Heart disease isn’t just a human issue; pets can get heart disease too. Fortunately, there are many effective medications used to treat heart disease in pets so your dogs, cats and other pets can live long and healthy lives.
Medicines to Treat Heart Disease in Pets
Atenolol is a beta-blocker that’s used to treat high blood pressure and irregular heart rhythm in small animals. If you’re being treated for heart disease, you and your pet may wind up on the same medication, as Atenolol is also used in humans. Pets with chronic heart failure should not take Atenolol. Instead, your veterinarian will prescribe a medication that’s safer for your pet. Side effects of Atenolol can include tiredness and low blood pressure. Ask your veterinarian what signs and symptoms to monitor for heart disease in pets.
Dogs with congestive heart failure (CHF) may benefit from adding Pimobendan to their treatment regimen. This medication can improve the length and quality of life for dogs with CHF. It’s a vasodilator, which decreases heart rate in dogs with CHF. Pimobendan is not currently approved for use in cats. Dogs taking Pimobendan may experience changes in digestion. Your vet may recommend a different diet to help with digestive issues.
Amlodipine is a calcium channel blocker most commonly prescribed to treat high blood pressure in cats. It is sometimes used in combination with other medications especially if your feline also has kidney disease. Side effects can include tiredness, weight loss, and reflex tachycardia. Ask your veterinarian what signs and symptoms you should monitor.
If your pet suffers from heart disease, these are just a few of the many treatment options available. Talk with your veterinarian to find out what’s best for your pet. We’ll work with you and your veterinarian to find the right dosage form and flavor to ensure the medications are easy to give.
Frequently Prescribed Formulations for oral use:
- Mini tablets – flavored or unflavored
- Liquid suspensions – flavored or unflavored
- Chewy treats – chicken flavored
If it is too difficult to administer medications to your pet by mouth, some medications are absorbed through the skin and can be applied to the inner ear tip as a cream. Ask your veterinarian or pharmacist if your pet’s medication can be given transdermally.
Reference: Plumb’s Veterinary Drug Handbook