Side Effects of Metoclopramide for Dogs

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When your dog has an upset stomach, you’ll do whatever you can to comfort him – after all, pets aren’t just companions, but furry family members! There may be moments where you might be tempted to reach into the medicine cabinet and give him something formulated for humans – but think twice before doing so. There are a host of reasons why medications for people may be dangerous for your four-legged friend, including possible adverse side-effects, interactions with other medications they’re taking, an intolerance to certain forms of drugs, and preexisting health conditions, to name a few.

If your pooch is showing signs of illness, it’s always best to seek the professional advice of your trusted veterinarian or animal hospital. This article will discuss the side-effects of Metoclopramide in the event your vet prescribes it for your dog’s digestive issues.

Understanding The Medication: What Is Metoclopramide?

Metoclopramide is a drug used primarily for the human treatment of stomach and esophageal problems. Defined as an upper gastrointestinal tract motility stimulant and an antiemetic, Metoclopramide is also recognized as a receptor antagonist in medical terminology, acting as a blocking agent in the central nervous system and thus preventing nausea and vomiting triggered by most stimuli.

Commonly prescribed to treat and prevent vomiting and nausea, it is also used to assist patients with emptying of the stomach (in humans with delayed stomach emptying conditions), and administered to individuals with gastroesophageal reflux disease. Additionally, it is used to relieve the symptoms of migraine headache sufferers. Metoclopramide is recognized under several name brands, including Maxolon®, Octamide® and Reglan®.

In the instance of dogs and cats, Metoclopramide is often prescribed by vets to prevent vomiting, nausea, and esophageal reflux, wherein stomach acid backs up into the throat. Your vet may also recommend this drug to help move food and hairballs from your pet’s stomach into the intestines. In addition, it is utilized during cancer chemotherapy treatments to prevent vomiting in dogs and other side effects. This medication may be administered by injection at your veterinary clinic, or given by mouth as a tablet or oral solution, depending on what your vet deems most suitable for your dog.

How Can Metoclopramide Help My Dog?

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Metoclopramide is frequently used by vets to treat the symptoms of gastrointestinal disorders in dogs, including vomiting, nausea, and reflux disease. In the instance of your dog’s indigestion, it is often a case of a reduction in motility (movement) in the stomach, which results in nausea and bloating in dogs. This is because the food is pooling in your dog’s stomach, making him feel sick and sometimes leading to stomach acid backing up into his esophagus.

Treating your dog with Metoclopramide normalizes stomach contractions, allowing bile and food to pass in the proper direction and alleviating your dog’s symptoms. It can also strengthen the muscles of your dog’s upper gastrointestinal tract and the esophagus. Added benefits of this medication include its ability to cross a biochemical blood-brain barrier, which can prevent nausea and vomiting by acting directly on the brain. As in the instance of any medication, you should only give Metoclopramide to your dog with a prescription from your vet.

As mentioned, Metoclopramide is used to treat a broad array of gastric motility disorders and the nausea and vomiting associated with these conditions, including:

  • Ileus and Gastritis
  • GI Emptying Disorders / Abnormal Gastric Emptying
  • Renal Failure
  • Acute Hepatic Failure
  • Hepatitis
  • Cancer in Dogs

Upon completion of your dog’s examination, your vet may prescribe Metoclopramide for a variety of reasons, which might include:

  • Prevention of nausea and vomiting
  • Moving a build-up of food from the stomach into the intestines
  • Prevention of esophageal reflux (i.e., stomach acid backing up into your dog’s esophagus)
  • Administration after surgery or during cancer chemotherapy to prevent vomiting/nausea

Ask Your Vet: Is Metoclopramide An Appropriate Treatment For Your Dog?

Metoclopramide is frequently prescribed in the veterinary practice to help with the passage of food through your dog’s upper digestive tract, and as discussed earlier, may be safely used to treat disorders such as acid reflux and esophageal reflux diseases. Primarily administered as an anti-vomiting drug, it helps to reduce delayed gastric emptying in otherwise healthy pets that have a chronic vomiting problem. Chronic vomiting of this type usually occurs in the mornings, and is characterized by a small amount of bile that is yellow in color.

Recognized as a central antiemetic, the medication is well-absorbed orally and excreted primarily in your dog’s urine. Because it penetrates the central nervous system (CNS), it acts quite rapidly and is short-acting, so it is generally administered several times a day. Your vet will provide you with specific medication guide with instructions which must be followed exactly as prescribed, including proper dosage. Typically, your vet will instruct you to give Metoclopramide to your dog orally (in table form) with plenty of water, and should only be given to the pet for whom it was prescribed – never give prescription meds to other pets in your household.

Did You Know…

It should be noted that Metoclopramide is only prescribed to treat secondary symptoms that accompany a health condition or disease, and will not cure the underlying cause of the vomiting. It is therefore critical to schedule an appointment with your vet or pet clinic in the event that your dog is experiencing chronic nausea, vomiting, or other symptoms indicating digestive disturbance, as only a professional physician can properly diagnose and treat your dog’s illness.

What Are The Side-Effects Of Metoclopramide For Dogs?

Although studies have shown that Metoclopramide is well-tolerated by most dogs, some animals may undergo certain side-effects when treated with this medication. Frequently reported side-effects of this drug include hyperactivity, muscle restlessness, or drowsiness, as well as constipation in dogs.

Some other Metoclopramide side effects that occur in dogs who have been treated with Metoclopramide include:

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There are certain adverse effects that have been observed in dogs treated with Metoclopramide, and due to the medication’s ability to cross the blood-brain barrier, some of these effects are neurological. If you notice unfavorable side-effects, be sure to consult your veterinarian, as your dog’s dosage may require an adjustment or an alternative form of therapy may be recommended.

In severe cases, dogs with a predisposition to seizures may experience seizures when taking Metoclopramide; however this should not occur in dogs who have never been diagnosed for seizure-related conditions. In any case, if you notice any of these symptoms or anything else unusual, discontinue usage a