What You Should Know About Furosemide for Cats and Dogs

Treating Congestive Heart Failure and Other Dog and Cat Diseases with Furosemide

At The Vet's Office

Furosemide (Lasix) is a frequently used medication for both dogs and cats. It is probably the most powerful diuretic available to help your canine and feline if your pet has been diagnosed with congestive heart failure and other serious conditions related to fluid buildup in your pet's body.

It is also used to treat pulmonary edema, or fluid in the lungs, which is not related to heart failure,  as well as to help alleviate a number of other canine and feline diseases and conditions.

How Furosemide Works

Furosemide is a diuretic, a medication that helps reduce the amount of fluid in your pet's body by increasing the volume of urine your.dog or cat is able to pass.

More specifically, it is referred to as a loop diuretic, because furosemide acts on the loop of Henle (part of the kidney) to stop the kidney from reabsorbing sodium and chloride. Because sodium and chloride are not reabsorbed, more water passes in the urine and ultimately increases the volume of urine produced.

Indications for Using Furosemide in Dogs and Cats

There are several diseases and conditions in dogs and cats, which furosemide can help treat.

  • Furosemide is almost always used as a primary line of treatment in cases of congestive heart failure in dogs and cats. It is used to remove the excess fluid buildup in the lungs and other areas of the body that accompany congestive heart failure in your pets.
  • Furosemide is also used to treat fluid in the lungs that occurs in diseases that are not related to heart problems
  • Furosemide may be used to treat kidney disease when the kidneys have shut down and stopped producing urine.
  • Similarly, furosemide may be used to treat kidney disease caused by elevated calcium levels. Too much calcium can weaken bones and cause kidney stones.
  • Furosemide may also be prescribed to treat elevated blood potassium levels.
  • Furosemide is sometimes also used to treat high blood pressure in dogs and cats.

Potential Side Effects of Using Furosemide in Pets

Pet owners administering furosemide to their dogs or cats should be aware of the potential side effects of the medication.

Furosemide can cause imbalances of the electrolytes in the bloodstream.These electrolyte imbalances may result in signs such as:

  • Drinking excessive amounts of water
  • Lethargy
  • Depression
  • Restlessness
  • Reduced urination
  • GI distress, including vomiting and diarrhea
  • Elevated heart rate
  • Coma
  • Seizures

Administering furosemide may also result in excessive water loss and may cause dehydration. If your dog or cat is on the medication, it's important to monitor your pet's blood pressure.

In Summary

Pet owners administering furosemide should be aware of the potential side effects and alert their veterinarian if an adverse reaction to the medication is suspected.

Please note: this article has been provided for informational purposes only. If your pet is showing any signs of illness, please consult a veterinarian as quickly as possible.