenolol is a beta blocker and has been designed to block the heart's beta-one receptors while leaving the beta-two receptors of other tissues alone.
Immune mediated diseases are conditions where the immune system becomes inappropriately active and damages the body. Azathioprine is a common medication used in the treatment of immune mediated disease. It is a drug to respect and use wisely.
Azithromycin has activity against many bacterial species.
Benazepril is an angiotensin converting enzyme inhibitor, also called an ACE inhibitor or simply an ACEI. Benazepril effectively acts as a dilator of blood vessels.
Bethanechol chloride works to strengthen the detrusor muscle’s contraction. If the lower sphincter is too tight from an upper motor neuron injury, this medication will help the bladder to contract harder to overcome it. If the bladder is flabby, this medication will help it regain some shape and strength so that it can empty in a controlled fashion rather than just leaking.
How nice it would be to have a corticosteroid that could be applied to the site of the inflammation but not be absorbed into the body systemically! This is the idea behind budesonide.
Buprenorphine is considered approximately 30 times stronger than morphine because morphine is more active at the mu receptor, so morphine is a much a stronger pain reliever. Buprenorphine is best used for mild to moderate pain.
In veterinary medicine, buspirone has been especially helpful in the treatment of phobias (such as fear of thunder, people in uniform, etc.) and in the treatment of urine marking in cats.
Because butorphanol antagonizes the mu receptor, it will fight against opiates that are mu agonists: morphine, oxymorphone, meperidine, etc. If butorphanol is used with any other drugs that have sedating properties, these sedating properties will be more blatant.
This medication actually represents activated vitamin D. Vitamin D is not a vitamin in the way other vitamins are or in the way we think of vitamins; vitamin D is actually a hormone. It plays an important role in calcium phosphorus balance and can be beneficial in preventing the progression of kidney failure.
Carprofen is a member of the class of drugs known as NSAIDs (non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs), the same class as such common over-the-counter remedies as Advil (ibuprofen), Orudis (ketoprofen), and aspirin. The chief use for such drugs in the dog has been pain relief, usually joint pain or post-surgical pain relief.
Cefpodoxime is able to treat more complicated infections, so it is often selected for jobs where other antibiotics are expected to fail.
Cephalexin is a good broad spectrum antibiotic, which means it is useful in most common and uncomplicated infections. It is especially useful against staphylococcal infections (most skin infections) and is commonly used for long (6-8 week courses) against deep skin infections (pyodermas).
Cetirizine is an antihistamine and it is used for acute inflammatory and allergic conditions.
A drug used most commonly for chemotherapy to treat cancer, chlorambucil is also used to treat some immune mediated diseases such as pemphigus, feline infectious peritonitous, or inflammatory bowel disease.
Chloramphenicol represents years of antibiotic development. Due to its pH, it shines above most other antibiotics in terms of ability to penetrate. Chloramphenicol can easily pass deeply through purulent material to the organisms hiding within, through cell membranes to attack parasites living within, and into organs where other antibiotics cannot go.
Chlorpheniramine maleate has several important effects and uses. Most obviously, it's an antihistamine and it's used for acute inflammatory and allergic conditions such as snake bites, vaccination reactions, blood transfusion reactions, bee stings and insect bites, and to manage itchy skin.
One of the stomach's most important functions is to grind the food we eat into a fine slurry that will pass through the intestines freely. A strong rhythm of contraction is necessary to effect this and this rhythm creates the stomach's motility. Cisapride is thus an excellent alternative to those patients who have unacceptable side effects with metoclopramide.
The treatment of cancer is scary and the word chemotherapy conjures up unpleasant images. But what are the facts of these powerful medications? Cisplatinum is an important weapon against cancer.
Clemastine fumarate is one of the more effective antihistamines albeit relatively expensive. Its efficacy makes it a common first choice for itchy skin. It has found to be helpful in 30% of itchy dogs and 50% of itchy cats. Other studies have found higher percentages. Clemastine fumarate is probably the most reliably effective antihistamine for itchy dogs of all of the antihistamines available.
Clindamycin is an antibiotic of the lincosamide class and possesses similar properties to its sister compound lincomycin. To understand how these medications work, it is important to understand how cells make proteins.
