The Side Effects of Gabapentin for Dogs and Its Alternatives

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Gabapentin is more popularly known as Neurontin which is its brand name. It is a drug that can be administered to humans as well as dogs to help relieve them of chronic pain and seizures. Although it is not yet an FDA-approved medication, vets have been prescribing it to treat canines under strict guidelines and instructions.

Gabapentin can also be employed in the treatment of other diseases such as:

  • Anxiety
  • Chronic Arthritis
  • Allodynia
  • Idiopathic Epilepsy
  • Pains that may be due to cancer.

All these diseases make your dog experience a form of pain or seizure. Gabapentin acts by inhibiting neurotransmitters that are present in the central nervous system and this numbs your dog, making it less sensitive to painful sensations. For seizures, it imitates the GABA neurotransmitter and this results in calming excessive electric activities in the brain. You can get more information here: https://vcahospitals.com/know-your-pet/gabapentin.

Gabapentin is usually prescribed with opioids and NSAIDs as this is supposed make it more effective. To maintain its potency, it must not be exposed to heat but should be stored at room temperature.

Ingredients and Forms Available

The active ingredient in Neurontin is Gabapentin. Its amount varies based on the dosage. There are two forms in which it can be presented. These are capsules and liquid. The capsules come in 100mg, 300mg, and 400mg dosages.

Dosage

Dosage

The dosage to be administered is dependent on the ailment to be treated and the weight of the dog. It is often lower when administering for pain and higher when doing so for seizures.

For the treatment of pain, the dosage can be anything between 1.4mg to 5mg per lbs. and this is taken once a day. For treating seizures, the dosage should be between 4.5mg to 13.6mg per lbs. and this should be at an interval of 8 to 12 hours which equates to around 2 to 3 times daily as against once daily for pain.

If for any reason, as a dog owner, you forget to administer the dosage at the right time, it should be administered as soon as possible as long as it is still within the same day. If it’s the next day already, then the missed dose should be skipped and you should stick to the dose that is scheduled for that day. Avoid administering a double dose and ensure that they are properly spaced.

It is possible that a dog that has continuously taken Gabapentin might develop tolerance over time. If this is the case, the dosage may be increased gradually until it is effective. In any case, pet parents should ensure that they buy the correct form and be careful to follow the vet’s instructions, accurately measuring the exact dosage. Note that liquid Gabapentin is for humans and it is not good for dogs as it contains Xylitol which is toxic to them.

Side Effects

Much like other drugs, Gabapentin has its side effects but it is a generally safe drug as long as the right dosage is administered. Your dog may experience a deficiency in nutrients such as vitamins B1 and D, calcium, as well as folate which are crucial to the repairing of nerves. This is even more so if what you are using it to treat include seizures. As a result of this, your vet will likely prescribe supplements to counter these effects.

Some common side effects a dog may experience include:

  • Allergic reactions such as swelling of face and lips. It may also experience hives as well as difficulty in breathing.
  • Lethargy
  • Lack of coordination
  • Vomiting
  • Diarrhea
  • Depression

If your dog experiences any of these, it is advisable to call the vet as soon as possible.

For pregnant and nursing dogs, the side effects of Gabapentin may result in very harmful outcomes for them. Therefore, before giving any medication, it is important that you first consult with a veterinarian. If there is a case of overdose, it is not a cause of worry although it may result in any of the side effects listed above. 

Should you notice that your dog does not take well to the drug, it is imperative that you do not abruptly stop giving it. The vet will advise on how to effectively wean your canine off the medication.

Alternatives

In a case where your dog has not taken well to Gabapentin or you are hesitant about administering it, there are other alternatives that you may use for pain and seizures. A natural remedy and quite an effective way of relieving canines of most ailments is the use of CBD oil. It also helps in boosting the immune system, promoting the overall wellbeing of your pet. Other alternatives can include herbal medicine and acupuncture.

Conclusion

As seen from the article, Gabapentin is generally safe and effective for the treatment of pain and seizures though it is not yet FDA approved. Its side effects are minimal especially when the correct dosage is used.

For pet parents that may still have reservations, we’ve shown you an alternative that you may want to explore to help your canine live healthy.

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