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Flovent Inhaler for Dogs: How to Manage Inflammatory Airway Diseases


by Dr.Jo De Klerk - December 21, 2020


Photo Credit: by Ed Costello, flickr.com
Photo Credit: by Ed Costello, flickr.com

Like people, dogs can also suffer from long-term inflammatory airway diseases such as chronic bronchitis, asthma, laryngeal paralysis and tracheal collapse. These diseases can cause inflammation in the airways, which can worsen the clinical symptoms and make your dog feel unwell.

Frequently, inflammation associated with airway disease is managed by the use of oral glucocorticoids, however, these medications have many side effects and long-term consequences. As an alternative, veterinarians sometimes prescribe fluticasone propionate (trade name: Flovent, registered trademark). By inhaling the medication, it can be directly deposited in the airways instead of the bloodstream,

reducing many of the potential side effects of glucocorticoids.

What is the Flovent Inhaler?

The Flovent inhaler is a metered inhaler containing the glucocorticoid, fluticasone propionate. It is available in three sizes from Canada Pharmacy Online: 50 mcg/120 dose, 125 mcg/120 dose, and 250 mcg/120 dose. Each inhaler includes a dose-meter, so you know when the inhaler is coming to an end.

'Photo Credit: My Drug pill, flicker.com

The Flovent inhaler is categorized as ‘off label’ or ‘extra label’ for use in dogs. This means that it is not licensed for veterinary use. Nevertheless, many commonly prescribed drugs are ‘off label’ and are still deemed safe. It is especially important to follow your veterinarian’s directions when using ‘off label’ medications, as dosages and frequency of doses may be different from what is on the product insert.

Why Might Your Dog Need to Use the Flovent Inhaler?

Glucocorticoids are steroid anti-inflammatories which are excellent at reducing inflammation. Airway diseases which result in inflammation can be concerning, as the more the airways become inflamed, the more restricted the airflow becomes.

Your dog might need to use the Flovent inhaler if they have a chronic inflammatory airway disease such as asthma, laryngeal paralysis, tracheal collapse, or most commonly, chronic bronchitis. Targeting the airways directly with the glucocorticoid ensures the most direct and safest way of dealing with the inflammation.

The Flovent inhaler is not for treatment of acute conditions, as it can take seven to 10 days to take full effect.

What is Chronic Bronchitis?

Chronic bronchitis is one of the most common respiratory conditions in dogs. It causes a chronic cough, lasting for several months, or sometimes even longer. It is usually triggered by some sort of irritant stimulus, which causes increased mucus production, inflammation, and disruption in the local immune response.

Any dog can be affected by chronic bronchitis; however, it is usually a condition of dogs over the age of eight years old, and commonly affects West Highland White Terriers, Poodles, Cocker Spaniels, Pomeranians, and German Shorthair Pointers. Typically, dogs with chronic bronchitis are also overweight.

Therapy for chronic bronchitis is based on decreasing the inflammation in the airways and improving airflow. Steroid anti-inflammatories (oral or inhaled) are very effective and may also be supplemented by the use of airway dilators, such as albuterol.

In addition to medical therapy, dogs with chronic bronchitis often respond well to lifestyle modifications, including weight loss if they are overweight, and reducing exposure to airborne irritants, such as cigarette smoke, aerosols and powders. In addition to this, humidifiers can decrease mucus secretions, enabling better airflow in the airways.

How to Use the Flovent Inhaler?

In dogs, the Flovent inhaler needs to be used with an aerosol delivery chamber, such as the AeroDawg Canine Aerosol Chamber. This ensures the full dose of the inhaler is inhaled by your dog in a stress-free manner.

Photo Credit: Image courtesy of Trudell Animal Health
Photo Credit: Image courtesy of Trudell Animal Health

Simply remove the cap of the inhaler and give it a shake. Next insert it into the chamber opening at the back and apply the mask to your dog’s face over his nose and mouth. If your dog is large, it can be inserted over his nose, and his muzzle gently held shut. Finally, press the inhaler to release a puff into the chamber, and watch the vent inhalation indicator to ensure your dog is breathing in the medication, not holding his breath. Approximately five or six breaths are enough to ensure your dog has inhaled the full dose.

Always follow your veterinarian’s guidance when it comes to dosages and frequency. If your vet has also prescribed a bronchodilator inhaler, such as albuterol, this should be given beforehand to open up the airways, ensuring the fluticasone reaches deep within the lungs.

After use, the Flovent inhaler should be stored upright, with the mouthpiece at the bottom, between 36°F – 86°F. Ensure it is also kept out of direct sunlight.

Is the Flovent Inhaler Safe for Dogs?

Since the Flovent inhaler is ‘off label’ for use in dogs, there have not been many studies investigating side effects. However, in humans, it has been reported to sometimes cause throat irritation and potentially cause upper respiratory tract infections.

In addition to this, the use of steroid anti-inflammatories has been associated with side effects such as increased thirst, increased urination, a change in appetite, weight gain, and skin and coat changes. These side effects are unlikely to occur with the use of the Flovent inhaler as the fluticasone is deposited directly in the lungs. This means very little makes its way into the bloodstream. However, if you notice any unusual side effects, contact your veterinarian.

Which Dogs Should Not Use the Flovent Inhaler?

The Flovent inhaler should not be used if your dog has a known hypersensitivity to fluticasone, or if your dog is pregnant or is lactating.

It should also never be used unless under the direct guidance of your veterinarian.

In addition to this, you should discuss any other medications, including supplements, herbs and over-the-counter drugs which your pet is taking to ensure there are no interactions.

Take-Home Message

The Flovent inhaler is an effective solution for the targeted treatment of chronic inflammatory airway diseases of dogs. Even though it is off label, it is considered safe and well tolerated, as long as it is used as directed by your veterinarian.

If your pet needs a Flovent inhaler, for which your veterinarian has provided a prescription, you can order them from Canada Pharmacy Online. We are a certified and trusted online pharmacy, which provides high quality medications at competitive and affordable prices.

References

Bexfield NH, Foale RD, Davison LJ, Watson PJ, Skelly BJ, Herrtage ME. Management of 13 cases of canine respiratory disease using inhaled corticosteroids. J Small Anim Pract. 2006 Jul;47(7):377-82. doi: 10.1111/j.1748-5827.2006.00028.x. PMID: 16842273. Available at: https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/16842273/

Trudell Animal Health AeroDawg Information Sheet. https://www.trudellanimalhealth.com/sites/default/files/documents/AeroDawg-Dosing-Sheet-EN.pdf

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Dr Jo de Klerk is a veterinarian and a writer. She works with all species and enjoys writing articles for websites and journals. In her spare time she likes to horse ride and spend time with her young family.


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