Gabapentin or Neurontin is a drug used for treating neuropathic pain and seizures on humans. The Food and Drug Authority (FDA) approved it in1994 as medication for partial seizures. It was then approved to be used for treatment of postherpetic neuralgia or neuropathic pain in 2002.
Animals like cats may also experience chronic pain and seizures. While the FDA has not approved Gabapentin to be used in cats, a lot of veterinarians prescribe it to treat felines that are suffering from the same conditions.
Aside from this drug, there are other medications and treatments that can help relieve your cat from pain. If the vet prescribes medications like Gabapentin, be aware that they may come with side effects. Aside from these drugs, there are natural ways on how you can help your pet get better. You may do these while administering the treatment provided by the vet.
Can I Give My Cat Gabapentin? Answer: By Prescription Only
Although the FDA has not approved Gabapentin for treating chronic pain and seizures in cats, it is generally an acceptable practice by vets to use the drug for treating cats with the same condition. Do not however administer this medication unless prescribed by the vet, as it may contradict with the other medications or supplements taken by your cat. It may have an adverse effect if your pet has other existing health problems. The best thing to do is to always consult a vet if you have any concerns with your cat.
If you suspect that your feline friend is suffering from chronic pain or it has experienced seizures in the past, go to your vet to have it checked. He will perform tests to determine the exact condition of your pet. If your cat is indeed suffering from said concerns, the vet may prescribe Gabapentin. You need this prescription for purchasing the drug. Make sure to follow the right dosage and schedule for administering the medication, and completing the full course of medication, for best result. Failure to do so may negatively affect the health of your pet.
Possible Side Effects
All drugs have side effects and Gabapentin is not an exemption. People who are under this medication often experience dizziness, eyesight problems, decreased energy, drowsiness, fluid retention, muscle pain and involuntary movement of the eyes. Others also experience diarrhea, weight gain, dry mouth, depression, mood changes, urinary tract infection and loss of memory.
Though rare, a patient may also suffer from pneumonia, suicidal thoughts, inflammation of the gums, chronic sleeping problems and decreased white blood cells. The drug also has side effects on cats and other animals that take it for treatment like diarrhea, sedation, loss of coordination and lethargy.
Cautions and Interactions with Other Drugs
Cats can take Gabapentin with or without taking food. However, it is important that the right dosage and prescribed frequency should be given to prevent any problems. Cats can safely take small dosages of Gabapentin. Taking more than the recommended dosage could cause serious health risks. This medication is eliminated from the system through the kidney.
Cats with kidney problems should not take this medication. It is also not recommended for pregnant cats as it may affect their babies. It should not also be taken together with antacids, as this could decrease its effectiveness. Taking it with hydrocodone may increase its effectiveness, though this would decrease the effectiveness of the other drug.
Other Treatments for Chronic Pain in Cats
The most common cause of chronic pain in cats is osteoarthritis. Aside from administering medications like Gabapentin to relieve pain, there are other things that you can do to help treat the disease.
Weight control. Excessive weight can cause more strain on its joints. Exercise and proper diet is needed to reduce weight. Walk your cat outside and give healthier choice of foods.
Supplements. There are supplements that you can give to your cat that could help repair damaged cartilage. Make sure to check with your vet before administering them to make sure that they are safe for your pet.
Physical therapy. There are professionals that provide this service to cats. Ask your vet for recommendations.
As a pet owner, you do not want your beloved cat to suffer from any kind of pain. Gabapentin is a proven medication for treating chronic pain in cats. However, make sure that you consult your vet before administering the drug for proper diagnosis and for the right prescription.