Stopping Vetmedin in Dogs

Vetmedin (pimobendan) is a common canine medication primarily used for treating certain types of heart disease, such as congestive heart failure (CHF) and dilated cardiomyopathy (DCM). As with all medications, owners may face challenges or circumstances leading to the discontinuation of the treatment.

What is Vetmedin?

Vetmedin is a medication that belongs to a class of drugs known as inodilators. These drugs increase the efficiency of the heart’s pumping action while simultaneously dilating blood vessels, thus lowering blood pressure and decreasing the heart’s workload. This dual action is instrumental in managing certain heart diseases in dogs, improving both quality of life and survival times.

Understanding the Impact of Stopping Vetmedin

Halting Vetmedin treatment abruptly could have significant implications on your dog’s health. Here’s why:

A Reversal of Symptomatic Relief: Vetmedin helps to alleviate symptoms related to heart disease such as lethargy, coughing, and difficulty breathing. Stopping the medication could lead to the return of these symptoms, causing distress to your pet.

Possible Disease Progression: Vetmedin not only alleviates symptoms but also slows down the progression of heart disease. Discontinuing the medication could potentially accelerate the disease’s progression.

Risk of Complications: Sudden discontinuation could cause a rebound effect, potentially triggering severe episodes of heart failure.

Handling Vetmedin Interruptions

Despite the risks associated with stopping Vetmedin, situations may arise where discontinuation becomes necessary. Here’s how you can navigate those scenarios:

Running Out of Vetmedin: If you have run out of Vetmedin, it’s essential to contact your veterinarian immediately. They can guide you through the situation and may be able to provide a temporary solution until the prescription can be refilled.

Adverse Reactions or Side Effects: In some cases, dogs may experience side effects from Vetmedin, such as loss of appetite, lethargy, or diarrhea. If you notice any adverse reactions, consult your vet before making any changes to the medication regimen.

Financial Constraints: If the cost of Vetmedin becomes prohibitive, discuss this with your vet. They may be able to suggest alternative medications or strategies to help manage your dog’s heart condition.


Vetmedin is a vital medication in the management of canine heart diseases. Stopping the medication could potentially have severe consequences for your dog’s health. Always consult with your veterinarian before making any changes to your pet’s medication routine. In times of unavoidable discontinuation, professional guidance can ensure the best possible care for your furry friend.


Can you stop giving Vetmedin?

Stopping Vetmedin abruptly can lead to a resurgence of symptoms and potentially severe complications. Always consult your veterinarian before discontinuing any medication.

How long do you have to take Vetmedin?

Vetmedin is usually a lifelong medication given to dogs diagnosed with certain types of heart disease. The length of treatment depends on the severity of the disease and your dog’s response to the medication.

How long does it take for Vetmedin to get out of a dog’s system?

Vetmedin has a short half-life in dogs and is usually eliminated from the body within a few hours. However, the exact timeframe can vary based on factors like the dog’s overall health and metabolism.

Can Vetmedin be given 2 hours after food?

Vetmedin should ideally be given on an empty stomach, about an hour before meals. However, if your dog has eaten, wait for at least two hours before administering the drug.

What happens if a dog misses a dose of Vetmedin?

If your dog misses a dose of Vetmedin, give the missed dose as soon as you remember. However, if it’s close to the time for the next dose, skip the missed dose and return to the regular dosing schedule. Never double the dose to make up for the missed one as this could lead to an overdose. Consistent administration is crucial to manage heart disease effectively.

Are there alternatives to Vetmedin?

There are other medications that can be used to manage heart disease in dogs. These include ACE inhibitors like enalapril or benazepril, diuretics like furosemide, and other inotropes like digoxin. However, these alternatives work differently and may not be as effective as Vetmedin in certain conditions. Any changes in medication should be discussed thoroughly with your vet to ensure the best treatment plan for your pet.

Can Vetmedin cause side effects in dogs?

Like any medication, Vetmedin can cause side effects in some dogs. These can include gastrointestinal problems like diarrhea, vomiting, and loss of appetite. More rarely, changes in behavior, lethargy, or difficulty walking might be seen. If you notice any unusual symptoms or changes in your dog after starting Vetmedin, consult your vet immediately.

Is there a best time to administer Vetmedin?

Vetmedin should be given on an empty stomach, usually about an hour before feeding. This is because the presence of food in the stomach can affect the absorption of the medication, potentially reducing its effectiveness. However, the timing should ideally fit your daily routine to ensure consistent administration.

