If your pet is showing signs of increased thirst and urination, loss of appetite, jaundice, vomiting or diarrhea, excessive drooling, and changes in her behavior, then you should make an appointment with your veterinarian as soon as possible. With symptoms like these, there is a risk that she could potentially be suffering from liver disease or another hepatobiliary condition. If liver disease is the diagnosis, then ursodiol is one of the medicines commonly used by veterinarians to treat it.


Ursodiol (brand names: Actigall®, Urso®, Ursofalk®) is a bile acid used to treat the symptoms of gallbladder or bile related liver diseases such as gallbladder mucocele, cholestasis, and chronic liver inflammation. Its use in cats, dogs, horses, and birds to treat liver and gallbladder conditions is ‘off label’ or ‘extra label’. Many drugs are commonly prescribed for off label use in veterinary medicine. In these instances, follow your veterinarian’s directions and cautions very carefully as their direction may be significantly different from those on the label.

Ursodiol is given by mouth in the form of a capsule, tablet, or liquid suspension and should be given with food. Measure liquid forms carefully. Do not give to rabbits, guinea pigs, or rodents. Do not give this medication with antacids that contain aluminum. This medication should take effect within 1 to 2 days; however, effects may not be visibly obvious and therefore laboratory tests may need to be done to evaluate this medication’s effectiveness.

Ursodiol is a naturally occurring bile acid that is used for treating liver disease in dogs and cats. Why Ursodiol Is Prescribed in Veterinary Medicine Ursodiol is a popular drug prescribed to treat pets with chronic liver disease because it increases the flow of bile acids. This helps prevent the build-up of toxic bile acids in the body, a major contributing factor to the disease.

Uses Of Ursodiol For Dogs

Ursodiol for dogs is used to treat a variety of liver and gallbladder conditions. The liver and gallbladder are two organs that are highly affected by cholesterol, and the drug’s ability to reduce cholesterol in the body is beneficial to these organs. Cholesterol is sometimes a component of gallstones, and ursodiol can help prevent these stones from forming. It also helps increase the flow of bile acid, which helps reduce toxic buildup of acid in the body.

Here are several of the conditions that a veterinarian might treat with a prescription for ursodiol:

  • Primary sclerosing cholangitis
  • Chronic hepatitis
  • Non-alcoholic fatty liver disease
  • Gallstones
  • Congenital portosystemic shunts
  • Juvenile fibrosing liver disease

Dosage and Administration of Ursodiol

Ursodiol is given orally in a tablet or capsule form and should be administered to the pet exactly as prescribed by your veterinarian. The usual dosage for dogs is 2.5 to 7 mg per pound of body weight given twice a day. Ursodiol should be given with food, as this not only increases its absorption but also helps reduce the risk of nausea.

If you miss a dose of ursodiol, then give the next dose as soon as you remember. Or, if it is close to the next scheduled dose, wait and resume with the next regularly scheduled dose. Do not administer a double dose to catch up on a missed dose. After administering ursodiol, wash your hands thoroughly.

Side Effects and Drug Reactions

Ursodiol may result in these side effects:

  • Allergic reaction (labored breathing, hives, etc)
  • Worsened liver disease (vomiting, diarrhea, jaundice)

Ursodiol may react with these drugs:

  • Tylenol (Acetaminophen)
  • Estrogens
  • Antacids containing aluminum
  • Vitamins and other supplements

Precautions for Using Ursodiol

Ursodiol should not be given to rabbits, guinea pigs, or other animals with similar digestive systems, as it can cause serious problems. Animals with chronic liver disease can have difficulties tolerating the drug. Tell your veterinarian if your animal has any medical conditions before administering Ursodiol. Keep this and all drugs out of reach of children. Ursodiol is a prescription drug and should be used according to your veterinarian’s directions. It should only be given to the animal for which it was prescribed. Do not give this medication to a person. Ursodiol should not be used in animals with gallstones or pancreatitis.

Different strengths or dosage forms of ursodiol can have different storage requirements. Read the labeling or ask your pharmacist for the storage requirements of the prescription you receive.


  • Drug Name: Ursodiol
  • Common Name: Actigall®, Urso®
  • Drug Type: Bile acid
  • Used For: Liver and Gall Bladder diseases, prevention and treatment of gallstones
  • Species: Dogs, Cats
  • Administered: Tablet
  • How Dispensed: Prescription only
  • FDA Approved: No

Prices of Ursodiol For Dogs

$10.12- $20.47

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