Vivitonin for dogs and cats



Active ingredient



Circulatory system

What is Vivitonin?

Vivitonin is a brand name for a drug called propentofylline. It comes as a tablet and is used to improve blood flow to major organs, reducing lethargy and dullness. Your vet may suggest Vivitonin if your pet has a heart, kidney or brain disorder. Only your veterinarian will be able to provide your pet with Vivitonin.

How does Vivitonin work?

Vivitonin mainly improves blood flow by blocking a cell signalling molecule called PDE. Blocking PDE results in the widening of blood vessels, improving blood flow to major organs like the heart and brain. This allows nutrients and oxygen to reach vital organs, preserving their health or healing any damage. Improving blood flow also means that dogs can tolerate more exercise and should relieve tiredness.

What is Vivitonin prescribed for?

There are some specific conditions where your vet may prescribe Vivitonin. It may also be given to improve your pet’s overall well-being and energy levels.

Here are some of the reasons for giving Vivitonin:

  • Lethargy + dullness
  • Certain heart conditions
  • Kidney disease
  • As an airway dilator (lungs)
  • Doggy dementia (aka Canine Cognitive Dysfunction)

Vivitonin doesn’t treat the cause of these diseases, but it can be used to help treat the symptoms such as exercise intolerance and lethargy. Whilst Vivitonin improves blood flow in certain conditions, it does not completely treat the condition. Remember, Vivitonin should always be given under veterinary guidance, ensure to consult your vet so that you can do what’s best for your pet.

What are the side effects of propentofylline in dogs?

Whilst most pets tolerate Vivitonin without any serious issues, it can have side effects just like all other medications. Most of the side effects of Vivitonin are usually mild and only last for a short time.

The common side effects of Vivitonin that you should be aware of include:

  • Digestive issues – these may include vomiting, diarrhoea, or poor appetite. This occurs in less than 1 in 1000 dogs treated with Vivitonin
  • Increased drinking and urination
  • Increased heart rate – this side effect is less common.
  • Allergic reactions – this appears as itching, hives and trouble breathing, and occurs in less than 1 in 1000 animals. Stop treatment immediately if this occurs.
  • Restlessness – this is most likely to occur near the start of Vivitonin treatment.

Remember, the benefits of using Vivitonin usually outweigh these risks, especially in pets with serious health conditions. However, if you do notice any of these side effects or are worried about a change in your pet’s behaviour, get in touch with your veterinarian for more advice. They will be able to provide you with guidance and adjust the treatment plan if necessary. This will help to ensure your pet’s safety and put your mind at ease. 

Which pets is Vivitonin not suitable for?

Whilst Vivitonin is suitable for most dogs, there are a few scenarios where Vivitonin should be used with caution and where it should be avoided altogether. Your vet will be happy to discuss the alternative options with you in these situations.

  • Vivitonin should not be used in pregnant, breeding, or lactating dogs
  • Vivitonin should be used with caution in dogs with epilepsy or who have had recent seizures.
  • Vivitonin should be used with caution in dogs with severe bleeding disorders or those on anti-coagulation medication.
  • Vivtonin should not be used in dogs with severe heart, liver, or kidney disease
  • Vivitonin should be used with caution in dogs with kidney failure, a reduced dose is recommended.

How to give Vivitonin safely:

  1. Follow vet instructions: Always use Vivitonin exactly as your vet has prescribed. This includes the right dose and frequency. Never adjust the dose on your own, even if your dog seems to be feeling better or worse. If you aren’t sure of the dose prescribed, please call your vet to confirm.
  2. Tablet form: Vivitonin tablets can be given directly into your dog’s mouth or can be hidden in a piece of food such as a strawberry or some cream cheese. If you are struggling to give your dog their tablets, it may be worth considering a different treatment.
  3. Give 30 minutes before feeding: Vivitonin should be given on an empty stomach, at least 30 minutes before their food
  4. Check with your vet if giving anything else: Your vet should be aware of other drugs your pet is on, but it’s always worth double-checking in case there’s been a miscommunication somewhere. If your dog is on supplements or non-prescription treatments you should also tell your vet when they prescribe Vivitonin, as they may not be suitable to be given together.
  5. Storage and Handling: Do not store Vivitonin above 25oC. Store in a dry place. Keep blister packs in the outer packet and make sure it’s out of reach of children and other pets. Wash hands after use.
  6. Report any accidental overdose to your vet immediately: If you have mistakenly given too much Vivitonin, report it to your vet as soon as you realise the error. They may recommend monitoring, a check-over, or symptomatic treatment for symptoms of overdose.

