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Dopamine for Treatment of Urinary Disease in Animals


Patricia M. Dowling

, DVM, MSc, DACVIM, DACVCP, Department of Veterinary Biomedical Sciences, Western College of Veterinary Medicine, University of Saskatchewan

Reviewed/Revised Nov 2023

Dopamine, an adrenergic neurotransmitter with specific receptors in the renal vasculature, is frequently used to combat decreases in renal blood flow that may contribute to acute renal failure Acute Kidney Injury Failure of the filtration function of the kidneys leads to the development of azotemia (an excess of nitrogenous compounds in the blood), which may be classified as prerenal, renal, postrenal... read more Acute Kidney Injury . It also increases glomerular filtration and sodium excretion.

Dopamine has a very short half-life and is administered as a constant-rate infusion (CRI). Higher dosages lead to tachycardia, cardiac arrhythmias, and peripheral vasoconstriction.

Patients that do not produce urine when given dopamine alone may respond to a combination of dopamine and furosemide. Dopamine is administered as a CRI, and furosemide is given by IV bolus. If no improvement occurs within 6 hours, conversion is unlikely and infusion should be discontinued. Dialysis (hemodialysis or peritoneal dialysis) may be required to maintain these patients.

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