Gabapentin Is An Effective Anti
We can testify to the benefits in our own cats. My cat Athena gets very stressed coming to the clinic, but gabapentin makes her much calmer. She is only 8.5 lbs., but needs 100 mg. Dr. Mustillos Sammy really hates riding in a car: vomiting, diarrhea, urinating and vocalizing the whole way not a happy trip for either of them. Sammy has chronic kidney disease so he gets a slightly lower dose he weighs 11 lbs., but he gets 50 mg of gabapentin. He also gets anti-nausea medication, in addition to gabapentin to help with car-sickness. He still doesnt like coming, but hes better with medication.
Weve been using this medication for a couple of years now. Its been a big help for a lot of our patients. See our previous blog posts De-Stressing Veterinary Visits and Make it Fear Free for more on anti-anxiety medication for cats, as well as other tips to help visits go smoothly.
So, if your cat gets stressed, please let us know. We know well never be their favorite destination thats being home with you. But we can try to make things a little easier for everyone.
Special Precautions For Using Gabapentin
Gabapentin is only to be administered to the pet it is prescribed for. The medication should be kept well out of reach of children and pets.
Because gabapentin is removed from the body by the kidneys, it should be avoided in 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 tapered off this medication over a couple of weeks. Your veterinarian will provide you with a detailed dosing schedule to help reduce the risk of seizures.
Giving A Cat Liquid Medications
Liquid medications are given in a pouch between the teeth and cheek. Quickly squirt the medication into the pouch, hold the cats mouth closed, and stroke its neck or sharply blow on its nose to encourage swallowing.
Liquids are more likely to accidentally enter the windpipe compared to pills or capsules. To avoid the cat inhaling liquid into the windpipe, do not tilt the cats head backward.
If you find it difficult to give your cat a pill or capsule, speak to your veterinarian about suspending the pill or capsule into a liquid. Some medications can be suspended in liquid while others lose their effectiveness. Always talk to your veterinarian before altering medication.
This information is not meant to be a substitute for veterinary care. Always follow the instructions provided by your veterinarian.
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Gabapentin For Reducing Fear And Stress In Feral And Shelter Cats
Gabapentin has also been studied for its fear-reducing effects in feral cats that are trapped for neuter programs. Fear responses were quantified with a feline stress scale.
Feral cats given gabapentin and not placebo had improved stress scores based on a detailed score based on facial and body posture. It was noted that the anxiolytic effects of the drug lasted about 3 hours from initial administration.
Veterinarians that specialize in analgesia and pain management have studied clues provided by body posture and facial expression to grade a level of stress or pain a cat may be experiencing. The presence or absence of certain behaviors can also help determine a cats overall welfare in a shelter or other environment and also stress or pain level.
What Is Prazosin For Cats Used For
Prazosin is most commonly used in cats to help relieve signs of urinary straining by relaxing the smooth muscle in the urethra. Urinary straining in cats can be common with urinary tract infections as well as the various presentations of feline lower urinary tract disease , including stress-induced urinary tract inflammation , urinary crystals, mucus and sediment grit, and urinary bladder stones.
Urinary straining can sometimes be a sign that a cat has a full urethral obstruction or blockage. Prazosin is not used to relieve urinary obstructions, and these cases always require immediate veterinary care.
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Tricks That Work For Giving Pills To Dogs Or Cats
Giving pills to dogs or cats is a big challenge for most pet owners and ranks up there with giving them a bath. They can hear you open the cabinet to get the bottle, then they are nowhere to be found. When you finally find them and get them in front of you, they refuse to open their mouths. When they dothey can smell or detect the most cleverly-disguised pill and it ends up on the floor.
If you have tried everything to give your dog or cat a pill, we can help! We have suggestions ranging from simple to no fail. We administer pills to dogs and cats every day. The team at Oakland Veterinary Referral Services can teach you the tricks for successfully giving pills to a dog or cat.
What Efficacy Data Are Available For Amantadine
Less information is available about the use of amantadine than use of gabapentin for the treatment of chronic pain in veterinary patients, but 1 controlled research study of dogs with chronic refractory hindlimb osteoarthritis has been reported.26 In that study, dogs receiving NSAIDs plus amantadine were more active and scored lower on a lameness scale than dogs receiving NSAIDs alone. Researchers of a study of heat-induced pain in cats receiving oxymorphone concluded that amantadine might decrease the antinociceptive dose of oxymorphone in some but not all cats.27 These results are not surprising because the mechanism of action of amantadine is more likely to be effective in animals with central sensitization, which was not caused in this research model. As stated in the discussion of gabapentin, there is a scarcity of studies on treating chronic pain with any drug or modality in veterinary patients.
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A Guide To Gabapentin For Cats
It’s a situation that many cat owners know all too well when it comes to taking their pet in the car throwing up, diarrhea, urinating, and being very vocal the whole ride. The anxiety our feline friends feel during trips and vet visits often make the owners just as stressed.