Anxiety is not a problem exclusive to humans. Many pets have anxiety about separation from their owner, aggressive pets with whom they share their home, and other issues. The medications used to help animals with these issues are the same medications that humans use. Clomipramine is the first to achieve FDA approval for use in dogs as well as humans.
Colchicine is used in scarring diseases such as hepatic cirrhosis and in abnormal protein depositions such as amyloidosis.
Sometimes the medication that your pet needs was designed for people and does not come in a form convienient for a cat or dog. A compounding pharmacy has the ability to reformulate the medication so that your pet may actually be willing to take it!
Because of its ability to kill rapidly dividing, cyclophosphamide has been used most successfully in treating cancer and immune mediated disease.
Cyclosporine, sometimes referred to as cyclosporin A, is an immunosuppressive agent. Unlike other medications of immune suppression that act by killing cells of the immune system, cyclosporine acts by interfering with helper T-lymphocyte interleukin production.
Cyproheptadine is an antihistamine that in many ways is similar to other antihistamines with which we are more familiar. Cyproheptadine also has some other properties of interest. It also antagonizes serotonin, a neurotransmitter, in the brain. This leads to an increase in appetite and often is the reason this medication is used.
Deracoxib is a member of the class of drugs known as NSAIDs, the same class as such common over-the-counter remedies as Advil (ibuprofen), Orudis (ketoprofen), and aspirin. The chief use for such drugs in the dog has been pain relief, usually joint pain or post-surgical pain relief.
Dexamethasone is a member of the glucocorticoid class of hormones. This means they are steroids but, unlike the anabolic steroids that we hear about in sports, these are catabolic steroids. Instead of building the body up, they are designed to break down stored resources (fats, sugars and proteins) so that they may be used as fuels in times of stress.
There are many uses for this medication since it is effective as an anti-anxiety medication, a muscle relaxant, an appetite stimulant, and a seizure control drug. The injectable form of diazepam is often used in anesthetic protocols.
DES has only one primary use: treating sphincter tone incontinence in female dogs. DES is used at extremely low doses to avoid the toxicity issues that have been a problem for estrogen derivative medications.
Diltiazem is most commonly used in the treatment of hypertrophic cardiomyopathy in cats.
Diphenhydramine has several important effects and thus several uses. Most obviously, diphenhydramine is an antihistamine and it's used for acute inflammatory and allergic conditions such as snake bites, vaccination reactions, blood transfusion reactions, bee stings and insect bites.
The weight loss medication dirlotapide works not by preventing fat absorption into the body but by fooling the brain into feeling satisfied with a smaller meal.
The tetracycline antibiotic family provides broad anti-bacterial protection by inhibiting bacterial protein synthesis. The body possesses many barriers through which antibiotics have difficulty penetrating. Infections behind these barriers can be difficult to treat. Doxycycline represents a modification of the basic tetracycline structure to enhance its ability to penetrate such biological barriers and to increase its duration of action.
The ACE inhibitor group of heart failure medicines has doubled the survival of heart failure patients. This is the only ACE inhibitor approved for non-human use.
This medication may be used in either dogs or cats to combat different types of infections, especially those involving Pseudomonas. Enrofloxacin is also active against Staphylococci, and thus is commonly used for skin infections.
EACA and its ability to help maintain stable blood clots has other applications.
Today erythromycin has seen some resurgence in popularity. This is partly because of over use of drugs that had previously eclipsed erythromycin. <i>Staphylococci</i> developed resistance to the new drugs leading to a return to older drugs.
Erythropoietin is the hormone responsible for inducing red blood cell production by the body’s bone marrow. Erythropoietin is primarily produced by the kidney when a drop in blood oxygen is perceived, though 1% to 15% of the total erythropoietin produced comes from the liver. A dose of erythropoietin lasts about a day but its effect is seen approximately 5 days later when the red cell proliferation it has induced is mature enough for release into circulation.
Etodolac is a member of the class of drugs known as NSAIDs (non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs) and is used for pain relief.
More commonly known by its brand name Pepcid AC, this drug can be helpful in the treatment of <I>Helicobacter</I> infection, inflammatory bowel disease, canine parvovirus, ingestion of a toxin that could be ulcerating (overdose of aspirin, for example), any disease involving protracted vomiting, or chronically in combination with medications that irritate stomachs.
Fenbendazole (often abbreviated "FBZ") is used in both large and small animals. In dogs, it is useful against roundworms, hookworms, and the more difficult to treat whipworms.
