Cat owner giving cat gabapentin

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Gabapentin is one of the most common pain relief and anticonvulsant medications. Gabapentin, which also goes by the name Neurontin, has been used among people for many years. Now, it is being used in pets as well to treat anxiety, seizures, and chronic pain.

In this article, we’ll define gabapentin and discuss its uses, dosage, and side effects. Plus, we’ll answer some frequently asked questions to help you better care for your cat.

What Is Gabapentin?

Gabapentin is considered an off-label prescription medication. This means gabapentin for dogs and cats has not been approved by the FDA, however, gabapentin has been approved by the FDA for a wide variety of uses in people. At the same time, gabapentin is frequently prescribed as an anxiety treatment and seizure treatment, and it is generally well-tolerated when monitored by a trained veterinarian.

Additionally, gabapentin can be particularly useful as a treatment for nerve pain. If this type of pain is not controlled with other pain medications, gabapentin can be prescribed. There are even some situations where a trained veterinarian may prescribe gabapentin with other medications. It could play a role in a well-rounded treatment strategy for the treatment of pain, arthritis, anxiety, and other medical conditions.

Gabapentin goes by a wide variety of other names, including, Neurontin, Gantin, Gaborone, Neurostil, Horizant, and Progresse.1 It is important for any pet owner interested in gabapentin for cats to talk to their veterinarian about whether it’s a good option for their pet.1

Uses of gabapentin for cats

Gabapentin For Cats: Uses

There are several common situations where a veterinarian may recommend gabapentin as a treatment option for a cat. Some of the most common uses and applications of gabapentin in cats include:1

Anxiety Management

Gabapentin can be an effective option as a cat anxiety treatment. There are a lot of cats who suffer from anxiety, particularly those who have a traumatic history. Pet owners may have a difficult time managing cat anxiety, and gabapentin can be helpful. Right now, researchers believe that gabapentin helps treat anxiety by increasing inhibitory neurotransmitters in the brain, such as GABA. That way, cats and dogs have a much easier time relaxing, and pet owners can effectively manage anxiety symptoms.

There are several signs that could indicate that your cat is suffering from anxiety. You may feel like your cat is not as sociable as he or she used to be. You may also notice your cat is hiding more often than before. If you feel like your cat is a bit skittish, he or she could be suffering from anxiety.

If you feel like your cat is suffering from anxiety, schedule an appointment with a veterinarian to see what your treatment options for anxiety are. There is a chance that your veterinarian may prescribe gabapentin as a way to treat anxiety in your cat.

Seizure Prevention

Another common reason why a veterinarian may prescribe gabapentin is as a method of seizure prevention and control. There are a lot of reasons why cats may develop seizures. There are some situations where cats may suffer from epilepsy, and there are other situations where cats may have an electrolyte imbalance. There are even situations where brain tumors could cause cats to develop seizures. In this situation, a veterinarian may use gabapentin to help prevent future seizures from happening.

Seizures can present in a variety of ways in cats. For example, your cat may suffer from seizures that involve all four extremities shaking at the same time. Or, your cat may simply stare off into the distance. If you are wondering whether your cat is suffering from seizures, you may want to reach out to your veterinarian to schedule an appointment. Your veterinarian may run a few tests to see if your cat suffers from a condition that could cause seizures. Then, your veterinarian may prescribe gabapentin as a treatment option.

Pain Control

Veterinarians may also decide to use gabapentin as a method of pain control. In this role, gabapentin blocks calcium channels throughout the central nervous system. That way, neurons that are typically stimulated by pain will no longer be stimulated. As a result, gabapentin can be a useful choice in the treatment of joint pain, arthritis, and numerous other pain types. Even though gabapentin can be used to address neuropathic pain in humans, there is more research that has to be done before deciding whether gabapentin can do the same job in pets.

These are just a few of the most common applications of gabapentin. It has become a very common treatment option for a wide variety of conditions. Working directly with your vet is the best way to find a treatment solution for your pet’s needs, whether they need medication prescribed or would benefit from implementing some basic lifestyle changes.

Side effects of gabapentin

Gabapentin For Cats: Side Effects

Gabapentin side effects for cats are rare, as the drug is well-tolerated. At the same time, there are a few side effects that pet owners need to be aware of when starting a prescription. Some of the most common side effects include:1,2

Fatigue and Tiredness

One of the most common gabapentin side effects for cats is sedation. Fatigue and tiredness can be common when using gabapentin. The level of drowsiness typically depends on how the cat reacts to the drug. Just as people react differently to medications, cats can react differently to gabapentin as well.

Shakiness

One of the other common gabapentin for cats' side effects is shakiness. It is not unusual for pets, including cats, to get a bit shaky when they take gabapentin. It is important for pet owners to keep an eye on their cats to make sure they do not become unstable when walking.