Fortunately, many veterinarians are turning to a prescription drug for humans called Gabapentin, an effective anti-anxiety medication for cats. But what many pet owners may not know is that this medication is also used for managing seizures and pain in cats.
We put together this guide for everything you need to know when it comes to using Gabapentin for your furry, four-legged kitty.
What If This Does Not Work Either
If you continue to have difficulty, you may want to purchase a pet piller device or speak to your veterinarian for advice.
If you find that giving your cat a pill is a frustrating experience , it may be possible to have the medication compounded into a flavored liquid. Veterinary pharmacies can prepare many medications into liquid or treat formulas with appealing flavors such as tuna, chicken, or salmon. Some medications can even be made into a gel that can be rubbed onto the ear flap.
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Gabapentin For Feline Hyperesthesia Syndrome
Gabapentins pain relieving properties were originally designed for neuropathic pain. Neuropathic pain is generated from the peripheral nerves, spinal cord or brain. Gabapentin is a calcium channel blocker and targets a specific region of the spinal cord. A particular disease entity in cats that gabapentin is useful for treating is a condition called feline hyperesthesia syndrome . This syndrome is also referred to as rolling back syndrome. Cats exhibit sudden rippling and twitch the skin over their back. They have sudden reactive signs such as whipping around to look at their hind end, chasing their tail and biting and licking their lumbar spine. Some cats race around in response to the perceived noxious sensation. These events can happen multiple times a day and may cause much distress to your cat. Gabapentins neuropathic pain relieving properties are useful to treat this condition. The dosing of gabapentin is similar for other conditions and may be titrated to effect.
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Original studies of gabapentin used 6.5mg/kg up to 10mg/kg every 8 hours orally in cats. Some specialists use much higher doses in cats to achieve the best effects. Dr. Kelly St. Denis in the VIN community recommends 15-20mg/kg. She likes to start a cat out once daily in the evening for 5 days and then move to every 12 hours thereafter.
Consider Gel Caps And Pill
The last trick to give your cat oral pills is to use gel caps or pill-givers.
Gel caps are an excellent choice when you have to give your cat more than one tablet at a time.
You simply put the pills inside the cap, close it, and then you either hide in the food or give it by hand.
However, you should first check with the vet if its possible to combine the medication.
On the other hand, pill-givers look like syringes without the needle. You load the pill and then push down the plunger to release the pill in your cats mouth.
They are quite handy because you eliminate the risk of being bitten.
As you can see, its possible to give your cat her oral pill without getting mauled.
However, if your furbaby is in distress or anxious, you might want to leave the job to a professional or ask your vet for medication that can be administered through the skin.
What do you think about these tips for giving your cat oral pills? How do you do it? Share your experience in the comments.
Ive grown up surrounded by animals dogs, cats, cows, goats, sheep, and horses and that has shaped me into what I am today a crazy cat lady who always has a place for one more cat . Ive got two female cats Kitty and Roni, and two tomcats Blacky and Shaggy, but I also feed my neighbors cats when they come for a visit. I just cant say no to them.
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Potential Side Effects And Risks Of Gabapentin For Cats
It is possible for cats to have side effects when taking Gabapentin. The good news is that the development of such adverse reactions can be minimized by gradually increasing the Gabapentin doses.
The common side effects of Gabapentin for cats include:
- Incoordination or ataxia
In cats with chronic kidney disease, Gabapentin is more likely to cause sedation instead of simple sleepiness. Gabapentin may also trigger false-positive results on urinary protein tests.
Gabapentin should be used with precautions in cats with kidney and liver problems as well as pregnant and nursing cats. On the other hand, it should not be used at all in felines sensitive to the active ingredient.
Gabapentin To Reduce Fear And Anxiety At The Vet
In cats, the drug is excellent as a pre-visit pharmaceutical. It helps to lessen the fear, anxiety and aggression in cats that visit the veterinary office. These calming effects can also be harnessed for other stressful events like car and plane travel.
Fearful cats exhibit certain postures and behaviors that can be interpreted. For example, fearful cats will crouch to make themselves small. Their ear placement can indicate as well their level of fear. Ears that are directed backwards or flattened are a good indication of their level of fear. Cats that flick their tails are displaying a high level of arousal and agitation. With increased defensiveness cats will crouch, hold their ears sideways so down and growl or vocalize loudly. When the ears swivel sideways and the pupils enlarge, aggression may be coming. If a cat exhibits these types of behaviors at a veterinary visit, it may be best to consider a pre-visit dose of gabapentin. You can discuss this with your veterinarian.
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Allergic Reactions And Sensitivity
Gabapentin for cats should never be given to animals that are known to be allergic to this medication. If your cat experiences an allergic reaction, symptoms may include swelling, difficulty breathing, and hives. Contact your veterinarian immediately if your cat has an adverse reaction to the medication.
