Categories: drugs

Warning about the overuse of stomach acid suppressants for feline patients

Administering an acid suppressant at vet clinic. Image:

American veterinarians overdo stomach acid suppressants for feline and canine patients which can cause health issues which somewhat nullifies the purpose of the treatment.

Michael – based on study reported on AVMA website.

Despite this being a technical matter, which means I have to tread carefully, my reading of the situation is that veterinarians in America tend to over prescribe drugs which suppress acid production in the stomach of domestic cats. In over-prescribing these drugs there is a danger that there may be side effects affecting drug absorption and malabsorption of certain nutrients which in turn can result in an increased risk of intestinal infections such as salmonella. Is now felt that suppressing acid in the stomach of animal patients removes an important and normally present barrier to these organisms.

I have summarised the write-up on the AVMA website which is quite technical. I am writing this so people can be aware of the potential inappropriateness of their veterinarian recommending acid suppressants as a form of treatment for feline diseases such as pancreatitis, gastritis, hepatic disease and kidney disease.

Kidney disease is very prevalent in cats especially towards the end of their life. My understanding is that veterinarians tend to or sometimes advise acid suppressing drugs under the circumstances. This may be because chronic kidney disease is associated with increased acid in the stomach and vomiting. A study found that acid suppressants are not necessary because cats with chronic kidney disease may not have increased acid in their stomach (gastric hyperacidity) compared to healthy cats. More research is required to decide whether it is a good idea to administer acid suppressants to cats with chronic kidney disease (CKD).

As for feline pancreatitis, veterinarian sometimes treat this disease with acid suppressants, which are used to help reduce the stomach acid reflux associated with the disease. The point is that I feel that the patient’s owners should query a prescription for anti-acid drugs at least because of the study referred to on the AVMA website. They appear to conclude that new guidelines are required to prevent the overuse of acid suppressants. Their article is written May 29, 2019 and therefore it is current. In fact, I have noticed that the conclusion is that the use of acid suppressants is ‘rampant’ in both humans and animal patients.

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Michael Broad

Hi, I'm a 71-year-old retired solicitor (attorney in the US). Before qualifying I worked in many jobs including professional photography. I have a girlfriend, Michelle. I love nature, cats and all animals. I am concerned about their welfare.

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