Sotalol for Dogs and Cats

Molly Price, DVM
By Molly Price, DVM on Sep. 11, 2023
dog checking heart of a dog in the office

In This Article


PetMD’s medications content was written and reviewed by veterinary professionals to answer your most common questions about how medications function, their side effects, and what species they are prescribed for. This content shouldn’t take the place of advice from your vet.

What Is Sotalol?

Sotalol is a prescription heart medication used in dogs, cats, and horses to treat a dangerously fast heartbeat caused by an abnormal heart rhythm (arrhythmia).

After your veterinarian determines the type of your pet’s arrhythmia, either involving the two upper chambers (atrial fibrillation) or the two lower chambers (ventricular tachycardia) of the heart, and identifies the underlying cause of the heart problem, they will start treatment to help convert your pet’s heart rate back to a normal rhythm. Sotalol can be used as a solo medication, but it is more often used in combination with other medications.

Sotalol is FDA-approved for human use under the brand name tablet Betapace®, as generic sotalol, and as Sotylize® oral liquid. Sotalol is currently not FDA approved as a veterinary medication. However, it is readily utilized in the veterinary field, and veterinarians can legally prescribe certain human drugs for use in animals in certain circumstances. This is called extra-label or off-label use because this use isn’t described on the drug label. Your veterinarian will determine whether this medication is right for your animal.

In certain circumstances, your vet may recommend a compounded formulation of sotalol. Compounded medications are prescribed if there’s a specific reason your pet’s health can’t be managed by an FDA-approved drug, such as if your pet has trouble taking pills in capsule form, the dosage strength is not commercially available, or the pet is allergic to an ingredient in the FDA-approved medication. Compounded medications are not FDA-approved. They are created by either a veterinarian or a licensed pharmacist on an individual basis to best suit a patient’s particular needs. You can learn more about compounded medications here.

Sotalol Considerations

Sotalol should not be used in pets with certain medical conditions, such as asthma, congestive heart failure (CHF), other types of abnormal heart rhythms, diabetes, hyperthyroidism, or in pets who are hypersensitive to it. Giving sotalol with certain medications can result in health risks to your pet, so it is important to discuss your pet’s medications and medical conditions with your veterinarian.

How Sotalol Works

Sotalol is a heart medication classified as an antiarrhythmic drug (potassium channel blocker) and a beta-blocker. Sotalol works by blocking potassium channels in the heart, prolonging the fraction of time the heart needs to reset its electrical activity properly. This helps prevent the abnormal rhythm from recurring. As a beta-blocker, sotalol slows the heart rate.

Sotalol Directions

Follow the directions on the drug label or as provided by your veterinarian.

Sotalol is best absorbed if given on an empty stomach.

Your veterinarian may start your pet on a low dose and then gradually increase the dose if necessary.

Missed a Dose?

Speak with your veterinarian about what to do if you forget to give a dose of sotalol. Generally, they may instruct you to give it when you remember, or if it is almost time for your pet’s next dose, to skip the missed dose and resume your normal dosing schedule. Do not give extra or double doses.

Sotalol Possible Side Effects

  • Decreased energy level (lethargy)

  • Weakness

  • Fainting

  • Loss of balance

  • Decreased appetite

  • Vomiting

Human Side Effects

Sotalol is also a prescription medication for humans, frequently with dosages that are different from those prescribed for your pet by a veterinarian. Due to possible side effects, humans should never use medicine dispensed for their pets and pets should not be given any medicine dispensed for a human’s use.

If you accidentally ingest a pet medication, call your physician or the national Poison Control Center hotline at 800-222-1222.

Call Your Vet If:

  • Severe side effects are seen (see above)

  • Your pet’s condition worsens or does not improve with treatment

  • You see or suspect an overdose

  • You have additional questions or concerns about the use of sotalol

Sotalol Overdose Information

Overdoses of sotalol can be life-threatening and require hospitalization. Symptoms of an overdose may include panting, very slow heart rate (bradycardia), vomiting, abnormally low blood pressure (hypotension), heart failure, trouble breathing, episodes of collapse, and abnormally low blood sugar (hypoglycemia).

If you suspect an overdose, immediately contact your veterinarian, seek emergency veterinary care, or call an animal poison control center. Consultation fees often apply.

Pet Poison Helpline (855) 764-7661

ASPCA Animal Poison Control (888) 426-4435

Sotalol Storage

Sotalol should generally be stored at controlled room temperatures from 68–77 F with brief exceptions of temperatures from 59–86 F permitted. Always confirm storage requirements by reading the prescription label.

Keep the container tightly closed in order to protect the medicine from moisture and light.

Keep out of reach of children and pets.

Compounded medications should be stored according to the compounding pharmacy’s label.

Sotalol for Dogs and Cats FAQs

What is sotalol used for in dogs?

Sotalol is used to treat certain types of arrythmias (abnormal heart rhythms) and rapid heart rates in dogs.

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

Sotalol should start having effects within a few hours; however, you may not see the effects of this medication outwardly. Your veterinarian may need to reassess, monitor your dog closely, and run further tests to determine if the medication is working appropriately.

How much sotalol can a dog take?

Your veterinarian will recommend and prescribe the appropriate dose for your dog depending on their individual needs, other medications they may be on, and their age, weight, and breed. Your veterinarian will need to recheck your dog while they are taking sotalol and may need to adjust the dose accordingly.

No vet writer or qualified reviewer has received any compensation from the manufacturer of the medication as part of creating this article. All content contained in this article is sourced from public sources or the manufacturer.

Featured Image:


Meurs KM, Spier AW, Wright NA, et al. Comparison of the effects of four antiarrhythmic treatments for familial ventricular arrhythmias in Boxers. Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association.  2002;221(4):522-527.



Molly Price, DVM


Molly Price, DVM


Dr. Molly Price has practiced small animal medicine for over 20 years and is a graduate of Texas A&M College of Veterinary Medicine. She...

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