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What is Pimobendan Poisoning?

Pimobendan is a drug used for dogs to increase their heart’s pumping ability, which is usually given to dogs with certain kinds of heart disease. Some of these are congestive heart failure (CHF), dilated cardiomyopathy, and mitral valve insufficiency. It is an inodilator used for congestive heart disease and heart failure in dogs. Pimobendan works by slowing the function of phosphodiesterase enzymes that open the blood vessels and makes the proteins in the heart more sensitive to calcium, which helps it to contract more effectively. It is usually given with other medications like digoxin and ACE inhibitors. Because this medication has been made to taste good to your dog, and it comes in chewable tablets, a toxic dosage of pimobendan is likely if your dog has access.

Pimobendan (Vetmedin) is a commonly prescribed heart medication used by veterinarians. In some cases, pimobendan has been known to cause rapid heart rate, vomiting, diarrhea, nervousness, collapse, convulsions, and possibly death if not treated right away. In addition, if given to a dog without a heart condition, the effects can be life-threatening immediately. This type of drug toxicity can be mistaken for other illnesses, such as a virus, and may be overlooked until it is too late. That is why it is important to see your veterinarian right away if you even suspect that your dog has ingested pimobendan. There are two types of pimobendan poisoning, which are acute (taking a large dose causing immediate toxicosis) or chronic (taking small amounts on a regular basis, causing a gradual toxicosis).

Pimobendan Poisoning Average Cost

From 56 quotes ranging from $300 - $300

Average Cost

$650

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Symptoms of Pimobendan Poisoning in Dogs

Your dog may not show any signs of toxicity right away, and some of the mild symptoms, such as stomach upset and weakness, may be overlooked as a virus or anxiety. However, if your dog has gotten into the medication, you are likely to notice that the bottle or blister pack the pills came in are on the floor or chewed on. Anytime you think your dog may have ingested a medication of any kind; it is vital that you call your veterinarian or get your dog to a pet hospital or clinic. Some of the most commonly reported symptoms are:

  • Allergic reaction (breathing difficulty, hives)
  • Collapse
  • Cough
  • Coughing
  • Dark sticky stool (melena)
  • Dehydration
  • Depression
  • Diarrhea
  • Elevated heart rate
  • Fainting (syncope)
  • Fluid accumulation in the lungs and/or abdomen (ascites)
  • Gagging
  • Heart murmur
  • Increased respiratory rate
  • Increased thirst and urination
  • Irregular pulse
  • Itchy skin (pruritus)
  • Lethargy
  • Loss of appetite
  • Loss of bodily movements (ataxia)
  • Low blood pressure
  • Restlessness
  • Seizures
  • Shaking
  • Staggering
  • Sudden death
  • Trembling
  • Urinary accidents
  • Vomiting
  • Weak pulse
  • Weakness
  • Weight loss

 Types

  • Acute pimobendan poisoning is caused by an ingestion of a large amount of the drug at once (such as with accidental overdose or if your dog gets into the medication
  • Chronic pimobendan poisoning is caused by a small amount given on a regular basis
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Causes of Pimobendan Poisoning in Dogs

  • Accidental overdose by owner
  • Dog ingesting medication left out in his reach
  • Giving the medication to the wrong dog
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Diagnosis of Pimobendan Poisoning in Dogs

A full body examination will be done, which will include abdominal palpation, vision and hearing check, reflexes, heart rate, oxygen level, blood pressure, and body temperature. The veterinarian will also need your dog’s complete medical history, recent illnesses, injuries, abnormal behavior, and vaccination records.

Some laboratory tests will also be performed, such as serum electrolyte levels, protein and glucose, complete blood count (CBC), urinalysis, and fecal examination. The veterinarian will be looking for a decrease in the platelet count, increased phosphates, high blood glucose and liver enzymes, and an increase in protein in the urine and blood. The fecal examination will show the presence of pimobendan if it has been several hours since ingestion of medication.

Chest and abdominal images through radiographs (x-rays) will be done to get a look at the heart and lungs. If the veterinarian suspects damage, CT scans, ultrasound, and possibly an MRI will be used to get a better view. An electrocardiogram (ECG) will also be done to measure the heart’s electrical and muscular activity.

