Vetmedin: Product Information

VETMEDIN- pimobendan tablet, chewable
Boehringer Ingelheim Animal Health USA Inc.

Cardiac drug for oral use in dogs only


Federal law restricts this drug to use by or on the order of a licensed veterinarian.


VETMEDIN (pimobendan) is supplied as oblong half-scored chewable tablets containing 1.25, 2.5, 5 or 10 mg pimobendan per tablet. Pimobendan, a benzimidazole-pyridazinone derivative, is a non-sympathomimetic, non-glycoside inotropic drug with vasodilatative properties. Pimobendan exerts a stimulatory myocardial effect by a dual mechanism of action consisting of an increase in calcium sensitivity of cardiac myofilaments and inhibition of phosphodiesterase (Type III). Pimobendan exhibits vasodilating activity by inhibiting phosphodiesterase III activity. The chemical name of pimobendan is 4,5-dihydro-6-[2-(4-methoxyphenyl)-1H-benzimidazole-5-yl]-5-methyl-3(2H)-pyridazinone.

The structural formula of pimobendan is:

Picture of structural formula of pimobendan
(click image for full-size original)


VETMEDIN (pimobendan) is indicated for the management of the signs of mild, moderate, or severe congestive heart failure in dogs due to clinical myxomatous mitral valve disease (MMVD) or dilated cardiomyopathy (DCM). VETMEDIN is indicated for use with concurrent therapy for congestive heart failure (e.g., furosemide, etc.) as appropriate on a case-by-case basis.

Dosage and Administration:

VETMEDIN should be administered orally at a total daily dose of 0.23 mg/lb (0.5 mg/kg) body weight, using a suitable combination of whole or half tablets. The total daily dose should be divided into 2 portions that are not necessarily equal, and the portions should be administered approximately 12 hours apart (i.e., morning and evening). The tablets are scored and the calculated dosage should be provided to the nearest half tablet increment.


VETMEDIN should not be given in cases of hypertrophic cardiomyopathy, aortic stenosis, or any other clinical condition where an augmentation of cardiac output is inappropriate for functional or anatomical reasons.


Only for use in dogs with clinical evidence of heart failure. At 3 and 5 times the recommended dosage, administered over a 6-month period of time, pimobendan caused an exaggerated hemodynamic response in the normal dog heart, which was associated with cardiac pathology (See Animal Safety).

Human Warnings:

Not for use in humans. Keep this and all medications out of reach of children. Consult a physician in case of accidental ingestion by humans.


The safety of VETMEDIN has not been established in dogs with asymptomatic heart disease or in heart failure caused by etiologies other than MMVD or DCM. The safe use of VETMEDIN has not been evaluated in dogs younger than 6 months of age, dogs with congenital heart defects, dogs with diabetes mellitus or other serious metabolic diseases, dogs used for breeding, or pregnant or lactating bitches.

Adverse Reactions:

Clinical findings/adverse reactions were recorded in a 56-day field study of dogs with congestive heart failure (CHF) due to MMVD (256 dogs) or DCM (99 dogs). Dogs were treated with either VETMEDIN (175 dogs) or the active control enalapril maleate (180 dogs). Dogs in both treatment groups received additional background cardiac therapy (See Effectiveness for details and the difference in digoxin administration between treatment groups).

The VETMEDIN group had the following prevalence (percent of dogs with at least one occurrence) of common adverse reactions/new clinical findings (not present in a dog prior to beginning study treatments): poor appetite (38%), lethargy (33%), diarrhea (30%), dyspnea (29%), azotemia (14%), weakness and ataxia (13%), pleural effusion (10%), syncope (9%), cough

(7%), sudden death (6%), ascites (6%), and heart murmur (3%).

Prevalence was similar in the active control group.

The prevalence of renal failure was higher in the active control group (4%) compared to the VETMEDIN group (1%).

Adverse reactions/new clinical findings were seen in both treatment groups and were potentially related to CHF, the therapy of CHF, or both. The following adverse reactions/new clinical findings are listed according to body system and are not in order of prevalence: CHF death, sudden death, chordae tendineae rupture, left atrial tear, arrhythmias overall, tachycardia, syncope, weak pulses, irregular pulses, increased pulmonary edema, dyspnea, increased respiratory rate, coughing, gagging, pleural effusion, ascites, hepatic congestion, decreased appetite, vomiting, diarrhea, melena, weight loss, lethargy, depression, weakness, collapse, shaking, trembling, ataxia, seizures, restlessness, agitation, pruritus, increased water consumption, increased urination, urinary accidents, azotemia, dehydration, abnormal serum electrolyte, protein, and glucose values, mild increases in serum hepatic enzyme levels, and mildly decreased platelet counts.

See Table 1 for mortality due to CHF (including euthanasia, natural death, and sudden death) and for the development of new arrhythmias (not present in a dog prior to beginning study treatments) by treatment group and type of heart disease (MMVD or DCM) in the 56-day field study.

Table 1: CHF Death and New Arrhythmias in the 56-Day Field Study


Active Control Group

Dogs that died due to CHF


n = 175

9 of 126 dogs with MMVD

16 of 49 dogs with DCM


n = 180

16 of 130 dogs with MMVD

10 of 50 dogs with DCM

Dogs that developed new arrhythmiasa


n = 175

45 of 126 dogs with MMVD

24 of 49 dogs with DCM


n = 180

59 of 130 dogs with MMVD

22 of 50 dogs with DCM

a New arrhythmias included supraventricular premature beats and tachycardia, atrial fibrillation, atrioventricular block, sinus bradycardia, ventricular premature beats and tachycardia, and bundle branch block.

Following the 56-day masked field study, 137 dogs in the VETMEDIN group were allowed to continue on VETMEDIN in an open-label extended-use study without restrictions on concurrent therapy. The adverse reactions/new clinical findings in the extended-use study were consistent with those reported in the 56-day study, with the following exception: One dog in the extended-use study developed acute cholestatic liver failure after 140 days on VETMEDIN and furosemide.

In foreign post-approval drug experience reporting, the following additional suspected adverse reactions were reported in dogs treated with a capsule formulation of pimobendan: hemorrhage, petechia, anemia, hyperactivity, excited behavior, erythema, rash, drooling, constipation, and diabetes mellitus.

To report suspected adverse reactions, to obtain a Safety Data Sheet (SDS), or for technical assistance, contact Boehringer Ingelheim Animal Health USA Inc. at 1-888-637-4251. For additional information about adverse drug experience reporting for animal drugs, contact the FDA at 1-888-FDA-VETS or online at

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