Amlodipine for Dogs

Amlodipine header

Amlodipine, which is also sold under the brand name Norvasc, is a prescription drug that’s used to reduce high blood pressure. It is suitable for both dogs and cats, and can also be prescribed to treat congestive heart failure.

What is Amlodipine?

Amlodipine is used by vets to treat high blood pressure in dogs. While the drug is not approved by the FDA for use with animals, it is a common treatment that has proven to be effective at reducing blood pressure.

High blood pressure is often caused by the diameter of blood vessels. A blood vessel that’s constricted has a smaller diameter. This forces blood through a smaller area and increases blood pressure. Over time, high blood pressure can lead to organ damage.

Amlodipine works by blocking the calcium-channel. This channel is important for muscle contraction. When a dog takes Amlodipine, the drug causes the muscles surrounding the arteries to relax. This results in reduced blood pressure as the vessels aren’t so constricted. It also means that the dog’s heart doesn’t have to work as hard to pump blood around the body.

What is the Typical Dosage of Amlodipine?

amlodipine1Amlodipine dosage varies depending on the condition, size of the dog and other factors. You should always give your dog the amount prescribed by your vet. Amlodipine is usually given to a dog orally once per day and can be given with food.

The typical dose for dogs is 0.1-0.2 mg/lb of body weight. A vet may recommend starting with a low dose and monitoring how it affects your dog’s blood pressure. If your dog’s blood pressure remains high, the dose may need to be increased.

Amlodipine tablets can be bought in 2.5-10mg tablets. This means the pills often need to be cut up before being given to dogs.

It is important to avoid missing a dose of Amlodipine. The drug works continuously to maintain low blood pressure.

If a dose is missed, your dog’s blood pressure could rise quickly, leading to potential damage to the eyes or kidney.

If you realize that you’ve missed a dose, give it to the dog as soon as possible – but never give two doses at the same time.

For the same reason, you shouldn’t suddenly stop giving your dog Amlodipine. Treatment using Amlodipine should continue until the treatment plan is finished.

Drug Interactions

Amlodipine can potentially interact with a variety of drugs. It’s important to talk to your vet about other medication your dog might be taking. This includes prescribed medication, over the counter drugs and health supplements. Diuretics and aspirin, which can also reduce blood pressure, may not be safe to take with Amlodipine.

How to Get Your Dog to Take Amlodipine?

It is vital for Amlodipine to be taken regularly without missing a dose. For this reason, it’s important to be able to reliably administer Amlodipine to your dog.

The easiest way to get a dog to take medication is to mix it with food. This conceals the taste of the pill. If disguising the medication with food doesn’t work, you may need to hold the dog’s jaw and place the pill towards the back of the tongue.

Amlodipine is available in both tablet and liquid form. If your dog refuses to eat tablets, and you’ve tried mixing the medication with food or treats, you may want to discuss the liquid form with your vet. Liquid Amlodipine can be measured using a syringe and then soaked into kibble or other food.

Should You Talk to Your Vet About Amlodipine?

amlodipine2Amlodipine is only one example of a drug that can be used to treat high blood pressure. ACE-inhibitors and Beta-blockers are other common alternatives. If your dog has high blood pressure, your vet will be able to discuss the best options with you.

If your dog is suffering from side effects of other blood pressure medication, you may want to ask your vet whether Amlodipine could be an effective alternative.

Side Effects of Amlodipine

Amlodipine can cause a variety of side effects. Some of the most common include an increased heart rate, appetite reduction and lethargic behavior. Allergic reactions can also occur, leading to facial swelling, swelling of the lips and difficulty breathing.

If you notice your dog is suffering from side effects of Amlodipine, you should contact your vet immediately.

The effects of an overdose of Amlodipine can be severe. Due to the way the drug affects the calcium-channel, it can result in a slow heart rate and even cause your dog to collapse. A dog that’s received an overdose of Amlodipine may also suffer from dizziness. If you think your dog has had an overdose, you should seek emergency veterinary care.

Common Questions About Amlodipine

How long does Amlodipine take to start making a difference?

Amlodipine must be taken continuously to reduce blood pressure. A single missed dose can cause blood pressure to rise – often dramatically.

What are the effects of high blood pressure?

High blood pressure in dogs can cause organ damage. Areas of the body that are served by small arteries are most likely to be damaged. These include the eyes and kidneys.

Is Amlodipine the Only Drug Used to Treat High Blood Pressure in Dogs?

There is a variety of drugs used to treat high blood pressure. The most common category of blood pressure medication is ACE-inhibitors. Beta-blockers, which decrease a dog’s heart rate, are also sometimes prescribed, along with diuretics to decrease the amount of blood in a dog’s body. In many cases, a combination of these drugs provides an effective treatment for high blood pressure.

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