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Gabapentin for Dogs

By | Last Updated : 13th November 2017

Can dogs take Gabapentin

Although not approved by the FDA, veterinarians routinely prescribe Gabapentin for dogs to manage certain conditions [3].

What is Gabapentin used for in dogs

Gabapentin is an anti-epileptic medication used to treat chronic pain [3] and also to control anxiety and seizures, although not as the primary medicine for the latter purpose [1, 6].

Gabapentin works well to ease neuropathic pain; although it is not effective as a standalone drug to relieve pain from arthritis but does work if given in conjunction with NSAIDs like Tramadol [7]. Studies have shown the efficiency of Gabapentin in reducing pain in dogs after surgery. One study also showed that the medication can work well to lessen pain from cancer.

How does Gabapentin work in dogs

Gabapentin has a similar composition as a neurotransmitter called GABA, which helps in calming neurological activity in the brain. The antiepileptic drug also helps in stabilizing certain electrical activity within the brain, thus controlling seizures [3].

Quick Information

Gabapentin for Dogs

Generic Name

Gabapentin

Brand Name

Neurontin [3]

Type

Anticonvulsant

Who can take it

Dogs, cats, humans

FDA Approved

Not for use on animals [5]

Availability

Through prescription

Available Forms

Tablets, capsules

Cost

$0.31 per capsule

Dosage for dogs: How much Gabapentin can you give

Always remember to abide by the veterinarian’s prescription given for your dog.

For pain relief, the generally advised dosage of Gabapentin is 1.5-5 mg/lb (3-10 mg/kg) of the dog’s body weight once every 24 hours [4].

For controlling seizures, the dosage may be higher, typically 5-10 mg/lb (10-20 mg/kg) of the dog’s weight, given at intervals of 6, 8, or 12 hours. If the dog suffers from cluster seizures, vets are likely to prescribe a dose of 5 mg/lb (10 mg/kg) [4].

The dosage usually remains the same regardless of the age or size of the dog. Also, it can be given before food on an empty stomach, with food, or after a meal, whichever suits you, as its effectiveness remains the same [8].

How long does it take to work

Gabapentin usually starts working within 5 hours of administering the medicine [8].

What to do in case of missed dose

In case you miss giving your dog a dose, ensure that you give it as soon as you remember. But if it is already time for the next dose, skip the missed one and continue with the regular dosing schedule. Do not, under any circumstance, give two doses of Gabapentin together, or even within a short duration [6].

How long does Gabapentin stay in a dog’s system

Studies have shown the terminal half-life of Gabapentin in dogs to be around 3 hours 20 minutes to 3 hours 30 minutes.

Side effects

Common side effects [5]:

  • Drowsiness
  • Lack of coordination

Much rarer side effects usually stemming from long-term use that require an immediate consultation with the vet include [5, 1]:

  • Bulging eyes
  • Diarrhea
  • Vomiting
  • Sleeping for unusually long hours

Contraindications: When not to give

Make sure to inform the vet about any health problems your pet may be suffering from, or any medications it might be taking. Gabapentin should not be given to:

  • Dogs with kidney problems and diseases [6].
  • Pregnant or lactating dog (unless the benefits outweigh the hazards) [6].
  • Dogs on medications like antacids, hydrocodone, and morphine [6].
  • Dogs with a known allergy to Gabapentin [6].

Wean your dog off Gabapentin slowly, as abruptly stopping the medication can lead to severe withdrawal issues [6].

Overdose

If you have the slightest bit of doubt that you have overdosed your dog on Gabapentin, or if it has accidentally overdosed itself, immediately get in touch with the vet or call the ASPCA Animal Poison Control Center Helpline (1-888-426-4435).

References

    1. Gabapentin For Dogs: Uses, Dosage, And Side Effects – Dogtime.com
    2. Gabapentin for Dogs: What You Need to Know – PetMD.com
    3. Gabapentin – 1800PetMeds.com
    4. Gabapentin (Neurontin) for Dogs and Cats – PetPlace.com
    5. Gabapentin For Dogs – VeterinaryPlace.com
    6. Gabapentin (Generic) – DrsFosterSmith.com
    7. Treating Chronic Pain in Dogs – PetMD.com
    8. Gabapentin for Dogs – DogsByNina.com

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