Albuterol Sulfate

(salbutamol sulfate)


Nebulization: Airet, Albuterol, Salbutamol, Proventil, Ventolin

Oral: Liquid Ventolin (salbutamol sulfate)


  • Inhalation capsule: 200 mcg
  • Inhalation solution: 0.083%, and 0.5% *Note: Unit-dose plastic vial containing Albuterol Sulfate Inhalation Solution 0.083%, contains 2.5 mg/3mL of normal saline. Equivalent to 0.5 mL of the 0.5% albuterol diluted in 3mL of normal saline.
  • Oral syrup: 2 mg/5mL


A sympathomimetic, beta2 agonist, bronchodilator that stimulates cyclic AMP production through activation of adenyl cyclase. It relaxes bronchial, uterine and vascular smooth muscle, alleviating bronchospasm.

Albuterol possesses minimal influence on beta1 receptors of the heart.

It is rapidly absorbed, does not cross blood brain barrier; but does cross placental barrier. Unless benefit outweighs risk avoid using in pregnant rats. While studies indicate that normal therapeutic dosing, in rats, has not shown to be teratogenic, some studies do indicate the drug has been shown to be teratogenic in mice when administered at high doses.

The effects of albuterol may last 3-6 hours after inhalation therapy.

Albuterol as an aerosol is excreted in urine.


Used in rats to reduce bronchospasm. Also used in inflammatory respiratory diseases such as pneumonia and mycoplasmosis-related chronic obstructive respiratory disease.

Drug Interactions or Contraindications

  • Albuterol should be used with caution when diabetes, cardiac disease, and seizure disorders are present.
  • In very large doses the drug has been shown to be teratogenic in mice and should only be used in pregnant animals where the benefit outweighs the risk.
  • Beta-blockers may antagonize the actions of albuterol.
  • MAOI’s may potentiate the vascular effects as well as tricyclic antidepressants.
  • When used with digoxin may increase the risk of cardiac arrhythmias.

Adverse Reactions

CV: increased heart rate (tachycardia), arrhythmias

CNS: restlessness, agitation, tremors

Dosage Recommendations

Inhalation Dosing

Nebulize:  0.2mL of 0.5% albuterol in 2mL of saline. Decrease the dosage to 0.1 mL albuterol in 2ml saline for a rat under 250 grams, or in elderly rats where lung damage and/or heart conditions may pose a greater risk to increase side effects, is recommended.
Reference RMCA article:The Use of Albuterol Treatments in rats. Dosing is empirical and based on dosage calculation used in premature human infants.
Frequency of treatment recommendation: three times a day and decreasing the number of treatments per day as the rat improves. Extend treatments for two days after breathing is normal. Please discuss all dosage calculations with veterinarian prior to any treatment.


100 mcg (100 microgram = 0.1 mg)/per animal, q4hr to q6hr. 42. Use of small chamber recommended.

Oral Dosing

For oral dosing of the 2 mg/5ml Liquid Ventolin: 0.1 mg/kg, PO, TID (three times per day or every 6 hours). Dosing based on children 2-6 years. Use has been 0.1 mL (0.04mg) three times a day for rats weighing 400 gm. to 700 gm. 12

Albuterol in Treatment Regimen

The following is a dosage recommendation by Dr. Michael Hutchinson, DVM; Animal General, Cranberry Township, PA. 18, for the use of Albuterol along with gentocin by nebulization in a treatment regimen for chronic and repeated respiratory infection, and serious to advanced lung infection not responding to enrofloxacin and doxycycline alone:

Nebulize 15 minutes, 2-3 times a day, for 14 days with the following mixture:

8 mL sterile saline
0.5 mL gentocin injectable 100 mg/mL
0.5 mL Albuterol 0.083% Inhalation

*Note: excess mixture for nebulization can be refrigerated for up to 3 days.

For complete treatment regimen recommended by Dr. Hutchinson see articles Mycoplasma or Pneumonia in the Health section of the Rat Guide. Also see individual monographs for more information on the above drugs in the Medication section of the Rat Guide.

See Fig. 3: of First Aid Supplies in the Health section of the Rat Guide and in The Medical Corner of the RMCA site for information on nebulizer use and set up.

See Nursing Care section in articles Mycoplasma or Pneumonia for information on type of nebulizer and where to purchase.


  • Use recommended nebulizers with a particle size of 0.5-5 micrometer when nebulizing bronchodilators, mucolytics or antimicrobials in rats. Nebulizers with a larger particle size that are used for humans or small animals will not be as effective in delivering the medication to the rat.
  • Store medication at room temperature and away from moisture.


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