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Gabapentin for cats and phantom leg pain
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Member Since:
26 July 2021
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1
5 August 2021 - 11:11 am
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My cat started experiencing phantom leg pain 2 days after coming home from having her hind leg amputated.  Tomorrow will be one week since she has been on it.  I am so thankful and blown away from all the responses I've received on another post and have learned SO MUCH in such a short time.

What I am curious about and have been trying to read about as much as possible is phantom leg pain and how long it lasts?  My vet has her on Gabapentin for another week and then she said we can talk about tapering her off which I would like to do but also nervous about.  Since taking it her severe episodes/fits have stopped.  The last 2 nights she has had 2 very minor episodes and calms down right away.  Is there anything I can do to help her besides the meds for now?  I'm also on the fence about buying her a Farabloc blanket.  I will do anything to help her get through this.  Any advice on Gabapentin and phantom leg pain would be greatly appreciated!

Virginia







Member Since:
22 February 2013
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5 August 2021 - 11:24 am
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I know it's hard to be patient,  but it does indeed  sound like the Gabapentin  is doing exactly what it is supposed to do!

Follow the Vet's advice for the dosing for the next week  and then the taper as direct.  Most likely  you will find this takes care of the episodes completely..phantom limb pain is not all that unusual (and it happens in humans too) and almost always subsides and goes away completely  by doing exactly  what your Vet has prescribed. 

You can add massages  into the equation  as an extra bonus,

Kitty members  can chime in , but for now, I wouldn't  think you need to do any additional  as the limb pain is on the way out.

Hang in there!  Recovery doesn't  last furever, just seems like it!!

Hugs

Sally and Alumni Happy Hannah and Merry Myrtle and Frankie too!

Happy Hannah had a glorious additional bonus time of over one yr & two months after amp for osteo! She made me laugh everyday! Joined April's Angels after send off meal of steak, ice cream, M&Ms & deer poop!

On The Road


Member Since:
24 September 2009
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5 August 2021 - 3:25 pm
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I x2 what Sally suggested: stay the course with your vet's direction to taper off next week and see how it goes. The nerves do calm down eventually and for some cats and dogs it happens sooner after recovery, sometimes much later. Either way by following the dosage and staying ahead of her pain, you're doing everything right.

IF for some reason the phantom pain returns, you can always put her back on and investigate rehab practices that offer dry needling acupuncture to help the nerves calm down. If you want to feel like you are being proactive, start researching for an animal rehabilitation therapist who also does acupuncture, so that you have one lined up, just in case. We can help you find one if you'd like. Oh and the Tripawds Foundation can pay for your first rehab visit so it's a win-win!

Tripawds Founders Jim and Rene
tripawds.com | tripawds.org | bemoredog.net | triday.pet

Member Since:
26 July 2021
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14 August 2021 - 12:04 pm
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So we tapered the Gabapentin for a couple of days and then stopped giving it to her 3 days ago.  We stopped because she was doing well, seemed as though she didn't need it and the last time we tried to give it to her she literally moaned at us as if to say I don't want that anymore!  She's had very minor episodes, I mean lasting 2 seconds and then she calms down.  2 nights ago she had a little bit bigger episode but again calmed down.  The hardest part right now is deciding whether or not to go back on it or try something else or stay the course of being med free?  I've looked into CBD as a possible substitute.  Thoughts anyone?

On The Road


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14 August 2021 - 12:21 pm
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Oh good it does sound like the episodes are decreasing in severity, that's good. 

When it comes to veterinary cannabis products, it's so hit and miss, especially with cats because there are so few studies on the species. If you do want to go that route, don't waste your money doing hit and miss products, consider having a consult with the vets at Veterinary Cannabis, they will help you find the right product and combo for her.

And something else to consider: Gabapentin is really a benign medication overall, and many animals are on it long term, the majority without any side effects. As long as you stay current on labs your vet recommends, it shouldn't hurt to make a low dose of it a regular part of her ongoing treatment.

