Gabapentin is used in both dogs and cats. It has two different functions.
- Gabapentin is used as an analgesic (a medicine used to relieve pain).
- It also has an anti-convulsant effect and is used as an antiepileptic medication.
Gabapentin as an Analgesic in Dogs and Cats
Gabapentin is most effective for treating neuropathic pain (pain that results from damage or dysfunction in the nervous system.) It is also frequently used to treat pain originating from various types of cancer.
Gabapentin in Treating Canine and Feline Seizures
Gabapentin may be used to treat refractory seizures in dogs and cats that have not responded favorably to other types of medications. It may be used in conjunction with other antiepileptic medications or may be used a sole form of treatment.
Gabapentin is increasingly being used as a first-line form of treatment for seizures and epilepsy in place of more traditional medications such as phenobarbital.
Side Effects of Gabapentin in the Dog and Cat
The most common side effect seen with gabapentin is sedation. Your pet should be monitored for symptoms such as incoordination or drowsiness.
Gabapentin is eliminated from the body almost entirely by the kidneys and urinary tract. Therefore, gabapentin should be used cautiously in animals suffering from kidney disease.
You should not stop giving gabapentin to your pet suddenly. Doing so can result in life-threatening seizure activity.
Gabapentin and Xylitol
Oral solutions of gabapentin may contain xylitol. Xylitol is known to be toxic to dogs and gabapentin solutions containing xylitol should be avoided.
Other Potential Drug Interactions with Gabapentin
The potential for adverse drug interactions exists when gabapentin is used with several other medications. Antacids, hydrocodone and morphine used in conjunction with gabapentin may alter the metabolism of gabapentin. Adjusted dosages of gabapentin may be warranted if it must be used with these medications.
(Source: Plumb's Veterinary Drug Handbook, 6th edition, Donald C Plumb)