Apomorphine for Dogs
General Drug Information and Indications
How to Give this Medication
Search for Available Dosage Forms
Apomorphine is a drug used in dogs to cause them to vomit. It is most commonly used when a dog has been poisoned by eating a toxin, food or plant. Drugs that induce vomiting are called emetics and they are important in the early treatment of some, but not all, poisonings. Emetic drugs generally remove only 40-60% of the stomach contents and they need to be given in the first 4 hours. Cats do not respond consistently to apomorphine.
Your veterinarian will give apomorphine by injection or by placing a quick dissolving tablet in the eyelid tissue around the eye (the conjunctival sac).
Like many other drugs in veterinary medicine, this drug is not FDA approved for use in animals and is not available from a veterinary pharmaceutical manufacturer. Instead, it is compounded by a specialty pharmacy.
Give this medication to your dog exactly as your veterinarian prescribes and use only under direct veterinary supervision. There are only limited circumstances when a veterinarian might dispense apomorphine for a client to use at home before bringing the dog to the veterinarian for treatment.
Although conjunctival administration is usually effective, it is not as fast or reliable as the injectable route.
If vomiting does not occur after one dose, do not give more apomorphine as this may increase the likelihood of undesirable side effects or toxicity. You should consult with your veterinarian immediately if the first dose is not effective.
Wash your hands after giving your dog this medication.
Be sure to discuss any side effects with your veterinarian immediately.
Apomorphine can cause excitement or depression. Excitement is the more common side effect.
Prolonged vomiting may occur. After treatment under the eyelid, rinsing the conjunctival sac with saline may decrease residual drug absorption.
- Keep this and all drugs out of reach of children. You should only use apomorphine after consultation with your veterinarian.
- Apomorphine should not be used in patients that are unconscious, having difficulty breathing, in shock, seizuring, comatose or rapidly deteriorating.
- Apomorphine should not be used to treat all forms of toxins. In some instances, vomiting will make your dog’s condition worse.
- Apomorphine should not be used in animals with decreased liver function.
- Apomorphine should not be used in rabbits or rodents. These species lack either the ability to vomit or do not have strong enough abdominal musculature.
- Wash your hands immediately after handling apomorphine tablets, or wear gloves when handling.
Be sure to review with your veterinarian any medications or supplements your dog may be receiving.
Apomorphine should not be used in animals that are known to be hypersensitive to morphine and related drugs.
Drugs that decrease vomiting, such as phenothiazine tranquilzers, may decrease the effectiveness of apomorphine.
If you suspect your pet or another animal was overdosed accidentally or has eaten this medication inadvertently, contact your veterinarian or the A.S.P.C.A.’s Animal Poison Control Center at 888.426.4435. Always bring the prescription container with you when you take your pet for treatment.
If you or someone else has accidentally ingested this medication call the National Capital Poison Center at 800.222.1222.
Different strengths or dosage forms of apomorphine may have different storage requirements. Read the labeling or ask your pharmacist for the storage requirements of the prescription you receive.
About the Author
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.
You can purchase books by Dr. Forney at www.exclusivelyequine.comThe information contained on this site is general in nature and is intended for use as an informational aid. It does not cover all possible uses, actions, precautions, side effects, or interactions of the products shown, nor is the information intended as medical advice or diagnosis for individual health problems or for making an evaluation as to the risks and benefits of using a particular product. You should consult your doctor about diagnosis and treatment of any health problems. Information and statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration ("FDA"), nor has the FDA approved the products to diagnose, cure or prevent disease.
Wedgewood Pharmacy compounded veterinary preparations are not intended for use in food and food-producing animals.