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Uses and Side Effects of Metoclopramide for Dogs

Uses and Side Effects of Metoclopramide for Dogs

In dogs, metoclopramide induces motility in the gastrointestinal tract, which works to resolve issues such as delayed emptying of the stomach. This helps in keeping nausea and vomiting at bay. This DogAppy post provides more information on the uses and side effects of metoclopramide.
DogAppy Staff
Did You Know?
Dogs suffering from perforation, obstruction, or bleeding of the gastrointestinal tract are deemed unfit for treatment with metoclopramide.
Metoclopramide is essentially an anti-vomiting drug and commonly administered to prevent nausea and vomiting, commonly associated with gastrointestinal disorders in dogs. Delay in stomach emptying is a prominent feature in digestion problems, which often leads to nausea. This drug corrects this problem, as it is formulated to speed up the movement of food through the stomach and the intestines.
It is observed that the brain chemical dopamine activates the vomiting center of the brain, which triggers nauseating feelings, eventually leading to vomiting. However, metoclopramide, which is essentially a dopamine antagonist, does not allow dopamine to bind with its receptors that are present in the vomiting center. As a result, the vomiting center does not get stimulated, which works to prevent vomiting.
Uses
  • Digestion problems, such as GERD, that cause feeling of nausea can also be treated with this medication. Metoclopramide tends to elevate the sphincter pressure, which does not allow stomach acids to access the esophagus and cause nausea.
  • The medication is often used to treat medical conditions, like gastritis, that are often marked by impaired intestinal motility. Metoclopramide improves the motility of the gastrointestinal tract, which helps facilitate movement of ingested food and relieves vomiting.
  • Metoclopramide increases the rate at which the contents of the stomach empty into the intestine. The drug essentially increases muscle contractions of the stomach, which ensures that the food passes quickly from the gastrointestinal tract. This works in managing symptoms of nausea and vomiting effectively.
  • Ileus (loss of bowel motility) in dogs that typically occur after gastrointestinal surgery often causes episodes of vomiting. This too can be treated with this medication. Dogs put on chemotherapy or those suffering from kidney failure or hepatitis may also be given metoclopramide to reduce nausea and vomiting.
Dosage
Dosage will vary depending on the weight of the dog. Usually, 0.1 to 0.2 mg of metoclopramide is administered for every pound of dog's weight. It is sold in 5 mg and 10 mg strength tablets. The medicine is given half an hour before your pet's meal time so that the dose starts working as the food is ingested. The medicine is generally administered through the mouth, and the dose may be repeated every 6 to 8 hours depending on the severity of the condition. However, in severe cases, where oral administration is not possible, it may be administered subcutaneously or intravenously for faster results.
Side Effects
Metoclopramide can affect the central nervous system, which means it can either depress or stimulate the CNS, which can make the dog sleepy, drowsy, or hyperactive. As a dog owner, you may notice unpleasant behavior, such as aggression, in your pet. The medication can also interfere with normal bowel function, which can cause diarrhea or make the dog feel constipated.
An allergic reaction from metoclopramide, though rare, can cause swelling of the face, tongue, induce rash, vomiting, sudden onset of loose stools, seizures, excessive scratching, breathing problems, and even loss of consciousness. These are serious side effects and require immediate consultation with a veterinarian.
A point to note here is that metoclopramide is an extra-label drug in dogs, meaning it is not formulated for veterinary use. However, its safety and efficacy on pets is assured; hence, vets do not hesitate to prescribe metoclopramide for gastrointestinal problems in dogs.
Disclaimer: The information provided in this article is solely for educating the reader. It is not intended to be a substitute for the advice of a veterinarian.