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Vetmedin (Pimobendan)

What Is Vetmedin

Vetmedin is a veterinary drug approved in the US for use in dogs. Its release form is chewable tablets for oral use. There is also an injectable form of Vetmedin, which is used to relieve an acute attack of heart failure. It is less common and is mainly used by veterinarians rather than by ordinary dog owners. The active substance of the drug with trade name Vetmedin is Pimobendan. This is a calcium sensitizer and a PDE-3, which has positive inotropic and vasodilating effects. The main area of influence of Vetmedin is the cardiovascular system of dogs. This medicine can be classified as a cardio protector. Our faithful four-legged friends suffer from heart failure quite often, and this applies not only to English bulldogs that were negatively affected from the frills of breeders, but also to such breeds that are generally considered to have good health, such as collies, schnauzers, boxers, shepherds, fox terriers and spaniels. The initial signs of the disease are determined after an ECG and X-ray examination. In the second and third stages, the disease is manifested by the presence of external signs.

Congestive phenomenon in the heart muscle is considered especially dangerous, fraught with the development of severe complications and irreversible changes in the myocardium. In the absence of quality medical care, the risk of developing cardiogenic pulmonary edema, which can lead to the death of the animal, increases significantly.

The manufacturer of branded Vetmedin is the German family pharmaceutical company Boehringer Ingelheim. However, in addition to the original medicine, Vetmedin generic is also available to dog owners. It has the same properties, but is much cheaper than the original drug, which is quite expensive, especially considering the fact that most pets prescribed this medicine must take it on a regular basis. Generic Pimobendan is a perfect solution for all owners who are faced with the need to treat heart failure in dogs of all breeds and sizes.

Pimobendan is easy to administer and doesn’t require special monitoring, which is usually indicated and well tolerated by both dogs and cats. Pimobendan can be safely used with all drugs commonly used in heart failure.

Vetmedin for dogs

What Is Vetmedin Used for in Dogs

Vetmedin is an active cardio protector, that is, it is not used for the general improvement of the dog’s cardiovascular system, but specifically for the treatment of diagnosed heart failure in an animal. Veterinarians prescribe this drug in cases of heart failure in dogs, which was caused by valvular insufficiency, mitral valve endocardiosis in the asymptomatic and clinical stages of the disease, as well as tricuspid valve endocardiosis in the clinical stage or dilated cardiomyopathy. The drug is prescribed by a veterinarian if the dog has the following symptoms of heart problems:

  • shortness of breath
  • cough
  • ascites
  • lethargy
  • decreased activity
  • fainting

Vetmedin and its generics are an oral cardio protector with a number of additional effects. The drug demonstrates positive inotropic effects mainly by increasing the sensitivity of the contractile structures of the heart to intracellular calcium. In general, Pimobendan enhances systolic function by improving the efficiency of heart contractions. The fact that Vetmedin is also a (PDE)-III phosphodiesterase inhibitor promotes arterial and vascular dilation and results in a reduction in both cardiac preload and afterload. In addition, this drug exhibits vasodilatory abilities that are mediated by endothelial properties and may include PDE-V inhibition. This mechanism of vasodilation is also useful in the treatment of pulmonary hypertension (PH).

Currently, a number of new indications for the use of Vetmedin are being studied in the USA, prospective clinical studies are being conducted. However, to date, there is not enough data on these issues. Other indications for use are rescue interventions, including the use of pimobendan with other therapies for the treatment of symptomatic heart failure refractory to standard therapies.

Pimobendan is generally recommended for the acute treatment of heart failure because it is rapidly absorbed with a peak effect of 2 to 4 hours, making it a valuable drug for both initial stabilization and long-term treatment. In addition, the drug can be used to treat both right-sided and left-sided heart failure associated with various underlying causes.

To What Extent Does Vetmedin Prolong The Life of Dogs

Vetmedin is a proven drug with proven efficacy. Vetmedin relieves the symptoms of heart failure and improves the pet's quality of life. When used in the asymptomatic (preclinical) phase of diseases, it increases the time until the first symptoms of CHF appear and prolongs the dog's life for up to several years. It is important to note that each dog responds differently to therapy – individual body sensitivity is of great importance in the treatment of cardiovascular diseases. Usually, visible improvements in well-being in most dogs occur within a week of starting Vetmedin. In the following weeks, they become even more noticeable.