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Treatment of Pimobendan Poisoning in Dogs

The treatment for pimobendan poisoning is to induce vomiting and administer activated charcoal to bind with the medication so it can be eliminated more safely. In cases of chronic pimobendan poisoning, the damage from the toxicity has already been done, so the treatment will depend on which organs are affected by the drug. In the case of liver damage, the only treatment is a transplant, and these are still relatively new procedures with low success rates at a high cost. However, if this is your dog’s only chance of survival, you may wish to proceed. Otherwise, the only treatment will be to make your dog as comfortable as possible.

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Recovery of Pimobendan Poisoning in Dogs

If your dog gets treatment right away for acute pimobendan poisoning, chances for recovery are good, depending on the dose taken and health of your dog. However, in the case of chronic poisoning, recovery chances are not good and will depend on the amount of damage done by the medication. To keep this from happening again, be sure to keep this and all other medication out of your dog’s reach.

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Pimobendan Poisoning Average Cost

From 56 quotes ranging from $300 - $300

Average Cost

$650

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Pimobendan Poisoning Questions and Advice from Veterinary Professionals

Need pet health advice? Ask a vet

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Ask a Vet

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dog-breed-icon

Pomeranian

dog-age-icon

Fourteen Years

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Unknown severity

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0 found helpful

pill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filled

Unknown severity

Has Symptoms

No

Got different dogs meds. It was 1/4 of a pill.

July 23, 2020

Owner

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Dr. Michele K. DVM

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0 Recommendations

Thank you for your question. Pimobendan has a high dose of safety, so it is unlikely that you have a problem unless you had a very large dog and a very small dog got the dosage. Without the weights of your dogs and the dosage of the pill, it is not possible to comment on what might happen It would probably be best to call your veterinarian, or a 24-hour clinic in your neighborhood, and give them the weights of your dog's, the weight of the dog that may have eaten the pill, and the dosage of the pill that hevateva 1/4 of a tablet of. They will be able to let you know if that is a problem or not once they have more information. I hope that all goes well.

July 23, 2020

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dog-breed-icon

French Bulldog

dog-age-icon

Thirteen Weeks

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Unknown severity

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3 found helpful

pill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filled

Unknown severity

Has Symptoms

None

My 13 week accidentalky ingested 1.25mg vetmedin and 1.25mg enelapril

July 9, 2020

Owner

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Dr. Michele K. DVM

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3 Recommendations

I'm sorry that your puppy has done this. Those are both drugs that may lower the blood pressure, and you make notice that your dog is weak. Otherwise they should not cause any long-term problems. I would keep an eye on your puppy, and if they are sleeping deeply where you cannot rouse them, then I would take them to see a veterinarian. Otherwise, I can't see this having any long-term effects.

July 9, 2020

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Ava

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chihuahua mix

dog-age-icon

17 Years

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Fair severity

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0 found helpful

pill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filled

Fair severity

Has Symptoms

Coughing
Mild, Intermittent Cough; Panting;
Coughing, Panting

My 17 year old 12 lb dog was diagnosed with Class III degenerative heart failure with grade IV heart murmur, enlarged heart, MVD three weeks ago with and I started her on furosimide 12.5 mg 2x a day and vetmedin 1.25 (one and a half tabs) 2x a day. She is not yet on an ACEi because she has low blood pressure. I got a follow up blood panel two weeks later and her BUN was way high out of range and her creatine was also high. Prior to the medication, these values were within range but her SDMA showed early detection of kidney failure. When I followed up with the vet cardiologist, he said my dog's furosimide dosage was the lowest possible dosage and suggested that I increase her vetmedin dosage to 3x a day to increase blood flow to her kidney. On the other hand, the primary vet who ran the blood test suggested I decrease her furosimide to once a day because of the increased kidney values. Also, auscultation of her lungs had no indication of any sound or crackling and the thoracic x-ray showed her lungs were now clear. Even prior to furosimide, her coughs were minimal...usually one quick cough a day, usually after getting up. She occasionally has panting episodes which last no longer than one minute. Her respiration (previously mid to high 30s) stabilized at around 20 bpm after the two weeks of furosimide but increased to about 28 bpm after I took her off furosimide for one week. I am at a loss about what to do with this delicate balance between her heart and kidney. I added a daily Vetriscience heart supplemental vitamin and Welactin omega-3 fish oil in the hopes that I can minimize her furosimide dosage to prolong her kidney function. What do you suggest I do at this time about her furosimide and vetmedin, given the different advice given between my primary vet and the cardiologist?

