Terbutaline is a β2-adrenergic receptor agonist which acts to block smooth muscle activity in the dog.
It is frequently used for human sufferers of asthma.
This drug is acts as a tocolytic (postpones uterine contractions during labor) as well as a fast-acting bronchodilator, causing relaxation of proximal and distal airways, similar in effect to aminophylline and diltiazem, but whose mechanism of action differs.
In dogs it is indicated for respiratory distress syndrome where it may improve symptoms in acute lung injury by recruiting damaged pulmonary capillaries, leading to increased lung endothelial permeability..
Toxicosis has been reported in dogs from overdoses or accidental ingestion and symptoms include lethargy, tachycardia, tachypnea, and muscle tremors.
These effects can be mitigated by propranolol.
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- Gustafson BW (1994) Terbutaline toxicosis in a dog. J Am Vet Med Assoc 204(12):1922-1923