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Gabapentin for Dogs

By | Last Updated : 8th January 2018

What is Gabapentin

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

Can dogs take Gabapentin

Although not approved by the FDA [3], veterinarians routinely prescribe Gabapentin for dogs to manage neuropathic pain. It is also given in combination with NSAIDs and opioid pain medicine like Tramadol to relieve arthritic pain [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.

Condition Dosage usually prescribed
Pain relief 1.5-5 mg/lb (3-10 mg/kg) once every 24 hours [4]
Seizures 5-10 mg/lb (10-20 mg/kg) once every 6, 8, or 12 hours [4]
Cluster seizures 5 mg/lb (10 mg/kg) once every 8 hours for 3 days [4]

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

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].

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].

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

Overdose

If you see that your dog is acting lethargic and depressed, along with being excessively drowsy [8], or have the slightest 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).

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].

 

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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