is albuterol safe for cats

Albuterol sulfate, also known as salbutamol (brand names: Proventil® and Ventolin®), is a bronchodilator medication that relaxes the muscles of the airways and improves breathing. It also relieves the cough associated with asthma. It is most often used in cats, as dogs are rarely affected by true airway constriction.

Clinical Applications of Albuterol

In cases where there is clinical evidence of bronchoconstriction, bronchodilators are recommended as a rescue medication. Bronchoconstriction is a primary feature of feline asthma. Bronchodilators should be used in conjunction with other medications to treat the underlying inflammatory airway disease, as they do not address the underlying airway inflammation on their own. Wheezes upon thoracic auscultation and increased respiratory effort during exhalation are clinical signs that indicate the presence of bronchoconstriction. When exhaling, look for signs of increased abdominal effort and a slightly prolonged phase as compared to the inspiratory phase. These are signs of increased expiratory effort. When lung hyperinflation and diaphragmatic flattening are observed on thoracic radiographs, suspicion for bronchoconstriction may also be increased.

The main use of albuterol is as a rescue inhaler for severe asthma attacks. Overuse of albuterol can lead to paradoxical bronchospasm, a dangerous and potentially lethal side effect that has been documented in human medicine. It also causes increased airway inflammation and hyperreactivity. Long-term use and high dosages of albuterol can also cause desensitization to the drug. These risks are described further under Adverse Reactions. As a result, it’s critical to use glucocorticoids to treat the underlying airway inflammation linked to feline asthma and save the use of albuterol for emergency care.

For at-home use, administration using a metered-dose inhaler with a facemask and spacer is recommended. Sometimes it’s simpler to give nebulized albuterol solution for inhalation in a hospital setting, especially to a patient who is experiencing respiratory distress. Note that although there are dry powder inhaler formulations for humans, cats cannot use them since they cannot be used with a facemask and spacer.

Bronchodilator therapy is also advised for cats undergoing BAL and bronchoscopy. This is included as part of the premedication procedure in the author’s hospital. Albuterol can be used for this purpose. In cats with experimentally induced asthma as well as healthy cats, a study conducted in 2005 reported airflow limitation caused by bronchoscopy and BAL; the study found that airflow limitation was more severe in cats with airway inflammation but was also observed in healthy cats. 3 For all cats having this surgery, bronchodilator therapy is therefore advised.

Albuterol Mechanism of Action

Albuterol is a β₂ agonist that selectively and quickly relaxes airway smooth muscle by binding to β₂ adrenergic receptors. Albuterol increases intracellular cyclic 3′,5′-adenosine monophosphate (cyclic AMP) production by activating adenylyl cyclase when it binds to the β₂ adrenergic receptors on airway smooth muscle cells. Cyclic AMP causes protein kinase A to become active, which prevents myosin from being phosphorylated and lowers intracellular ionic calcium concentrations. This leads to smooth muscle relaxation in the bronchi and, probably, in the trachea. 1,2.

When it comes to short-term bronchodilation, albuterol is a mainstay of asthma treatment in human medicine with proven efficacy. There are only studies on asthma that is induced experimentally in cats. In studies on cats, ipratropium bromide, an acetylcholine antagonist and bronchodilator, was compared to salbutamol (albuterol) either alone or in combination. Results of these studies were mixed. When salbutamol and/or ipratropium bromide were used together, there was less bronchoconstriction linked to bronchoalveolar lavage (BAL), according to a 2005 study assessing their use. 3 In a 2009 evaluation of a healthy cat population, salbutamol showed promise as a preventative measure against muscarinic-induced bronchoconstriction. 4 But in 2010, a study assessed the effects of salbutamol by itself and in combination with ipratropium bromide in a group of cats that were allergic to Ascaris suum and had bronchoconstriction brought on by allergens. Salbutamol and the combination product showed limited effectiveness in this group in reversing bronchoconstriction. 5.

Data in clinically affected cats are lacking. Based on the author’s clinical experience, inhaled albuterol is effective when used as a nebulized treatment, rescue therapy administered with a facemask and spacer, or, for patients who are intubated, a metered-dose inhaler or nebulizer administered through an endotracheal tube.

Recommended Dosage of Albuterol

Albuterol sulfate is most commonly administered as an inhalant medication. Oral doses are also given, but there are no studies assessing oral efficacy in cats. Long-term inhaled albuterol use and using it as a stand-alone treatment are not advised, as was previously mentioned.

Albuterol sulfate metered-dose inhalers typically provide 90 µg/actuation (puff). When using rescue therapy, it is advised to give one to three puffs every twelve to twenty-four hours as needed. 1.

The intended method of administration for albuterol sulfate inhalation solution is nebulizer. Several concentrations of this solution are available. The author uses the 0. 5% (5 mg/mL) preservative-free solution and dilutes 1. 25 mg (0. 25 mL) of solution in 2 mL of sterile 0. 9% NaCl. This yields a concentration that is comparable to that reported by Leemans et al., but at a lower volume. in 2009. 4 The dosage is put into the nebulizer cup and nebulization is used to administer it. Nebulized salbutamol at a dose of 3. In one study of cats with experimentally induced asthma, 75 mg in 6 mL saline was evaluated and found to be effective. 4 Because the lower volume mentioned above has proven effective in a clinical setting, the author uses it.

Oral albuterol can be administered at a dose of 0. 02 to 0. 05 mg/kg once every 8 to 12 hours. 1 Tablets and a syrup formulation are also available.

Most of the information about albuterol’s pharmacokinetics comes from research involving humans. There are no available studies of albuterol pharmacokinetics in cats.

A computer model was used in a recently published study to assess the distribution of salbutamol inhaled. 6 Although the administration of inhaled albuterol is thought to have the benefit of directly delivering the medication to the intended location, there is a significant amount of variance in the medication’s distribution. Using computational fluid dynamics, the distribution of inhaled salbutamol (albuterol) in cats was assessed. This study showed that when albuterol was administered with a metered-dose inhaler using a facemask and spacer, a significant amount of the drug was deposited in the apparatus and in the upper airway; only between 5 8% and 25. 8% of the medication reached the lungs. 6.


Can I give albuterol to my cat?

Cats may also be treated with bronchodilators, medications that temporarily make the airways open and allow increased airflow. Albuterol, one type of bronchodilator used for humans and cats, can be given through a nebulizer or an inhaler. An inhaler for a kitty? Yes!

Is albuterol safe for pets?

The active agent in many inhalers is albuterol, a bronchodilator that eases harsh asthma symptoms by relaxing and opening the airways to allow easy breathing. Dogs can experience albuterol toxicity if they bite or chew into a whole inhaler, and the consequences can be very damaging.

What inhalation medication is used for cats?

Fluticasone propionate (Flovent®) is the most commonly used inhaled corticosteroid, and albuterol/salbutamol (Ventolin®) is the most commonly used inhaled bronchodilator. Some veterinarians recommend combining fluticasone and salmeterol, another bronchodilator (brand name Advair®).

Is there a rescue inhaler for cats?

Instead of being used for daily disease management, bronchodilators are usually given when a cat is in distress (such as during an asthma attack). As such, they are commonly referred to as rescue medications. These medications are available in systemic (oral/injected) or inhaled forms.