405 Heron Drive Suite 200
Swedesboro, NJ 08085
Ph 800.331.8272

Amlodipine for Dogs and Cats

By Evan Ware, DVM

Last reviewed: 7/12/2022

Commonly prescribed for: Hypertension

Species: Dogs and Cats

Therapeutic Class: Calcium Channel Blocker

Basic Information

Amlodipine besylate is classified as a calcium channel blocker medication, and it is effectively used in veterinary medicine to treat hypertension in cats and dogs. The mechanism of action is through the inhibition of calcium entry into smooth muscle cells. Amlodipine has a relative degree of vascular selectivity. It is administered to cats who are also suffering from kidney disease.

Veterinary Medicine Uses for Amlodipine

Amlodipine is used primarily for systemic hypertension in cats and to a lesser extent for heart failure and hypertension in dogs. It can be combined with angiotensin-converting enzyme (ACE) inhibitors, and beta-blockers. Amlodipine slows the rate at which calcium moves into the heart and blood-vessel walls. This enables the blood vessels to relax, which ultimately results in better blood-flow. The effects of amlodipine also make it much easier for the heart to pump blood throughout the body, which lowers the pet's blood pressure.

Amlodipine is well-absorbed orally although the absorption and onset of action takes place over hours. Because of the slow onset of action, hypotension and loss of appetite are not commonly seen with this drug. The oral absorption of amlodipine is not affected by the presence of food. The half-life is thought to be in the range of thirty hours in the dog. Although pharmacokinetic work has not been performed in the cat, in most instances, it is given as a once a day drug.

Amlodipine is considered a very successful first-line treatment for systemic hypertension in cats. Common causes of systemic hypertension in cats include kidney disease, hyperthyroidism, cardiomyopathy, and diabetes. Some clinicians prefer to use amlodipine with ACE-inhibitor drugs in cats with renal disease because of the potential for glomerular damage. Amlodipine therapy has been shown to decrease proteinuria in the majority (69%) of cats with chronic renal disease.

Amlodipine is used to treat dogs with congestive heart failure, mitral valve regurgitation, and systemic hypertension due to chronic renal disease. Systemic arterial hypertension is a frequent complication of chronic renal disease in dogs. ACE inhibitor drugs are usually the drug of choice for hypertension in the dog, and amlodipine is added as needed.

Potential Side-Effects of Amlodipine

Side effects of Amlodipine are quite rare in veterinary medicine, but in some cases, the cat or dog can show lethargy, loss of appetite, weight loss, swelling of the gums or a slight increase in heart rate. It A laceration also can take longer to clot.

Allergic reactions require immediate veterinary attention. Signs of an allergic reaction to Amlodipine include sudden-onset diarrhea, swelling of the face, itching, vomiting, hives, pale gums, cold limbs, or the symptoms of shock or coma.

Drug Interactions with Amlodipine

Although no specific drug-interactions are listed, concomitant use with other drugs that lower blood pressure (diuretics, beta-blockers, and vasodilators) could lead to clinically significant hypotension. Grapefruit juice can alter the bioavailability of amlodipine; the veterinary significance seems minimal.

Precautions for Using Amlodipine

Amlodipine should not be administered to cats or dogs that have liver disease. Female pets that are pregnant or lactating should not be administered the medication. Male and female pets that are breeding also should not receive Amlodipine.

In general, it is recommended that Amlodipine be administered to patients with their food. Treatment should be completed as directed by the prescribing veterinarian to successfully treat the pet's high blood pressure.

Amlodipine depresses conduction velocity and impulse formation in cardiac muscle (negative inotropic). It should be used with caution in animals with heart failure or cardiac shock.

Overdose with calcium channel blockers generally result in profound hypotension and bradycardia. If recognized promptly, gut-emptying protocols can be of value.

Dosage and Administration of Amlodipine

It is important that Amlopipine is given in the manner and frequency prescribed. If a dose is missed, this can cause a sudden rise in the pet's blood pressure. A sudden spike such as this can cause a pet to suffer seizures, kidney damage or blindness. the pet owner should not double the next dose. The pet owner should give the missed dose as soon as possible, but if it is close in time to the next scheduled dose, skip the missed dose and administer the medication again according to the schedule. Two doses should never be given at the same time.

In the case of an accidental overdose immediate veterinary attention is required. Signs of overdose include a very slow heart rate, staggering, dizziness or collapse.

Related Articles

Amlodipine for Dogs and Cats

Looking for Amlodipine?

We can let your veterinarian know that you are interested in our compounded Amlodipine.

Are you a veterinarian?

Popular Amlodipine Dosage Forms

Dosage options starting at $0.49 per dose

Amlodipine: Tiny Tabs

Amlodipine: Tiny Tabs

Compressed oral tablets that are smaller than a Tic-Tac®

Amlodipine: Twist-a-Dose Transdermal Gel

Amlodipine: Twist-a-Dose Transdermal Gel

Transdermal applicator that gives easy & accurate dosing every time.

Amlodipine: EZ Dose Micro Transdermal Gel

Amlodipine: EZ Dose Micro Transdermal Gel

Transdermal applicator designed for easy handling and accurate dosing.