Metoclopramide for Dogs: What You Need to Know

Metoclopramide for Dogs

Metoclopramide for Dogs: Metoclopramide is a medication used to treat nausea, vomiting, and acid reflux in dogs. It works by speeding up the emptying of the stomach and increasing the tone of the valve that connects the esophagus to the stomach.

Metoclopramide for Dogs

How Does It Work?

When given to dogs, metoclopramide activates dopamine receptors in the digestive tract that stimulate stomach emptying and intestinal movement. It also tightens the lower esophageal sphincter, the valve between the esophagus and stomach, which helps prevent acid reflux. These effects make metoclopramide useful for treating nausea, vomiting, and acid reflux in dogs.

What Conditions Does It Treat?

Veterinarians often prescribe metoclopramide to relieve symptoms like nausea, vomiting, and acid reflux in dogs. It is frequently used to control vomiting from infections, pancreatitis, kidney disease, liver disease, motion sickness, and as a side effect of chemotherapy. Metoclopramide can also be used short-term to stimulate appetite when a dog is recovering from an illness.

How Is It Administered?

Metoclopramide comes as an injectable solution and as tablets and syrups that dogs take by mouth. For most conditions, the typical dosage is 0.1 to 0.5 mg per pound of body weight, given 2-3 times a day. The specific dosage and frequency depend on the severity of symptoms and your dog’s response to treatment.

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When given by injection, metoclopramide starts working within 15 minutes, but effects only last 4 to 6 hours. Oral forms take 30-60 minutes to start working but last 6 to 12 hours. Metoclopramide should only be used short-term, as longer use can lead to side effects. Always follow your vet’s dosage instructions carefully and watch your dog for any negative reactions.

Uses of Metoclopramide for Dogs

Metoclopramide is commonly used in dogs for various gastrointestinal issues. It works by speeding up the movement of the intestines which helps with emptying of the stomach and improving motility.

Reduces nausea and vomiting

One of the most common uses of metoclopramide for dogs is to control nausea and vomiting. It works by blocking dopamine receptors in the brain that trigger vomiting and the feeling of nausea. Metoclopramide is often used to reduce vomiting in dogs after surgery or due to other medications. It can also help dogs with chronic nausea from liver or kidney disease.

Improves gastrointestinal motility

Metoclopramide stimulates the upper gastrointestinal tract and speeds up the movement of food through the intestines. This can help with conditions like constipation or when food is moving too slowly through the gut (known as gastrointestinal stasis). By improving gut motility, metoclopramide can get the intestines functioning properly again and stimulate the urge to defecate.

Manages acid reflux

In some dogs, metoclopramide may be used to help decrease acid reflux and esophageal inflammation. By speeding up stomach emptying, less stomach acid flows back up into the esophagus. Metoclopramide also tightens the lower esophageal sphincter which acts as a barrier between the stomach and esophagus. This helps prevent acid and stomach contents from flowing back up after eating.

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Other uses

Occasionally, metoclopramide is used for other issues like stimulating milk letdown in nursing dogs or improving appetite. However, these are considered off-label uses of the medication. As with any drug, you should only give metoclopramide to your dog under the guidance of a veterinarian and according to the prescribed dosage and frequency. Carefully monitor your dog for any side effects to ensure their safety and comfort.

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Potential Side Effects of Metoclopramide in Dogs

While metoclopramide is generally safe for most dogs, some may experience side effects. It’s important to monitor your dog closely after starting this medication and report any unusual symptoms to your vet right away.

Sedation and Lethargy

Metoclopramide can cause drowsiness, sedation and lethargy in some dogs. Your dog may seem more tired or less energetic and alert. Although usually mild, these effects can potentially interfere with daily activities or mobility. If your dog seems excessively sedate or lethargic, contact your vet.

Gastrointestinal Upset

Unfortunately, the very symptoms metoclopramide is meant to treat can sometimes be side effects. Your dog may experience nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, cramping or loss of appetite. While temporary, these issues should be reported to your vet if severe or persistent. An adjustment in dosage or switch to an alternative medication may be needed.

Movement Disorders

In rare cases, metoclopramide can cause temporary movement problems in dogs such as tremors, twitching, muscle spasms or restlessness. Although alarming, these effects are typically reversible once the medication is stopped or the dosage is lowered under veterinary supervision. However,

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Hormonal Changes

Metoclopramide may lead to increases in the hormone prolactin, which can have effects such as nipple enlargement or milk production in male and female dogs. Although harmless, these changes usually resolve once the medication is discontinued. Your vet can advise whether prolactin monitoring or dosage adjustments are needed.

When used properly under veterinary guidance, metoclopramide is generally a very safe medication for controlling nausea and improving digestion in dogs. However, attentive monitoring for potential side effects, especially when first starting treatment, can help ensure your dog’s comfort and health. Be sure to report any unusual symptoms or concerns to your vet right away.