Nausea and Vomiting

Nausea and vomiting can also develop when cats take gabapentin. Even though not every cat will vomit when taking gabapentin, pet owners need to keep an eye on their cats and report these side effects to their vet.

Edginess

Cats may also get a bit more excitable when they take gabapentin. For example, they may get startled more easily when they take this medication. Pet owners should expect their cats to be a bit more on edge when they start taking gabapentin.

Diarrhea

G.I. complications are not unusual with gabapentin, and pet owners may realize that their cats have diarrhea when they take gabapentin. Pet owners should make sure that their cats have access to the litter box when taking this medication.

Increased Appetite

Pet owners may also realize that their cats are eating more when they take gabapentin. Pet owners should make sure that they do not overfeed their cats, particularly when they take this drug.

Oversleeping

You may even notice that your cat sleeps more often than before. Even though cats already sleep a lot, you may see your cat around a bit less while giving gabapentin. If your cat spends a lot of time sleeping, understand that this could be a side effect of the medication. At the same time, you should reach out to your veterinarian with any questions or concerns.

Even though there are other side effects that might be a bit less common, side effects with gabapentin are relatively rare. Keep in mind that every cat is going to react differently to this medication, so pet owners need to keep a close eye on their cats to make sure they tolerate the medication appropriately. Pet owners should also reach out to their local veterinarian with any questions or concerns they may have.

Gabapentin doses for cats

Gabapentin For Cats: Dosage

Just like other medications, gabapentin's dosage can vary significantly from cat to cat. That is why a lot of veterinarians use a gabapentin for cats dosage chart. This dosage chart is important for making sure cats are not overprescribed gabapentin. Similar to other medications, dosing is usually determined by weight.

Keep in mind that the dosage may need to be increased or decreased depending on how the cat responds to the medication. If the cat does well on gabapentin, then the medication might be scaled back if the condition is appropriately addressed. On the other hand, if the cat is not responding appropriately to the medication, then a higher dose might be needed to provide an effective treatment option.

Additionally, pet parents should be aware that there is also a small chance that your cat could be allergic to gabapentin. That is why veterinarians will encourage you to keep an eye on your cat to make sure he or she does not develop an acute reaction immediately after taking the medication. If your cat is allergic to gabapentin, then you should avoid this medication and contact your vet immediately if allergy symptoms arise.

Gabapentin is prescribed in a variety of doses. They include:

  • 100 mg capsules and tablets
  • 300 mg capsules and tablets
  • 400 mg capsules and tablets
  • 800 mg capsules and tablets

These doses can vary significantly, and your veterinarian will work with you to find the right dosage for your cat depending on his or her weight. In general, this is a medication that is prescribed about once every 8 hours by mouth. You can choose to give this medication to your cat either with or without food. It is critical for you to follow the directions provided by your vet closely. That way, you make sure that you give the medication to your cat safely.

Before you leave your vet's office, you need to make sure you understand exactly how to give medication to your cat. Your vet should tell you what the dosage is, how often you need to give the dose to your cat, how to administer the medication, and what you need to watch for. The frequency, administration, and quantity of the dose is going to depend on the weight of your cat and why your cat is receiving the medication.

If you are wondering how to get your cat to take the medication orally, there are a few options available. You may want to start by burying the pill in your cat's food. That way, when your cat eats the rest of his or her food, he or she will also eat the medication. You may have an easier time doing this if you give your cat wet food. That way, your cat may not get a chance to uncover the medication before he or she swallows it. If you put the medication in a bunch of dry food, your cat may notice it before eating it. Then, your cat could eat around it.

Another option is to consider wrapping the pill or capsule in something delicious. If you decide to wrap the medication and food, you need to talk to your veterinarian to make sure whatever you wrap the pill in will be safe for your cat. Your veterinarian may also have some recommendations about what type of food you should use.

There are lots of cat owners who give their cats gabapentin regularly, and your veterinarian will work with you to figure out the best method to give gabapentin to your cat as well.

Gabapentin for Cats: FAQs

Some of the most common questions people ask about gabapentin for cats include:

What does gabapentin do to cats?

As discussed above, gabapentin is a specific medication that can be used to treat a wide variety of conditions, but it is mostly used as an anticonvulsant. This means that it can be used to treat seizures in cats. In addition, there are several other conditions that gabapentin can treat. Examples include anxiety, chronic pain, arthritis, and several other types of conditions.

If you believe that your cat may benefit from gabapentin, it is important for you to reach out to your veterinarian. That way, he or she can help you devise a treatment plan that has been specifically designed to work well for your cat.

How quickly does gabapentin work on cats?

Gabapentin works relatively quickly. In general, the medication will be completely out of your cat's system in 24 hours. Therefore, gabapentin induces its effects relatively quickly and it leaves the system quickly as well. If you have questions about whether gabapentin is working for your cat, you should reach out to your veterinarian to learn more.

