Major Uses

Nitroglycerin is a topical, oral, and injectable venodilator that is occasionally used to treat CHF and hypertension. It is also commonly used in small animals as an adjunctive vasodilator for heart failure and cardiogenic edema.

Common Precautions

Nitroglycerin should not be used in patients with severe anemia. Caution should be exercised when treating patients with cerebral hemorrhage or head trauma, diuretic-induced hypovolemia, or other hypotensive conditions. Continuous use over a period of 48-72 hours may result in tolerance of the medication.

The most common side effects associated with nitroglycerin are the formation of a rash at the application site and orthostatic hypotension. Some animals may also experience transient headaches.

Nitroglycerin should not be used in animals with a known allergy or hypersensitivity to the drug. A veterinarian should be contacted immediately if an overdose is suspected, the symptoms of which are severe hypotension, increased intracranial pressure, vertigo, palpitations, nausea, and vomiting.


Nitroglycerin should be stored at room temperature and kept in a light resistant, childproof container. The cap should be tightly sealed to prevent leaking.


For adjunctive treatment of heart failure in dogs and cats, a typical dose of nitroglycerin is 2.5-10 mg using a 24 hour transdermal patch. If using other forms, a typical dose is 1/4 to 2 inches every 6-12 hours. For ferrets, a typical dose is 1/8 of an inch. Should a scheduled dose be forgotten, it should be administered as soon as possible. Should it almost be time for the next scheduled dose, the missed dose should be skipped and the regular dosing schedule resumed. Two doses should not be administered at the same time.

Doses may vary in different species, when the drug is given by a different route or concurrently with other medications, and with regards to a patient's age, breed, and health status. A veterinarian's dosing instructions and/or those printed on the medication label should be followed closely.

This information is for general reference only and should not be used for the diagnosis or treatment of any condition of your pet. It's intended as a general reference, this information may not include all possible uses, precautions, directions, reactions (including allergic), drug interactions, or withdrawal times. Always consult your local veterinarian and have your pet examined for any advice concerning the diagnosis and treatment of your pet, including which products and doses are most appropriate. Any trademarks are the property of their respective owners. VetDepot is not a pharmacy. All prescription products are dispensed by our Pharmacy Partner. Article last updated 2/2014.