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Is Gabapentin Safe to Give to Dogs and What is it Used For?

Is Gabapentin Safe to Give to Dogs and What is it Used For?

Although not approved or authorized by the FDA for dogs, Gabapentin is evolving into a more frequently administered "off label" drug in Veterinary medicine to treat seizures, anxiety and to neutralize neurological pain. Safety and efficacy for performance in the canine has not been reported by the FDA, but multiple reports by practicing veterinarians indicate satisfaction in performance with no danger to the pet.  


When can owners give Gabapentin and when can they not give Gabapentin to dogs?

Gabapentin is an FDA controlled substance drug and should be administered only under the direction of a licensed Veterinarian. Owners may administer Gabapentin when their pet is experiencing severe anxiety or pain. Fireworks of July the 4th creating severe anxiety and post surgical pain are two examples of optimum opportunities for possible Gabapentin value. Some veterinarians are administering Gabapentin for seizure and epilepsy management in dogs either alone or in conjunction with other anti-convulsive medication. Cocktails are given with other anti-arthritic drugs mixing Gabapentin with Carprofen or Previcox and with anti-anxiety drugs like Trazadone. Gabapentin should not be administered to dogs allergic to Gabapentin, if pregnant, lactating or with significant kidney and liver disease. Liquid human Gabapentin is loaded with xylitol, an artificial sugar replacement, which is toxic to dogs, and should never be given to the canine. If the pet is currently on medication, your veterinarian should be consulted to authorize adding Gabapentin.


What is the safe dosage of Gabapentin for dogs and how long does it take to become effective and how frequently can you take it?

Canines should only be administered Gabapentin in the pill or capsule form. Availability is in 100mg, 300mg, 400mg and 800mg tablets. Recommended dosage starts at 5mg/kg or 2mg/# every 12 hours. Gabapentin is so new to veterinary use, effective and safe dosage values are generally determined by the attending veterinarian and dosages may expand  to as high 30-60mg/kg twice daily. Effects from Gabapentin may be realized within 2 hours but may take weeks to maximize stability. Repeated twice daily doses may be repeated continuously without reported negative effects. If  vomiting, incoordination or lethargy emerge discontinue use.


What is the negative side effect of Gabapentin?

Because Gabapentin is an addictive drug, elimination sometimes requires slowly tapering use over several weeks. Your veterinarian will provide you with a tapering dosage protocol. Some individuals may become sleepy or incoordinate using Gabapentin and, if  experiencing poor kidney or liver function, vomiting and lethargy.  


How long does Gabapentin stay in the body?

Half life is 6 hours and is eliminated from the body within 2 days if the body is healthy and free from kidney or liver disease. 



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