Alternative to Oral Anti-emetics

Last Modified: August 19, 2007

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Question

Dear OncoLink "Ask The Experts,"

Are there suppository options for anti-emetics? My dog has nausea associated with cancer and refuses food. I was hoping options like compazine (in suppository form) are available for canine use. Oral medications are vomited up.

Answer

Lili Duda, VMD, Section Editor of the OncoLink Veterinary Oncology Menu, responds:

Sometimes, when one of our veterinary cancer patients cannot tolerate oral medications, but is otherwise okay to be at home, we will prescribe subcutaneously injectable medicines. Either we will instruct the owner on how to do this, or if it is a once-daily medication, the patient can have a brief visit at the veterinary hospital. For chemotherapy-induced nausea, we prefer a group of drugs called 5-HT3 (serotonin) antagonists which are more specific for this type of nausea. We use dolasetron, or a newly available once-a-day medication called Cerenia that is designed specifically for canine patients, which is less expensive than dolasetron.

Compazine suppositories can be used in dogs, but carries the risk of sedation and low blood pressure, especially in a patient that might be dehydrated from nausea, vomiting and diarrhea. The recommended dosage for dogs is three times a day.