Epinephrine for Dogs

Epinephrine, which is also known as adrenaline, represents a natural hormone that acts like a chemical neurotransmitter. This compound is naturally secreted by the adrenal glands, but it is also available as a drug. In dogs, it can be used for minimizing the symptoms of allergies, and even for CPR (cardiopulmonary resuscitation). Keep in mind that this drug can only be purchased with a prescription from your veterinarian.

Effects Achievable with Adrenaline

Epinephrine has numerous effects on the body of your dog, fact that makes it valuable in the treatment of various health conditions. Some of the effects include:

  • Increased blood sugar levels
  • Dilated pupil of the eye
  • Heart and blood vessels stimulation
  • Increased heart rate
  • Increased blood pressure

Also, adrenaline blocks the effects of histamine, which is a compound released during allergic reactions. In addition, epinephrine also dilates the bronchial tubes by determining the smooth muscles located in the bronchial tree to relax.

Canine Health Conditions Treatable with Epinephrine

As it is able to prevent or reduce the action of histamine, adrenaline is highly recommended in the treatment of anaphylactic shocks, which are very severe allergic reactions. Besides that, the fact that epinephrine dilates the bronchial tubes makes this hormone proper for the treatment of severe asthmatic attacks.   

Adrenaline is extensively used in CPR because it can effectively stimulate the heart. If your dog is anesthetized or has a very low blood pressure, epinephrine can be used for increasing the arterial tension.

Recommended Dosage

Adrenaline is available as an injectable solution with concentrations of 0.1mg/ml and 1mg/ml. Also, epinephrine can also be purchased in powder form which is inhaled.

The recommended dosage varies very much with the health condition for which adrenaline is administered. For example, during CPR, epinephrine may need to be administered several times at intervals of 5 minutes, until the heart rate of your dog gets stable.

Dogs suffering from asthma attacks or severe allergic reactions require a dosage that ranges between 0.005 and 0.01mg per pound. The duration of the treatment based on adrenaline also varies with the condition being treated. Other factors that influence this duration include the effectiveness of epinephrine and the development of any side effects.

Contraindications, Interactions and Adverse Reactions of Epinephrine

If the dosage is not respected or if your dog has allergy or hypersensitivity to adrenaline, some side effects may be noticed. In addition, there are situations when epinephrine is not recommended. For example, this drug needs to be avoided if your dog is pregnant or in labor. Dogs that have ventricular premature beats or other types of heart irregularities should not be given adrenaline, as it may worsen their condition.

Some drugs, such as antihistamines, diuretics and propranolol, may interact with adrenaline, resulting in an inefficiency of one of them, or even in adverse reactions. For a complete list of drugs that could interact with epinephrine, you are recommended to talk to the veterinarian.

The side effects noticeable after administration of adrenaline include:

Lowering the dosage or finding an alternative treatment for the condition that your dog is suffering from will alleviate such adverse reactions.