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Apomorphine HCl for Veterinary Use

By Evan Ware, DVM

Basic Information

Apomorphine is a D2-dopamine-receptor agonist and a derivative of the narcotic drug morphine. However, unlike morphine, it is not used in veterinary medicine to alleviate pain.

The primary function of Apomorphine is to induce vomiting. This medication is chiefly used on dogs. Administering to cats has been shown to cause an excitatory reaction, though in some cases, the medication can be used on felines.

Apomorphine typically is used in the hospital under the direct supervision of the prescribing veterinarian.

Veterinary Medicine Uses for Apomorphine

Apomorphine targets and stimulates specific dopamine receptors in the brain that induce vomiting.

Potential Side-Effects of Apomorphine

Apomorphine generally can be considered appropriate when prescribed and administered by a veterinarian, but there are some precautions that should be followed. Apomorphine should not be used to induce vomiting on a dog with hypersensitivity to the drug or a known allergy to it.

If the animal is physically weak, comatose, experiencing a seizure, or having difficulty breathing, the medication should not be administered. Apomorphine also should be avoided if the animal has already vomited or ingested caustic agents, petroleum distillates, or acid, as regurgitation could cause further damage.

If the animal does not vomit after a first dose, more doses should not be given, as it will more than likely not induce vomiting. More doses could result in toxicity.

Potential side-effects include excitement, restlessness, nervous system depression, or respiratory depression. Side effects such as these are most common when the animal receives a larger than necessary dose.

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Therapeutic Class

Dogs and rarely cats

May Be Prescribed by Vets for:
To induce vomiting

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About the Author

Dr. Evan Ware

Evan Ware, DVM

Dr. Evan Ware is a veterinary practitioner in Phoenix, Arizona. He received both his undergraduate degree in microbiology and his Doctorate of Veterinary Medicine from The Ohio State University.

Dr. Ware is currently the Medical Director of University Animal Hospital (VCA) and is also the owner of two other hospitals, including Laveen Veterinary Center and Phoenix Veterinary Center. His areas of interest include orthopedic medicine and surgery, veterinary oncology and chemotherapy, and general and advanced soft-tissue surgery.