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Calcium channel blocker
Dogs and Cats
May Be Prescribed by Vets for:
Hypertension, supraventricular tachycardia (SVT), atrial fibrillation, and hypertrophic cardiomyopathy
Search for Available Dosage Forms
Diltiazem is a calcium channel-blocker, which is used in veterinary medicine to treat hypertension and certain cardiac arrhythmias. This drug is approved in human medicine under the trade names Cardizem, Dilacor, or Tiazac. Diltiazem causes vasodilatation, decreases peripheral resistance, blood pressure, and cardiac afterload. Diltiazem also slows the sinus firing rate. At normal doses it is less likely to affect cardiac contractility than some other Ca channel blockers.
Diltiazem is rapidly absorbed following oral administration and is metabolized by the liver. Bioavailability is less in dogs than in cats and the levels reported in both species are less than those reported in humans. It may be given orally and intravenously.
Diltiazem is used in dogs to treat hypertension and SVTs. It is frequently used with digoxin in the treatment or management of dogs with atrial fibrillation and congestive heart failure. Diltiazem is used both in emergency situations for stabilization, and longer term for management of arrhythmia.
Diltiazem is used in cats to treat supraventricular tachyarrhythmia, hypertension, and hypertrophic cardiomyopathy. It may reduce myocardial oxygen demand and prolong ventricular filling time. It is considered a good choice for heart-rate reduction in cats with atrial fibrillation.Although the treatment of pre-clinical hypertrophic cardiomyopathy is controversial, some clinicians use diltiazem in combination with other cardiac drugs in the asymptomatic cat.
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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