The primary use of the fentanyl patch is to provide a continuous delivery of pain reliever to a patient with on-going pain. These patches are especially useful after a surgical procedure but are also helpful in the management of cancer pain, or after injury.
Confused about flea protection? This FAQ compares the popular topspot flea control products to assist you in determining which is right for your situation.
Fluconazole works by inhibiting the fungal enzymes that produce ergosterol, an important component of the fungal cell wall. Without adequate ergosterol, the fungal cell becomes weak, leaky, and ultimately dies.
There is really only one use for this medication: the treatment of hypoadrenocorticism (Addison's disease). In this disease, the adrenal gland is unable to produce hormones called mineralocorticoids. In the normal animal, these hormones are responsible for the balance of sodium and potassium and without these hormones a life-threatening circulatory shock ultimately results. Fludrocortisone acetate prevents this circulatory crisis.
Fluoxetine is used in veterinary medicine for animals with anxiety, compulsive behavior, and other behavior issues. In 2007 a version of fluoxetine specifically labeled for animal use became available.
The kidney is one of the most complicated organs of the body. Furosemide acts on the kidney to increase the body’s loss of water and assorted minerals and electroyltes.
Originally this medication was used for treating partial seizures in humans but it was found to be useful in treating neuropathic pain (the burning and tingling sensations that come from damaged nerves.)
So far, studies show glargine works pretty well and in newly diagnosed diabetic cats, it seems to provide such good control - when used in combination with a low carbohydrate diet - that many cats revert to a non-diabetic status in a matter of weeks
This oral medication works by causing the pancreas to release insulin more effectively. It also helps increase tissue sensitivity so that smaller doses of insulin may have a greater effect. Some cats will respond adequately to this treatment and thus avoid the use of insulin injections at home.
Degenerative joint diseases are painful conditions frequently treated with over-the-counter anti-inflammatory agents. It has been of interest to seek a medication that might actually strengthen damaged joints rather than simply blocking pain. Glucosamine and chondroitin sulfates theoretically represent a solution.
This medication is used to treat ringworm, a fungal infection of the skin involving fungi. While it's possible for a ringworm lesion to be localized and require only topical therapy, this is not the usual situation and oral medication is necessary to control the skin disease.
Confused about heartworm protection? This FAQ compares the popular heartworm preventives to assist you in determining which is right for your situation.
It has been said that the treatment of heartworm infection is somewhat of an art. There are several strategies that can be used including the option of not treating at all. The important concept to realize is that very harsh arsenic based drugs are necessary to kill adult heartworms and that treating for heartworm infection is neither simple nor safe in itself.
Narcotics are able to bring about many bodily effects beyond the notorious addictive euphoria. Other effects include: analgesia, anti-diarrheal effects, cardiovascular effects, and cough suppression. Hydrocodone represents a narcotic developed to accentuate the cough suppression effect.
This drug is an antihistamine used to deal in various ways with itchy skin. Hydroxyzine is frequently included in antihistamine trials for allergic skin disease.
Ibuprofen is felt to be too toxic for safe use in pets at any dose but if a pet is lucky, exposure will not have reached the toxic dose but it may not take much given that the typical non-prescription pill contains 200mg.
Estriol, which has been available to dogs in other countries for at least a decade, is relatively new for this use in the U.S.
Insulin is the injectable medication you use to control your diabetic cat’s blood sugar. This beginner's guide will explain how to give your cat insulin injections.
Interferons are generally produced in the body in response to viral infections and have antiviral activity as well as immunostimulating properties.
Itraconazole works by inhibiting the fungal enzymes that produce ergosterol, an important component of the fungal cell wall. Without adequate ergosterol, the fungal cell becomes weak, leaky and ultimately dies.
Ivermectin is effective against most common intestinal worms (except tapeworms), most mites, and some lice. It is not effective against fleas, ticks, flies, or flukes. It is effective against larval heartworms (the microfilariae that circulate in the blood) but not against adult heartworms that live in the heart and pulmonary arteries.
This drug fights fungal infections both minor and life threatening, but because of the way it works it can also be used to treat Cushing’s disease (a cortisone imbalance).
