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Cimetidine’s Anti-Cancer Effects in Dogs

Recently, Tripawds member Tai brought it to our attention that Cimetidine, an over-the-counter heartburn medication for humans (also known as Tagamet), has been found to prevent cancer metastis in dogs with mast cell tumors. Several reputable studies have confirmed this.

cimetidineCimetidine is often given to Tripawds to help with nausea after chemotherapy, or to prevent gastric ulcers when switching medications, such as NSAIDs. If your vet has prescribed an acid-reducers to help with nausea, such as Prilosec, be sure to ask if it’s OK to give Tagamet instead. According to Cimetidine is the generic form of the brand name drug Tagamet.

Cimetidine is often used to treat and prevent ulcer formations in the pet’s intestine and stomach. It works to adjust the pH balance in the stomach by blocking the histamine-2 receptor.

Cimetidine is also known as histamine a2 antagonist, as it reduces acid formation in the stomach. Although it may not be beneficial to pets with high grade cancer, it can help to reduce the effects of mast cells on the gastrointestinal tract.

Dr. Demian Dressler, author of the Dog Cancer Survival Guide, has also added Cimetidne to his list of mast cell tumor treatments, and Tai posted information about several studies which discuss this drug’s anti-cancer effects. Another study by Life Extension Foundation, says:

“Cimetidine works through several mechanisms of action, preventing immune suppression caused by tumor secretion of histamine, halting cancer growth, preventing angiogenesis, promoting cancer cell death, and averting often-fatal cancer metastasis.”

Cimetidine is also known by the brand names of  Tagamet, and is in the same family of drugs as Famitidine, Ranitidine and Zantac. Ask your vet for details about whether it’s right for your Tripawd.

16 thoughts on “Cimetidine’s Anti-Cancer Effects in Dogs”

  1. My dog has prostate and bladder cancer. Is there any evidence Cimetidine is effective on slowing this form of cancer?

  2. I read about this about 4-5 months months ago. Very interesting…Charley has been taken generic pepcid (famotidine) 2x/day the past 2 years because he was a puker. If it’s an added bonus to cancer that’s even better news!
    Ellen & Charley

  3. 2 of my boxers recently were diagnosed with mast cell tumors. Neither tumor was operable (one inside the ear of my 12 year old dog who was having seizures, the other the entire upper eyelid of my 13 year old boxer). Both were started on diphenhydramine at 4 mg/kg, twice daily; cimetidine 4 mg/kg, three times daily. My 12 year old female, Gretakins, was immediately started on oral prednisone at 2 mg/kg, twice daily. In 14 days her visible tumor was gone, as were her vomiting, diarrhea, seizures, and neurological issues (seizures, high stepping, decreased eyesight). My 13 yr old’s (King Gustav) eyelid returned to normal size within 7 days. Mast cell tumors were confirmed in both via fine needle aspirate. We went through a LOT of puppy pads, but both my babies are clear and healthy today. Gretakins is 1 yr out (she wasn’t expected to survive 30 days from diagnosis date). King Gustav is 6 months out from treatment start date. I’m a veterinary technician, and am overjoyed that my rescue babies have done so well after such a sad diagnosis.

  4. @Helen Martyszyn My heart goes out to you. My girl had mast cell cancer and I had her on benadryl and tagamet for 15 months and she did great. She ended up getting hemangiosarcoma last summer and quickly declined, leaving me 4th of July 2016. 🙁 Prayers to your doggie. Miracles can happen.

  5. Famotidine is in the same family of drugs that act as a histamine H2 receptor antagonist. Studies were done with Cimetidine, however.

