Methocarbamol is a muscle relaxant medication. It relaxes muscles, reduces muscle spasms, and can prevent convulsions. Typically, vets use this medication to treat inflammatory conditions of skeletal muscles, such as strains and sprains. They often prescribe methocarbamol for dogs to treat the extreme muscle spasms caused by various poisons. It can also be effective as as an adjunct treatment in cases of tetanus, a condition that causes severe muscle rigidity.
Strychnine, metaldehyde, and insecticide poisoning can cause painful muscle contractions and spasms. Methocarbamol does not treat the poisoning or provide antidote benefits, but it reduces the effects these poisons have on muscles. One of the most prevalent symptoms of tetanus is an intractability of the jaw muscles, leading to the nickname of lockjaw for this disease. While other medications are needed to treat tetanus, methocarbamol can help relax the jaw muscles and provide some relief.
This medication is available in different forms. Methocarbamol for dogs comes in either pill form or an injectable liquid. The injectable form is fast acting, while the pills can take as long as one hour to take effect. In emergency situations, such as poisoning and trauma, a veterinarian often uses injectable methocarbamol in order to get the medication working as fast as possible. Pet owners can use the pill form at home using instructions provided by the vet to give their dogs the medication several times a day.
The most common side effects of methocarbamol for dogs include sleepiness, stumbling, and drooling. Although some dogs continue to salivate excessively each time they are given the medication, the sleepiness and stumbling should diminish over time. A veterinarian should be notified if the sleepiness and stumbling are severe or if the dog is so listless that it stops eating or functioning normally. Other side effects, such as vomiting or diarrhea, should be discussed with the veterinarian; these side effects may be normal, depending on the dosage of medication given and the condition being treated.
When using methocarbamol for dogs, pet owners should be aware of any signs of allergic reactions. This includes swelling of the face, the appearance of hives, and sudden, intense scratching. Serious allergic reactions include difficulty breathing or seizures. These symptoms constitute a medical emergency, and a veterinarian should be contacted immediately. While methocarbamol is well-tolerated with most other medications, it should not be taken with other muscle relaxants or sedatives unless it is determined that the benefits outweigh the risks.