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Furosemide is the most commonly used diuretic in veterinary medicine. It is used in dogs and cats as a part of the medical management of congestive heart failure, and other conditions where the body is retaining too much fluid. It is similarly used in horses to treat fluid retention or edema, and to possibly diminish exercise induced pulmonary hemorrhage in racehorses. Diuretics act upon the kidneys, causing increased excretion of both electrolytes and fluids.
Furosemide is used intravenously in emergency settings and orally for longer term maintenance. The diuretic effects of furosemide take place within minutes after intravenous injection, with a peak effect at about thirty minutes. Onset of action after oral administration is about an hour. Furosemide is not recommended for the treatment of most kidney disease. Although it may cause a transient increase in blood flow to the kidneys, it does not improve kidney function and may put the animal at increased risk for dehydration or electrolyte imbalances. Diuretics will do little to relieve fluid accumulation and edema caused by low blood protein or vasculitis and may even worsen the animal's overall condition.
Potent diuretics like furosemide should always be used with appropriate monitoring, as they can produce dehydration and electrolyte imbalances. Animals that are eating and drinking well can usually replace fluids and correct electrolyte imbalances within 24 hours. Furosemide is FDA approved for use in dogs, cats, and horses. When the appropriate form or dose of this drug is not available through a veterinary pharmaceutical manufacturer, it may be compounded by a specialty pharmacy.
Give this medication to your pet exactly as your veterinarian prescribes. If you miss giving your pet a dose of furosemide, give the next dose as soon as you remember or, if it is close to the next scheduled dose, return to the regular schedule. Do not double dose to catch up.
Wash your hands after giving your pet this medication. .
Be sure to discuss any side effects with your veterinarian immediately.
The most common side effects are associated with dehydration and electrolyte disturbances.
Rare: allergic reactions, increased blood sugar, ear damage, anemia, low white blood cell counts, and gastrointestinal (GI) disturbances.
Keep this and all drugs out of reach of children. This drug should only be given to the animal for which it was prescribed. Do not give this medication to a person.Federal law restricts this drug to use by or on the order of a licensed veterinarian.
Furosemide should not be given to animals in kidney failure, those that are dehydrated or are likely to become dehydrated for example: vomiting or diarrhea. It should be used with extreme caution in animals with electrolyte abnormalities, liver disease, or diabetes mellitus.
Furosemide should not be given as sole therapy for congestive heart failure.
Furosemide may cause damage to hearing and balance, especially in cats given high-dose intravenous therapy.
There are a number of potential drug interactions for furosemide. Be sure to review with your veterinarian any medications or supplements your pet may be receiving.
Most, but not all of these drug interactions relate to your pet either becoming dehydrated, or developing low blood potassium levels.
The following drugs may possibly cause drug interactions when used with furosemide: ACE inhibitors (including enalapril and benazapril), aminoglycoside antibiotics (amikacin, and gentamicin), amphotericin B, corticosteroids, digoxin, insulin, probenicid, aspirin, theophylline, succinylcholine, atracurium, and tubocurarine.
If you suspect your pet or another animal was overdosed accidentally or has eaten this medication inadvertently, contact your veterinarian or the A.S.P.C.A.'s Animal Poison Control Center at 888.426.4435. Always bring the prescription container with you when you take your pet for treatment.
If you or someone else has accidentally ingested this medication call the National Capital Poison Center at 800.222.1222.
Different strengths or dosage forms of furosemide may have different storage requirements. Read the labeling or ask your pharmacist for the storage requirements of the prescription you receive.
Dr. Barbara Forney is a veterinary practitioner in Chester County, Pennsylvania. She has a master's degree in animal science from the University of Delaware and graduated from the University of Pennsylvania School of Veterinary Medicine in 1982.
She began to develop her interest in client education and medical writing in 1997. Recent publications include portions of The Pill Book Guide to Medication for Your Dog and Cat, and most recently Understanding Equine Medications published by the Bloodhorse.
Dr. Forney is an FEI veterinarian and an active member of the AAEP, AVMA, and AMWA.
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This content is intended for counseling purposes only. This content is informational/educational and is not intended to treat or diagnose any disease or patient. No claims are made as to the safety or efficacy of mentioned preparations. The compounded medications featured in this content have been prescribed and/or administered by prescribers who work with Wedgewood Pharmacy. You are encouraged to speak with your prescriber as to the appropriate use of any medication. Wedgewood Pharmacy’s compounded veterinary preparations are not intended for use in food and food-producing animals. All product and company names are trademarks™ or registered® trademarks of their respective holders. Use of them does not imply any affiliation with or endorsement by them.