Gabapentin is a medication that is commonly used in veterinary medicine to manage pain, anxiety, and seizures. Originally formulated as a treatment for seizures in humans, it has proven to be very effective in treating pain and anxiety in animals, particularly cats.
Gabapentin is an off-label drug, which means that it was not specifically designed for veterinary use. However, it is often prescribed by veterinarians for cats and is considered to be a safe medication for them. T he most common brand name for gabapentin is Neurontin, but it is also sold under other names such as Progresse, Equipax, Gaborone, Aclonium, Gralise, and Gantin.
When giving gabapentin to a cat, it is essential to follow the prescription from the veterinarian and not the instructions on the package. Human gabapentin tablets and capsules may contain xylitol, which is toxic to cats. Therefore, it is vital not to give gabapentin to your cat without a prescription.
Gabapentin has three primary uses in veterinary medicine: pain relief, anxiety treatment, and seizure control. Gabapentin is used as long-term pain relief for chronic conditions such as arthritis. It is also used with other medications to manage pain after surgery or an injury.
Gabapentin is also used for stressful events, such as vet visits. For example, if given 2–3 hours before a vet visit, gabapentin can help keep a cat calm during the visit, and its effects quickly fall off after 8-12 hours. In terms of seizure control, gabapentin is used long-term to manage recurring seizures.
When administering gabapentin to a cat, the dose and frequency depend on the size of the cat, the condition being treated, and how the cat responds to the medication. Some veterinarians may start with a low dose and then slowly increase the dosage to assess the cat’s response.
If you miss a dose of gabapentin, the consequences may depend on why your cat was taking it. If it was for chronic pain, your cat may just be a little stiffer until their next dose. But if it is after surgery, the consequences of missing a dose can be significant, as the cat may be in pain and more likely to chew or scratch at the surgical site.
Gabapentin has very few side effects, with some level of sedation being the only noticeable one. This can manifest as drowsiness or unsteadiness on feet. Therefore, it is essential to follow the veterinarian’s prescription carefully and not increase the dose or change the treatment plan without consulting your veterinarian.
When using gabapentin to manage severe pain or seizures, it may be used in combination with other pain or seizure medications. The combination of various medications is called multimodal analgesia (pain relief), and it uses more than one medication to block multiple points along the pain pathway, thus increasing pain relief while reducing the side effects of individual medications.
In conclusion, gabapentin is a medication commonly used in veterinary medicine to manage pain, anxiety, and seizures in cats. It is important to follow your veterinarian’s prescription carefully and not to administer gabapentin without a prescription. Gabapentin is usually given every 8-12 hours, and the dosage depends on the cat’s size, condition being treated, and its response to the medication. With careful monitoring and communication with your veterinarian, gabapentin can be an effective medication to help manage chronic pain and anxiety, as well as to control recurring seizures.