Butophanol Tartrate, or Tobutrol, is a safe and effective medication for pain control in dogs. It is also commonly used in combination with other drugs as a pre-anesthetic agent. Since Torbutrol has a narcotic base (it is an opiod antagonist), it is a controlled substance that requires a current DVM license and DEA number to prescribe. Alternate uses include cough suppression.
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Torbutrol is the trade name for the veterinary preparation of Butorphanol Tartrate created by Fort Dodge. It has been proven a safe and effective means of controlling pain in dogs for short periods of time, much like morphine and other opiate-based pain medications in humans. Torbutrol is most often used to control pain in animals postoperatively or in certain trauma conditions where quick-acting, short duration pain control is needed.
Because the drug is a narcotic pain killer, it has been classified by the DEA as a controlled substance and requires a licensed veterinarian with a valid DEA number to prescribe and/or administer it. Strict rules govern the use of the drug and the documentation process. Storage is required to use the drug in a veterinary practice.
Though Torbutrol is considered safe and has been approved by the FDA for the use in dogs, there are potential side effects with its use, including severe allergic reaction in overly sensitive dogs that can be life-threatening. Torbutrol should be used with caution in animals with kidney impairment as it is difficult for the animal to metabolise the drug and eliminate it. Torbutrol further should not be used in animals with head trauma or nervous system dysfunction. Torbutrol can cause an unsafe drop in blood pressure, so careful monitoring is a must. Common, less severe side effects include sedation, lack of appetite and diarrhoea.
Torbutrol can either be administered via injection or orally, depending on the underlying cause. If given via injection, there is normally a burning sensation associated with the medication, which can be quite painful.
Animals receiving Torbutrol can build up a tolerance to the medication quickly, reducing its ability to control pain and making it an unsuitable choice for long-term chronic pain relief. Animals should only be given Torbutrol for pain relief for a maximum of 12 to 24 hours before another, longer-term pain control medication is substituted.
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