Dimenhydrinate, perhaps most commonly known by its brand name, Dramamine®, is an antihistamine that is used in veterinary medicine for treating nausea that’s attributed to motion sickness in dogs and cats. It is also prescribed to treat nausea caused by non-motion related conditions, such as inner ear disease.

motion sickness in pets

How Does Dimenhydrinate Treat Motion Sickness?

The vestibular system, which is located in the inner ear, is responsible for detecting motion. When the system becomes over-stimulated, nausea and dizziness can result. Dimenhydrinate inhibits the stimulation of the vestibular system in the brain by blocking histamines from attaching to the receptors. This helps to reduce the dizziness that is often the cause of the associated nausea.

Dimenhydrinate Precautions

Dramamine® is an over-the-counter drug that can be purchased in any retail pharmacy, but pet owners must understand that it is still a strong medication and should only be administered to an animal in accordance with a veterinarian’s directions.

Dimenhydrinate should not be administered to an animal patient with a known allergy or hypersensitivity to the drug, and it should be used with extreme caution in animals with pre-existing glaucoma, urinary bladder abnormalities, certain stomach conditions, and enlarged prostates. It should be avoided completely in animals suffering from heart disease, seizure disorder, high blood pressure, or an overactive thyroid, as well.

Possible Drug Interactions With Dimenhydrinate

Dimenhydrinate may cause an interaction with one or more medications that the animal may be currently taking, such as heparin, certain sedatives, and tranquilizers. Before treatment with Dimenhydrinate is initiated, the veterinarian should be made aware of the current drug regimen of the patient in order to reduce the risk of an interaction from occurring.

Dimenhydrinate Possible Side Effects

Dimenhydrinate is safe and effective when administered as instructed by a veterinarian, however, some animals may still experience certain side effects when taking this medication. Common side effects associated with Dimenhydrinate include general sedation, nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, loss of appetite and lethargy.

How Is Dimenhydrinate Administered?

Aside from the brand name product available in pharmacies, Dimenhydrinate can be obtained in customized dosages through a veterinary compounding pharmacy. This medication can be formulated into oral liquid or capsules.

Author: Giano Panzarella