Using Pimobendan to Treat Congestive Heart Failure in Cats and Dogs

Pimobendan is a positive inotropic drug that is used to manage mild, moderate, or severe congestive heart failure in dogs and cats. It is particularly used in cases where the heart condition is caused by atrioventricular valvular insufficiency or dilated cardiomyopathy, because pimobendan causes the heart to pump blood more efficiently by opening the blood vessels that send and return blood.

The drug is also used by veterinarians to help delay the onset of congestive heart failure in pets diagnosed with mitral valve disease and cardiomegaly.

heart problems in pets

Pimobendan Studies Support the Drug’s Efficacy

Pimobendan was the topic of a study conducted by the Royal Veterinary College, University of London, in the United Kingdom in 2016. The study involved 354 dogs, half of which were cavalier King Charles spaniels. The average age of the dogs was 9 years and the subjects needed to have echocardiographic evidence of advanced mitral valve disease and/or radiographic evidence of cardiomegaly.

The dogs were separated into two groups, one that received chewable pimobendan tablets at the labeled dose (0.4-0.6 mg/kg per day, divided into two doses), and one in which the dogs received placebo tablets.

Nearly half (45.8%) of the dogs included in the final analysis had reached the point of congestive heart failure by the time the study was terminated. The dogs in the pimobendan group took an average of 1228 days (41 months) to reach congestive heart failure, while the dogs in the placebo group took just 766 days (25.5 months).

The study was ultimately terminated early because the efficacy of pimobendan was overwhelmingly proven to prolong the time to onset of congestive heart failure.

Cases Where Pimobendan Should Not Be Used in Pets

As effective as pimobendan is, it is not suitable for all patients. It should be avoided in cases of hypertrophic cardiomyopathy, cardiac arrhythmias, aortic stenosis, and/or other types of heart disease in which increasing the amount of blood pumped by the ventricles of the heart could be dangerous for the pet.

Pimobendan has also not been approved for use in dogs under 6 months of age and it should be avoided in pets that are sensitive to the drug, and those that are pregnant or nursing.

What Side Effects Are Common With Pimobendan?

Like all medications, pimobendan can cause a pet to experience side effects, the most common of which include:

In more severe reactions, a pet may experience an increase in nitrogen-based waste products in the bloodstream, excess fluid build-up in the chest cavity, fainting, coughing, heart murmurs, or sudden death. As a result, you should discuss your pet’s medical history with your veterinarian to help reduce the risk of side effects or drug interactions from occurring.

Some of the known drug interactions with Pimobendan include verapamil, propranolol, theophylline, and pentoxifylline.

How Can You Get Pimobendan for Your Pet?

Pimobendan is only available with a veterinarian prescription. You can have your pet’s prescription filled by a specialty veterinary compounding pharmacy like Diamondback Drugs. We can custom formulate your pet’s medicine into delicious, treat-like chewables that your pet will love taking. Our formulations take the stress and worry out of dosing your pet. Get a free quote for your pimobendan prescription today!

Author: Giano Panzarella