Furosemide is a diuretic (water pill) used in dogs and cats to remove excess body fluids, in conditions such as heart or lung disease. It may also be used to treat high blood pressure or help with regulation of electrolyte levels. While on this medication, ensure your pet has good access to drinking water as your pet will be thirsty and will need to urinate more frequently. Furosemide is available as tablets and as an oral liquid.
WHAT IS THIS DRUG?
- Furosemide is a diuretic (helps the body lose water via increased urine production)
- Furosemide is given by mouth
REASONS FOR PRESCRIBING:
- Because this drug helps remove excessive fluids from the body, it is useful in the treatment of congestive heart failure, pulmonary edema, kidney disease, liver disease, false pregnancy and edema
- To treat high blood pressure
- To reduce excessive calcium or potassium levels
WHAT DOGS/CATS SHOULD NOT TAKE THIS MEDICATION?
- Dehydrated pets, pets having difficulty urinating or those with an electrolyte (ex. calcium or potassium) imbalance
- Use with caution in pets with kidney or liver disease or diabetes
- Pets with a history of calcium oxalate bladder stones
- Pregnant and nursing pets
- Pets known to have had an allergic reaction to furosemide or other sulfa drugs
Your pet will likely need to urinate within 30 minutes of taking furosemide. The drug peaks 1-2 hours after administration. Your pet will have to urinate more frequently than normal and accidents' are possible.
WHAT IF DOSE IS MISSED?
STORAGE AND WARNINGS:
POTENTIAL SIDE EFFECTS:
- As with any diuretic, the main side effects are increased thirst and urination
- Electrolyte (salts) imbalances may occur. Your veterinarian may wish periodic blood testing to assess furosemide's effect on your pet.
- High blood sugar levels (may not be a good choice for diabetic patients)
- Weakness or lethargy could indicate potassium levels have dropped too low. Contact your veterinarian if your pet shows these effects.
- Damage to nerves responsible for hearing (especially in cats). If you notice your pet exhibiting a loss of balance or a head tilt, notify your veterinarian immediately.
- Humans with sulfonamide sensitivities have experienced allergic reactions to furosemide. This has not been reported in pets, but if your pet has a sulfonamide allergy, bring it to your veterinarian's attention.
- Restlessness, nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, loss of appetite, itching, rash
- Rare cases of anemia
- Excessive thirst, fatigue, lack of urination, racing heartbeat
- If you notice anything unusual, contact your veterinarian
CAN THIS DRUG BE GIVEN WITH OTHER DRUGS?
- Yes, but possible interactions may occur with vasodilating heart medications (especially enalapril, benazepril and lisinopril). Your pet may need both types of drugs. To avoid problems, blood tests may be necessary.
- Care should be taken if your pet is also taking aminogylcoside antibiotics, amphotericin B, corticosteroids (prednisone), curare and its derivatives, digitalis derivatives, insulin, NSAIDS (ex. aspirin, carprofen), phenothiazines (ex. acepromazine), probenecid or sulfinpyrazone.
- If your pet is also taking theophylline, the dose may be reduced.
- If your pet experiences any unusual reactions when taking multiple medications, contact your veterinarian
WHAT TO TELL/ASK VETERINARIAN BEFORE GIVING MEDICATION?
- When will your pet need to be rechecked
- What tests may need to be performed prior to and during treatment with this drug
- Risks and benefits of using this drug
WHAT ELSE SHOULD I KNOW?
As with all prescribed medicines, furosemide should only be given to the dog/cat for which it was prescribed. It should be given only for the condition for which it was prescribed. It is important to periodically discuss your pet's response to furosemide at regular check ups. Your veterinarian will best determine if your pet is responding as expected and if your pet should continue receiving furosemide.