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J Vet Intern Med. 1991 Jul-Aug;5(4):211-8.

Pharmacology of furosemide in the horse: a review.

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Department of Veterinary Physiology and Pharmacology, College of Veterinary Medicine, Ohio State University, Columbus 43210.


Furosemide, a diuretic, is frequently administered to horses for the prophylaxis of exercise-induced pulmonary hemorrhage and the treatment of a number of clinical conditions, including acute renal failure and congestive heart failure. Furosemide increases the rate of urinary sodium, chloride, and hydrogen ion excretion. Plasma potassium concentration decreases after furosemide administration but urinary potassium excretion in horses is minimally affected. Renal blood flow increases after furosemide administration. Systemically, furosemide increases venous compliance and decreases right atrial pressure, pulmonary artery pressure, pulmonary artery wedge pressure, and pulmonary blood volume. The systemic hemodynamic effects of furosemide are only manifest in the presence of a functional kidney, but can occur in the absence of diuresis, emphasizing the importance of the renal-dependent extra-renal effects of furosemide. The renal and systemic hemodynamic effects of furosemide are modified by prior administration of nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs. Furosemide administration attenuates exercise-induced increases in right atrial, aortic, and pulmonary artery pressures in ponies. Furosemide prevents exercise and allergen-induced bronchoconstriction in humans and decreases total pulmonary resistance in ponies with recurrent obstructive airway disease. These pharmacologic effects are frequently used to rationalize its questionable efficacy in the prevention of exercise-induced pulmonary hemorrhage. Neither the effect of furosemide on athletic performance nor its efficacy in the prevention of exercise-induced pulmonary hemorrhage has been convincingly demonstrated.

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