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Lactulose, a disaccharide sugar containing galactose and fructose, is used for the treatment of hepatic encephalopathy in veterinary medicine. It is also used as a laxative for the treatment of bowel diseases like megacolon, triggered from chronic constipation. The active ingredient, lactulose, works by reducing the ammonia build up in the blood. The large number of resident bacteria in the intestine consumes the unabsorbed lactose as their food and release lactic, acetic, and formic acid and carbon dioxide gas. These acids draw fluid into the colon, softening the stool. The acidification of the bowel contents draws ammonia from the bloodstream and locks it there to be emitted with the stool. This action aids the prevention of a form of dementia called hepatic encephalopathy.
Extreme caution is required when the medication is used in pets with fluid or electrolyte imbalance and in diabetic animals. Do not use the medication with other laxatives. It is advised not to use the drug in animals with hypersensitivity and allergy to the active ingredient. Oral antacids could hinder the effectiveness of lactulose. Giving plenty of water during the treatment prevents side effects like dehydration and diarrhea. Lactulose may interact with other drugs; it is advised to inform the veterinarian or pharmacist about the medications the pet is taking. The medication should be stored at room temperature, away from light.
The duration of administration and dosage depends on the type of condition treated. For the treatment of hepatic encephalopathy in dogs, the recommended dosage is 15 to 30 ml/dog four times a day and for cats the dosage is 0.25 to 1 ml/cat. The frequency of the dosage is calculated based on the frequency of stool production. For treatment of constipation, the recommended dosage is 1 ml/4.5 kg (1 ml/10 lbs) thrice a day.
Cephulac, Chronulac, Cholac, Constulose, Enulose
The commonly observed side effects include abdominal cramping, flatulence, diarrhea and dehydration. Drooling is observed as a lactulose side effect in cats.
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