Pain is not always a bad thing, and all pain is not the same. Acute (protective) pain differs from chronic (maladaptive) pain in terms of function and treatment. Gabapentin and amantadine are used as part of analgesic protocols for chronic pain relief in dogs and cats. This article describes the types of pain, the reasons why chronic pain can be difficult to treat, and the use of gabapentin and amantadine for treatment of chronic pain.


Amantadine Hydrochloride is a medicine used to treat pain in dogs and cats caused by arthritis, cancer, chronic conditions, neuropathy, de-claw surgery, etc. It works best when used with other pain relievers. In addition, Amantadine can also be prescribed as an antiviral agent. Amantadine is available in both capsules and tablets and is sold per capsule/tablet. Amantadine requires a prescription from your veterinarian.

Gabapentin is a drug in the anticonvulsant class that is approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for treatment of seizures and certain neuropathic pain conditions in humans. It is commonly used off-label to treat seizures (not described in this article) and neuropathic pain in animals. The drug is structurally similar to the inhibitory neurotransmitter gamma-aminobutyric acid (GABA), which explains its name but not its mechanism of action. Although not completely defined, the primary mechanism of action is presynaptic inhibition of calcium channels (specifically the alpha-2-delta-1 subunit) and subsequent calcium influx, which leads to decreased release of excitatory neurotransmitters .This is the mechanism for both seizure control and pain relief.

Features of Amantadine For Dogs

Amantadine Hydrochloride works by inhibiting the NMDA (N-methyl-D-aspartate) receptor in the nervous system, which is what creates pain. Amantadine blocks the NMDA receptor and alleviates pain. The mechanism by which Amantadine exerts its antiviral activity isn’t clearly understood. Use Amantadine with caution in pets with liver or kidney dysfunction, congestive heart failure, and seizure disorders. Consult with your veterinarian before giving your pet any other prescription or over-the-counter medications.

Uses/benefits OF Amantadine For Dogs:

Gabapentin is useful because chronic pain commonly has a neuropathic component that is not controlled by anti-inflammatory drugs, opioids, or other drugs/drug classes.

  • Amantadine is prescribed in the treatment of chronic pain, neurologic pain, and pain associated with osteosarcoma. 
  • Amantadine is typically prescribed with other pain relievers.
  • This medication may be prescribed for other reasons by a veterinarian.
  • Relieves pain and increases quality of life
  • Can be used as an antiviral agent
  • Works best when used with other pain relievers

Efficacy of Amantadine For Dogs

No controlled research studies on the use of gabapentin for the treatment of chronic pain in dogs and cats have been performed. Unfortunately, lack of research is a common problem for most methods of chronic pain treatment in veterinary medicine. Several case reports note analgesia when gabapentin was used for treatment of chronic pain.14,15 And in a clinical study on postoperative pain in dogs undergoing mastectomy, although pain scores did not differ, dogs receiving NSAIDs plus gabapentin required fewer opioid rescue doses than dogs receiving NSAIDs alone; thus, the gabapentin did seem to have an effect. When looking at chronic conditions, among dogs with Chiari-like malformation and syringomyelia, pain scores did not differ among those receiving gabapentin and those receiving topiramate (an anticonvulsant and treatment for migraines in humans), but quality of life scores were better for the dogs receiving gabapentin.

 However, dogs receiving gabapentin immediately after surgery for herniated disc extrusion, which would be a mix of chronic pain from the disc and acute pain from the surgery, demonstrated no significant pain relief with gabapentin compared with placebo.  The fact that the results between these studies are mixed is probably explained by 2 factors: 1) chronic pain has many facets, and pain from sources other than neuropathic were probably present; and 2) doses of gabapentin were low (5 to 10 mg/kg q12h) and perhaps ineffective, which actually makes the fact that any improvement was seen quite encouraging. More appropriate dosing, as defined by patient-specific dose and administration-interval adjustments, could potentially provide analgesia.

Prices of Amantadine For Dogs

$1.39 – $21.41

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