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Butorphanol for Dogs and Horses

By Evan Ware, DVM

Last reviewed: 9/20/2022

Commonly prescribed for: Anti-tussive, pain, and pre-anesthetic

Species: Dogs and Horses

Therapeutic Class: Opiate Agonist

Basic Information

Butorphanol tartrate is an opiate agonist used by some veterinarians primarily as an anti-tussive, to help alleviate coughing. In some cases, it can be used to treat pain in animals, such as colic in horses, or as a pre-anesthetic.

Treating Dogs and Cats with Butorphanol

Butorphanol is believed to be a potent yet appropriate medication when used to decrease cough, and when administered according to a veterinary prescription. It commonly is used for sedation purposes in the veterinary field.

Butorphanol Precautions and Potential Side-Effects

The medication should not be administered to animals with a known hypersensitivity or allergy to the drug. Animals suffering from nervous system dysfunction, a history of liver disease, or from head trauma also should avoid butorphanol.

Butorphanol should be used with caution in elderly animals or in animals with kidney disease, hypothyroidism, and other serious conditions.

Butorphanol can be appropriate for use in animals when prescribed by a veterinarian. However, as with all medications, some patients can be more sensitive to the drug and can experience certain side-effects. The most-common side effects include lack of appetite and general sedation, or paradoxical excitement.

If the animal exhibits symptoms such as swelling of the face, skin rash, hives, vomiting, or difficulty breathing, this can indicate an allergic reaction to the drug. Under such circumstances, the veterinarian should be contacted immediately.
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Popular Butorphanol Dosage Forms

Dosage options starting at $0.96 per dose

Butorphanol: Tiny Tabs

Butorphanol: Tiny Tabs

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

Butorphanol: Injection Solution

Butorphanol: Injection Solution

Sterile solution intended for injection.

Butorphanol: Oral Oil Suspension

Butorphanol: Oral Oil Suspension

Oil based oral suspension with a wide variety of flavoring options.