How much gabapentin should I give my cat?

The exact amount of gabapentin you should give your cat will depend on the age of your cat, the weight of your cat, and the condition that has to be treated. You should trust your veterinarian regarding how much gabapentin you should give your pet. In addition, gabapentin can be used to control anxiety and reduce pain. Therefore, the dosage of gabapentin can vary depending on the nature of these conditions. Before you leave your vet's office, you need to know how much gabapentin to give, how often to give it, and how you should administer the medication to your cat. Make sure you clarify all of these issues before you give your cat gabapentin.

How does gabapentin make a cat feel?

Gabapentin is a drug that is generally very well tolerated by cats. At the same time, there are a few possible side effects. For example, you may notice that your cat is a bit more tired than usual. Or, you may notice that your cat has some issues with his or her GI system. Vomiting and diarrhea are not unusual with gabapentin. It is also possible that your cat may not develop any side effects at all. Side effects can vary from animal to animal, and you may find that your cat tolerates gabapentin appropriately.

Does gabapentin make a cat sleepy?

Yes, it is possible for gabapentin to make a cat sleepy. It is one of the most common side effects, but it is not universal. There is a chance that your cat may sleep more with gabapentin, but there is also a chance that your cat may act completely normal.

Do I need to see a veterinarian before giving gabapentin to my cat?

Yes, you need to make sure that you see a veterinarian before you give gabapentin to your cat. This is a prescription medication, and you should only give it to your cat if your veterinarian recommends it. Furthermore, you need to make sure you understand the appropriate dosage and frequency.

Do not hesitate to reach out to your veterinarian with any questions or concerns about gabapentin or any other medications.

Cat owner and cat sitting in front of laptop waiting for a vet telehealth appointment

Final Notes

Ultimately, gabapentin is an off-label medication. It is recommended for use in people by the FDA, but it is not yet endorsed by the FDA for use in cats or dogs. At the same time, there are lots of veterinarians who prescribe gabapentin for cats regularly for a variety of conditions.

Gabapentin’s original therapeutic use was as an anticonvulsant, meaning it was primarily used to stop seizures. However, gabapentin can also be used to treat a wide variety of other concerns, including pain and anxiety.This medication is typically very well tolerated by cats, but it is possible for your cat to develop side effects, with some of the most common examples being lethargy, nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, and edginess.

If you want to talk to your veterinarian about gabapentin as quickly as possible, you may want to explore telemedicine for pets. Dutch provides reliable, remote pet care for a variety of health conditions, including arthritis and joint pain as well as cat anxiety.

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References

  1. Editorial, PetMD. “Gabapentin.” PetMD, PetMD, 6 Apr. 2022, https://www.petmd.com/pet-medication/gabapentin.

  2. Team, Veterinarians.org. “Gabapentin for Cats: Benefits, Safety, Dosage and More!” Veterinarians.org, 20 Jan. 2022, https://www.veterinarians.org/gabapentin-for-cats/#Potential_Side_Effects_and_Risks_of_Gabapentin_for_Cats.

Frequently Asked Questions

Who is Dutch?

Dutch is an online veterinary pet telehealth service, created by pet parents and board-certified veterinary specialists. We use a science-backed approach to provide pets relief for their everyday physical and behavioral health issues. Dutch connects you with licensed veterinarians over video chat and messaging to help you get care for your dog or cat quickly wherever you are — without the stress or expense of a vet visit. We also partner with pharmacies who can deliver prescription medication (in applicable states only) and over-the-counter treatments directly to your door. Dutch isn’t a veterinary practice or pharmacy, but a company that helps facilitate these services for pet parents to make veterinary care more accessible to all.

What is a visit with Dutch like?

When booking a video call with a vet, you'll be asked a few questions about your pet’s health issue. Depending on the issue, you may also be asked to fill out a longer questionnaire about their symptoms and share photographs of them so our veterinarians can better understand what’s going on. You’ll then pick an appointment time that works best for you.

During your video call, one of our licensed veterinarians will talk to you about the symptoms your pet is experiencing, ask you questions, review your pet’s medical history if you’ve provided it, and answer any questions you have. The vet will ask to see your pet and their environment. And they may ask you to perform some simple checks on them if needed.

After your video call, the vet will send you a message with a custom treatment plan to help your pet feel better, including a link to buy any recommended prescription or over-the-counter medications. Place your order and we’ll ship it free.

How much will it cost for Dutch to treat my pet?

The Dutch membership starts at $15/mo for unlimited access to the vet. No more long waits for appointments or surprise bills.

In addition to the base membership plan, our veterinarians may also recommend additional medication (Rx and/or OTC) that you will have the option of adding to your plan at an additional cost.