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Metronidazole side effects?

Species: Dog
Breed: West Highland Terrie
Age: 11-15 years
My Dog had a surgery Dec 9. The Doctor removed a tumor from his small intestine. He byopsy the tumor and his liver; and the result were a very bad news for us. He have cancer and his liver is a accumulating copper.
The oncology is treating his liver only; she gave me metronidazole 250mg 1/2 tablet twice a day a ursodiol 300mg once a day. I started these medication on Sunday dec 26 and the same day he is regurgating and vomiting.
Last night he was hungry and I gave him a little bid of boiled chicken breast and he inmediatley started crying. He is hungry and wants more but he inmediately has stomach ache. He abdominal area made sounds all night and I don't know what to do anymore. The vet is not available today; I don't know if it is the medication or if his is not diagesting his food. Please help, thanks.


Online vet, Dr. Marie

Dr. Marie replied:

Oh, poor Weslie. It sounds like you guys are going through some tough times.

It does seem a little coincidental that you started the medications and within two days he is having these problems. With that being said, we do know that he has liver cancer and it is certainly possible that what you are seeing is a progression of the cancer symptoms. I'm suspicious that the cancer is the culprit here and not the medications.

I was recently asked a question, which you can read here about the use of metronidazole with liver disease. The textbooks recommend using a reduced dose when a dog has liver disease. The dose that your dog is on sounds like it is a reduced dose.

The types of side effects that we see are not usually what you have described. We can see neurological side effects like tremors, twitching and seizures if an animal is having too much metronidazole.

Ursodiol really doesn't cause these kind of side effects either.

One of the possible side effects listed on the label of metronidazole is some mild stomach upset. It's not common though, and what you are describing doesn't sound like mild stomach upset. I prescribe a lot of metronidazole and I can't say that vomiting and stomach ache are things that my clients complain of.

It sounds like Weslie may have some pain in his abdomen.

It's tough for me to advise you on what to do. I can't legally advise you on medications. But what I can tell you is that there is a good chance that this is not due to the medications but rather due to the cancer. There may possibly be some other medications that could help such as an anti-nauseau medication. But, these medicines are prescription so you would need to get them from a vet.

Logically, it likely will not hurt to stop the medications for a day until you can speak with your vet. But, ideally, if you are able to get Weslie to an emergency vet today then he may be able to get some help sooner.

I really hope everything is ok.

Dr. Marie.




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Disclaimer: Although Dr. Marie is a qualified veterinarian, the information found on this site is not meant to replace the advice of your own veterinarian. AskAVetQuestion.com and Dr. Marie do not accept any responsibility for any loss, damage, injury, death, or disease which may arise from reliance on information contained on this site. Do not use information found on this site for diagnosing or treating your pet. Anything you read here is for information only.

Customer reply:

Dr. Marie thanks for your pront response. Weslie doesn't not has liver cancer. The biopsy of the mass removed from his small intestine is the one that gave positive to cancer cells. Them if is not the medication could be his intestine not working properly?


Online vet, Dr. Marie

Dr. Marie replied:

Ah, sorry that I misread what you wrote. The answer would still be the same though. What I was trying to get across is that we know that he has several health issues - intestinal cancer, buildup of copper in the liver. He is not a well dog and I think the goal with the medications that your vet had prescribed was to help reduce any signs of sickness. But, I am guessing that the vet was not predicting that he was cured. I am worried that what you are seeing is the initial illness getting worse.

Yes, if the problems are not because of the medication there is a good chance that this is an issue with his intestines not functioning properly. He could also have a regrowth of cancer in the intestine which is causing a blockage.



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Dr. MarieDr. Marie is a veterinarian who practices in a busy animal hospital in Ottawa, Ontario. She created Ask A Vet Question as a resource for good, accurate veterinary advice online. Dr. Marie treats dogs, cats, hamsters, guinea pigs, and rats. She has been a vet since 1999.

Is an online vet visit just as good as a trip to your veterinarian? No! But, many times, asking an online veterinarian a question can help save you money. While Dr. Marie can't officially diagnose your pet or prescribe medications, she can often advise you on whether a vet visit is necessary. You can also ask Dr. Marie for a second opinion on your pet's condition.