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Veterinary Forum April 2007 (Vol 24, No 4)

FDA Approves New Medication to Treat and Prevent Canine Emesis

    ROCKVILLE, Md.— The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) recently granted marketing approval to maropitant citrate (Cerenia, Pfizer Animal Health) to prevent and treat acute canine vomiting.

    Vomiting is one of the most common reasons owners take their dogs to the veterinarian, according to a Pfizer press statement. Veterinarians see an average of 30 cases of vomiting per month, with an estimated 2.8 million dogs experiencing vomiting each year in the United States, according to Pfizer market research. In addition, another 1.2 million dogs suffer from vomiting attributable to motion sickness.

    Although there are two pathways that cause canine emesis, central and peripheral, veterinarians mainly rely on products labeled for humans that address only a single pathway. This method often leads to inconsistent treatment results. Maropitant is unique because it prevents and treats canine vomiting, regardless of the pathway involved.

    "In many cases, it is important to treat vomiting to prevent further deterioration of the dog's health and to alleviate suffering," said S. Kristina Wahlstrom, VMD, MS, group director, US Companion Animal Veterinary Oper­a­tions, Pfizer Animal Health. "Current treatments may not be effective, depending on the pathway involved, resulting in un­­­­­­­­­necessary distress to the dog and owner."

    Maropitant is available in both injectable and tablet formulations, is administered once daily and is recommended for use in dogs 16 weeks of age and older. The medication starts to work within 1 hour of administration. Pfizer said maropitant should be available for veterinarians this summer.

    In clinical trials involving 577 dogs, maropitant was shown to be safe and effective, producing consistent results in a range of canine breeds and for a variety of causes of vomiting, such as parvovirus, gastroenteritis and renal disease.

    Maropitant is generally well tolerated by dogs. Side effects observed include excessive salivation, vomiting and muscle tremors. The medication has not been evaluated in dogs used for breeding, pregnant or lactating bitches, dogs with gastrointestinal obstruction or dogs that have ingested toxins. Caution should be taken if maropitant is used in dogs with hepatic dysfunction and with other medications that are highly protein bound.

    NEXT: Feline lower urinary tract disease — a multifaceted disorder

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