If your cat is prescribed gabapentin, there’s no need to panic. This is a common medication with many uses.
Gabapentin falls under the category of nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs. It is a pain medication that can also cause mild sedation in cats. The effect starts after 1 to 2 hours. Doses typically last between 8 to 12 hours. The risk of your cat having an adverse reaction to gabapentin is extremely low.
Read on to learn more about the uses and potential side effects of gabapentin for cats and the types of dosage.
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What Is Gabapentin Used For?
Gabapentin is most commonly prescribed to treat chronic pain conditions like arthritis. In addition to treating neuropathic pain, gabapentin has been used to treat anxiety and reduce fear responses in cats. Because of its sedative effect, single doses of gabapentin may calm a cat before a vet visit, plane travel, or long car trip.
On the other hand, gabapentin is not ideal for acute or immediate onset pain. In post-surgical care or other acute pain conditions, medication like buprenorphine is better for cats.
In humans, gabapentin is sometimes used to control seizures, although this is not necessarily the case with pets. If your cat is experiencing nerve pain, your vet may recommend gabapentin as adjunctive therapy to treat seizures and other medications.
Side Effects of Gabapentin for Cats
Gabapentin is a serious medication and not be prescribed lightly. It can cause side effects like lethargy, incoordination, walking difficulty, or ataxia. It is usual for these effects to last up to 12 hours after a dose.
If you notice any of these effects in your cat, call your vet’s office and let them know. A good strategy may be to start at a lower dose and gradually increase your cat’s dosage to alleviate some side effects. This can be especially helpful with smaller cats.
Additionally, gabapentin is unsuitable for pregnant, lactating, and cats with liver or kidney disease. Also, if your pet has been prescribed gabapentin, do not stop their dosage suddenly or without consulting your vet, as this can cause painful withdrawal symptoms.
Gabapentin Dosage for Cats
Under no circumstances should you self-prescribe gabapentin. A vet will decide on the appropriate dosage based on your cat’s age, size, and severity of symptoms. A safe dose typically ranges from 50 to 100 mg, regardless of use.
In cases where it is being used as a sedative for travel, your vet may recommend one dose an hour or so before travel, with an optional second dose 24 hours before boosting the sedative’s effect.
As a pain medication, you must dose your cat every 8 to 12 hours. You should follow your vet’s recommendation and take your pet in for regular veterinary visits.
Types of Gabapentin Dosage
Gabapentin is not a veterinary medicine. Even though it is used for cats, this medication is designed primarily for humans and will come in regular packaging.
There are two types of dosage forms. The capsule contains a 100 mg dose that can easily be mixed into canned or wet food. The liquid formulations have a 50 mg/ml dosage and must be refrigerated. Both of these are safe for cats. However, the liquid form contains xylitol which is toxic for dogs, so keep that in mind if you have other pets in the house.
How To Give Your Cat Gabapentin
The correct way to administer gabapentin is by mouth. You can give your cat a capsule, tablet, or liquid via dropper. While there is no need to medicate your cat on an empty stomach, keep an eye on its symptoms and how your cat responds. If your pet reacts badly or starts vomiting, try giving future doses after food or with a treat.
What To Do If You Miss A Dose of Gabapentin
If you forgot to give your cat a scheduled dose and enough time has passed, wait until the next dose. Never give your cat extra doses or two doses at the same time. If you’re 2 to 3 hours late on an 8-hourly schedule, you can still give them the correct dose.
Do You Need A Prescription For Gabapentin
Like most drugs, the regulations surrounding gabapentin vary depending on where you live. In the US, it falls under the Schedule V category in Alabama, Kentucky, Michigan, North Dakota, Tennessee, Virginia, and West Virginia. In other states, it is not scheduled but may be subject to some monitoring procedures. In the UK, it is a Class C drug.
Pet parents may require a prescription, initial checkup, and regular recheck exams to get a gabapentin refill from a pharmacy. In states where it isn’t controlled, your vet will likely stock gabapentin in-house.
What Are Common Gabapentin Brands
Gabapentin is commonly sold under the labels of Neurontin, Gralise, Aclonium, Neurostil, Equifax, Gantin, Progresse, and Gaborone. All of these brand names sell gabapentin marketed towards humans. When using gabapentin for cats, follow your vet’s instructions, not those on the label. Prescribing off-label drugs for pet use is common practice in veterinary medicine.
Does Gabapentin Have A Bad Reaction With Other Drugs
Gabapentin should not be prescribed with medications such as antacids, morphine, or hydrocodone. Also, if you are giving your cat any vitamins, supplements, or other herbal treatments, let your vet know beforehand.
Final Thoughts on Gabapentin
Overall, gabapentin is a widespread medication for cats. It can be used for pain treatment or mild sedation, with minimal to no side effects in most cats. So if your vet has prescribed gabapentin for your pet, there is no cause for concern or hesitation.
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