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Developed in collaboration with Andrea Johnson, DVM | Co-Founder | PetVet365
Last reviewed: 8/25/2023
Gabapentin is an anti-seizure (anticonvulsant) and pain medication that is prescribed to treat seizures and chronic pain (primarily nerve pain) in dogs. It is prescribed for cats to treat fear and anxiety associated with veterinary visits. It is often used in combination with other medications.
Your veterinarian may prescribe Gabapentin under the brand names Neurontin®, Aclonium®, Equipax®, Gantin®, Gabarone®, Gralise®, and Neurostil®. It is given orally.
Gabapentin is commonly prescribed by veterinarians for chronic pain relief and to treat anxiety and seizures in dogs. It is often prescribed to ease fear and anxiety associated with veterinary visits in cats.
Gabapentin works by blocking calcium channels in the brain to suppress overly stimulated neurons that cause anxiety, nerve pain, and seizures in your pet.
Drowsiness and clumsiness (ataxia) are the primary side effects of gabapentin. The level of sleepiness varies, so veterinarians generally prescribe a starting dose and then adjust the dosage up or down. Diarrhea and vomiting are less common, but still possible.
Gabapentin is commonly found to be more effective for pain management at the beginning of treatment when administered alongside another pain reliever like hydrocodone or morphine. After a period, the second narcotic can be dropped from the therapy and gabapentin will remain the sole pain reliever. Using gabapentin with other pain relievers may increase sedation.
Combining gabapentin with other anxiety reliever drugs such as clonazepam or diazepam can also increase sedation.
Gabapentin is also often combined with trazadone to reduce situational anxiety and pain in stressful situations such as veterinary visits, hospitalization, or post-surgery recovery.
Gabapentin should not be administered within two hours of oral antacids, or the antacids will hinder absorption of the drug, making it less effective.
Gabapentin is usually given orally. The starting dose for dogs is usually 10mg, and the most commonly used dosing strengths are 50mg, 100mg, and 300mg. Be sure to follow your veterinarian’s dosing instructions carefully.
Wedgewood Pharmacy provides medication options that help ensure accurate dosing, especially for hard to medicate pets. Click below for a complete list of Wedgewood’s dosing forms and strengths.
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Wedgewood Pharmacy provides medication options that help ensure accurate dosing, especially for hard to medicate pets. Click below for a complete list of Wedgewood’s gabapentin dosing forms and strengths.
Gabapentin should not be stopped abruptly because withdrawal can trigger seizures or rebound pain. Talk to your veterinarian to make a plan to decrease gabapentin gradually over the course of two to three weeks.
Gabapentin withdrawal symptoms may appear as agitation and anxiety, sweating/panting, body aches, confusion, tremors, gastrointestinal distress, and heart palpitations.
If you miss giving your pet a dose, give the next dose as soon as you remember or, if it is close to the next scheduled dose, return to the regular schedule. Do not double dose to catch up. If you are not sure what to do, call your veterinarian about the missed dose and follow their directions.
An overdose of gabapentin would likely cause increased severity of side effects, including lethargy, sleepiness, depression, and clumsiness.
Remember to tell your veterinarian about any medications, vitamins, supplements, or herbal therapies that you are giving your pet.
If you suspect your pet or another animal was accidentally overdosed or has eaten this medication inadvertently, immediately contact your veterinarian or the A.S.P.C.A.’s Animal Poison Control Center at 888-426-4435.
Remember to take your prescription container with you when you take your pet for treatment. If you or someone else has ingested this medication, call the National Capital Poison Center at 800-222-1222.
Wedgewood Pharmacy’s gabapentin preparations start at $0.10 per dose, however, your veterinarian will prescribe a specific dosage based on the pet’s weight, condition, and other factors.
Compounded medicines are prepared for the exact strength your veterinarian prescribes. The price of the medication will depend on the dosage and the medication form with certain dosage forms and higher strengths generally being more expensive.
In addition, the cost of a medication will depend upon the price of the other active pharmaceutical ingredients and may increase the cost of the finished drug.
Looking for Gabapentin?
We can let your veterinarian know that you are interested in our compounded Gabapentin.
Yes, trazodone is generally safe to use with gabapentin. Trazodone is commonly prescribed by veterinarians to reduce stress and anxiety before vet visits or during post-surgical confinement and rest. Gabapentin is used for the same purposes, so veterinarians often prescribe these two medications together.
It is not recommended to use CBD and gabapentin together because of the increased risk of over-sedation.
Always consult with a veterinarian before starting your dog on any additional medications or supplements that were not originally prescribed to ensure that they are safe with your dog’s current medications.
Gabapentin will make your pet feel calm and “chill.” The most often reported side effects of gabapentin in dogs are sleepiness and loss of coordination. The side effects can be worse the first time your pet takes it but generally go away within 24 hours. More rarely, your pet may experience vomiting and diarrhea.
Generally, no. Your veterinarian may add gabapentin, which has minimal side effects, to your pet’s pain management plan to reduce the dosage of other pain-relieving medications like NSAIDs, which do have potentially dangerous side effects, especially with long-term use.
The most frequently reported side effects of gabapentin are sedation and ataxia. Ataxia is the loss of motor control over the limbs, the main symptoms of it being weakened limbs (inability to walk, swaying, stumbling), drowsiness, tilting the head to one side, unresponsiveness, vertigo, and nausea.
Gabapentin is commonly recommended for chronic, neuropathic pain, which often develops in dogs with arthritis.
This article is meant to provide general and not medical advice. We strongly recommend that a veterinarian be consulted with for the specific medical needs of your animal.
American Kennel Club
Canine Arthritis Resources & Education (CARE)
Disposition of gabapentin (neurontin) in mice, rats, dogs, and monkeys.
Pharmacokinetics of oral gabapentin in Greyhound dogs
Andrea Johnson, DVM, is co-founder of PetVet365, a franchise company that creates new veterinary practices around entrepreneur owners determined to reinvent the animal healthcare profession and to offer the highest quality care for pets and their families.
She began her career as an associate veterinarian with a practice in Kentucky and eventually became owner and chief medical officer for 15 Banfield Pet Hospital franchises in Kentucky, Ohio, and Indiana, with 75 veterinarians on her team. She was a veterinary consultant for LegacyVet and a self-employed consultant prior to co-founding PetVet365.
She holds a BS degree in biology from Marshall University, an MS degree in Biology and Biological Sciences from Marshall University, and a DVM degree from the University of Georgia College of Veterinary Medicine.
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This content is intended for counseling purposes only. This content is informational/educational and is not intended to treat or diagnose any disease or patient. No claims are made as to the safety or efficacy of mentioned preparations. The compounded medications featured in this content have been prescribed and/or administered by prescribers who work with Wedgewood Pharmacy. You are encouraged to speak with your prescriber as to the appropriate use of any medication. Wedgewood Pharmacy’s compounded veterinary preparations are not intended for use in food and food-producing animals. All product and company names are trademarks™ or registered® trademarks of their respective holders. Use of them does not imply any affiliation with or endorsement by them.