Pimobendan: A Breakthrough in Heart Disease Treatment

Pimobendan, a benzimidazole-pyridazinone derivative, has emerged as a game-changer in the management of congestive heart failure (CHF) resulting from dilated cardiomyopathy (DCM) or degenerative mitral valve disease (DMVD) in dogs. This inodilator showcases positive inotropic effects and arteriovenous dilation, making it a highly effective treatment option. In this article, we delve into the pharmacology of pimobendan, exploring its formulation, mechanisms of action, indications, contraindications, and precautions.

Formulation and Dosing

Pimobendan is available as Vetmedin in oblong, half-scored chewable tablets. These tablets come in different strengths, ranging from 1.25 mg to 10 mg. It is important to note that oral suspension formulation and the use of intravenous preparations should be avoided. The recommended dosage for dogs is 0.25 to 0.3 mg/kg administered orally every 12 hours. The tablets can be given on an empty stomach for a rapid onset of action, but for long-term use, they can be administered with food.

Mechanisms of Action

Increased Cardiac Contractility

Pimobendan exerts its positive inotropic effects by increasing cyclic adenosine monophosphate through phosphodiesterase III (PDEIII) inhibition. Additionally, it sensitizes the cardiac contractile apparatus to intracellular calcium, resulting in improved cardiac contractility. Notably, this effect does not increase myocardial oxygen demand.


Pimobendan also exhibits balanced vasodilatory effects by predominantly inhibiting PDEIII in arterial and venous vascular smooth muscles. Other endothelial-mediated vasodilation mechanisms may contribute as well, particularly in the treatment of pulmonary hypertension.

Anticoagulation and Other Properties

In platelets, PDEIII inhibition leads to reduced platelet aggregation, offering antithrombotic properties. Pimobendan has also shown promising results in reducing adverse cytokine concentrations in mice with heart failure. These multifaceted effects make pimobendan a versatile and effective treatment option for heart disease.

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Pimobendan is a versatile medication used for various indications related to DCM and DMVD. It can effectively treat left-sided and right-sided CHF resulting from these conditions. Additionally, pimobendan has proven beneficial in congenital heart diseases such as patent ductus arteriosus, ventricular septal defect, atrial septal defect, mitral or tricuspid valve dysplasia, and cases of pulmonary hypertension unrelated to DMVD. However, it is crucial to consult with a cardiologist before initiating pimobendan therapy for these conditions.

Pimobendan dose for dogs

Contraindication and Precautions

Pimobendan should not be used in dogs with ascites resulting from pericardial effusion, as it may not be effective in such cases. While pimobendan is generally safe and well-tolerated, it is important to monitor for adverse effects, which are relatively rare. Gastrointestinal upset associated with the chewable tablets is the most commonly reported adverse effect. In cases of outflow tract obstruction or low systemic blood pressure, caution should be exercised when administering pimobendan. Regular reassessment of blood pressure and heart rate is recommended.

Take-Home Points

In summary, pimobendan is a highly effective inodilator used to manage CHF resulting from DCM or DMVD in dogs. It can be used alone or in combination with other cardiac drugs, providing a multitude of benefits at different stages of the diseases. However, it is essential to adhere to the guidelines and recommendations provided for optimal results. Remember, pimobendan is not suitable for dogs with ascites caused by pericardial effusion.

For more information about pimobendan and its applications, visit Katten TrimSalon. Stay informed and give your beloved pets the care they need.

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