Another outlet to try is dry needling acupuncture, which is super helpful for most animals with phantom pain

Tripawds Founders Jim and Rene
tripawds.com | tripawds.org | bemoredog.net | triday.pet

Member Since:
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15 August 2021 - 6:37 am
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Jerry, thanks for your reply.  5 minutes after I wrote that she had another episode and I said to my husband that's it she's going back on it.  We are going to try a 1 a day dose for awhile and see if that helps.  It already helped her yesterday so I am happy we gave it to her.  I just don't ever want her to be in pain.  I am also very skeptical with the cbd.

On The Road


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15 August 2021 - 11:31 am
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Hey there. Dang I'm sorry it happened again. Good idea to see if it helps. You want to keep the dosages consistent throughout the day so it doesn't wear off into the night. Ask your vet if there's a good way to break up her dosage so she doesn't get the dosage all at once. Paws crossed this works, let us know.

Tripawds Founders Jim and Rene
tripawds.com | tripawds.org | bemoredog.net | triday.pet

Where ever my car goes


Member Since:
6 July 2017
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15 August 2021 - 8:24 pm
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Hi there and welcome.  

My cat Tuxedo had his rear leg and partial pelvis amputated over 4 years back.  Sorry about what maybe a late response but I am not on here often as he is doing his normal happy adorable/annoying cat things these days.  So if you wish to contact me, it is best to leave me a private message through the site.  I did want to chime in here.  Following Tuxedo's surgery he was never on gabapentin and other than a few isolated incidents, never seemed to show having any phantom limb pain like you described.  However, after stitches and all bandages were finally removed, he became a grooming fiend.  He would at times lick away his fur, leaving bald patches. That has continued until earlier this year, when his vet prescribed gabapentin for him.  The vets rationale was that it was possible that Tuxedo had been experiencing isolated phantom limb pain episodes all this time.  Well I do not know if that is right, but I do know that after a couple weeks on gabapentin, no more over grooming.  At his last checkup, I inquired about taking him off of the medication and the vet was hesitant to do so.  She said that if it is working and at a low dose, Tuxedo would likely be better on it that risk the episodes coming back.

Anyway, in my long winded manner, I am saying, if the gabapentin is working, I would not be in any rush to discontinue it.  Because it seems that some cats may experience phantom limb pain far longer than it might be anticipated, though perhaps on a lower level.  Obviously I am not a vet, but wanted to pass along some information I got from my vet as well as personal experience.

Hugs and best wishes

Dawna, Tuxedo, Lilly, and Angel Dazzle

On The Road


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15 August 2021 - 8:46 pm
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Dawna thanks for sharing! I'm so glad the Gaba is helping Tuxedo. Cats are masters at hiding pain aren't they? Your vet sounds great!

Tripawds Founders Jim and Rene
tripawds.com | tripawds.org | bemoredog.net | triday.pet

Virginia







Member Since:
22 February 2013
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15 August 2021 - 8:48 pm
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Great feedback Dawna👍  Thnjs for enlightening  us all.  So glad Tuxedo is doing well. 

Happy Hannah had a glorious additional bonus time of over one yr & two months after amp for osteo! She made me laugh everyday! Joined April's Angels after send off meal of steak, ice cream, M&Ms & deer poop!

Florida
Member Since:
23 February 2017
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17 August 2021 - 9:28 am
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That's interesting about the overgrooming, Dawna. My boy Jet has been doing that lately, and I've been trying to figure out why. I had my vet look at him, and she said he doesn't look to be in any pain, and suggested it may be an allergy or some kind of compulsion. She emailed me some info on it, and I plan on doing a blog post soon.

Jennifer, how is your cat doing? What's her name?

On The Road


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17 August 2021 - 1:20 pm
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Hey Brad, I hope Jet is OK!

Overgrooming is listed in this infographic.

signs of pain in petsImage Enlarger

Smart of you to address the overgrooming with your vet. Let us know how things turn out and if you aren't getting any results you know what we say around here about second opinions 🙂

Tripawds Founders Jim and Rene
tripawds.com | tripawds.org | bemoredog.net | triday.pet

Member Since:
26 July 2021
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20 August 2021 - 7:45 am
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My cats name is Tiki.  We went back to two 1/2 doses a day and fingers crossed it is working!  We found that the one dose a day caused her to have episodes because the medication started to wear off.  After reading all of your replies it makes me realize there is NO rush to take her off the Gaba. Yesterday was one month since her amputation and she amazes me at how far she has come!  I know I have written this before in one of my posts but this site is SO helpful to hear from people who are going through the same thing or have gone through it.  Thank you everyone!

