Viagra used to treat heart ailments in pets - Action News 5 - Memphis, Tennessee

Viagra used to treat heart ailments in pets

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CLEVELAND, OH -

CLEVELAND, OH (WOIO/WMC-TV) - Could a famous blue pill made for man work for man's best friend?

Surprisingly, Viagra is used to ailments other than the main thing it is known for, including now, heart problems in dogs.

Take, for instance, 14-year-old Duchess.  Like Most Airdale Terriers, she is fun, playful, and loves her treats.  Except the treat she gets is Viagra - specifically, a beef flavored, liquid version of the familiar blue pill.

"My initial thought was, 'How is that going to help our dog?'" said Duchess' owner, Lauren Blanchard.

But Blanchard says the medicine saved her dog's life.

"She had fluid in her built up everywhere, her heart was failing and the doctor told us it was Pulmonary hypertension," Blanchard said.

Veterinarian Lorie Hitchcock has used Viagra to treat dogs suffering from pulmonary hypertension for years.  The drug stabilizes blood pressure.

Sometimes, she said, pet owners even want the drug for themselves…for other reasons.

"I actually had an owner when we prescribed Viagra for the pet go and talk to the doctor about getting a prescription so they could put it on their prescription plan," she said.

But for Duchess, Viagra is a lifesaver.

"Anything to save her," Blanchard said. "We would do anything."

Vets say Viagra can also be used to treat heartworms in dogs.  And although it does not have the same side effects in our pets, even humans have been treated for pulmonary hypertension using the drug.

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