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of Gabapentin for Canines and Felines
- Gabapentin, a common human drug known as Neurontin®, is a drug commonly used in veterinary medicine to treat chronic pain and complex seizures disorders in dogs and cats. A seizure is a convulsion or physical manifestation of abnormal brain electrical activity. A partial seizure involves only a portion of the body whereas a generalized (grand mal) seizure involves the entire body. Dogs that are affected by chronic seizures often require treatment to control these events. Gabapentin is typically not given as the primary method of seizure control but administered with other drugs. It is commonly used in dogs that have cluster seizures (several seizures in a short period of time).
- This drug works by inhibiting calcium channels, thus preventing the calcium influx to cells that can cause seizures. The mechanism of action for pain control is not completely understood, however.
Gabapentin is quickly absorbed and reaches peak effect in approximately 2 hours.
- This drug is a prescription drug and can only be obtained from a veterinarian or by prescription from a veterinarian.
Gabapentin is not currently approved for use in animals by the Food and Drug Administration but it is prescribed legally by veterinarians as an extra-label drug.
Brand Names and Other Names
- Human formulations: Neurotin® (Pfizer)
- Veterinary formulations: None
Uses of Gabapentin
for Dogs and Cats
Gabapentin is used to treat seizure disorders (in combination therapy with other anticonvulsant drugs) as well as for chronic pain disorders.
Precautions and Side Effects with Gabapentin
- While generally safe and effective when prescribed by a veterinarian, gabapentin can cause side effects in some animals.
- This drug should not be administered to animals with a known hypersensitivity or allergy, or to pregnant or nursing animals.
- Gabapentin should be used with caution in older animals and those with kidney impairment.
Gabapentin may interact with other medications including antacids, hydrocodone, and morphine. Consult with your veterinarian to determine if other drugs your pet is receiving could interact with this drug.
- One of the most common side effects of bromide is sedation, which is typically transient.
In cases of significant overdose, stumbling, tremors, and profound sedation have been reported.
How Gabapentin Is Supplied
This drug is available in tablets and capsules in 100, 300, 400, 600, and 800 mg dosages. Gabapentin is also available as an oral solution; however, it contains xylitol, a known toxin to dogs, and is not commonly used in dogs due to associated problems such as hypoglycemia.
Dosing Information of Gabapentin
for Dogs and Cats
- Medication should never be administered without first consulting your veterinarian.
- For treatment for seizures in dogs, gabapentin is started at 5 to 10 mg per pound (10 to 20 mg/kg) every 6, 8, or 12 hours. In dogs with cluster seizures, the drug is often used at 10 mg/kg every 8 hours for 3 days.
- For pain control in dogs, Gabapentin doses range from 1.5 to 5 mg per pound (3 to 10 mg/kg) every 24 hours.
- For treatment for seizures in cats, gabapentin is started at 2.5 to 5 mg per pound (5 to 10 mg/kg) every 8 to 12 hours. Does up to 10 mg per pound every 6 hours has been used in some cats.
- For pain control in cats, doses range from 1.5 to 5 mg per pound (1.25 to 2.5 mg/kg) every 12 hours. Higher doses (up to 50 mg per cat 1 to 3 times daily) are recommended by some vets.
- Therapeutic blood monitoring is not routinely recommended. When performed, the suggested therapeutic range is 4-16 µg/mL based on limited data.
- The duration of administration depends on the condition being treated, response to the medication, and the development of any adverse effects. Be certain to have your pet complete the prescription unless specifically directed otherwise by your veterinarian.