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Dogs, cats and horses
May Be Prescribed by Vets for:
Catheter maintenance, thrombo-embolic disease.
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Heparin is a naturally occurring glycosaminoglycan that is found in mast cells. Most commercially available heparin is manufactured from porcine or bovine origin. Heparin's mechanism of action is on both the extrinsic and intrinsic coagulation pathways. It does not significantly change the concentration of clotting factors, but rather blocks the clotting pathways.
Heparin will not dissolve an existing clot. Heparin does not cross the placenta and is used with caution during pregnancy when the benefits of anticoagulation are felt to outweigh the risks. The FDA classifies it as a Class C drug.
Heparin must be given either intravenously or subcutaneously. It is not absorbed orally and should not be given intramuscularly due to hematoma formation.
With the exception of IV catheter maintenance, most heparin use is in animals with serious medical problems and will require close supervision and hematologic monitoring.
Heparin is used in a variety of medical conditions where there is excessive clotting or increased risk of clot formation. These may include thromboembolic disease, pancreatitis, laminitis, endotoxic shock, and burns. It also is used commonly for the maintenance of intravenous catheters. Heparin commonly was used to treat disseminated intravascular coagulopathy, but that use is becoming controversial.
Heparin overdose is associated with bleeding. Before frank bleeding occurs, subtler symptoms may include bruising, petechiae, and blood in the urine or stool. Protamine is the drug of choice for heparin toxicity. Protamine will bind with heparin and neutralize the anti-thrombin effects within five minutes of intravenous injection.
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.