Consensus Statements of the American College of Veterinary Internal Medicine (ACVIM) provide the veterinary community with up‐to‐date information on the pathophysiology, diagnosis, and treatment of clinically important animal diseases. The ACVIM Board of Regents oversees selection of relevant topics, identification of panel members with the expertise to draft the statements, and other aspects of assuring the integrity of the process. The statements are derived from evidence‐based medicine whenever possible and the panel offers interpretive comments when such evidence is inadequate or contradictory. A draft is prepared by the panel, followed by solicitation of input by the ACVIM membership that may be incorporated into the statement. It is then submitted to the Journal of Veterinary Internal Medicine, where it is edited before publication. The authors are solely responsible for the content of the statements.
The gastrointestinal (GI) mucosal barrier is continuously exposed to noxious toxins, reactive oxygen species, microbes, and drugs, leading to the development of inflammatory, erosive, and ultimately ulcerative lesions. This report offers a consensus opinion on the rational administration of GI protectants to dogs and cats, with an emphasis on proton pump inhibitors (PPIs), histamine type‐2 receptor antagonists (H2RAs), misoprostol, and sucralfate. These medications decrease gastric acidity or promote mucosal protective mechanisms, transforming the management of dyspepsia, peptic ulceration, and gastroesophageal reflux disease. In contrast to guidelines that have been established in people for the optimal treatment of gastroduodenal ulcers and gastroesophageal reflux disease, effective clinical dosages of antisecretory drugs have not been well established in the dog and cat to date. Similar to the situation in human medicine, practice of inappropriate prescription of acid suppressants is also commonplace in veterinary medicine. This report challenges the dogma and clinical practice of administering GI protectants for the routine management of gastritis, pancreatitis, hepatic disease, and renal disease in dogs and cats lacking additional risk factors for ulceration or concerns for GI bleeding. Judicious use of acid suppressants is warranted considering recent studies that have documented adverse effects of long‐term supplementation of PPIs in people and animals.