Using Aminophylline Injections on Cats and Dogs

How This Bronchodilator Works to Keep Your Pet Breathing Easy

By Sam Bourne.

  • Asthma

indications for Aminophylline Injections

A type of bronchodilator, the designed purpose of aminophylline is to quickly relax the smooth muscles of the lungs, helping keep the airways open in patients suffering from an asthma attack or pulmonary edema (excessive fluid buildup in the lungs). Typically only used in a hospital setting or in patients with severe asthma, this drug also causes an increase in histamine release, which trigger an inflammatory response.


Aminophylline Injections should be used cautiously in patients with cardiac disease, gastrointestinal ulcers, hyperthyroidism, renal or hepatic disease, severe hypoxia or hypertension, or glaucoma. Taking this medication may cause cardiac arrhythmias to worsen. Elderly patients may be more prone to side effects, along with patients suffering from congestive heart failure. An intramuscular injection of aminophylline is extremely painful.

Aminophylline Injections should not be taken with sympathomimetic or beta adrenergic blockers, due to potential toxic synergism or antagonistic effects.

Drugs like allopurinol, cimetidine, clindamycin, erythromycin, lincomycin, or thiabendazole may increase the effects of aminophylline

Ciprofloxacin and enrofloxacin are likely to cause a reduced ability to metabolize aminophylline, resulting in toxicity.

Halothane might increase the risk of arrhythmias.

Isoproterenol can cause toxic synergism.

Ketamine can increase the risk of seizures.

Pancuronium bromide and sucralfate might decrease the effects of aminophylline.

Phenobarbital and phenytoin sodium increase the clearance of aminophylline, lessening its efficacy.


Dogs -- 6 - 11 mg/kg intramuscularly or intravenously every day
Cats -- 4 - 6.6 mg/kg intramuscularly or intravenously every day

Due to the narrow range within which this drug is actually therapeutic, the dosage should be determined by a veterinarian, and that dosage should be adhered to closely.

Brand/Generic equivalents


Side Effects

Aminophylline Injections may cause nausea, vomiting, hyperglycemia, restlessness, muscle twitching, insomnia, diarrhea, polyphagia, polydipsia, and polyuria, but these side effects are typically the cause of a mild overdose, as this drug can be toxic in higher doses. A higher level of toxicity may cause seizures and cardiac arrhythmia, and if high enough, even death. Due to the narrow therapeutic window in which this drug operates, it is crucial to be very careful when administering the drug. Also, if giving the drug intramuscularly, know that this will be very, very painful for your pet.

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Aminophylline Injections at a glance

  • 1For dogs and cats
  • 2Bronchodilator
  • 3Taken via IV or IM
  • 4Treats breathing issues, relaxes the smooth muscles of the airways

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