Vivitonin alternatives:

Unfortunately, there are only tablet formulations available of propentofylline in the UK. If you are struggling to get your dog to take their tablets every day, you may need to try a different drug with a different formulation to improve your pet’s blood flow. For example, chewable tablets are sometimes more appealing to dogs.

If your pet has experienced side effects or you don’t think Vivitonin is working well, your vet may try other drugs to help treat their condition. The alternative options for Vivitonin will depend on what it has been given to help treat.

Other drugs used to treat heart conditions:

Other treatments used in canine cognitive dysfunction:

  • Selegiline (Selgian)
  • Dietary supplements e.g. omega-3 fatty acids
  • Brain training games and regular exercise

Treatments used to improve overall well-being and health:

  • A healthy and balanced diet
  • Dietary supplements or Nutraceuticals (nutramind)
  • Regular exercise

Make sure you go back to your vet to discuss other options. They will help you decide what is the next best thing for your pet to keep them happy and comfortable.

How much monitoring do pets need on Vivitonin?

  • Low


    Dogs on Vivitonin don’t need much medication-related monitoring

Dogs on Vivitonin won’t need lots of monitoring, but their condition may do. For example, dogs with cognitive dysfunction (doggy dementia) won’t need much in the way of blood tests while on Vivitonin, but dogs who are taking it for heart problems may need tests to keep an eye on their condition.

What does Vivitonin cost?

  • pound

    ££ – Moderately Expensive

    Vivitonin is moderately expensive, costing £15-50 per month

Vivitonin for dogs is moderately expensive. When purchased online, Vivitonin costs approximately £10-40 per month (depending on the size of your dog), plus the prescription charge from your vet. When purchased from your vet, Vivitonin costs £15-60 per month depending on your region and the size of your pet.

Vivitonin FAQs

What is Vivitonin prescribed for?

Vivitonin is prescribed to improve blood flow in certain conditions and to improve overall demeanour in dogs. Vivitonin is commonly prescribed for canine cognitive dysfunction disorder (CCDD), which is like Alzheimer’s.. Other conditions include chronic kidney disease and ischemic heart disease (reduced blood flow to heart muscle).

How does Vivitonin work?

Vivitonin works by inhibiting a molecule called PDE. Blocking PDE leads to the dilation of blood vessels, improving blood flow to vital organs. Increasing blood flow to organs provides cells with oxygen and nutrients, which promotes healing and normal function.

How long does it take for Vivitonin to work in dogs?

The time it takes for Vivitonin to work in dogs can vary. It depends on the reason for prescribing Vivitonin, your dog’s response to the treatment and the severity of your dog’s condition. Vivitonin tends to be given alongside other drugs. These other drugs will influence how quickly your dog appears to get better. Vivitonin is commonly given to treat canine Alzheimer’s. An improvement is typically seen after the first few weeks of treatment, though for some dogs it may take months.

Should you give Vivitonin before or after food?

It is best to give Vivitonin with a meal. This will reduce the chance of any digestive upset such as vomiting. Putting the tablet in food should also help tempt your dog to eat the tablet. If your dog is still experiencing digestive issues or will not take their tablets, speak to your vet about the alternatives.

Is Vivitonin prescription-only?

Yes, Vivitonin is a prescription-only drug. This means you will only be able to get this drug with a prescription from your vet. You will not be able to buy this drug over a non-veterinary counter.

Vivitonin Datasheet

All drugs have a manufacturer’s datasheet, which gives information about the drug’s use and possible side effects. There is usually one in your Metacam box, but if you have lost it you can click on the button below to be taken on an online version.

Courses related to Vivitonin

If your dog or cat is on Vivitonin, you might be interested in learning more about their condition with our interactive, vet-written courses. Each one of our courses has been carefully written by qualified vets and e-learning specialists, and you have access to it – including all updates – for the rest of your pets’ life.

Please note that the information contained herein is provided for informational purposes only. Although it has been written by a vet, we cannot consider the individual nature of your pet’s problems so it does not constitute veterinary advice. If you have questions about your pet’s medication or their health you should contact a vet, who will be able to help.