Can a dog overdose on Vetmedin?

Yes, an overdose on Vetmedin can occur if too much of the medication is given. Symptoms can include lethargy, vomiting, collapse, or even loss of consciousness. If you suspect your dog has ingested too much Vetmedin, seek veterinary care immediately. Remember, it’s always safer to confirm the dosage with your vet before administering the medication.

Does Vetmedin interact with other medications?

Vetmedin can potentially interact with other drugs such as beta-blockers, calcium channel blockers, or other inotropic agents. If your dog is on other medications, it’s crucial to inform your vet to ensure the combined use of drugs won’t have negative implications on your pet’s health.

Is Vetmedin safe for all dogs?

While Vetmedin is generally safe for most dogs, it might not be suitable for dogs with certain health conditions. For instance, dogs with hypertrophic cardiomyopathy or aortic stenosis should not take Vetmedin as it could worsen their conditions. The medication is also not recommended for puppies under six months of age. Always consult your vet to ensure Vetmedin is the right choice for your pet.

Can Vetmedin improve my dog’s quality of life?

Yes, Vetmedin has been shown to improve the quality of life in dogs with certain heart diseases. By enhancing the heart’s ability to pump blood and reducing its workload, Vetmedin can help manage symptoms like coughing, lethargy, and difficulty breathing. This can lead to an improved appetite, increased activity levels, and overall improved well-being. However, remember that individual responses to medication can vary.

What should I do if my dog experiences severe side effects from Vetmedin?

In the event your dog experiences severe side effects from Vetmedin—like an allergic reaction, difficulty breathing, or sudden changes in behavior—it’s crucial to immediately contact your vet or an emergency pet hospital. Reducing or stopping the medication might be required, but it should only be done under the guidance of a professional to avoid any further complications.

Can my dog build a tolerance to Vetmedin?

Currently, there’s no evidence to suggest that dogs can build a tolerance to Vetmedin, causing it to become less effective over time. However, as the heart disease progresses, your dog’s condition may naturally worsen over time, which could mistakenly be perceived as tolerance. Always consult with your vet if you believe the medication isn’t working as effectively as before.

What’s the average cost of Vetmedin for dogs?

The cost of Vetmedin can vary widely based on the dosage, number of pills per bottle, and where you purchase it. It’s generally considered a high-end medication due to its effectiveness. Prices can range anywhere from $40 to $200+ per bottle. Some pet insurance policies might cover part of the cost, so it’s worth checking your policy or discussing it with your insurance provider.

How long does it take for Vetmedin to start working?

Vetmedin is rapidly absorbed in the dog’s body and starts to take effect within an hour of administration. However, noticeable improvements in your dog’s symptoms might take a few days to a week to appear. Remember, every dog is unique, and the response time can vary.

Can Vetmedin be used in conjunction with other heart medications?

Yes, Vetmedin is often used as part of a multi-drug regimen for managing heart disease in dogs. It may be used along with diuretics, ACE inhibitors, or other heart medications. However, due to the potential for drug interactions, it’s crucial to inform your vet about all medications your dog is currently taking.

Can I break or crush Vetmedin tablets for easier administration?

Vetmedin tablets are chewable and can be divided. However, they should not be crushed as it could affect the rate of absorption of the drug. If your dog has difficulty taking the medication, discuss this with your vet, who can provide suggestions for administration or alternative medications.

What should I do if I accidentally give my dog too much Vetmedin?

If you accidentally give your dog too much Vetmedin, contact your vet or an emergency vet clinic immediately. Overdosing can lead to symptoms like weakness, sluggishness, fainting, or seizures. Fast and proper treatment is crucial in case of an overdose.

Can my dog’s diet affect how Vetmedin works?

Yes, Vetmedin should be given on an empty stomach to enhance absorption, as a full stomach can decrease its effectiveness. However, a dog’s overall diet doesn’t generally impact the function of Vetmedin. Still, a balanced, heart-healthy diet can support overall heart function and general health.

Will I need to visit the vet more frequently if my dog is on Vetmedin?

Regular veterinary check-ups are crucial for dogs on Vetmedin, as it allows your vet to monitor the progression of the heart disease and the dog’s response to the medication. The frequency of these visits will depend on your dog’s condition but expect more regular visits compared to a healthy pet.

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