General Description: 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.
Give this medication with or without food.
Give medication as directed by your veterinarian. This medication is usually givenone to three times daily.
Give the exact amount prescribed and only as often as directed. Missed doses reduce the effectiveness of therapy.
Ideally, give the medication at the same time daily.
Ensure your pet has plenty of food and fresh, clean drinking water while taking furosemide.
Furosemide may cause your pet’s skin to be more sensitive to sunlight and sunburn may occur. Keep your pet out of the sun as much as possible.
What if dose is missed?
If a dose is missed, give it as soon as you can. If it is time already for the next dose, skip the missed dose and go back to the normal schedule. Do not give two doses at the same time.
What to tell/ask veterinarian before giving medication?
Talk to your veterinarian about:
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
Tell your veterinarian about:
If your pet has experienced side-effects on other drugs/products
If your pet has experienced digestive upset now or ever
If your pet has experienced liver or kidney disease now or ever
If your pet has experienced any other medical problems or allergies now or ever
All medicines and supplements that you are giving your pet or plan to give your pet, including those you can get without a prescription. Your veterinarian may want to check that all of your pet’s medicines can be given together.
If your pet is pregnant or nursing or if you plan to breed your pet
Storage and Warnings:
Store in a tight, light resistant, childproof container in a cool, dry place at room temperature away from heat and direct sunlight.
Keep this and all medication out of reach of children and pets. Call your physician immediately if you accidentally take this product.
Pet owners allergic to sulfonamides and/or other antibiotics should avoid handling this drug.
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
Contact your veterinarian immediately if pet consumes more than the prescribed amount.
What else should I know?
Notify your veterinarian if your animal’s condition does not improve or worsens despite this treatment.
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.
This is just a summary of information about furosemide. If you have any questions or concerns about furosemide or for the condition it was prescribed, contact your veterinarian.