Metoclopramide: Improving Digestive Health in Pets

Are you worried about your pet’s digestive health? Metoclopramide might be the solution you’re looking for. In this article, we will explore how this prescription medication works and how it can benefit your furry friends. Please note that while the information provided here is valuable, it is not a substitute for professional advice from your veterinarian.

What is Metoclopramide?

Metoclopramide is a prescription medication that stimulates muscle movement in the digestive system. It helps move digested food through the digestive tract and prevents esophageal reflux. Veterinarians often prescribe Metoclopramide to promote gastrointestinal muscle stimulation in dogs, cats, rabbits, other small mammals, and horses. Your veterinarian will determine if this medication is suitable for your pet.

Metoclopramide is versatile and can be used to treat vomiting, nausea, and improve gut movement after colic surgery in horses. It can also be prescribed to dogs and cats to promote milk production.

How Metoclopramide Works

Metoclopramide is classified as a prokinetic, meaning it increases peristalsis in the intestines. Peristalsis refers to the wavelike muscle movements that propel food through the digestive tract. By strengthening stomach muscle contractions and relaxing the lower stomach sphincter, Metoclopramide prevents reflux and encourages the movement of ingested food towards the intestines.

Additionally, Metoclopramide blocks dopamine, a naturally occurring chemical in the brain that can trigger nausea and vomiting. This mechanism helps prevent vomiting in pets.

Although Metoclopramide is FDA-approved for human use under the brand names Reglan® and Maxolon®, it is not currently approved as a veterinary medication. However, veterinarians can legally prescribe certain human drugs to animals in specific circumstances, known as extra-label or off-label use.

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Metoclopramide Directions

Always follow the directions on the label or as provided by your veterinarian when administering Metoclopramide to your pet. This medication is available in tablet, oral syrup, or injection form. Generally, veterinarians recommend giving the oral version on an empty stomach. However, if digestive upset occurs, it can be given with a small meal.

If your pet experiences vomiting or constipation while on this medication, inform your veterinarian.

Missed a Dose?

If you forget to give a dose of Metoclopramide, consult your veterinarian for guidance. They may advise you to give the missed dose when you remember and wait for the normal dosing interval. However, if it is almost time for the next dose, you may be instructed to skip the missed dose and resume the regular dosing schedule. Double dosing is not recommended.

Metoclopramide Possible Side Effects

The side effects of Metoclopramide can vary depending on the species. In dogs, common side effects include restlessness, hyperactivity, aggression, spasms, vocalization, lethargy, tremors, and increased urination. Cats may experience hyperactivity, disorientation, and constipation. Additional side effects that may occur in both dogs and cats include vomiting and high blood pressure.

Horses given Metoclopramide intravenously can develop severe neurological side effects, such as sedation, behavior changes, and abdominal pain.

It is crucial to note that Metoclopramide should not be used in pets with intestinal blockage or bleeding in the stomach or intestine. It is also not recommended for pets allergic to sunscreens containing PABA, pets with pheochromocytoma (a type of adrenal gland tumor), or dogs with pseudopregnancy. Before administering this medication, speak with your veterinarian if your pet has kidney or heart disease, a seizure disorder, head injury, or if they are pregnant. Inform your veterinarian about any other medications your pet is taking.

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Human Side Effects

Metoclopramide is a human prescription medication, and it can have different dosages and side effects in humans. If you accidentally ingest a medication prescribed for your pet, contact your physician or the national Poison Control Center hotline at 800-222-1222.

Monitoring and When to Contact Your Vet

Your veterinarian may recommend specific monitoring or routine testing based on your pet’s individual needs, other medications they may be taking, and the underlying condition that led to the prescription of Metoclopramide. Contact your veterinarian if you observe severe side effects, if your pet’s condition worsens or doesn’t improve with treatment, if you suspect an overdose, or if you have any additional questions or concerns about the use of Metoclopramide.

Metoclopramide Overdose Information

Metoclopramide has a wide safety margin. However, large overdoses can cause drowsiness, incoordination, vomiting, and constipation. Serotonin syndrome can occur in cases of overdose, depending on other medications your pet may be taking. If you suspect an overdose, contact your veterinarian immediately, seek emergency veterinary care, or reach out to an animal poison control center. Please note that consultation fees may apply.

Here are the numbers for two helplines:

  • Pet Poison Helpline: (855) 764-7661
  • ASPCA Animal Poison Control: (888) 426-4435

Metoclopramide Storage

Store Metoclopramide at controlled room temperatures between 68-77°F (20-25°C) and protect it from freezing. Always refer to the label for specific storage instructions. Ensure that the container is tightly closed to protect the medication from moisture and light.

For compounded medications, follow the storage instructions provided by the compounding pharmacy.

Remember to keep Metoclopramide out of reach of children and pets.

Please note that no veterinary writer or qualified reviewer has received any compensation from the manufacturer of this medication while creating this article. All content in this article is sourced from public sources or the manufacturer.

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