If you know the struggle of seeing your cat in a painful or stressful situation, you may have considered medication to relieve your furry friend’s troubles.
Gabapentin is an anti-seizure and pain management pharmaceutical drug used to treat pain and anxiety in cats.
Have you noticed your cat acting strangely or unable to walk after taking gabapentin? Read on to learn more about this drug and what to do if your cat experiences adverse effects from gabapentin.
- What Is Gabapentin?
- How Can Gabapentin Be Used For Cats?
- What Are The Side Effects Of Taking Gabapentin For Cats?
- Why Can't My Cat Walk After Taking Gabapentin?
- How Much Gabapentin Should My Cat Take?
- How Long Does Gabapentin Last In Cats?
- Signs Of Gabapentin Overdose In Cats
- Prevention Of Gabapentin Side Effects And Overdose
- Natural Alternatives To Gabapentin
- Frequently Asked Questions
- Final Thoughts
What Is Gabapentin?
Gabapentin is an anticonvulsant drug created to treat seizures and chronic pain in humans. Veterinarians use gabapentin “off label” or “extra label” for animals, meaning drug use for cats and dogs isn’t listed on the label but is permitted according to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) requirements. It is the responsibility of your veterinarian to make medical judgments regarding the use of this drug, with your permission, of course.
It is essential to follow your veterinarian’s instructions when giving this drug to your cat, as your vet’s directions may differ significantly from what is shown on the label.
How Can Gabapentin Be Used For Cats?
Your veterinarian may wish to prescribe gabapentin for a few conditions. Always discuss benefits and potential risks when before beginning a new treatment. You may also want to explore natural alternatives to gabapentin, which you can read about later in this article.
Often used in combination with anti-inflammatory and analgesic drugs, gabapentin is effective in treating pain in cats. In particular, gabapentin excels at treating nerve pain and can also be used for pain associated with arthritis and cancer.
Gabapentin is an anticonvulsant drug, so it’s especially effective in controlling seizures. Your veterinarian may prescribe gabapentin if your cat has epilepsy.
If your cat struggles with anxiety, you know that vet visits or travel can trigger fear and stress. Your vet may prescribe gabapentin to reduce stress during transportation or examination.
What Are The Side Effects Of Taking Gabapentin For Cats?
Common side effects of taking gabapentin include sleepiness and abnormal movement, called ataxia. These adverse effects can be alleviated by starting with a low dose and gradually increasing the medication over time. These effects may be desired if you’re explicitly using this drug as a sedative. Cats with liver or kidney disease should use gabapentin with caution, as the side effects may last longer.
Other side effects of taking gabapentin are:
- Edginess or excitability
- Increased appetite
Why Can’t My Cat Walk After Taking Gabapentin?
Gabapentin is often used to sedate cats, and incoordination is a common side effect of using the medication in this way. If your cat is using gabapentin as a pain medication or for seizure control, not being able to walk could be a sign that the dose needs adjusting. If you find that your cat is showing any of these symptoms, contact your veterinarian immediately:
- Difficulty standing
- Falling regularly
- Loss of appetite
- Increased thirst
- Increased urination
How Much Gabapentin Should My Cat Take?
Follow your vet’s guidance for gabapentin dosage. Your vet will prescribe a specific dose based on your cat’s health history, age, and weight.
If your cat uses gabapentin for seizures, your vet will most likely recommend a dosage of 2.5 to 5 milligrams per pound every eight to 12 hours. For pain management, expect a dose of 1.5 to 5 milligrams per pound every 12 hours.
A safe gabapentin dosage will not exceed 50 to 100 milligrams per day.
How Long Does Gabapentin Last In Cats?
This medication will take effect in about one to two hours. Gabapentin can last from 12 to 24 hours and may last longer if your cat suffers from liver or kidney issues.
Signs Of Gabapentin Overdose In Cats
Gabapentin overdose is a severe health risk and can lead to seizures, coma, and death. Never give your cat more than the prescribed dosage of gabapentin. Contact your veterinarian immediately if you believe your cat has overdosed on gabapentin. Your vet will monitor your cat closely and provide additional support.
Prevention Of Gabapentin Side Effects And Overdose
Always consult your veterinarian before giving your cat new medication. Monitor your cat for behavior or health changes, and contact your veterinarian immediately if you notice a difference. Store your medicine away from your cat’s reach and safely dispose of any unused medication.
Natural Alternatives To Gabapentin
Depending on your cat’s need for gabapentin and the level of support required, there are a variety of holistic remedies that may be a good substitute for gabapentin. What’s great about holistic remedies is that they promote overall health while also treating your cat’s symptoms.
For anxiety, consider supplementing any of the following:
Found in green tea, the amino acid l-theanine has a relaxing effect on humans and animals. This supplement may calm your cat and reduce signs of stress. You can find l-theanine for cats as a chewable or liquid.
Valerian root is a sedative herb that helps to relieve stress and anxiety for about 50 percent of cats. You can find cat-specific valerian root cuts, powders, and treats.
CBD, or cannabidiol, is a chemical derived from the hemp plant that can relieve many ailments, including anxiety. Purchase a broad-spectrum CBD oil or treat for your cat. Ensure the product is THC-free, as this phytochemical is toxic to cats.
Bach’s Rescue Remedy is a homeopathic formula that supports natural stress and tension relief for pets. This formula contains five flower essences intended to help your pet overcome specific symptoms: cherry plum for holding back on impulsive behavior, clematis for focused demeanor, impatiens for calm and composure when lacking self-control, rock rose for courage during times of terror, and star of Bethlehem for easing effects of trauma.
If you are seeking a natural alternative to gabapentin for pain relief, consider one of the following:
Turmeric root is rich in the compound curcumin, known for its anti-inflammatory properties. Humans use this supplement for various uses, including the prevention of heart disease and cancer, as well as treating osteoarthritis, rheumatoid arthritis, and diabetes. Turmeric may be beneficial for a cat suffering mild to moderate arthritic pain. A 2022 study showed that supplementing turmeric shows a positive effect on cat’s ability to groom, activity level, playfulness, and walk up the stairs.
A quality omega-3 supplement supports your cat’s brain, eyes, heart, and skin and is also excellent for joint support. This anti-inflammatory supplement may relieve swelling and stiffness while also increasing blood flow to help reduce joint pain.
Not only can CBD help squash your cat’s anxiety, but it can also provide potent pain relief. CBD is also a neuroprotectant and may be used to treat epilepsy and seizures in cats.
Frequently Asked Questions
Does Gabapentin Make A Cat Sleepy?
Yes, gabapentin may make your cat sleep more. While this is one of the most common side effects, it is not universal. Your cat may not change their sleeping habits at all.
Do I Need To See A Veterinarian Before Giving Gabapentin To My Cat?
Yes, you should always consult your veterinarian before giving gabapentin to your cat. Your vet will need to prescribe a dosage specific to your cat’s weight, age, and health needs. As this is an off-label prescription, what you see on the bottle may not represent proper dosages for a cat.
Will Gabapentin Give My Cat Diarrhea?
Gastrointestinal problems are not unusual for cats taking gabapentin. Make sure your cat has access to a clean litter box and water at all times. If your cat has consistent diarrhea over a few days, it’s time to call the vet.
Gabapentin can be a valuable tool in treating your cat’s pain, seizures, and anxiety. For the safety of your feline, it is essential to follow your vet’s dosage instructions. If your cat is allergic to gabapentin or reacts negatively to gabapentin, talk to your veterinarian. There may be other pharmaceutical or phytomedicines to relieve your cat’s ailments.