On The Road


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20 August 2021 - 11:07 am
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WHEW! That's super cool that you found the magic dose for Tiki. I'm so glad things are better!! 

We are glad you found us and glad to be of some help. Each story helps another, now or later, so thank you for taking time to share Tiki's experience with us. 

Tripawds Founders Jim and Rene
tripawds.com | tripawds.org | bemoredog.net | triday.pet

Kirsten Thompson
15
15 September 2021 - 10:54 am
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mommatux said
Hi there and welcome.  

My cat Tuxedo had his rear leg and partial pelvis amputated over 4 years back.  Sorry about what maybe a late response but I am not on here often as he is doing his normal happy adorable/annoying cat things these days.  So if you wish to contact me, it is best to leave me a private message through the site.  I did want to chime in here.  Following Tuxedo's surgery he was never on gabapentin and other than a few isolated incidents, never seemed to show having any phantom limb pain like you described.  However, after stitches and all bandages were finally removed, he became a grooming fiend.  He would at times lick away his fur, leaving bald patches. That has continued until earlier this year, when his vet prescribed gabapentin for him.  The vets rationale was that it was possible that Tuxedo had been experiencing isolated phantom limb pain episodes all this time.  Well I do not know if that is right, but I do know that after a couple weeks on gabapentin, no more over grooming.  At his last checkup, I inquired about taking him off of the medication and the vet was hesitant to do so.  She said that if it is working and at a low dose, Tuxedo would likely be better on it that risk the episodes coming back.

Anyway, in my long winded manner, I am saying, if the gabapentin is working, I would not be in any rush to discontinue it.  Because it seems that some cats may experience phantom limb pain far longer than it might be anticipated, though perhaps on a lower level.  Obviously I am not a vet, but wanted to pass along some information I got from my vet as well as personal experience.

Hugs and best wishes

Dawna, Tuxedo, Lilly, and Angel Dazzle

  

Hi everyone - This is my first time posting but I did read the tripod book for cats prior to Monster's surgery, and it helped prepare me so much that I can't express my gratitude for you all. Monster is 16 and had rapid growing soft tissue sarcomas that took over his right back leg in a matter of months. He was a young 16 so we amputated a few months ago (Summer 2021) and he has done really well. He has had some constipation since surgery that I have taken care of with Miralax. I'm not sure if the amputation caused his internal bits to change positioning a bit. And not sure if others have had this experience? He is an IBD cat so food options are very limited. And coming out of surgery, he was slow to pee, very slow to poop, and even got syringe fed. But it seems like all of those memories disappear once you are past them.

A few weeks in, he got stressed, and completely forgot how to walk and started having a lot of phantom movement of his muscles on the right side. I gave one dose of gabapentin from his post surgery meds and he woke up normal.

Fast forward another month, he started having a little constipation so Miralax was reintroduced and then I replaced my HVAC and he got stressed again. This time the inability to walk and yowling lasted a little over 24 hours. He got another dose of gabapentin and no longer cared that he couldn't remember how to walk and still managed to use the litterbox and eat. He seemed unable to sleep that day, kept jerking awake. After he fell asleep and got a few hours of good sleep, he woke up able to walk again and normal. A week later, he's eating his regrowth of hair right over his hip joint. And he's never been an over-groomer.

As his name might indicate, Monster does not like the vet and most vets have rejected him over the years. His surgeon and the staff at Blue Pearl in Louisville have been great with him though. I have a little concern about him going on gabapentin long-term because he hates meds and it is messy giving him a liquid, but it does seem to work to shut off that phantom pain receptor in the brain. He's old and I'm always aware that kidney issues in old cats can pop up at any point. Any advice is appreciated.

thank you!

Kirsten and Monster 🙂

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