Aug. 20, 2018

Ava's Owner

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0 Recommendations

Without examining Ava myself and not seeing her medical files it is very difficult for me to legally weigh in with an opinion, however I would be more on the side of your Cardiologist. Minimum dosage of furosemide may be found in the link below, but I think it is important to keep administering the furosemide. Regards Dr Callum Turner DVM www.msdvetmanual.com/pharmacology/systemic-pharmacotherapeutics-of-the-urinary-system/diuretics

Aug. 20, 2018

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Patty

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Boston Terrier

dog-age-icon

13 Years

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Serious severity

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1 found helpful

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Serious severity

Has Symptoms

Fecal Incontinence
Diarrhea For Months

Are there alternatives to Vetmedin? My dog has been sick for the last 7 months, she has had tests, diet changes, the whole 9, but I swear it all started when she started this drug, but nobody is listening to me. I’d like to try an alternative, if one exists. Please help.

July 25, 2018

Patty's Owner


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Dr. Michele K. DVM

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1 Recommendations

There is not a good alternative to that medication, but Enalapril is another heart medication that acts sort of similarly. I have not heard of those issues from that medication, but if Patty has been having those problems since starting the medication, you may be able to stop it for a week or so and see if things clear up. Be sure to discuss any changes in her medication with your veterinarian, as I cannot see her and do not know anything about her condition.

July 25, 2018

Hi Patty I have done a lot of research and been to holistic and regular vets and ER vets for my yorkie’s CHF diagnosis. When he started on pimobendan he would starve himself and would sniff everything like he was starving but then wouldn’t actually eat. I tried people food dog food vet food everything! Then I researched and saw what a lot of us pet moms wrote... pimobendan has some nasty side affects vets either don’t see or don’t want to believe. I found several forum comments from owners who took their dogs off pimobendan and put them on an herbal homeopathic medication for their heart and they got amazing results. I ordered some for my yorkie but luckily after two months on the pimo he seems to have adjusted and is now eating again! So I would say if your pup is still not doing well after a month or two talk to your vet and try the herbal supplement from Pet Wellbeing called Young at Heart. I read it was vet approved. The company says not to mix it with the pimo so I haven’t yet tried it but my yorkie is now showing side affects of shaking and trembling from the meds so I think I’m going to try it next. Prayers and hugs for your baby. ❤️❤️🙏🙏

Sept. 15, 2018

Shanna M.


Our 19 year old Rat Terrier just went on Vetmedin 12 days ago and today is having very loose stools. So there must be something to this. We're probably heading to our vet tomorrow to check.

Aug. 20, 2018

Carol M.

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Chihuahua

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Chihuahua

dog-age-icon

14 Years

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Serious severity

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Serious severity

Has Symptoms

Collapse

Is Pimobemdan used regularly as an emergency treatment for congestive heart failure. My 14 year old Chihuahua was diagnosed 5 years ago with CHF and have been on medications since then. She was on enalapril for long time and furosemide for the first few years. She recently had a fainting episode and I rushed her to the emergency room. They gave her oxygen and furosemide and Torbugesic while they ran test. They confirmed heart was in heart failure again. They noted on the medical summary she was breathing fine with less effort. However, an hour later they gave her furosemide, Torbugesic and Pimobendan. I got to see her half an hour after that and showed concern because she was having rapid breathing while in the oxygen cage. Alerted the technician then I went home as they wanted to admit her for oxygen, meds and observation. Around 12:15 I got home, showered and immediately got a call from the vet's office that my dog was on her side, eyes rolling side to side and seemed to be having a neurological episode. The vet gave her more furosemide and Torbugesic at this time. We rushed there and she was in the most horrifying condition. Like she was in shock, unresponsive and having respiratory distress. After a few minutes she was coming out of it and was responsive to my voice and touch and actually was trying to get up several times. Then the vet said she will be going into arrest soon and to euthanize. Please don't judge me but I said no. She went to the back and grabbed 2 syringes not sure what they were as she didn't tell me and gave it to my dog. The report says it was furosemide but it didn't mention what the other one was. After those injections my dogs heart rate dropped dramatically from the range of 140 when we got there to the 130's then after the two shots down to 58 then she just just faded out. What happened here? I cannot sleep, and eat as I feel that either she was either overdose, had an adverse reaction to the Pimobendan and the vet failed to recognize it. Please help me clarify what happened here.

