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At a Glance
Prescription-only medication for both dogs and cats
Helps to dissolve gallstones caused by toxic cholesterol levels and bile acid
Supports liver function and regeneration in cases of liver diseases
Twice-daily administration of an oral 250 mg tablet or 300 mg capsule


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At a Glance
Prescription-only medication for both dogs and cats
Helps to dissolve gallstones caused by toxic cholesterol levels and bile acid
Supports liver function and regeneration in cases of liver diseases
Twice-daily administration of an oral 250 mg tablet or 300 mg capsule

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Novartis Logo

Ultimate Guide to Ursodiol

Meet the Liver Lover: Ursodiol!

Ursodiol is a prescription-only cat and dog medication that is used to restore a healthy liver function, prevent or dissolve cholesterol-created gallstones, and ultimately reduce cholesterol and toxic bile levels. Twice-daily, an oral 250 mg tablet or 300 mg capsule is an effective pet remedy. Ursodiol ensures a permanently healthier and happier pet.

How does Ursodiol work?

Ursodiol is a generic active ingredient (common brand names are Actigall and Urso). Ursodiol releases hydrophilic bile acid that treats chronic liver diseases and prevents or dissolves gallbladder disease. The drug has a unique ability to reduce cholesterol that is specifically created by and highly affects these two organs.

The medicine Ursodiol's natural main component ursodeoxycholic acid works by reducing the amount of cholesterol made by the liver, decreasing the amount of cholesterol absorbed by food, and increasing the rate at which the body breaks down cholesterol.

While Ursodiol is not FDA-approved for pet use, veterinarians commonly prescribe it for certain conditions, especially those that affect the liver and gallbladder:


  • Chronic hepatitis
  • Non-alcoholic fatty liver disease
  • Juvenile fibrosing liver disease
  • Cirrhosis
  • Congenital portosystemic shunts


  • Gallstones
  • Primary sclerosing cholangitis
  • A buildup of toxic acid
How is Ursodiol administered?

Ursodiol is administered orally twice a day with food to increase absorption and to prevent gastrointestinal side effects (e.g., nausea, upset stomach, or vomiting). Allow plenty of accessible water for your pet upon ingestion.

Ursodiol is available in 300 mg capsules and 250 mg pills/tablets only.

The usual Ursodiol dosage for dogs is 2.5 - 7 mg per pound of body weight. For example, a 60-pound dog may be prescribed a 300 mg capsule. For cats, the usual Ursodiol dosage guideline is 5 - 7 mg per pound of body weight. A 25-pound cat may be prescribed a 125 mg, which is half of a scored 250 mg tablet.

This must not replace your vet's advice for your pet, so make sure to consult with your vet before veterinary usage. The exact dosage may depend on many factors like the severity of the condition, the specifics of the condition, the size of the pet, and the overall health of the pet. Therefore, every unique treatment is on a case-by-case basis.

Never stop or start any medication in your cat without consulting your veterinarian first. Follow through with an entire recommended course of treatment, giving the recommended dosage at the prescribed times.

What are the precautions of which you should be aware?

Medications like antacids, those with aluminum, those with estrogen may have negative interactions with Ursodiol. Consult your veterinarian about other medications and/or other supplements that your pet takes.

What are the potential Ursodiol side effects of which you should be aware?

Both pets' most common adverse reactions are vomiting, lethargy, decreased appetite, diarrhea, headache, nausea, or upset stomach. If allergic reactions are experienced, such as hives, facial swelling, or difficulty breathing, seek emergency medical attention from your veterinarian or take to a local emergency veterinary clinic.

Frequently Asked Questions
What Is Ursodiol Used for in Dogs?

Ursodiol helps in the treatment of dogs with chronic liver disease. Ursodiol, though not an FDA-approved drug, helps increase the flow of bile acids. This prevents the build-up of the toxic bile acids in the body. Bile acid is a major contributing factor to the disease.

Ursodiol restores healthy liver function in dogs. It prevents or dissolves cholesterol-created gallstones. This helps reduce cholesterol and toxic bile acid levels in the body.

What Is the Dosage and How to Administer Ursodiol?

Ursodiol is an oral medicine. The usual dosage is 250 mg tablet or 300 mg capsule, twice daily. But, you should administer the tablets as prescribed by your vet. It is advisable to give Ursodiol with food, it helps to increase the absorption and also reduces any risk of nausea.

