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Product Description

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.

Side Effects & Warnings

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.


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.


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

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