July 13, 2018

Chihuahua's Owner

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Dr. Michele K. DVM

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0 Recommendations

I'm sorry that that happened to your dog, that is very sad. Unfortunately, without knowing what medications were given, I don't have any way of knowing what might have happened, but the drugs that you know they gave are quite appropriate for a dog in heart failure. Pimobendan isn't an emergency drug, but is commonly used to help the heart work better. Furosemide is given in a heart related emergency, and Torbugesic is a safe sedative to help calm dogs down. If the veterinarian taking care of her felt that she was going to pass away, there was probably a reason for that, and her dying may have been inevitable, sadly. I know it is hard to lose a beloved pet, but sometimes there really is nothing that can be done, as hard as we try. If you need more answers, you are always able to discuss what happened with the veterinarian that took care of her.

July 13, 2018

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T-bone

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Pit bull

dog-age-icon

6 Years

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Mild severity

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2 found helpful

pill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filled

Mild severity

Has Symptoms

Slobbering
Racing Heart

My pit bull who is 6 years old and 56 pounds was diagnosed today with an enlarged heart. They prescribed vetmedin 5mg twice a day. After the first dose his heart is racing, he is slobbering, and he just isn't his self. Is this normal after the first dose?

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Daisy

dog-breed-icon

Maltese Shih Tzu

dog-age-icon

12 Years

pill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filled

Mild severity

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0 found helpful

pill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filled

Mild severity

Has Symptoms

Hungry
Hungry Thirsty

Hi my dog has grad 2 heart murmur but a X-ray showed enlarged heart she is Maltese shitzu 12 years old, they decided to give cardisure 2.5mg daily. We have noticed increased thirst and constantly hungry, is this normal vet seemed to think it’s not a usual symptom but wondering if anyone’s dog has been so hungry and thirsty, she also has high liver enzymes currently on milk thistle but this has been for quite some time so I think it’s unrelated as her full blood screen ect ruled out any disease cancer markers ect.

