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Overview of Systemic Pharmacotherapeutics of the Muscular System in Animals


Patricia M. Dowling

, DVM, MSc, DACVIM, DACVCP, Veterinary Clinical Pharmacology, Western College of Veterinary Medicine, University of Saskatchewan

Last full review/revision Jun 2021 | Content last modified Jun 2021

Drugs that affect skeletal muscle function can be divided into several therapeutic categories. Some are used during surgical procedures to produce paralysis (neuromuscular blocking agents); others reduce spasticity (skeletal muscle relaxants) associated with various neurologic and musculoskeletal conditions. In addition, several therapeutic agents influence metabolic and other processes in skeletal muscle, including the nutrients required for normal muscle function used to prevent or mitigate degenerative muscular conditions (eg, selenium and vitamin E to prevent or treat muscular dystrophies such as nutritional myodegeneration ). Anabolic steroids, corticosteroids, NSAIDs, and various other anti-inflammatory agents (eg, dimethyl sulfoxide) are also used to treat acute and chronic conditions involving skeletal muscle.

The clinical pharmacology of the neuromuscular blocking agents, skeletal muscle relaxants, and anabolic steroids are discussed next. (Also see anti-inflammatory agents.)

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Systemic Pharmacotherapeutics of the Cardiovascular System
Dogs and cats with left-side congestive heart failure (CHF) can develop respiratory distress due to pulmonary edema. Which of the following intravenous diuretics is the most appropriate treatment for life-threatening pulmonary edema caused by CHF?
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