Amantadine for Dogs: A Guide for Owners

Amantadine for dogs: Amantadine is an antiviral medication used to treat canine distemper and parvovirus in dogs. It works by interfering with the virus’s ability to multiply and spread between cells.

Amantadine prevents viral replication by inhibiting a protein called the M2 ion channel. This channel is found in certain viruses like the distemper virus and parvovirus, and it’s essential for the virus to reproduce and infect new cells. By blocking the M2 ion channel, amantadine stops the virus in its tracks and prevents it from spreading in the dog’s body.

Amantadine is often used alongside supportive care like IV fluids, antibiotics, and any necessary medication. While amantadine itself only works on specific viruses, the additional care helps keep your dog comfortable during treatment and recovery.

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What Are the Side Effects?

Amantadine can cause side effects in some dogs, including:

  • Loss of appetite or gastrointestinal issues like vomiting or diarrhea
  • Lethargy or restlessness
  • Difficulty walking or impaired balance
  • Seizures (rarely)

The majority of side effects are mild, but contact your vet right away if your dog experiences severe or persistent side effects. They may need to adjust or discontinue the medication.

Amantadine can be an effective treatment for distemper and parvovirus, especially when caught early. By understanding how it works and what to watch out for, you can help your vet provide the best care for your dog. Stay in close contact with your vet, continue supportive care at home, and with prompt treatment, many dogs make a full

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Uses of Amantadine For Dogs

Amantadine can be used to treat a few conditions in dogs. The two most common uses are:

1. Parkinson’s Disease

Amantadine is often prescribed for dogs with Parkinson’s disease to help reduce tremors and improve mobility. It works by increasing dopamine levels in the brain that are depleted in dogs with Parkinson’s. The typical dosage for this purpose is 3-5 mg per pound of body weight, given 2-3 times a day. You’ll want to give the medication at the same times each day for the best results.

Watch your dog closely for side effects like restlessness, difficulty sleeping, or loss of appetite. Let your vet know right away if you notice anything concerning.

2. Kennel Cough

Amantadine may also be used to treat kennel cough in dogs. It helps by reducing inflammation in the respiratory tract and stimulating the activity of cells that clear congestion. The usual dosage for kennel cough is the same as for Parkinson’s disease. You’ll give the medication for about 7-14 days until symptoms have improved.

Be sure to also follow good hygiene like cleaning food and water bowls daily and avoiding heavily trafficked dog areas during treatment. This will help avoid re-infection and allow the medication to work.

With the proper dosage and close monitoring, amantadine can be very effective for managing Parkinson’s disease and kennel cough in dogs. Always follow your vet’s instructions carefully and call them if you have any concerns about your dog’s treatment.

Dosage Guidelines for Amantadine in Dogs

The typical dosage of amantadine for dogs is 1-3 mg per pound of body weight, given twice a day. The exact dosage will depend on your dog’s condition and severity of symptoms. Your vet will determine the appropriate dosage specifically for your dog based on their weight and medical history.

Potential Side Effects of Amantadine for Dogs

While amantadine can be very effective for treating Parkinson’s disease and other illnesses in dogs, it does come with some potential side effects to be aware of.

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1. Gastrointestinal Issues

Amantadine may cause nausea, vomiting, diarrhea or loss of appetite in some dogs. If your dog experiences these side effects, talk to your vet about possible adjustments to the dosage or timing of doses that could help alleviate them. Making sure your dog takes the medication with food can also help reduce gastrointestinal upset.

2. Excitability or Restlessness

Amantadine works by increasing dopamine levels in the brain, which can lead to increased energy, excitement or difficulty settling in some dogs. If your dog seems overly energetic, has trouble sleeping or is pacing more, let your vet know right away. Lowering the dose or switching to a different medication may help.

3. Other Possible Side Effects

Some less common side effects of amantadine for dogs include:

  • Anxiety or irritability: Amantadine may cause nervousness, tension or mood changes in some dogs. Talk to your vet about possible solutions if your dog seems more anxious while on this medication.
  • Dilated pupils: Amantadine can cause pupil dilation, which usually does not cause problems but should be monitored. Let your vet know if you notice any vision changes in your dog.
  • Skin rash: Although rare, amantadine may cause an allergic skin reaction in some dogs. Seek vet care immediately if your dog develops hives, itching, rash, swelling or trouble breathing.
  • Hallucinations: High doses of amantadine have been linked to hallucinations or psychotic reactions in rare cases. Contact your vet right away if your dog shows signs of seeing or hearing things that aren’t there.

Monitoring your dog closely, especially when first starting amantadine or increasing the dose, can help ensure side effects are caught early. Be sure to let your vet know right away if your dog experiences any unusual symptoms after starting this medication. With close monitoring and dosage adjustments as needed, amantadine can still be used safely and effectively to treat dogs with minimal side effects.

FAQs

You probably have a few questions about amantadine for your dog. Here are some of the most frequently asked questions and answers:

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Is amantadine safe for dogs?

When used under veterinary supervision and according to instructions, amantadine can be safe for dogs. However, as with any medication, side effects are possible. The most common side effects for dogs include loss of appetite, nausea, and diarrhea. In rare cases, amantadine can cause more severe side effects, so you should always give the exact dose prescribed by your vet and monitor your dog for any unusual symptoms.

How long will it take to start working?

Amantadine usually starts working within 1 to 2 days of starting the medication. However, it can take several weeks of regular use for its effects to become fully noticeable. Be patient through the initial period of use, and talk to your vet if you have any concerns about how well it seems to be working for your dog after 4 to 6 weeks.

Do I need to give it with food?

It is best to give amantadine with food to help minimize the chances of stomach upset. Giving the medication with a meal, especially a meal high in fat or protein, can help absorption in the body and reduce nausea as a possible side effect. Follow your vet’s recommendations for dosing in relation to meals.

Can amantadine be stopped abruptly?

No, amantadine should not be stopped abruptly without consulting your vet. If you need or want to stop giving amantadine to your dog for any reason, talk to your vet about slowly tapering the dose. Stopping amantadine suddenly can cause withdrawal symptoms in some dogs. Your vet will create a safe discontinuation schedule based on your dog’s condition, dosage, and how long they have been on the medication.

How long can amantadine be used?

Amantadine can potentially be used long-term to manage chronic conditions under veterinary supervision. However, your vet will need to regularly evaluate your dog to determine if the benefits of continuing treatment outweigh any risks. Some dogs may develop a tolerance over time and require dosage adjustments. But for many dogs, amantadine remains effective and well-tolerated for years when used properly according to veterinary recommendations.

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