You can also consider the bodyweight of your pet to administer the medicine. The recommended dosage of Ursodiol is 2.5 to 7 mg per pound of body weight for dogs.

Your veterinarian will help you with further instructions on the proper dosage of the medication. They may also adjust the dosage based on your dog's condition and individual response to the medicine.

The duration of the prescription can vary depending on the need and the disease.

What if I Miss a Dose?

If you forget to give a dose of Ursodiol to your dog, then give the next dose as soon as you remember it. Do not give a double dose to catch up on a missed dose.

Alternately, if by the time you remember about the missed dose is close to the next one, then wait and resume with the next regularly scheduled dose.

After administering, wash your hands thoroughly.

Can I Stop Ursodiol Suddenly for My Dog?

Administration of any medication should happen after consultation with the veterinarian. Starting or stopping medications without the advice of the veterinarian is not advisable.

Also, follow through with the entire recommended course as has been set by the veterinarian for your dog.

Can Ursodiol Be Crushed for Dogs?

Crushing the medicines helps to administer them to the pets easily. Ursodiol Capsules are bitter; your dog might not like the taste of it. Giving the medicine with some food is a better idea. The food of his liking might be a good idea to help him have the medicines.

Help him with plenty of water upon ingestion. Keep adequate water accessible for your pet.

How Does Ursodiol Work for Dogs?

Hydrophilic bile acid released by Ursodiol is used to treat chronic liver diseases and helps prevent or dissolve gallbladder disease. The medicine can reduce cholesterol, which affects both of these two organs.

Ursodeoxycholic acid, the medicine's main component, works by reducing the amount of cholesterol made by the liver. The reduced cholesterol helps decrease the amount of cholesterol absorbed by food and increases the rate at which the body breaks down cholesterol.

How Do I Understand My Dog Needs Ursodiol or Not?

If your pet is showing the following signs:

  • Increased urination and thirst,
  • diarrhea,
  • Loss of appetite,
  • Vomiting,
  • Jaundice,
  • Excessive drooling, and
  • Changes in its behavior,

then immediately make an appointment for a Veterinarian. These symptoms can result from liver disease.

If the veterinarian diagnoses the dog with liver disease, then you can administer Ursodiol to treat it after consultation with him.

What Are the Side Effects of Ursodiol in Dogs?

Since Ursodiol is naturally occurring, the side effects are very few. Few animals show an allergic reaction. If your dog develops hives, breathing difficulties, or facial swelling, contact your veterinarian immediately.

Other side effects include gastrointestinal distress and headaches. If you see your dog showing a negative reaction to Ursodiol, contact your veterinarian.

The most common side effects are

  • Vomiting or diarrhea
  • Lethargy,
  • Decreased appetite,
  • Headache,
  • Nausea, or
  • Upset stomach
Does Ursodiol Cause Weight Gain in Dogs?

Weight gain due to Ursodeoxycholic acid is common in patients with primary biliary cirrhosis. But traces of the same are yet to be found in dogs.

Does Ursodiol Have Any Other Use?

Veterinarians also use Ursodiol to treat dogs with gallstones.

The drug interactions effectively reduce cholesterol uptake. It also reduces cholesterol synthesis and production. Ursodiol has been effective in dissolving the gallstones, which mostly contain cholesterol.

Ursodiol also treats other hepatobiliary conditions, like

For Liver

  • Chronic hepatitis
  • Non-alcoholic fatty liver disease
  • Juvenile fibrosing liver disease
  • Cirrhosis
  • Congenital portosystemic shunts

For Gallbladder

  • Gallstones
  • A build-up of toxic acid
  • Primary sclerosing cholangitis
Can I Buy Ursodiol Over the Counter?

Ursodiol is a prescription drug. You can buy and administer Ursodiol to your pet only after consultation with your veterinarian.

Concluding Thoughts

The most important thing that you should know about Ursodiol is its power to protect your pet from a variety of toxic levels of bile and cholesterol that specifically affect their liver and gallbladder organs.

DISCLAIMER: Ask your veterinarian or consult with one of our pet care specialists at 1-800-844-1427. Though not FDA-approved for veterinary use, Ursodiol is a prescription-only medical product for cats and dogs. This informative article is not meant to substitute for the diagnosis, treatment, and professional advice from your veterinarian or other qualified professionals regarding a medical condition.