The battle against cancer must exploit biological differences between cancer cells and normal cells. Asparagine is an especially important amino acid for lymphatic cancer cells and asparaginase is able to destroy it in a way that hurts cancer cells only. L-Asparaginase is a helpful chemotherapy agent, especially in the treatment of lymphatic cancers.
There are two uses for L-Deprenyl (also known as selegiline hydrochloride) in dogs: the treatment of Cushing’s disease, an adrenal hormone imbalance, and the treatment of senile mental deterioration.
Lactulose is primarily used as a stool softener or in the treatment of liver patients.
As advances are made in seizure control in humans, medications eventually spill down into veterinary use; levetiracetam is a good example.
Lomustine is a member of the nitrosourea class of chemotherapy agents that act by binding DNA to other DNA strands or to protein in such a way that the DNA double helix strand cannot replicate. In addition to essentially tying DNA up, lomustine generates a by-product that prevents normal DNA function.
If your pet has diarrhea, it may be a condition that disturbs your well-being as well as your pet's. One medication that can help in some circumstances is the human medication Imodium AD. One interesting little fact: this medication is a member of the opiate class of drugs!
Loratadine represents a new generation of antihistamine that does not cross the blood-brain barrier and does not cause drowsiness. It also is much longer lasting than some of the classic antihistamines in use. The size of this tablet and its twice a day dosing schedule make it a convenient antihistamine for feline use.
Insects are protected in the world by a hard exoskeleton made of a material called chitin. Lufenuron, Program's active ingredient, inhibits the production of chitin in insects.
Marbofloxacin is a veterinary fluoroquinolone that addresses the need for treatment of <i>Pseudomonas</i> infections in pets.
Maropitant citrate is a strong anti-nausea medication for dogs.
An excellent product for people that can also be used for car-sick pets, meclizine hydrochloride is generally used for nausea relief due to motion sickness. It is also used to control the nausea resulting from vestibular disease, a syndrome characterized by vertigo and loss of balance.
The most common medication prescribed to treat feline hyperthyroidism is called methimazole (trade name Tapazole or Felimazole).
Meloxicam is generally given to control arthritis pain in dogs though it can be given for many other painful conditions. It is often used an analgesic in conjunction with surgery.
Methocarbamol is a muscle relaxant that exerts its effect by acting on the central nervous system (the nerves that control the muscles) rather than on the muscles themselves.
Motility disorders are common and may be chronic or of sudden onset. When motility is reduced in the stomach, food pools there and creates a sensation of nausea and bloating. In some cases, bile refluxes from the intestine into the stomach, causing irritation and more nausea. Metoclopramide (Reglan) normalizes stomach contractions so that food and bile can pass in the correct direction.
Metronidazole is an antibiotic especially effective against anaerobic infections. In addition, it has anti-inflammatory properties in the large intestine and is an effective anti-diarrhea medication. It's also an effective antibiotic against certain protozoal infections, especially <I>Giardia.</I>
The side effects make mirtazapine a desirable medication for animals. It has strong anti-nausea properties and acts as a strong appetite stimulant.
Omeprazole represents a different tact from other antacids: proton pump inhibition. The quantity of acid ultimately amounts to the quantity of protons. The proton pump is central to secreting acid into the stomach and with this pump inhibited, stomach acid production is halted.
Orbifloxacin may be used in dogs and cats to combat different types of infections, especially those involving Pseudomonas. This medication is also active against Staphylococci, and thus is commonly used for skin infections.
Pentosan polysulfate sodium can be used in acute feline lower urinary tract disease to facilitate the resolution of the episode. It is more commonly recommended as an on-going therapy to prevent future episodes. The jury is still out as to whether or not it is effective.
Pentoxifylline is used to enhance healing in chronic ulcerative conditions such as dermatomyositis of collies and shelties and has been helpful in treating allergic reactions caused by physical contact with the allergen (i.e., contact allergic dermatitis). Ear margin vasculitis (blood vessel inflammation) can also be treated with pentoxifylline.
In dogs and cats, phenobarbital is probably the first choice for seizure suppression. It is effective, safe if used responsibly, and is one of the least expensive medications in all of veterinary practice.
Phenylpropanolaminecan is used for the control of urinary incontinance in the female dog.
The most common target of this medication is transitional cell carcinoma of the urinary bladder, although it is also used against mammary adenocarcinoma, squamous cell carcinoma, and transmissible venereal tumors.
