By Rania Gollakner, BS, DVM, MPH

What is omeprazole?

Omeprazole (brand names Gastrogard®, Losec®, and Prilosec®) is a proton-pump inhibitor (a type of acid reducer) used in the treatment of ulcers occurring in the stomach and upper part of the small intestine in dogs and cats. It is also used to treat or prevent gastric erosions caused by drugs, such as nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs). The medication works by lowering the amount of acid made in the stomach. Omeprazole is also used to treat Helicobacter infections and acute gastritis in dogs.

The use of omeprazole in dogs and cats is off-label. This medication is also used off-label to treat gastroenteritis in ferrets. Many drugs are commonly prescribed for off-label use in veterinary medicine. In these instances, follow your veterinarian’s directions and cautions very carefully.

How is omeprazole given?

Omeprazole is available as a tablet and capsule. It may also be compounded into other forms by a compounding pharmacy. Omeprazole should be given by mouth on an empty stomach, before the first meal of the day. If vomiting occurs when dosed on an empty stomach, give future doses with food. It is important not to crush the tablets or capsules. Do not allow your pet to chew this medication. If you are having difficulty administering this medication, contact your veterinary health team for advice.

It is important to follow the dosing instructions provided by your veterinarian, as different doses are prescribed for different conditions.

This medication should take effect within one to two days, and improvements in clinical signs should follow.

What if I miss giving my pet the medication?

If you miss a dose, skip the missed dose and wait until the next dosing time. Give the dose when it is usually time to do so. Never give your pet two doses at once or give extra doses.

It is very important to give the medication for the length of time your veterinarian has recommended. Do not stop giving the medication to your pet without first speaking with your veterinarian.

Are there any potential side effects?

There are very few side effects of omeprazole. The most commonly reported side effects are vomiting, decreased appetite, gas, and diarrhea. If these effects worsen, become severe, or continue, contact your veterinarian.

This short-acting medication should stop working within 24 hours, although effects can be longer in pets with liver or kidney disease.

Are there any risk factors for this medication?

Omeprazole should not be used in pets that are allergic to it or similar drugs. It should be used with caution in pets that have liver or kidney disease or are pregnant or nursing

Are there any drug interactions I should be aware of?

Other drugs may interact with omeprazole including certain antibiotics, benzodiazepines, clopidogrel, cyanocobalamin, cyclosporine, digoxin, diuretics, levothyroxine, phenobarbital, and warfarin. Tell your veterinarian about any medications (including vitamins, supplements, or herbal therapies) that your pet is taking to ensure that a suitable dosing schedule can be determined.

Is there any monitoring that needs to be done with this medication?

Monitor to ensure that the medication is working and for any adverse effects.

How do I store omeprazole?

Omeprazole tablets and capsules should be stored in a tightly sealed container, protected from light, and stored at temperatures below 30°C (86°F).

What should I do in case of an emergency?

Overdoses of omeprazole are not usually serious. If you suspect an overdose and your pet is experiencing an adverse reaction, call your veterinary office immediately. If they are not available, follow their directions in contacting an emergency facility.

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