Hydrocodone for Dogs and Side Effects

An important note for dog owners

Hydrocodone bitartrate (brand names: Tussigon®, Hycodan®, Vicodin®, Norco®, Lortabs®) is an opiate agonist utilized to deal with pain and cough in dogs.

Its usage in dogs to deal with pain and cough is ‘off label’ or ‘extra-label’. Many drugs are frequently prescribed for off label use in veterinary medication. In these circumstances, follow your vet’s instructions and cautions very carefully as their instructions might be substantially various from those on the label.


Hydrocodone side effects can be quite major and this is why this drug can only be gotten through prescription from a licensed vet. Hydrocodone is an opiate which acts straight on the brain hindering the coughing reflex.

Opiates (narcotics) have actually been used by medicine for impacts various from the infamous euphoria they cause. Opiates can be used against diarrhea, as analgesics, for cardiovascular conditions or as cough suppressants. Hydrocodone has actually been generally developed to suppress cough. Its cough reducing impact is strengthened by the addition of homatropine, a substance which will also cause side effects if the drug is being considered a longer time.

Using Hydrocodone for Dogs

Hydrocodone is used in dogs with dry or minimally productive cough, the coughs that sound as if something is stuck in the throat. It is prescribed for conditions in which small secretions or tissue are continuing the air passages, casing reflex coughing:

  • Collapsing trachea (the windpipe becomes less firm)
  • Heart enhancement (the heart enlarges and it presses on the airways)
  • Old age bronchitis
  • Kennel cough (small infection which, left neglected, causes bronchitis)

Hydrocodone Side Effects in Dogs

Hydrocodone is a regulated drug. While administering it to your family pet, you must take care about possible symptoms of discomfort and instantly inform the vet.

The most typical side effects of hydrocodone are:

  • Sedation and sleepiness
  • Dry nose and mouth
  • Constipation
  • Vomiting and upset stomach
  • Thick discharge from the nose
  • Elevated fever, if this sign appears, stop administering hydrocodone and get in touch with a specialist

Preventative measures with Hydrocodone in Dogs

Hydrocodone engages with other medications such as antihistamines, barbiturates and tranquilizers.

Animals with heart or lung disease need to be closely kept an eye on by a specialist while under hydrocodone treatment.

Other possible preventative measures include:

  • Hydrocodone is of high risk for dogs with hypothyroidism
  • Kidney disease can be aggravated by hydrocodone
  • Animals with head injuries ought to not be given hydrocodone
  • If your dog has pneumonia, utilizing hydrocodone is not proper. In this case the cough is the body’s way of eliminating the pus and the bacteria provoking it. If the body is denied of its natural defense against infection, your dog remains in even higher threat
  • If your dog has poisonous diarrhea (as in parvovirus infection) he need to not be provided hydrocodone. Despite the fact that the drug will improve the consistency of the stool by improving water absorption, it also helps with the absorption of contaminants

Administering Hydrocodone to Dogs

Hydrocodone is generally provided 2 to 4 times a day, as required. Its impact can last from 6 to 12 hours.

If your dog is undergoing hydrocodone treatment, you need to keep an eye on him for strange side effects.

Even if the dog’s state is enhancing visibly, you should not stop treatment earlier than recommended, as the dog can establish resistance and there likewise may be a regression. If the dog’s health is not improved, you must consult your veterinarian prior to providing supplementary doses.

Also read: Bordetella Vaccine for Dogs and Side Effects

Interactions with other Drugs

Serious side effects have been reported involving interactions between Anipryl/L-Deprenyl (treatment for senility in dogs in addition to for Cushing’s disease in dogs) and mepiridine (more commonly referred to as Demerol ®, another narcotic). Based upon this, the recommendation to prevent making use of Anipryl/L-deprenyl with any narcotics has been proposed; a different cough suppressant ought to be looked for in such cases.

Mixing hydrocodone with other tranquilizers or with antihistamines increases the sedative side effects. (Note, there is a human product, brand name Tussionex ®, which combines hydrocodone and the antihistamine chlorpheniramine. Clearly there are lots of human respiratory infections for which an antihistamine and cough suppressant mix may be beneficial, however the sedation effects will be increased.).

Mix of hydrocodone and acepromazine, a tranquilizer, can not just lead to extreme sedation however can likewise cause a severe drop in blood pressure.

If hydrocodone is integrated with an antidepressant, excessive sedation can result from this mix.

References: vcahospitals.com/know-your-pet/hydrocodone, veterinarypartner.vin.com/default.aspx?...

D. Roberts (Junior Expert)/ author of the article

He is a specialist in the field of veterinary medicine, and pet care. Believes that the person responsible for each pet, which was taken into the house, and therefore should study his behavior, means of determining health status and methods of first aid.

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