  6. My Sweet Cherry Pie has nasal cancer. She was deemed non operable due to the size of the tumor that grew in her mouth, post punch biopsy at that spot.
    We opted out of radiation and chemo.
    At the 2 1/2 week point of being on Tagamet/Benadryl protocol, she appeared to deteriorate. She didn’t act well, her muzzle became swollen. Then she’s started back up with the sneezing, which caused her to have nose bleeds.
    Fortunately I was prepared with Yunnan Biayso (Chinese Herb to stop/prevent bleeding). I was able to keep her bleeding pretty much under control. It lasted several days. During that time she looked miserable!! Her inner eyelids wouldn’t open and she kept having bleeds.
    After a sneezing attack I found a tumor the size of a medium blueberry and two additional pieces of tissue. I later found an additional shriveled up tumor I missed when I was vacuuming.
    I was concerned when she looked so badly. But I knew the treatment could cause the tumors to swell and hopefully die off. Fortunately with nasal cancer there is a greater chance of the tumors being sneezed or wretched out.
    After a few days the bleeding stopped and she began to feel better.
    Then here came the snot!!
    She developed a secondary nasal infection. Which, again, I was prepared for with antibiotics on hand.
    Sneezing is the way a dog will blow their nose.
    I had taught her (or as usual she actually figured it out and taught herself) to sneeze on command. So after the threat of dislodging a crucial blood clot, I’d take her outside to “Sneeze Cherry, sneeze!”.
    Keeps the snot outside and clears her sinuses.
    One and a half weeks after the initial episode, she was back to her old self. Playing fetch, correcting the puppy and just being Cherry!!
    I did find out after the fact that at the 3 week period of Tagamet, the tumor will start to bleed as it dyes (?). So if your dog has internal tumors the bleeding if left unchecked could be problematic (as in liver cancer). So be prepared and start them on the YB for bleeding in advance!! Don’t wait until you think your dog is bleeding.
    Just know that your dog may have a bad spell. But stay the course.
    Sorry this is so long. I just want to help people and their dogs out.
    I gotta go and throw the ball in the backyard for Cherry!!

  7. I’m having doubts about this treatment as I haven’t seen results for my dog although I see many success stories . The lady I know who promotes this on Facebook blocked me rudely after questioning it, she did claim I mixed other supplements. Told me to stop Yunnan Baiyao etc . No tumeric no fish oil , the problem is oils are in a lot of foods for dogs even the nutrical I was giving him to help him gain weight … he skin and bones. Can anyone speak to this ? Does this really work provided no fish oils .. no other supplements? Thank you

  8. Laurel, follow your gut. Your pup needs you to find a proven, science-based way to help him. As far as I know, this treatment is not widely used and there is probably a good reason for that. Consult with a veterinarian expert as soon as you can so you can get your pup eating again.

  9. My dog has an angry mast cell tumor and it also spread to her spleen :(. I have been giving her Pepcid but after reading on a FB page Tagamet works better I changed her this week. On that page they said she shouldn’t take Tagamet longer than 7-10 days every 2-3 months. Does anyone know exactly why? I didn’t get an answer from them yet.
    She is also on prednisone, Benadryl and gabapentin.

  10. Eileen, we are sorry to hear about your dog’s condition, it’s clear you are doing all you can to help her. While we don’t have an answer to your question about Tagamet, we know that your oncologist will have much better insight on it than we or any Facebook group can provide. Please check in and ask your vet for the best results. Best wishes to you both, we hope you have many happy memories together.

  11. My abbey was diagnosed with inoperable nasal tumor. Does the Tagamet/Benadryl help with nasal tumors? I don’t want to put her through radiation and I feel it would be too much on her. The oncologist that saw her only put her on an NSAID. Then I came upon this treatment that a lot of people recommended to me. Can someone help? I feel helpless and heartbroken

  12. Hello Amy, I’m really sorry to hear about your pup. Please don’t follow any treatment plans you see on the internet without discussing them with a veterinarian. You could be wasting precious time and doing more harm than good. Right now your best bet is to work with an oncologist who also practices complementary medicine (i.e., ‘holistic’). They would be able to giv you more options, hopefully. Try searching the AHVMF vet directory for a provider. Also, newer types of radiation therapy (aka Cyberknife or Stereotactic Radiation Therapy) deliver a much, much smaller dose of radiation in a fraction of the time of traditional radiation therapy. That could also be an option for you. Please research that to see if your dog is a good candidate. I hope with all my heart you find a way to help your girl as quickly as possible. Best wishes and lots of love to you both.

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