Gabapentin for dogs with nerve pain and seizures
(redirects here from neurontin)
This article details the usage of gabapentin for dogs, including the correct dosage, safety guidelines, uses of the drug and more.
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Gabapentin is the name of Neurontin’s active ingredient. The drug is a GABA analog, GABA being one of the main inhibitory neurotransmitters in the central nervous system of mammals. Because of the CNS inhibiting mechanism of the substance, it is commonly used to treat nerve pain as well as seizures. It also has several off-label uses, for example, some medical professionals prescribe it as a remedy for insomnia though this is rare due to the many safer alternatives including melatonin for dogs.
Gabapentin dosage for dogs
The amount of gabapentin your dog will be prescribed is dependent on the condition being treated. For pain management the starting dose usually falls within the range of 11 to 22 mg/lb body weight to be administered twice daily. Depending on the dog’s reaction to the drug, it may be increased or decreased (in cases of excess sedation) gradually. Typically, adjustments to the dosage will be recommended after one to two weeks of your dog taking the medication. For the treatment of seizures, the starting dose most often falls within the range of 4.5 to 13.5 mg/lb body weight to be given every 12 hours, which may eventually increase to three times the analgesic dose.
Note: the liquid preparation of the drug often contains xylitol which should not be given to your dog, if a liquid formulation is required you will need to have it compounded.
Is gabapentin safe for dogs?
There are few side effects of gabapentin use in dogs and used under veterinary guidance it is very safe. Despite this, you should still keep a close eye on your pet after administering the medicine in case he/she develops any negative side effects. You should never give this drug to your dog without expert medical guidance on the dosage as it will differ from case to case.
- Do not administer antacids within 2 hours of giving your dog gabapentin
- Notify the vet if your dog is known to suffer with kidney disease
- Avoid use in pregnant or nursing pups unless absolutely necessary
- Avoid the regular liquid formulation which contains xylitol
- Notify the vet of any other medication your dog is taking
Gabapentin should not be used without veterinary guidance and a prescription. Monitor your dog after giving him or her gabapentin in case side effects develop. If you accidentally administer an overdose or serious side effects occur (though unlikely) you should stop administering the drug and seek immediate veterinary attention. If your dog experiences fatigue that lasts longer than a few days you should contact your vet and consider lowering the dosage.
Uses of gabapentin for dogs
As a GABA analog, gabapentin is typically used for the treatment of:
- Nerve pain
Gabapentin may only be mildly effective for seizure treatment. There are other drugs prescribed for the treatment of seizures which you may want to try if gabapentin doesn’t help such as Klonopin for dogs.
Side effects of gabapentin when given to dogs
The most common side effect your dog will experience when taking gabapentin is drowsiness. Typically this will subside within a few days but if it persists or is particularly extreme the vet may choose to lower the dosage. Other side effects include ataxia (loss of coordination). If your dog experiences ataxia you should notify the vet for advice on how to proceed.
Other side effects are rare but allergic reactions are possible. If your dog develops symptoms of allergic reaction such as difficulty breathing, rashes, hives and swelling you should seek emergency veterinary care and stop administering the drug.