If your pooch is experiencing persistent seizures, pain, or anxiety, they may be prescribed Gabapentin to help ease their symptoms. Our Visalia vets are here to tell you all about how this drug can help your dog lead a comfortable life.
What Is Gabapentin For Dogs?
Gabapentin is an inhibitory neurotransmitter that acts as an anticonvulsant, and analgesic drug and is typically prescribed to treat dogs suffering from chronic pain associated with arthritis or cancer and is also used to treat seizures in dogs.
Uses For Gabapentin In Dogs
There are a number of reasons that your veterinarian might prescribe gabapentin for your canine companion. Here are some of the most common reasons.
Gabapentin has anticonvulsant properties that make it beneficial for ancillery therapy for dogs with seizures, or those whose current medication regime is no longer working effectively.
Gabapentin is also an analgesic, which means that it provides pain relief for chronic pain and neuropathic pain. It’s most commonly used for the chronic pain associated with degenerative joint disease.
It has also shown to be beneficial when used in combination with other pain medications—such as nonsteroidal anti-inflammatories or opioids—to help with pain from procedures such as surgery.
While traditionally used for seizures and pain, gabapentin is becoming more popular to use in combination with other therapies for anxiety in dogs as well.
What You Should Know When Giving Your Dog Gabapentin
Gabapentin is only to be administered to the pet it is prescribed for. Our vets at Tulare-Kings Veterinary Emergency Services will do extensive diagnostic testing in our in-house veterinary lab to diagnose your pooch and ensure this is the right medication for them. The medication should be kept well out of reach of children and other pets.
Because gabapentin is removed from the body by the kidneys, it should not be prescribed to pets with poor kidney function or used only in cases where the benefit outweighs the risks. It should also be used with caution in pets with decreased liver function. Gabapentin should not be used in pets that are pregnant or nursing.
If your pet has been on gabapentin long-term, then you should not abruptly discontinue the drug because it could cause seizures. Instead, your pet should be gradually taken off this medication over a number of weeks. Your veterinarian will provide you with a detailed dosing schedule to help reduce the risk of seizures.
Gabapentin Side Effects
Gabapentin is generally well-tolerated by dogs. Sedation is the main potential side effect of gabapentin for dogs, and the level of sleepiness varies from patient to patient. Veterinarians will prescribe a starting dose, and if this results in the dog becoming a little too sedate, the veterinarian will taper the dose down to the most effective one.
Like all medications, there is a small chance that a dog could be allergic to them, in which case, this medication should be avoided. Signs of an allergic reaction include hives, itching, swelling, and difficulty breathing, contact your veterinarian immediately if your dog exhibits these symptoms.
Drug Interaction For Gabapentin For Dogs
Notify your veterinarian if your dog is taking any other medications, vitamins, herbal therapies, or supplements, as well as the dosages and administration schedules, to help avoid any potential risk of interaction with gabapentin.
Drugs known to have interactions with gabapentin include hydrocodone and morphine. Antacids can also affect gabapentin’s effects, so if your pet is on both gabapentin and antacids, you should separate the administration of the two medicines by at least two hours.
To make sure your dog can handle this medication, speak to our Visalia vets. With our in-house veterinary pharmacy, we understand the complexities of drug interactions and can help decide if this is the right option for your pup.
Note: The advice provided in this post is intended for informational purposes and does not constitute medical advice regarding pets. For an accurate diagnosis of your pet's condition or boarding needs, please make an appointment with your vet.