By Rania Gollakner, BS, DVM, MPH

What is kaolin/pectin?

Kaolin/Pectin (brand names: Kaopectolin®, Kao-Pec®, Kao-Pect®, Kao-Pront®, Kaogel®) is a gastrointestinal protectant that is used to treat diarrhea and certain toxicities.

Its use in cats, dogs, ferrets and other small mammals, horses, and birds to treat diarrhea 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 directions may be significantly different from those on the label.

How is kaolin/pectin given?

Kaolin/pectin is given by mouth in the form of a liquid suspension. It may be given with or without food; however, if vomiting occurs when dosed on an empty stomach, give future doses with food. Measure liquids carefully and shake well before using. This medication should take effect within 1 to 2 days, and improvements in clinical signs should follow.

What if I miss giving my pet the medication?

If you miss giving your pet a dose, give the next dose as soon as you remember, but if it is closer than 12 hours before the next scheduled dose, either:

  1. skip the dose you missed, give it at the next scheduled time, and continue with the regular dosing schedule, OR
  2. give the missed dose and then wait the recommended interval before giving the next dose (continue giving it regularly at that new time).

Are there any potential side effects?

Side effects are uncommon. Rarely, constipation can occur. Serious side effects include fever, tiredness, lack of appetite, or not being able to have a bowel movement.

This short-acting medication should stop working within 24 hours, although effects can be longer in pets with liver or kidney disease.

Are there any risk factors for this medication?

Do not use kaolin/pectin in pets that are allergic to it. Do not use to control severe diarrhea or diarrhea that is caused by an infection. Do not use the combination product that includes bismuth subsalicylate in cats. Use kaolin/pectin cautiously in very old, very young, or debilitated pets. Use this medication cautiously in pregnant or nursing pets, although use is likely safe.

Are there any drug interactions I should be aware of?

The following medications should be used with caution when given with kaolin/pectin: digoxin, clindamycin, lincomycin, penicillamine, or trimethoprim/sulfa.

Be sure to tell your veterinarian about any medications (including vitamins, supplements, or herbal therapies) that your pet is taking.

Is there any monitoring that needs to be done with this medication?

There is no specific monitoring that needs to be done while your pet is taking this medication. Your veterinarian may monitor your pet to be sure that the medication is working. When diarrhea is severe, fluid and electrolyte balance should be monitored. Monitor your pet at home for serious side effects.

How do I store kaolin/pectin?

Store this medication in an airtight container and protect from light and freezing.

What should I do in case of emergency?

If you suspect an overdose or an adverse reaction to the medication, call your veterinary office immediately. If they are not available, follow their directions in contacting an emergency facility.

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