Side Effects Of Gabapentin In Cats
Gabapentin can cause side effects in cats, though usually mild. The most common is sedation and can be dose-related. If your cat is experiencing sedation, you should talk to your vet to see if they want to tweak the amount your kitty is getting.
Other side effects may include:
Over time cats can develop a tolerance to Gabapentin and may need a dose increase.
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Gabapentin Is Effective In Managing Symptoms Of Neurological Conditions
Most types of neurological disorders have no cure, but there are some effective treatments, like Gabapentin. As mentioned, certain medications are safe for human and animal consumption. Gabapentin, also known as Neurontin, is one of them.
This anticonvulsant alters the abnormal chemical and nerve activities that cause pain or seizures. In cats, neurological disorders can come in many forms. The most common is epilepsy, a blanket term for disorders that cause recurring seizures.
These conditions develop from trauma to the brain, abnormal genetic factors, developmental issues, or disease.
What Does Gabapentin Do For Cats
Gabapentin is used as a pain medication for chronic pain and, sometimes, to help calm down frightened cats.
In cats, gabapentin is most often used as a pain medication for chronic pain, such as from arthritis.
Gabapentin has also been recognized to be beneficial in reducing the fear responses that a kitty may have to the stress of handling and being examined at the vet.
Its common for vets to prescribe a single dose of it to be given a couple of hours prior to veterinary visits to provide some sedation and help examination and handling to be less stressful for certain patients.
Anecdotally, it also appears to help keep some cats much calmer for car or plane travel and may be recommended to help make longer trips less stressful.
Studies have not shown gabapentin to be as effective for acute pain in cats as some other medications like buprenorphine, and so it is less commonly prescribed for a sudden onset of a painful condition, or after surgery.
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Dosage Forms Of Gabapentin
There is no specific veterinary form of gabapentin for pets, and it is always the human medication form that is used in an extra-label or off-label manner, which is common in veterinary medicine.
The most common form of gabapentin is a capsule containing powder, with the prescribed amount mixed with canned or soft food.
The 100mg capsule is the most common size prescribed for cats. Gabapentin also comes in a 50mg/ml liquid form that does require refrigeration.
The commercial liquid form may contain the artificial sweetener xylitol. While not toxic to cats, xylitol is toxic to dogs, so be careful with this form if theres a pup in your home.
To make dosing easier, especially for smaller cats, gabapentin can also be ordered as a compounded medication in different forms by your veterinarian.
How To Give Your Cat A Pill
Medicine for cats usually comes in pill form. With medication in hand, keep this in mind: cats are smart creatures that don’t take kindly to changes in their routine, and they won’t make it easy on you. Unlike your dog, who will happily scarf a pill down in a spoonful of peanut butter, you’ll have to approach your cat in a calm but calculating way.
If you have a cooperative cat, try putting the pill directly in her mouth. Don’t toss the pill into her mouth because you run the risk of a choking hazard . Instead, place it on the center of her tongue near the back of her mouth, then gently rub her throat to encourage the pill to go down, advises the ASPCA Pet Health Insurance. Offer her a fresh bowl of water to wash it down.
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Gabapentin For Pain Management In Animals
If your pet is showing signs of being in pain, then you should take it to the veterinarian as soon as possible. The pain could be being caused by a wide variety of factors, some of which may be considered more serious than others.
Depending on your pets diagnosis, gabapentin may be one of the drugs your veterinarian chooses to prescribe to help treat her pain.
This Drug Can Be Used For In
Doctor Marty Becker of the North Idaho Animal Hospital argues on behalf of using drugs such as Gabapentin to create a relaxed state for patients. Some animals are inconsolable by the usual methods of calming.
Soft touch, passive voice, and treats go unacknowledged as the fight or flight instinct in highly stressed animals overpowers the desire for food or other basic needs. Some, according to Dr. Jeff Nichol, even become self-destructive.
During appointments that require lab work, exams, or other procedures that cant be easily rescheduled, medicine is the quick fix.
Becker notes that most doctors are wary of dosing patients as the alterations could obscure crucial observations.
While it can be hard to determine the pain level or disease symptoms of a sedated cat, there is also a possibility that stress-induced behaviors falsely reflect disease symptoms.
These include irregular heart rates, digestive issues, excessive grooming or scratching, isolation, vocalizing, appetite changes, fatigue, and aggression.
In his tips for those considering the sedation method, Becker includes doctor testimonials. One states she would rather catch anxious behaviors early and opt for mood-altering medications to avoid sedation if possible.
Another says she records the behaviors of cats before and during visits, then prescribes stressed felines with a pre-appointment dose of Gabapentin. Dr. Nichols concurs this drugs ability and notes its use alongside others for car sickness.
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