Elephant Formulary

© 2003-17 Susan K. Mikota DVM and Donald C. Plumb, Pharm.D. Published by
Elephant Care International

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Sodium Sulfate

Elephant specific information, if available, is in blue.

Chemistry – Sodium sulfate (hexahydrate form) occurs as large, colorless, odorless, crys­tals or white crystalline powder. It will effloresce in dry air and partially dissolve in its own water of crystallization at about 33°C. 1 gram is soluble in about 2.5 ml of water.


Storage/Stability/Compatibility – Store in tight containers at temperatures not exceeding 30°C.


Pharmacology – When given orally, sodium sulfate acts as a saline cathartic (draws water into small intestine). Sodium sulfate is considered to be the most effective saline cathartic on a molar basis. Sulfates also react with a variety of cations to form non-absorbable com­pounds, which may explain its efficacy in reducing copper loads and to reduce gut cal­cium.


Uses/Indications – Sodium sulfate is used as a saline cathartic, primarily in food animals.


Pharmacokinetics – Sodium sulfate is not appreciably absorbed from the GI tract and thereby acts a saline cathartic. Sodium may be absorbed however, after exchanging with other cations.


Contraindications/Precautions – Saline cathartics should not be used in dehydrated ani­mals. Because of the drug’s high sodium content, it should be used with caution in patients with severe CHF or in patients otherwise susceptible to sodium retention.


Adverse Effects/Warnings – Diarrhea, cramping and flatulence may result. Electrolyte abnormalities may occur with chronic use.


Doses –


As a cathartic:

a)   500 – 750 g PO as a 6% solution via stomach tube (Davis 1993)


Dosage Forms/Preparations/FDA Approval Status/Withholding Times –


Veterinary-Approved Products: None


Human-Approved Products: None

Sodium sulfate (hexahydrate) is available from chemical supply houses.