Guide to Terbutaline Sulfate, Generic of Brethine How This Drug Helps Pets Catch Their Breath

BY | September 23 PUBLISHED BY
Brachycephalic Syndrome Tracheal Collapse Asthma
Indications for Terbutaline

Terbutaline is a synthetic sympathomimetic amine, aka a drug that helps relax the smooth muscles in your lungs. Stimulating the beta adrenergic receptors in the lungs, this medication is useful in the treatment of asthma, tracheobronchitis, allergic bronchitis, collapsing trachea, and or pulmonary edema. For pets with any of the aforementioned conditions, terbutaline can help them breathe easier and live comfortably.


Terbutaline should not be given to pets suffering from glaucoma, digitalis intoxication, cardiomyopathy, or congestive heart failure, and should be used cautiously with diabetes, hyperthyroidism, hypertension, liver or kidney disease, and seizures. It should not be taken within 2 weeks of a MAO inhibitor or tricyclic antidepressants. Patients taking terbutaline should not undergo anesthesia due to a heightened risk of arrhythmia. Terbutaline might be antagonized by beta blockers. Taking with other sympathomimetics might increase the risk of cardiac effects.


Dosages range depending on the size of your pet, as well as their species, and, as with all prescription medications, you should always listen to what your vet prescribed. Typically, however, dosages are:

  • For Bronchitis in:
    • Small dogs -- 0.625 - 1.25 mg every 12 hours
    • Medium dogs -- 1.25 - 2.5 mg every 12 hours
    • Large dogs -- 2.5 - 5 mg every 12 hours
  • For dogs with bradyarrhythmias -- 0.2 mg/kg every 8-12 hours
  • For cats with asthma -- 0.312 - 0.625 mg 2-3 times a day (dose can be adjusted up to 1.25 mg for larger cats)
  • For cats with acute asthma exacerbations -- 0.01 mg/kg SQ or IM

Side Effects

Increased heart rate, tremors, nausea, vomiting, nervousness, seizures, and dizziness are all dose related side effects of taking terbutaline. Hypokalemia might occur in certain, susceptible cases, and should be watched closely.

Brand/Generic Equivalents


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