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.
Gabapentin is an anticonvulsant prescribed by veterinarians predominantly to treat chronic pain in dogs, cats, and other animals. It also is used as a seizure-control agent, either by itself or in conjunction with other anti-seizure medications. Dosage can vary widely. Gabapentin is a structural analogue of GABA, an inhibitory neurotransmitter. The mechanism of action of Gabapentin is not well understood, although it does not affect GABA binding or reuptake, or behave as a GABA agonist. Gabapentin is used in human medicine to treat seizures and many types of pain, including neuropathic pain, diabetic neuropathy, malignant pain, central pain, complex regional pain, and trigeminal neuralgia.
Uses Of Gabapentin For Dogs
Gabapentin is often used as a treatment for chronic pain in dogs, though it’s usually not used by itself. Vets typically combine it with other medications such as opioids or NSAIDs. It amplifies the effects of these drugs. Though we don’t fully understand the mechanisms, vets think gabapentin inhibits the neurotransmitter glutamate by affecting calcium channels in the nervous system. In doing so, it reduces a dog’s ability to perceive pain. Some painful conditions that vets might treat with gabapentin include chronic arthritis, pain associated with cancer, hyperalgesia, which is a heightened sensitivity to pain, or allodynia, which is a sensation of pain to normally non-painful stimuli.
Vets can also use gabapentin to treat seizures, anxiety, and idiopathic epilepsy in dogs. Because it affects the nervous system, it can prove particularly useful for pain associated with neuropathic disorders. Some vets may prescribe it to calm anxious behavior before a vet visit. In the case of seizures, the medication mimics the neurotransmitter GABA, which helps calm excessive electrical activity in the nerves of the brain.
Dosage Of Gabapentin For Dogs
The following is a general guideline for typical use of the drug in dogs and must not replace your veterinarian’s advice for your individual pet. Dosage of gabapentin for dogs depends on whether the drug is being prescribed to treat chronic pain or a condition such as seizures. Always ask your vet before giving your dog any medication, and follow their instructions closely. You can seriously harm your dog if you attempt treatment without professional advice. For chronic pain, the typical dosage is 1.4 to 5 mg of medication per pound of weight. Your vet may adjust the dosage based on its effectiveness in your dog, as well as your dog’s reaction to the medication.
Over longer periods of time, a dog may build a tolerance to the medication, and dosage may be increased. Vets usually recommend pet parents give this dose once every 24 hours to treat pain. As a treatment for seizures in dogs, the dosage of gabapentin is typically higher. This usually ranges from 4.5 to 13.6 mg per pound of weight, and vets recommend administering it every eight to twelve hours. The medication is available in 100 mg and 300 mg capsules, so measure carefully and follow your veterinarian’s guidelines strictly. Since it is a short-acting drug, the effects will be gone in 24 hours; however, the medication may last longer in dogs with renal or liver impairment.
Common Side Effects Of Gabapentin In Dogs
- Diarrhea, black tarry stools and vomiting
- Change in behavior, aggressiveness
- Low energy, drooling, sedation and mental distress
- Rolling eye movement
- Ataxia, clumsiness, loss of balance, unsteady gait, loss of coordination
- Loss of appetite
- Gastrointestinal distress
- Increased anxiety or agitation (from a medication prescribed to treat both!)
- Fluid retention in limbs and extremities
And even more serious are allergic reactions that include:
- Difficulty breathing
- Swelling of the lips, tongue or face
Prices of Gabapentin For Dogs
$20.00 – $45.74