Does your cat look forward to going to the vet? Most cats don’t, which might causes you to dread the visit just as fast. Luckily, there is an effective anti-anxiety medication for cats called gabapentin, but the uses of gabapentin in cats are not limited to anxiety. For example, it can also be used to manage several types of pain and help treat seizures. Keep reading to find out about the other uses of gabapentin for cats, as well as the appropriate dosage, administration, and side effects of this medicine
Gabapentin is a pharmaceutical drug that may be prescribed to your dog or cat by a veterinarian after a thorough physical exam. The primary use of gabapentin for dogs and cats is to help reduce pain, specifically chronic or acute nerve pain. Gabapentin is also used as an anticonvulsant to help control seizure disorders in dogs and cats.
Gabapentin (brand names: Neurontin®, Aclonium®, Equipax®, Gantin®, Gabarone®, Gralise®, Neurostil®, Progresse®) is an anti-seizure and pain medication that is used with other medications to treat seizures and is also used to treat chronic pain, primarily nerve pain. It has also been used in cats to treat fear and anxiety associated with veterinary visits. Its use in cats and dogs to treat seizures and pain is ‘off label’ or ‘extra label’. Many drugs are commonly prescribed for off label use in veterinary medicine. In these instances, follow your veterinarian’s directions and cautions very carefully as their direction may be significantly different from those on the label.
Features of Gabapentin For Cats
Gabapentin is used in both dogs and cats to treat chronic pain, particularly of neuropathic origin. It appears to be most effective when combined with other types of analgesic agents, for example NSAIDs, allowing prescribing lower doses. It has been shown to be an appropriate treatment for reducing hyperalgesia and allodynia associated with neuropathic pain. It also is used in chronic arthritic pain and pain associated with malignancy. Gabapentin is used as an adjunctive therapy for dogs and cats with refractory idiopathic epilepsy. There are conflicting clinical reports about its efficacy when used for this purpose, although some studies report improvement in as many as 50% of dogs studied.
In dogs, oral Gabapentin is well absorbed in the duodenum, with peak levels occurring approximately one to two hours after administration. It is partially metabolized by the liver and excreted by the kidneys. Gabapentin has a short half-life of between two to four hours. No pharmacokinetic information about uptake and metabolism was found for cats. In horses, Gabapentin can be used to control seizures in foals suffering from hypoxic ischemic encephalopathy.
Uses/benefits of Gabapentin For Cats
Gabapentin is an anticonvulsant and analgesic drug used to treat chronic pain in cats, dogs, and horses. The drug has been shown to be especially efficient in treating neuropathic pain in cats, usually in conjunction with other analgesic agents like nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs). Gabapentin is also prescribed for pain associated with malignancy and chronic arthritic pain in cats.
Originally developed to control seizures in humans, gabapentin can also be used to treat seizures in animals, usually combined with other anti-seizure drugs. In some cases, gabapentin can be prescribed as adjunctive therapy for cats and dogs with refractory idiopathic epilepsy.
Dosage and Administration of Gabapentin
Compounded Gabapentin is available in either an oral or topical formulation. The veterinarian determines dosage, mode of administration, and frequency of administration according to the condition being treated and the individual needs of the patient. For very small unique, weight-based doses, like that required to treat a cat or other small animal, a veterinary compounding pharmacy can facilitate the formulation.
Overdose would likely cause increased severity of side effects including lethargy, somnolence, depression, and ataxia. If recognized promptly, gut-emptying protocols including emesis, activated charcoal, and cathartics can be helpful.
Gabapentin for Cats: Side Effects
The most common side effects of Gabapentin include sleepiness, occasional diarrhea, and incoordination. Some vets have experienced that higher doses of Gabapentin lead to sedation in cats with chronic kidney disease (CKD). In order to alleviate these side effects, the drug should be started in smaller doses and then gradually increased over time. It can also cause a false positive reading on urinary protein tests.
Prices of Gabapentin For Cats
$14.84 – $53.62