In treating arthritis, injections are given twice a week for 4 weeks for a maximum of eight injections. Injections are given intramuscularly. Dogs, cats, and horses are the usual patients. There is another use for this medication and that is in the treatment of feline lower urinary tract disease.
Ponazuril represents a new approach to treatment for coccidia, which can cause potentially life-threatening diarrhea.
This medication is generally reserved for dogs who cannot tolerate phenobarbital for seizures control due to unacceptable side effects or lack of effectiveness.
Praziquantel is primarily used against parasites known as "Cestodes" (tapeworms). It is also effective against flukes.
Numerous conditions make urination difficult: idiopathic cystitis in cats, tumors of the bladder, even spinal disease. Medications help relax the urethra to make it easier to urinate. Prazosin has become popular for this use and has long been used to treat heart disease as well.
Prednisone and prednisolone are members of the glucocorticoid class of hormones. They break down stored resources (fats, sugars and proteins) so that they may be used as fuels in times of stress. We do not use the glucocorticoids for their influences on glucose and protein metabolism; we use them because they are the most broad anti-inflammatory medications that we have.
Pyrantel pamoate is effective against numerous parasitic worms, such as roundworms, hookworms, and stomach worms. When a new puppy or kitten is adopted and has been said to have been dewormed, the chances are it is this product that was used.
Ranitidine is useful in any situation where stomach irritation is an issue and ulceration is a concern. It is often used in the treatment of Helicobacter infection, inflammatory bowel disease, canine parvovirus, ingestion of a toxin that could be ulcerating (over dose of aspirin, for example), any disease involving protracted vomiting, or chronically in combination with medications which may have stomach irritating properties.
Robenacoxib is a non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drug (NSAID) of the coxib class for use in cats, but not in dogs in the United States
In veterinary medicine, this product is chiefly used in liver disease.
Silymarin is regularly used for an assortment of liver diseases including cirrhosis and viral hepatitis in humans.
Spinosad is an ultra-fast flea killing tablet that lasts an entire month for dogs and cats.
Sucralfate was developed as an adjunctive treatment for stomach ulcers in humans. It dissolves to form a protective covering over stomach ulcers and injuries. It's effective in the upper GI tract: stomach, duodenum, and possibly the esophagus.
Sulfa drugs may have numerous uses, but in small animals sulfadimethoxine is used almost exclusively for the treatment of intestinal parasites known as coccidia. These parasites are single-celled organisms capable of causing intense diarrheas in their hosts.
Sulfasalazine represents an innovative exception in antibiotics used for colitis. Essentially, a salve is applied to the surface of the inflamed colon.
Terbinafine has activity against other types of fungi but at this time it is mostly used against ringworm.
This medication has been a helpful airway dilator for humans with asthma and animals with heart disease or bronchitis.
This medication was developed to address the mast cell tumor in dogs.
Trimethoprim-sulfa is known by many names as it's a commonly used antibiotic in both human and veterinary medicine. It's become a popular choice thanks to its broad spectrum and inexpensive cost.
An antibiotic, tylosin is used for its anti-inflammatory properties in the large intestine rather than for its ability to fight infection.
Ursodeoxycholic acid is one of the bile acids produced by the Chinese black bear and it has been used in the treatment of liver disease for centuries. Nowadays, it is produced in the laboratory rather than extracted from bear gall bladders.
Vincristine is chiefly used as one drug in multi-drug combination protocols against lymphoid and round cell tumors.

About the author(s)
Wendy C. Brooks, DVM, DABVP Education Director Wendy C. Brooks, DVM, DABVP, is a board certified specialist in Canine and Feline Practice, and a member of the American Academy of Veterinary Dermatology. In addition, as, she was a staff veterinarian and consultant for the Veterinary Information Network's Pet Care Forum (formerly America On-Line's Pet Care Forum) from 1994-2002. She is the author of the Pet Health Library, the Pet Nutrition Corner, and the Pet Pharmacy. Dr. Brooks is the Educational Director for, and in this role continues to provide top quality, cutting edge veterinary information to pet owners.

Dr. Brooks is a native of the Los Angeles area, and graduated from the University of California at Davis School of Veterinary Medicine in 1988. She currently owns the Mar Vista Animal Medical Center in Los Angeles, CA.

Back Top Bookmark this page