If your dog is having some really bad day because of intense itching secondary to allergies or some other form of skin irritation, your vet may actually prescribe Pririton. This medication is a kind of antihistamine that contains chlorphenamine and has been proven to be exceptionally effective in controlling intense itching or pruritus in dogs and cats. There’s a catch, however. It is only available in human formulations. So, can you give your dog Pririton?
What is Piriton?
Pririton is a brand of first-generation antihistamine that contains the active ingredient chlorphenamine, although it is also sometimes called chlorpheniramine. This is a drug that is used to manage allergic conditions in human populations such as urticaria and rhinitis. Its use is strictly for human populations. However, it is not uncommon that veterinarians give it to dogs and other animals as well. As a matter of fact, chlorphenamine is the antihistamine of choice by veterinarians in the management of allergic symptoms in small animals. This extra-label use of Piriton and other similar drugs has divided pet owners and veterinarians because of its legal ramifications.
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How Does it Work?
Chlorphenamine works just like any other antihistamine. However, it is highly specific for histamine-1 receptors which are typically found in smooth muscles and small blood vessels. Normally, when histamine attaches to the receptors in blood vessels, it induces increased permeability allowing fluids to leak into the surrounding tissues and producing swelling as well as generalized sense of itching. The receptors in smooth muscles, such as those found in the airways, are also affected. These contract the smooth muscles leading to a narrowing of the airways and producing difficulty of breathing.
Piriton, a brand of chlorphenamine, works by preventing the contact between histamine and its histamine-1 receptors. When this contact is prevented, you don’t create the increased permeability in blood vessels so you don’t produce itching. Additionally, the smooth muscles don’t contract so that the patency of the airway is maintained. Your dog is able to breathe easier.
Is it Safe?
All drugs, regardless of how safe their manufacturers claim them to be, will always bound to have side effects typically associated with their unique mechanisms of action. As for chlorphenamine, some of the more common side effects include sleepiness or drowsiness, confusion, anxiety, constipation, dry mouth, confusion, restlessness, and nausea. In some cases, the side effects can be a bit more severe such as what happens in dogs that present with shallow yet rapid breathing, problems with urination, decreased coordination, irritability, ringing in the ears, and even problems with concentration.
These manifestations are quite mild, though compared to other forms of medications that are used in the management of allergic symptoms in dogs. So is Piriton safe? Well, insofar as severe, life-threatening reactions are concerned, you’ll feel safer about giving Piriton.
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Can I Give My Dog Piriton?
Given that it is generally safe, you can give Piriton to your dog. However, you must keep in mind that it has never been approved for such a use, although many veterinarians prescribe it. In human applications, it doesn’t require prescription. This doesn’t necessarily give you automatic clearance to give it to your dog without having a talk with your veterinarian first.
There are many human medications that are used on dogs in an extra-label manner. One of them is Piriton. While most veterinarians can easily prescribe such medications to your pet, this should only be done under his guidance. You should never put your dog at risk for unknown side effects and adverse reactions simply because everybody else is doing it. If itching is your dog’s main problem, there are safer and equally effective treatments available.