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Spironolactone is a diuretic that is used in dogs and cats to treat congestive heart failure and other conditions where the body retains excess fluid. Diuretics are very important drugs in the treatment of congestive heart failure because they send a message to the kidneys to increase the production of urine and the excretion of electrolytes. Furosemide is the most commonly used diuretic in veterinary medicine. Spironolactone operates through a different mechanism than furosemide because it allows the body to retain potassium while excreting sodium and chloride. Spironolactone may be used alone or with furosemide in difficult cases of congestive heart failure, or fluid retention due to liver failure. It is not thought of as an emergency drug as it takes two to three days to reach its full effect. Like many other drugs in veterinary medicine, this drug is not FDA approved for use in animals and is not available from a veterinary pharmaceutical manufacturer. Instead, it is compounded by a specialty pharmacy.
Give this medication to your pet exactly as your veterinarian prescribes. If you miss giving your pet a dose of spironolactone, give the next dose as soon as you remember or, if it is close to the next scheduled dose, return to the regular schedule. Do not double dose to catch up.
Research performed in humans shows that spironolactone is absorbed better when given with food.
Wash your hands after giving your pet this medication.
Be sure to discuss any side effects with your veterinarian immediately.
The most common side effects are due to dehydration and electrolyte imbalances.
Higher doses of spironolactone may cause loss of appetite, vomiting, or diarrhea.
Keep this and all drugs out of reach of children. This drug should only be given to the animal for which it was prescribed. Do not give this medication to a person.Federal law restricts this drug to use by or on the order of a licensed veterinarian.
Spironolactone should not be used in animals with high blood potassium levels, those with advanced kidney disease, or those with Addison's disease.
Spironolactone decreases the production of male hormones. It crosses the placenta, and is found in maternal milk. It should only be used in pregnant or nursing animals when the benefits outweigh the risks.
Spironolactone should not be used with any potassium supplements.
Be sure to review with your veterinarian any medications or supplements your pet may be receiving.
The following drugs may interact with spironolactone: digoxin, mitotane, salicylates, neuromuscular blocking agents, potassium sparing diuretics.
If you suspect your pet or another animal was overdosed accidentally or has eaten this medication inadvertently, contact your veterinarian or the A.S.P.C.A.'s Animal Poison Control Center at 888.426.4435. Always bring the prescription container with you when you take your pet for treatment.
If you or someone else has accidentally ingested this medication call the National Capital Poison Center at 800.222.1222.
Different strengths or dosage forms of spironolactone may have different storage requirements. Read the labeling or ask your pharmacist for the storage requirements of the prescription you receive.
Dr. Barbara Forney is a veterinary practitioner in Chester County, Pennsylvania. She has a master's degree in animal science from the University of Delaware and graduated from the University of Pennsylvania School of Veterinary Medicine in 1982.
She began to develop her interest in client education and medical writing in 1997. Recent publications include portions of The Pill Book Guide to Medication for Your Dog and Cat, and most recently Understanding Equine Medications published by the Bloodhorse.
Dr. Forney is an FEI veterinarian and an active member of the AAEP, AVMA, and AMWA.
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This content is intended for counseling purposes only. This content is informational/educational and is not intended to treat or diagnose any disease or patient. No claims are made as to the safety or efficacy of mentioned preparations. The compounded medications featured in this content have been prescribed and/or administered by prescribers who work with Wedgewood Pharmacy. You are encouraged to speak with your prescriber as to the appropriate use of any medication. Wedgewood Pharmacy’s compounded veterinary preparations are not intended for use in food and food-producing animals. All product and company names are trademarks™ or registered® trademarks of their respective holders. Use of them does not imply any affiliation with or endorsement by them.