Learn More About This Pulmonary Hypertension Treatment
As an off-label medication, sildenafil has been employed as a treatment option for high blood pressure in the lungs for dogs — and occasionally cats. But there’s plenty to learn about this medication’s usage, including the proper sildenafil dosage for dogs.
Sildenafil, also recognized under common brand variants as Revatio or Viagra, was originally developed as an erectile dysfunction treatment — with hypertension benefits as well — in humans. Sildenafil is a phosphodiesterase type 5 (PDE5) inhibitor that is used to block the degradative action in the smooth muscle cells lining blood vessels that supply various tissues.
For your canine friends, the drug is used to treat pulmonary hypertension and megaesophagus. The drug’s ability to help small blood vessels ‘relax’, and increase blood flow, helps alleviate both. With pulmonary hypertension, your pet suffers abnormally high blood pressure in the arteries of the lungs that forces the right side of the heart to work harder than normal. With megaesophagus, dogs are unable to swallow food normally because their esophagus lacks the muscular tone needed to move food and water. This leads to regurgitation and is the most common cause for regurgitation in dogs.
Sildenafil helps both the esophagus and blood vessels serving the lungs to dilate. This allows the animal to swallow more easily and eases the work done by the heart to move blood through the lungs.
While occasionally prescribed for cats by veterinarians, and sometimes used to treat uterine conditions such as endometritis in cattle, sildenafil is primarily used to treat the aforementioned conditions in dogs. Now that we understand how the drug works, let’s examine the specifics of its applications, including the proper sildenafil dosage for dogs.
The Basics of Sildenafil Treatment for Dogs
Sildenafil has been shown to improve the energy level, exercise tolerance, and overall quality of life in animals with pulmonary hypertension. In research conducted on humans, the maximum amount of relaxation of the small blood vessels in the lungs typically occurs approximately 60 minutes after oral administration. For pets, the medication is ingested orally in the form of a tablet or liquid, but can also come via injection in a clinic setting.
It should be given on an empty stomach an hour before feeding, or two hours after feeding. Like many drugs in veterinary medicine, sildenafil is not FDA sanctioned for use in animals and isn’t available from a veterinary pharmaceutical manufacturer. To acquire sildenafil for treatment for your pet, you’ll need a prescription from your vet and to have that order executed by a compounding pharmacy.
Typically, sildenafil is dispensed in cost-effective and easily available 20mg tablets — and in most cases, this tablet will be well within the ranges for appropriate dosage levels. The recommended sildenafil dosage for dogs ranges from 1 to 3 mg per kilogram of the animal’s weight. For example, if your animal companion weighed 6 kg, then a 20mg tablet would be appropriate. In extreme cases — very small or large animals — the tablet would need to be cut for the right dosage, or more than one tablet used to provide the right level of treatment.
Side effects for animals taking sildenafil are uncommon but may include flushed or red skin, and gastrointestinal distress such as decreased appetite, vomiting, and diarrhea. Sildenafil should be kept out of the reach of children, and should only be administered to the dog for which it was prescribed. In the event of an overdose, contact your veterinarian immediately.
Sildenafil should not be given to dogs suffering from shock, blood loss, or low blood pressure, and it should be used in conjunction with other drugs that lower blood pressure like nitrates, amlodipine, and nitroprusside sodium. Other drugs — cimetidine, rifampin, phenobarbital, itraconazole erythromycin, clarithromycin, and ketoconazole — can cause undesirable drug interactions when administered in concert with sildenafil.
Visit Lakeview for Sildenafil Dosage for Dogs
As a full-service compounding pharmacy, Lakeview Pharmacy has the expertise and capability to help you fulfill your veterinarian’s directives in providing this treatment for your pet.
We’re able to offer generic sildenafil at a fraction of the cost of name brands, like Revatio, to give you and your pet the same benefits at a lower price point.
Our compounding options will make giving the medication to your pet easier. We can craft a topical application that you can apply to your pet by hand. If you need a custom-sized dose, we can engineer the right parameters. If your pet has problems taking the medication, we can compound any dose into a dog treat at a low cost that could make administering the treatment a snap.
Our expert compounding pharmacist, Debbie LoCurto (registered pharmacist), has completed a certificate program of Veterinary Compounding Essentials provided by the American College of Veterinary Pharmacists. She is capable and willing to assist you with any of your compounding needs.
Sildenafil for dogs is just one of several compounding options available to patients, and their pets, at Lakeview Pharmacy. Contact us today to learn more about crafting the proper sildenafil dosage for your dog, or other pharmacy needs.