  • Novartis Brand
  • Gastrointestinal Pharmacy
  • Bladder Control Pharmacy
  • Novartis Manufacturer
  • Oral Application
  • Cat Pet Type
  • Dog Pet Type

Can Ursodiol Cause Changes in Liver Enzyme Levels in Dogs?

Yes, there is a chance that it might affect some dogs' liver enzyme levels. This is because Ursodiol affects liver function by changing the makeup of bile. In some instances, canines taking Ursodiol may experience a rise in liver enzyme levels, which can suggest liver damage or dysfunction. As a result, it's critical to keep an eye on the liver enzyme levels of dogs taking Ursodiol, especially those with a history of liver illness.

Can Ursodiol Be Given With Food or on an Empty Stomach?

Ursodiol can be given with or without food, as it does not significantly impact the absorption of the medication. Ursodiol can cause adverse effects in some dogs, including nausea and diarrhea. By administering the drug with meals, you may be able to minimize these side effects. Additionally, some Ursodiol dosage forms, including tablets or capsules, might be simpler to give your dog with food to ensure that the medication is ingested.

How Is Ursodiol Different From Other Medications Used for Liver Disease in Dogs?

A key difference between Ursodiol and other medications for liver disease is the specific conditions for which they are used. Ursodiol is primarily used to treat chronic liver disease in dogs, while other medications may be used to treat a range of liver disorders, including hepatitis, cirrhosis, and liver failure.

Are There Any Natural Alternatives to Ursodiol for Dogs With Liver Disease?

There are several natural alternatives to Ursodiol that may help support liver function in dogs with liver disease. These include milk thistle, dandelion root, artichoke, and turmeric. Silymarin, an active component of milk thistle, has anti-inflammatory and antioxidant effects that may aid in preventing liver cell damage. Dandelion root and artichoke can help to improve digestion and reduce the workload on the liver. Turmeric is also a potent antioxidant and anti-inflammatory agent.

Can Ursodiol Be Given to Pregnant or Nursing Dogs?

Ursodiol should not be given to dogs expecting or nursing without visiting a vet. While Ursodiol is generally considered safe for dogs, limited information regarding its safety during pregnancy or lactation is available.

Can Ursodiol Be Given to Puppies?

The safety and effectiveness of Ursodiol in puppies have not been extensively studied. However, puppies are more vulnerable to medication side effects. They may require lower doses or more frequent monitoring, so following the veterinarian's instructions closely and reporting any concerns or changes in the puppy's condition is essential.

Can Ursodiol Be Given to Dogs With Liver Disease?

Yes, veterinarians commonly prescribe Ursodiol to treat liver disease in dogs. Ursodiol works by reducing the amount of cholesterol produced by the liver. It can help improve liver function and reduce inflammation in dogs with certain liver diseases, such as chronic hepatitis or cholangiohepatitis.

Can Ursodiol Be Given to Dogs With Gallbladder Disease?

Yes, Ursodiol can be given to dogs with gallbladder disease. In fact, Ursodiol is often used to treat dogs with gallbladder disease, particularly gallbladder mucocele, which is a condition where there is an accumulation of thick mucus in the gallbladder that can cause obstruction and inflammation. This medicine works by lowering the amount of cholesterol in bile, which can aid in the dissolution of tiny gallstones and prevent the development of new ones. Additionally, it can lessen inflammation and enhance the gallbladder's general performance.

Can Ursodiol Be Given to Dogs With Pancreatitis?

Ursodiol, also known as ursodeoxycholic acid, is a medication commonly used to treat human liver and gallbladder diseases. While it is not specifically approved for use in dogs with pancreatitis, it may have potential benefits. Ursodiol can help to improve bile flow and reduce inflammation in the liver and pancreas, which may help to alleviate some of the symptoms of pancreatitis.

Can Ursodiol Be Given to Dogs With Inflammatory Bowel Disease (Ibd)?

While there is limited research on the use of Ursodiol in dogs with inflammatory bowel disease (IBD), it has been used in veterinary medicine for this purpose. Ursodiol has been found to have anti-inflammatory effects and may help to reduce inflammation in the intestinal tract of dogs with IBD.

Can Ursodiol Be Given With Other Medications?

You are correct, Ursodiol generally has no known severe interactions with other drugs, but there may be some moderate interactions with certain medications. One such medication is aluminum hydroxide, commonly used to treat heartburn and indigestion.