dog-name-icon

Luke

dog-breed-icon

Beagle

dog-age-icon

12 Years

pill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filled

Serious severity

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5 found helpful

pill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filled

Serious severity

Has Symptoms

Sunken Eyes
Trembling
Apathetic
Faster Breathing

Hello. My dog suffers from a heart disease, his heart valves are not working well, which causes edemas in his lungs which led to respiratory failures, he has been diagnosed about a year and a half ago, at first his cardiologist prescribed pimobendan, enalapril and fusid, but as time went by those did help much and he kept developing edemas in the lungs which led to breathing difficulties, with each respiratory failure due to the edemas, the cardiologist kept adding more meds and to increase the dosage of pimobendan. over time and due to edemas in the lungs and respiratory failures still occurring, his medications piled up to: pemobendan(15mg), torsemide (7.5 mg, fusid didn't cut it anymore), enalapril (15 mg), Spironolactone (50 mg), hydralazine(12.5 mg), Theophylline (150 mg) and rekod (10 mg). the dog was 37 lbs at that time. but eventually, even with all of these meds, he still developed edemas and respiratory failures, it got so bad that he was hospitalized for 4-5 days with constant fusid injections to his vein until he he recovered, he also developed trembling during that specific phase of respiratory failure, cardiologist said it could be age, could be weakness from everything he's going through, but said that as long as the dog functions, eats and active then we shouldn't worry about it, blood tests didn't show anything unusual either. at that point the cardiologist said it's either putting him down or going above what is recommended with pemobendan, he said there wasn't much to do and it's either trying that or putting him down because at this rate he won't last long, and so we increased his pemobendan to 30 mg a day. (37 lbs dog), magically enough that improved his breathing pretty much instantly and kept at it at a wonderful rate, he was like a new dog, even his trembling were reduced to almost none, and that was going on for 2 months (the longest ever since his edemas and respiratory failures, before it was one every about 2 weeks). but now, in the recent few days, he started breathing faster again, he trembles a lot- more than he ever has, apathetic, and his eyes look sunken. we took him back to the hospital where they ran blood tests and had an x-ray on the lungs, blood tests came out fine, they said there are some water in the lungs (despite all the meds he takes) and gave him a fusid shot and also gave me liquid fusid to give him for several days, a shot of 0.3 mg a day, it's been about 4 days now and no improvement. I talked to his cardiologist and he said it could be another edema or it could be even pemobendan poisoning, he told me to increase the pemobendan to 40mg for several days to see if it improves something, since going to 30 mg from 15mg really improved his health for 2 months up until now. I'm in a tough spot right now, because if it's indeed pemobendan poiosning, increasing the dosage even more will most likely worsen his condition, but if it's not pemobendan poisoning and it's another edema in the lungs, decreasing the dosage will worsen his condition even further. I am not sure what should I do? he still has good appetite, eats daily.

dog-name-icon

Tori

dog-breed-icon

Beagle

dog-age-icon

7 Years

pill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filled

Critical severity

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1 found helpful

pill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filled

Critical severity

Has Symptoms

High Breathing Rate

My dog was diagnosed with dcm about 2 months ago after going into congestive heart failure. It has been challenging balancing the meds with the heart and kidneys. Vet has prescribed Vetmedin, enalapril, hydrochlorothiaziade, plavix, spirolactone, and lasix and this combination of meds put chef at bay it also started to damage kidneys. Vet then removed enalapril and hydrochloroziade and reduced lasix dosage and added in isosorbide mononitrate. I would to know if anyone had experience with using isosorbide with vetmedin and whether it was positive. I could not find that this drug is commonly used to treat this condition.

dog-name-icon

Muffin

dog-breed-icon

Yorkipoo

dog-age-icon

10 Years

pill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filled

Mild severity

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2 found helpful

pill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filled

Mild severity

Has Symptoms

Hair Loss

My 19 pound 10 yr old Yorkie-poo develpoed a pot belly . I took her to our vet and got a call later that we could do exploratory surgery, give her Lasix or send her out for a sonogram. We opted for the surgery and found nodules on her liver which the vet sent for biopsy. The pot belly was caused by excess fluid build up in the abdomen. She came home on lasix and enalapril while we waited for the biopsy results. 2 weeks later we returned to the vet to have 1 liter of fluid removed again. 3 weeks later back to the vet and 1 &1/2 liters removed. The vet prescribed vetmedin for suspected CFH. The biopsy came back as benign. I have seen a dramatic change in Muffin since adding the Vetmedin. She is acting like her old self except for being a little skittish. I also have changed her dog food to a low sodium kibble. I have added home cooked food also to control the sodium intake. I cook ground beef, ground turkey, chicken thighs, sweet potatoes,kale,peas,carrots, brown rice,whole wheat pasta, oatmeal, fish and boiled or scrambled eggs. She also gets a daily vitamin and fish oil on her food once a day. I have switched to baby carrots or Apple pieces for treats. I also made frozen treats from bananas , plain Greek yogurt and almond butter in an effort to eliminate as much excess sodium as possible.One concern I have is she seems to be experiencing some hair loss. Her appetite is great and we have not had any more issues with excess fluid. Before I started cooking for her she didn't want to eat and had become skin and bones ,her backbone and ribs were very prominent. She is much better now and no longer looks unhealthy. I just hope the vetmedin and good food can keep her going .

Pimobendan Poisoning Average Cost

From 56 quotes ranging from $300 - $300

Average Cost

$650

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