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al-BYOO-teh-ral - Pronunciation guide

Brand Names

  • Albuterol Sulfate Syrup
  • ProAir Albuterol Inhalant
  • Proventil
  • Ventolin
  • Volmax


Rx symbolAlbuterol is used to treat wheezing and shortness of breath (bronchospasms) associated with recurrent airway obstruction. Albuterol works by relaxing the muscles of the airway to improve breathing.

Recurrent airway obstruction, commonly known as heaves, results from environmental sensitivity to dust and other airborne particles (molds, pollen, mites). Exposure to these particles causes persistent airway inflammation. Treatment of heaves includes improving the environmental conditions (e.g. ventilating barn, wetting hay prior to feeding, reducing dust), along with using medications to reduce the inflammation that results from the conditions.


Albuterol is available for both oral and inhaled use. For equines, inhalation usage targets the lungs and airways most effectively and avoids the side effects that occur with therapeutic doses given orally. Bronchodilation achieved by use of aerosolized albuterol lasts between 30 minutes and 3 hours.

Albuterol is also used in foals or horses that are experiencing respiratory distress.

Albuterol is used by some veterinarians as a tocolytic agent to suppress uterine contractions when premature labor appears to be imminent.

Dosage and Administration

Prescription medicationAlbuterol
Method Dosage
(click row for calculator)
Concentration Period Duration
Oral Syrup1 0.05 mg/kg 0.4 mg/ml Episode NA
Inhalation2 0.36-0.9 mg 0.09 mg/inhalation Episode NA


  • Federal law restricts this drug to use by or on the order of a licensed veterinarian.
  • 1Efficacy of oral form for horse use has not been established.
  • 2Use with Aeromask for accurate administration
  • This drug is not approved for use in horses but may be prescribed for extra-label use.
  • Calculator is for educational purposes only. Follow your veterinarian's instructions regarding use of this, or any medication.

Side Effects

Side effects include increased heart rate, excitement, trembling, and sweating. Colic may result from a slowing of the gastrointestinal tract. Side effects are dose-related.


Albuterol has been shown to pass the placenta barrier and may cause birth defects if given in high dosages. Before administering to pregnant mares, owners should consider the potential harm and determine whether the benefits outweigh the risks.

Albuterol is not FDA-approved for use in equines, but is often used and is considered an accepted practice. Albuterol should be used only under the direct supervision of a veterinarian. Accurate administration of Albuterol requires devices that are designed to administer inhaled drugs to the horse. These devices typically accept metered Albuterol canisters that are used by asthmatics. See "Equine AeroMask," "Equine Haler," and "3-M Equine Inhaler" for more information.

Albuterol is prohibited or regulated in most sanctioned competitions. It is important to check with the particular regulatory group.


Do not use Albuterol along with other drugs that are bronchodilators.

Albuteral should not be administered to horses that are being treated for cardiac conditions.


Overdose symptoms include extremely fast heart rate, overexcitement, and tremors. If these symptoms occur, immediately discontinue use of Albuterol, and administer appropriate symptomatic therapy.


Albuterol SyrupAlbuterol Syrup

ProAir Albuterol Inhalant ProAir Albuterol Inhalant

About the Author

EquiMed Staff

EquiMed staff writers team up to provide articles that require periodic updates based on evolving methods of equine healthcare. Compendia articles, core healthcare topics and more are written and updated as a group effort. Our review process includes an important veterinarian review, helping to assure the content is consistent with the latest understanding from a medical professional.