It is difficult to predict how quickly heart failure will progress in any individual dog and how much Vetmedin will be able to prolong its life. It depends on the characteristics of a particular dog, its breed, age, and the cause of the disease. You should not use the medicine without a prescription from a veterinarian: only he will be able to conduct a qualified examination of your pet, tell you more about his condition and, if necessary, correct the pet's disease with additional drugs. Sometimes Vetmedin is prescribed in combination with other medicines from a veterinary or human pharmacy.

As for dogs with DCM and mitral regurgitation, you are unlikely to notice any change in your pet’s well-being after starting Vetmedin. After all, there were no external manifestations of diseases even before the veterinarian prescribed this medicine. However, rest assured that the drug helps slow the progression of the disease and prolongs the asymptomatic phase and life of the dog. The prognosis for dogs with DCM is usually guarded to poor. Statistically, most dogs do not live more than 3 months after the onset of clinical manifestations of congestive heart failure, although approximately 22% to 38% of affected dogs live more than 6 months if the initial response to therapy is good. The key to success is early treatment. If Vetmedin is started to be given to the dog on time, one can hope to prolong the life of your pet by 2-4 years or even more.

Vetmedin prolongs survival and improves clinical symptoms in dogs with CHF secondary to both CVD and DCM. According to the 2010 American College of Veterinary Internal Medicine (ACVIM) guidelines, Vetmedin is recommended as a baseline drug for the combined treatment of canine heart failure in stages C and D (with past or present symptoms).

In dogs with chronic degenerative mitral valve disease, the complication of which was congestive heart failure, treatment with Vetmedin (with or without Furosemide) showed a significant improvement in quality of life. Survival was also greater than in animals treated with Benazepril instead of Vetmedin (along with or separately from furosemide).

Pimobendan for Cats

To date, there are no published studies on the pharmacokinetics of pimobendan in cats. However, there are reports of this medication being used to treat congestive heart failure in cats at off-label doses similar to those used in dogs. Indications for use in this case are heart disease in cats leading to clinical heart failure, predominantly characterized by diastolic dysfunction. Maintenance oral treatment is aimed at controlling clinical symptoms associated with volume overload (e.g., furosemide with or without ACE-I), prevention of arterial thromboembolism (e.g., clopidogrel with or without aspirin), and drugs that improve ventricular relaxation (e.g., diltiazem or beta blockers).

However, a number of feline heart diseases are characterized by echocardiographic evidence of ventricular systolic dysfunction. These include various forms of unclassifiable cardiomyopathy (UCM), DCM, and arrhythmogenic right ventricular cardiomyopathy (ARVC). Cats with systolic heart failure have a poor long-term prognosis, with a reported median survival of 13 days on standard therapy. In this regard, it may be advisable to use Vetmedin.

Pimobendan has been used as a rescue agent for acute heart failure in cats and appears to be fairly well tolerated in this case. However, it may be rational to use it in chronic heart failure caused by all cardiomyopathies, in part due to the additional properties of pimobendan. However, there is a need in veterinary medicine to establish the safety of this drug in cats with cardiomyopathies characterized by obstruction of the excretory tract (e.g., hypertrophic obstructive cardiomyopathy).

Vetmedin Dosage Chart

Most often in veterinary medicine, Vetmedin is used at a dosage of 5 mg. However, there are other dosages – Vetmedin 1.25 mg, Vetmedin 2.5 mg and Vetmedin 10 mg. Vetmedin is administered to dogs orally, approximately 1 hour before feeding.

The dose of the drug is prescribed by a veterinarian in each case individually, depending on the severity of the disease, the condition and size of the animal. The daily dose of Pimobendan is from 0.2 mg to 0.6 mg per 1 kg of animal body weight and is divided into two doses.

Vetmedin tablets and their generics are produced at a convenient risk: each tablet can be divided into 4 equal parts. Avoid skipping the next dose of the drug, because this may reduce its effectiveness. If one dose is missed, the drug is resumed at the same dose and according to the same scheme. The tablet can be placed in the food as a whole, or you can grind the required dosage, but in the latter case it is important to ensure that the dog eats all the food.