Ursodiol, Colloidal silicon dioxide, magnesium stearate, and starch (corn). Gelatin capsules contain gelatin and titanium dioxide. The capsules are printed with edible ink containing black iron oxide.


Ursodeoxycholic Acid
How to Use this Bile Acid to Treat Liver Diseases in Cats and Dogs?


Ursodeoxycholic Acid helps in the treatment of chronic gallbladder and liver stones. Numerous complicated synthesis of chemicals is part of the liverโ€™s functioning. This aspect makes the liver a crucial organ of the body. The liver also helps with digestion with the help of bile acid production.

Ursodeoxycholic Acid or Ursodiol is a natural bile acid present in trace amounts in the bile. The compound is responsible for reducing any liver cholesterol possibility and is a vital enabler in the absorption of intestine cholesterol.

Ursodeoxycholic Acid or Ursodiol helps facilitate a proper bile flow within the liver and protects it from any injury due to bile salts. It is a prescription-only drug that you can get for your pet only after your petโ€™s veterinarian Recommends the same. However, this drug gets its place in the prescription as an extra-label drug and gets legally prescribed by veterinarians.


Scientific data substantiates the prolific achievement of Ursodeoxycholic Acid or Ursodiol in reducing chronic conditions like Chronic Hepatitis. It is worth mentioning that the medication is also prevalent as a measure to tackle the cholestatic liver disease. The cholestatic liver disease has a characteristic abnormal bile flow that creates a cause of concern for the pets.

The cholesterol type gallbladder stones can get treated using Ursodeoxycholic Acid.

Mechanism of Action

A complex mechanism of action that complements the liver functions gets implemented using Ursodeoxycholic Acid. The drug's action results in the alteration of the bile acid pool. Ursodeoxycholic Acid acts as a choleretic and cytoprotectant.

Thereby, the leading cholesterol saturation gets decreased with the application of Ursodeoxycholic Acid. The resultant action helps increase the secretion of absorbed cholesterol into the bile and thereby reduces the cholesterol fractions of binary lipids.

Ursodeoxycholic Acid acts as a cytoprotective agent. The actions of the drug help protect the cholangiocytes and hepatocytes from bile acid-induced damage. The stimulation of bile acids in the formation of reactive oxygen species induces any cholecystitis or inflammatory processes.

Ursodeoxycholic Acid helps preserve the cell structure and offers cytoprotection in hepatic epithelia. It also prevents the Kupffer cells and is popular to reduce oxidate stress in hepatocytes.

Brand/Generic Equivalents

If your dog suffers an allergic reaction such as hives, swelling of lips, tongue or face or difficulty breathing seek immediate emergency veterinary medical attention and discontinue dosages.

Other less serious side effects may occur such as nausea or upset stomach, diarrhea or headache. If these, or any other side effects seem unusual or bothersome to your animal talk to your veterinarian.

Antacids or any medications including aluminum may cause Ursodiol to be ineffective. Estrogen increases cholesterol counteracting the effects of Ursodiol.

Contact your veterinarian if you add any other medications or supplements to ensure it will not inhibit or negatively interact.

Ask your veterinarian or consult with one of our pet care specialists at 1-800-844-1427.

This information is for informational purposes only and is not meant as a substitute for the professional advice of, or diagnosis or treatment by, your veterinarian. Always seek the advice of your veterinarian or other qualified professional with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. Never disregard or delay seeking professional advice due to what you may have read on our website. Our medications are FDA approved and/or EPA regulated when and as required by law.

The amount of Ursodiol prescribed depends upon the severity of your petโ€™s illness. Follow dosage prescribed by your veterinarian and allow for plenty of water for your pet to intake upon ingesting.

Store at room temperature, away from moisture and heat.

Ursodiol is manufactured by Novartis

How to Order Prescriptions Online

1. Find the Right Product

Make sure it matches your pets prescription. Donโ€™t forget to compare the dosage for pills/capsules!

2. Add to Cart

Just like any other online store. Make sure the quantity matches whatโ€™s been prescribed by your vetinarian.

3. Tell Us About Your Pet and Vet

Answer some questions during checkout and weโ€™ll contact your vet and verify the prescription for you. You can also mail us the written prescription.

4. Thatโ€™s It!

If the prescription has any refills, processing your future orders for that medication can be expedited.

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