Bethanechol for Dogs

If your pet suffers from bladder problems like incontinence, you may find that you're able to better control these issues with bethanechol. This medicine, known perhaps better by the brand name drug Urecholine, is available for use in humans but is routinely also prescribed for dogs and cats as an extra label drug as well. It strengthens your pet's ability to contract his bladder, thereby giving him more control over his urination and incontinence. Read on for a brief overview of this drug and how to best use it with your pet.

Bethanechol Overview

Bethanechol functions via a mechanism that helps to control the cholinergic receptors throughout your pet's body. In particular, this medicine helps to increase the speed that esophogeal muscles throughout your pet's body are able to contract. It helps also to strengthen the muscles throughout the urinary tract and bladder.

This medicine is designed for and approved exclusively for human beings. Veterinarians can nonetheless legally prescribe this medicine in certain cases. It's important that you check in with your vet before you give your pet this drug; do not give the medicine to your pet if you have not already checked in with your veterinarian. Although there are a number of other medicines that are designed for use in humans, the best one for veterinary medicine is Urecholine.

Giving Bethanechol to Your Pet

Bethanechol is available in two different formulations. The first is as a tablet, and the second is as a liquid supplement. The tablet version of the medicine is generally the more commonly used. Many vets will recommend breaking up the tablets into appropriate dosages and then mixing them in with your pet's food or giving them along with a treat. The exact amount of the medicine that you'll need to give your pet will depend upon how much your dog weighs, his overall size, his other health issues, and the severity of his incontinence.

Generally, veterinarians recommend giving bethanechol at about 2.5 to 10 milligrams per pound of weight and two or three times per day.

Risks and Side Effects of Using Bethanechol

If your pet has other issues with his bladder or urinary tract, such as recent surgery, urinary blockages, or other related concerns, do not give him bethanechol. It's important to tell your vet about any other medical concerns that your dog has before beginning a regimen of this drug. Additionally, inform your vet about all other medicines that your pet is taking at the same time, as bethanechol can react negatively with other drugs.

The most commonly noted side effects associated with bethanechol include the following:

  • Vomiting
  • Diarrhea
  • Loss of appetite
  • Weight loss (with long term use)
  • Drooling

If you notice these or any other potential side effects, take your pet in to the vet for a prompt examination. These signs could be indicative of a more serious allergic reaction to bethanechol. You will likely need to adjust your pet's dose of the medicine or find an alternative treatment.