When ingested, Pimobendan has a complex effect on the cardiovascular system, namely, it increases the sensitivity of the heart muscle to calcium ions, stimulates the contractile activity of the heart muscle, and reduces the load on the myocardium, contributing to its natural regeneration. Metabolites of the drug are excreted from the body of the dog without accumulating.

Vetmedin Side Effects

Vetmedin is well tolerated by the body of dogs, side effects and complications when using this medication in accordance with the instructions and recommendations of the veterinarian, as a rule, are not observed. If the dosage was too high (especially for older dogs of small size), the animal may experience vomiting, apathy, tachycardia, heart murmurs and a decrease in pressure. In this case, the use of the drug must be stopped and adsorbents (for example, activated carbon) are immediately prescribed to the animal. In most cases, unpleasant side effects from an overdose disappear quickly.

It should be noted that with increased individual sensitivity and the manifestation of allergic reactions, the use of the drug is stopped and other means of symptomatic therapy are prescribed to the animal.

To avoid weakening the intended effect of Vetmedin, its simultaneous use with blockers of slow calcium channels and beta-blocker propranolol is prohibited. Information on the features of interaction with veterinary medicinal products of other pharmacological groups is currently not available.

For pregnant and lactating female dogs, Vetmedin is used for health reasons under the supervision of the attending veterinarian if the potential risk to the mother outweighs the risk to the fetus and puppies. In this case, the drug is not intended for use in productive animals.

In congestive heart failure, Vetmedin is used in dogs for life with the selection of an individual dose.

Special features of the action of the drug at the first admission or cancellation were not revealed.

To avoid accidental overdose, unused parts of the tablets should be placed inside the blister and kept out of the reach of dogs.

Cheaper Alternative to Vetmedin

Vetmedin Generic (vetmedin 5mg generic, vetmedin 2.5 mg generic)

The modern market of veterinary drugs offers dog owners not only the original German-made Vetmedin, but also its generics, which are produced in different countries of the world. Among the most famous generics of Vetmedin are such drugs as GiGi PimoPET, HeatMedin, Cardisure. They are manufactured in India, Belarus and Czech Republic. The main advantage of Vetmedin generics is their lower price, and the difference can be up to 80% compared to the original drug. Also, experienced dog owners note that some animals are more willing to chew GiGi PimoPET tablets than the original Vetmedin. Obviously, this is due to the more neutral taste of this generic.

Vetmedin 5 mg generic is the best choice for treatment of dogs of large and medium size, and the generic version of Vetmedin 2.5 mg is more suitable for representatives of small breeds.

Pimobendan (Pimobendan for Dogs)

Generic Pimobendan for dogs is recognized as a safe and effective drug used in the treatment of mitral valve endocardiosis and dilated cardiomyopathy. Studies have shown that complex treatment, consisting of the appointment of Pimobendan, Digoxin, Analapril and Furosemide, significantly contributes to the greater survival of dogs (this figure was over 320 days). For comparison, in animals that did not receive pimobendan, but only the above drugs, the median survival time didn’t exceed 50 days. These data are fully consistent with the data on the branded Vetmedin.

Heart failure in dogs often occurs with age. Prevention measures - a balanced diet, physical activity in accordance with the characteristics of the breed. Many animals do not tolerate heat, suffer from lack of movement. The task of the owner is to provide his pet with a comfortable existence, especially at an older age, in particular, with the help of medicines.

Pimobendan vs Vetmedin

Pimobendan generics for dogs are full-fledged analogues of the branded Vetmedin. The main active ingredient in all generics of Vetmedin is the same - Pimobendan, it has the same characteristics and has the same effect on the animal’s body, regardless of which generics it is used in. The main differences between generics and the original drug are the color of the tablets and their size. Only excipients can differ.

Sometimes Vetmedin generics are available as capsules for oral administration. The advantage of this option is that dogs are more likely to swallow capsules than chew tablets, which have to be masked by placing them in boiled vegetables such as carrots or beets, or in minced meat. However, the disadvantage of capsules is that they are much more difficult to accurately dose, since they cannot be divided into several parts.