Using Hydrochlorothiazide in Veterinary Medicine

Hydrochlorothiazide, or HCTZ, belongs to a class of drugs known as thiazide diuretics. Veterinarians usually prescribe it to address issues with fluid retention resulting from other serious health problems.

Veterinary Uses for Hydrochlorothiazide

Hydrochlorothiazide is commonly prescribed as part of a multi-drug treatment strategy in cases involving congestive heart failure, cirrhosis of the liver, or kidney disorders. These conditions often cause the body to retain water (edema) by absorbing too much salt.

Hydrochlorothiazide is also used to treat high blood pressure and for cases in which edema is a side effect caused by steroid or estrogen use.

Hydrochlorothiazide Precautions

Hydrochlorothiazide should be avoided in pet patients with a known allergy to the drug. It should be used with extreme caution in cases of pre-existing kidney or liver disease, gout, diabetes, and/or asthma. While generally safe for use in pregnant animals, HCTZ has shown to pass through into breast milk, so nursing animal mothers should not be given this drug.

HCTZ Drug Interactions

Hydrochlorothiazide may interact with other drugs like lithium, certain steroids, cholestyramine, digoxin, non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs, other blood pressure medications, and insulin or other diabetes medications.

In order to reduce the risk of a potential drug interaction, disclosing the animal’s current drug regimen is essential before Hydrochlorothiazide is administered.

Possible Side Effects of Hydrochlorothiazide

Hydrochlorothiazide is safe and effective for use in veterinary medicine. However, some animals may be more sensitive to it than others, which can potentially result in certain side effects. The most common possible side effects associated with HCTZ include mild stomach discomfort, diarrhea, and/or constipation.

More serious possible side effects include weakness, restlessness, dizziness, excessive thirst, vomiting, fast or uneven heartbeat, loss of appetite, clay-colored stools, and signs of jaundice. If the animal exhibits one or more of these side effects, or shows signs of an allergic reaction (swelling of the face, difficulty breathing, skin rash, etc.), contact your veterinarian immediately.

How Is Hydrochlorothiazide Supplied to Animal Patients?

Hydrochlorothiazide is available with a veterinary prescription under various brand names and in a range of generic formulations. The most common formulations for this drug include oral tablet and topical applications.

Author: Giano Panzarella