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GI prokinetic, centrally acting antiemetic
Dogs, cats and horses
May Be Prescribed by Veterinarians for:
GI motility disorders, nausea, vomiting, diminished bladder contractility.
Metoclopramide is commercially available as a tablet 5mg, 10mg, oral solution, 1mg/ml, and injection solution 5mg/ml.
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Metoclopramide is used in veterinary medicine to stimulate the motility of the upper GI tract. It has minimal effect on the lower GI tract and colon. Metoclopramide increases peristalsis of the small intestine and increases tone and strength of contractions in the stomach, while causing relaxation of the pyloric sphincter. Consequently, metoclopramide speeds gastric-emptying and, possibly, intestinal transit times. It does not stimulate gastric, pancreatic, or biliary secretions.
Metoclopramide acts as a central antiemetic by blocking the uptake of dopamine at the chemo receptor trigger zone in dogs. Additionally, part of its actions on the upper GI tract include increasing the sphincter pressure in the lower esophagus and reducing gastroesophageal reflux, which also may be helpful for decreasing vomiting.
Metoclopramide is well-absorbed orally. It penetrates the central nervous system (CNS) well, which may be relevant because of CNS side-effects. Metoclopramide crosses the placenta and is concentrated in milk at twice the level found in plasma. It is excreted primarily in the urine.
Metoclopramide is used in a wide variety of gastric motility disorders, including ileus and gastritis. Because so many upper GI-emptying disorders present with nausea and vomiting due to abnormal gastric-emptying, metoclopramide is particularly useful because of its effects on motility and its function as a central antiemetic. It also may be used to control nausea and vomiting in cases of renal failure, acute hepatic failure and hepatitis, and in animals undergoing chemotherapy.
Intravenous metoclopramide is used in foals to treat ileus associated with neonatal hypoxia. In these foals, metoclopramide should improve gastric-emptying and upper GI function. Metoclopramide occasionally is used in cases of post-operative
ileus in the adult horse; however, neurologic side-effects limit its usefulness in adult horses.
Dr. Barbara Forney is a veterinary practitioner in Chester County, Pennsylvania. She has a master's degree in animal science from the University of Delaware and graduated from the University of Pennsylvania School of Veterinary Medicine in 1982.
She began to develop her interest in client education and medical writing in 1997. Recent publications include portions of The Pill Book Guide to Medication for Your Dog and Cat, and most recently Understanding Equine Medications published by the Bloodhorse.
Dr. Forney is an FEI veterinarian and an active member of the AAEP, AVMA, and AMWA.
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