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Gabapentin For Dogs: Uses, Dosage, And Side Effects

If you are a pet owner or have you ever had the experience of owning a dog? You would realize that taking care of your canine friends is no small feat. Regular visits to the vets also fall under this purview with incessant attention towards their diets, exercise, and well-being. However, age is one of the most issues for canines and is a neurological failure. These often occur alone or with the conjecture of other symptoms. At the same time, a variety of drugs and medications are present out there on the market to treat the above conditions. Gabapentin dosage for dogs is possibly one of the most commonly prescribed drugs by vets across the country to treat the same.

What is Gabapentin for dogs?

As mentioned earlier, Gabapentin is a commonly prescribed drug belonging to the family of analgesics used to treat various disorders in dogs ranging from seizures and anxiety to pain. The drug has also been found to act as an effective anticonvulsant and is often used to treat the same. While Gabapentin effectively treats these disorders, it comes with its own set of controversies. Gabapentin is manufactured for human use, making it difficult to administer them to dogs. Across the country, Gabapentin is considered “off the counter” and is not FDA approved for dogs. Hence this often makes Gabapentin a slippery slope to manage for approvals.

What Does Gabapentin Do for Dogs?

As mentioned earlier, Gabapentin is commonly used by vets to treat a variety of issues in dogs. However, depending on the ailment, its usage can be broadly classified into 3 main categories. Here is some of things what is gabapentin used for dogs?

#1 As a pain controlling agent

Gabapentin has been effective in treating chronic pain in dogs, especially those of a neuropathic origin. Gabapentin can be used either as a standalone medication or with others. Sometimes vets suggest using Gabapentin with other painkillers like NSAIDs. In such cases, the doses given will generally be of a lower weight. Dogs have suffered from several nervous ailments such as hyperalgesia and allodynia.

These generally cause a lot of discomfort and pain, a reason for which Gabapentin can be used to treat them. If you have an aging pet, you would probably be familiar with arthritis and malignancy – two of the most common issues. In this case, as well Gabapentin can be used to provide pain relief. The drug can also be used as a therapeutic agent for multiple neuropathic disorders. The drug is also used to lower pain in dogs post-surgery.

#2 Seizure prevention medication

Another drug usage can be traced to its effective arrest of convulsions or seizures across dogs. Gabapentin is also known to act as an excellent anticonvulsant. For dogs suffering from epilepsy, this has provided immense relief. It is often used as a therapy machine for refractory seizures. Most vets would consider seizures a fairly common occurrence in dogs. Seizures can occur in canines anywhere from 6 months to 6 years old.

However, epileptic seizures, according to vets, are the causes of the biggest concern. Epileptic seizures are more prevalent in some breeds than others, such as Border Collies, Australian Shepherds, Labrador Retrievers, Beagles, and German Shepherds. This makes it even more important to get a timely diagnosis, and this is where Gabapentin has been found to give highly satisfying results.

#3 As a means to alleviate anxiety

Not unlike humans, canines are susceptible to a wide range of factors that trigger anxiety. Some of the popular factors that most owners can associate with include loud noises, children, other pets, frequent changes in their surroundings, or an ailment bothering them. Some of how dogs show anxiety include excessive urinating, destructive behaviour, pacing, and listlessness.

Anxiety is generally not a novel phenomenon across dogs, often one of the most commonly occurring syndromes. This is where Gabapentin has witnessed a surge in demand over the years. While it is a commonly used treatment plan for neurological issues, it is extremely prevalent in treating anxiety. It is known to soothe the frayed nerves of the pet, making them, in general, calmer and more susceptible to desirable behaviour.

Gabapentin Side Effects for Dogs

Gabapentin is one of the most commonly prescribed drugs vets use to cure a range of ailments across canines. Here are some of possible gabapentin side effects in dogs .

#1 Incorrect dosage amounts

It is important to remember that Gabapentin has been manufactured, keeping human consumption in mind. Hence when it comes to doses for dogs or other pets, it will greatly vary in nature. It is where advice from a vet comes in handy to ensure the right amount. Many things need to be kept in mind while providing the drug to dogs.

First is the nature of the ailment itself, and the latter is the physical nature of the dog. For instance, smaller dogs like chihuahuas cannot be given the dose you would give a German Shepherd. In this case, compounding would have to be specially done to meet the needs. Overdosing might prove to be fatal if not scrutinized properly.

#2 Nature of the Medication

The drug is available in tablets and capsules ranging from 100mg, 300mg, and 400mg in weight. This form has been deemed safe to administer to pooches. However, the drug is also available in a syrup format to be avoided. It contains xylitol, which is lethal if consumed by canines.

#3 Unsafe When Used Under Certain Conditions

If your pet is suffering from an existing medical condition, it is strongly advised to seek approval from a vet in that case. Gabapentin can be unsafe if your pet is already suffering from an ailment. Generally, liver and kidney issues pose the greatest challenge. Under situations where renal function is affected, Gabapentin is directly flushed out of the body. It also affects lab readings by giving false indicators in urinary protein tests. For aging dogs, the lowered metabolism often interferes with drug function.

# Medical history of your pet

If your pet has a history of allergies or low tolerance toward any chemicals, you must contact the vet. Gabapentin can cause allergic reactions in certain pets.
Long term side effects: It has been observed that Gabapentin, when used for a long term, can cause side effects like dizziness, sedation, and diarrhoea in pets. If sedation becomes an issue, then contacting your vet to reduce the dosage or temporarily withhold it might be a good idea.

#Risk when used with pregnant dogs

Gabapentin is generally not used in the case of pregnant dogs for a variety of reasons. The first one is that it can cause harm to unborn puppies. The latter is that the trace amounts of the drug remain in the milk and get carried onto the newborns. As a result, it is generally avoided in lactating dogs as well.

#Suddenly taking your dog off the drug

For pets that have been on the drug for a long time, suddenly taking it off poses certain problems. It may lead to extreme symptoms such as recurrence of seizures that may greatly affect the pets’ health. Most vets recommend a cooling-off period of about 3 weeks before completely stopping the dosage.

In general, Gabapentin does not show drastic effects in pets. However, you can observe some issues. Getting in touch with the vets can ensure these are avoided.

Gabapentin Dosage For Dogs

Ever wonder how much gabapentin can i give my dog? While it is recommended that a vet prescribes doses for Gabapentin usage, self-medication can also be done. However, greater care has to be taken while administering it.

  • Generally, gabapentin dose for anxiety in dogs is 5-30mg per kg of body weight, ranging from one to sometimes three times a day.
  • In cases of unresponsiveness to the drug or severe cases of illness, the dosage can be upped to 10-40mg per kg. However, it is recommended not to exceed giving your dog more than three doses a day. Gabapentin can also be used for a one-term usage like going to the vet for surgery. In this case, you can use higher doses like 30-60mg.
  • For the drug to kick and start its effects, it is recommended to administer it for around 1.5-3 hours. In case of less serious ailments, most vets suggest prescribing the drug at an interval of every 24 hours.
  • Most vets would agree that owners need to be mindful when administering the drug to their pets. Even a slight increase in dosage can be fatal for the pet’s health.

Conclusion

Neuropathic ailments are common in dogs and have always been a cause of concern for pet parents. However, today vets are exposed to a greater array of knowledge and techniques. This, in turn, has helped to make diagnoses and treatments more effective. Gabapentin, in this case, has turned out to be a major game-changer when it comes to treating neuropathic ailments. The drug has truly paved the way for treatments, providing genuine results. Over the years, it has provided a great sense of relief to pet owners in ensuring the well-being of a man’s best friend.

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