Pimobendan: A Heart Medication for Your Beloved Pet


If you have a furry friend suffering from congestive heart failure (CHF), you may have come across the medication called Pimobendan. This heart medication, also known as Vetmedin®, is specifically designed to treat dogs with CHF caused by dilated cardiomyopathy or valvular insufficiency. But did you know that it can also be used for cats, even though it’s considered “off-label”? Let’s explore the wonders and cautions of Pimobendan together!

What is Pimobendan?

Pimobendan is a powerful heart medication that has been a game-changer for many dogs with congestive heart failure. It helps to improve their heart’s pumping ability, making it easier for them to breathe and live a more comfortable life. However, when it comes to cats, its usage is considered “off-label” or “extra-label.” Off-label use is not uncommon in veterinary medicine, but it’s crucial to follow your veterinarian’s instructions and cautions carefully, as they may differ from the label recommendations.

How is Pimobendan Administered?

Pimobendan is typically administered orally to dogs in the form of a tablet, preferably on an empty stomach. It’s essential to follow your veterinarian’s prescribed dosage and instructions precisely. You might notice that the effects of the medication aren’t immediately visible. In such cases, your veterinarian may recommend laboratory tests to evaluate its effectiveness. In certain countries, Pimobendan can also be given as an injection in the hospital or as an oral liquid.

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What if a Dose is Missed?

If you accidentally miss a dose of Pimobendan, don’t worry. Simply give it to your pet as soon as you remember. However, if it’s already close to the time for the next dose, it’s best to skip the missed dose and resume the regular dosing schedule. Avoid giving your pet two doses at once or extra doses.

Potential Side Effects of Pimobendan

As with any medication, Pimobendan may have some potential side effects. The most common ones include gastrointestinal issues such as decreased appetite and diarrhea. Lethargy and difficulty breathing can also occur. It’s important to note that Pimobendan is a short-acting medication, which means its effects should cease within 24 hours. However, in pets with liver or kidney disease, the effects might last longer.

Risk Factors to Consider

Pimobendan should not be used in pets that are allergic to it. It’s also crucial to avoid administering this medication to pets with hypertrophic cardiomyopathy, aortic stenosis, or other conditions where an increase in cardiac input is inappropriate. If your pet has uncontrolled abnormal heart rhythms, use Pimobendan with caution. Additionally, its safety remains unknown for young, breeding, pregnant, or lactating pets, as well as those with congenital heart defects, diabetes, or other metabolic disorders. Exercise caution when using Pimobendan in these cases.

Drug Interactions to Be Aware Of

When your pet is using Pimobendan, it’s essential to be cautious about certain drug interactions. Calcium antagonists like verapamil and diltiazem, as well as beta-antagonists such as propranolol and atenolol, should be used with care in conjunction with Pimobendan. Make sure to inform your veterinarian about any medications, including vitamins, supplements, or herbal therapies, that your pet may be taking.

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Monitoring Your Pet’s Progress

While your pet is on Pimobendan, there isn’t any specific monitoring that needs to be done. However, your veterinarian may want to keep an eye on your pet’s progress to ensure that the medication is working as intended.

Storing Pimobendan

To maintain the medication’s effectiveness, Pimobendan should be stored at room temperature and protected from light. This will help ensure that it remains potent when you need it.

Emergency Situations

In case of an overdose or adverse reaction to Pimobendan, it’s crucial to contact your veterinary office immediately. They will guide you on the necessary steps to take or may direct you to an emergency facility if they are unavailable.

Remember, your pet’s well-being is of utmost importance. Always consult your veterinarian for proper guidance and advice regarding the use of Pimobendan or any other medication. Together, we can help our furry companions live happier and healthier lives!

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