Gabapentin Uses as Prescribed by a Vet for Your Cat
What is Gabapentin?
Gabapentin for cats works in the same way that GABA does, which is as an inhibitory neurotransmitter. This means that neuropathic pain originating in the nervous system is blocked by Gabapentin.
It also works well to suppress excessive electrical activity in the brain that normally produces seizures.
In short, Gabapentin for cats can be an excellent pain reliever when combined with an analgesic, such as NSAIDS like aspirin or ibuprofen. While it is frequently used in humans, cats and other animals have been found to similarly respond to Gabapentin in a positive way.
This is a prescription-only drug. Therefore, this drug must be approved by a certified vet before giving it to a cat. The cat’s personal vet is in the best position to give a cat the appropriate drug and dosage that it requires.
It is important for cat owners to keep in mind that, despite the vast array of online informational articles, the veterinarian will know best how to keep it safe and healthy.
What is Gabapentin Used for in Cats?
For felines, Gabapentin has a few major uses for which it is largely prescribed by vets. In cats, Gabapentin works to:
- Equalize electrical activity in the brain, which thereby prevents seizures or convulsions.
- Reduce continuous, lasting nerve pain. Gabapentin is popular for cats dealing with pain associated with malignant cancer or osteoarthritis.
- Calm and soothe anxiety or restlessness in cats. This drug works well for cats that dread the vet or being in its carrier for long periods of time.
If Gabapentin sounds like a medication that a cat may benefit from, the doctor will be able to determine this based on its age, weight, and medical history.
Gabapentin Dosages for Cats
Currently, there is a myriad of innumerable medications that helps treat seizures or relieve pain in cats. For this reason, a licensed veterinarian should be the one making all decisions related to the cat’s health and what medications it should receive.
Their medication and dosage recommendations are based on a thorough examination of the cat and its medical history. Therefore, all instructions given by the vet for the cat should be followed strictly.
A vet’s opinion and expertise should be always sought over an internet article, no matter how reputable it may seem.
In terms of Gabapentin dosage for cats, vets generally recommend that, every 8 to 12 hours, the cat be given between 5 mg and 10 mg per kilogram of what they weigh. Gabapentin is usually administered in capsule form, although it does come as a liquid and tablet as well. This is in general terms.
A specific cat will be given a specific dosage amount that is appropriate for them, as dictated by their vet.
As a capsule, Gabapentin is made in 100 mg, 300 mg, 400 mg, and 600 mg amounts. Because of this, dispensation of the drug should be meticulously measured out before it is given.
Gabapentin Precautions for Cats
While Gabapentin can be an effective means of helping a cat, there are some factors that warrant careful attentiveness. Some of the best advice for using this drug concerns what form of the drug is safest for cats. All drugs, no matter what it may be, must be feline-friendly.
It would be a mistake to assume that whatever a human can ingest safely is likewise safe for cats. Xylitol is an example of this precaution.
Do not use the liquid version of Gabapentin due to the inclusion of xylitol. Xylitol is poisonous.
For all concerns and queries regarding Gabapentin, safe dosages, and correct administration of it, the cat’s vet is the most knowledgeable resource available to best help that cat specifically.
What to Do if You Miss a Dose
If a cat is prescribed Gabapentin, it should be given about the same time each day for as long as it is prescribed for. However, missed dosages should be given as soon as possible that same day.
If the dosage was completely missed for the day, continue with the regular schedule of 1 dose per day. A double dose should never be given in the same day.
On another note, a prescribed medication should be finished in its entirety, unless otherwise noted by the vet. If the medication is stopped prematurely, the cat may experience withdrawal symptoms, thereby making matters worse.
What are the Side Effects of Gabapentin in Cats?
There are potential side effects to Gabapentin that, if seen, should be reported to the vet as soon as possible. If cats are using this prescribed medication for the first time, the owner should monitor the cat closely for any abnormal behaviors.
- Loss of balance (ataxia)
- Swelling throughout the body
- Decrease in activity
When Gabapentin for Cats Should Be Avoided
For cats with the following conditions, a vet should assess them to determine if the feline can safely take Gabapentin.
- Renal failure, or kidney disease
Cats that are either pregnant or struggling with liver functioning normally avoid Gabapentin. However, this decision is best left up to a vet that knows the condition of the feline.
Potential Adverse Drug Reactions in Gabapentin
Some of the following listed substances have been found to cause negative reactions when combined with Gabapentin.
- Vitamins and supplements
It is always of the utmost importance to make the cat’s vet fully aware of all medications, vitamins, and supplements that the cat may already be taking.
Gabapentin Overdose Symptoms
As it is with any medication, overdose is a possibility that owners should be vigilant in keeping an eye out for side effects.
Here are the common signs of toxicity or overdose when Gabapentin for cats.
- Wobbling gait (cannot keep balanced)
- Severe sleepiness
- Abnormal decrease in activity levels and mood
Any unforeseen changes in behavior that is not normal for the cat should be looked at closely. If the symptoms persist or worsen, the cat should be immediately taken to the vet or animal hospital for evaluation.
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