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Gabapentin: When and How to Use It (and When NOT to Use It)
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The Rainbow Bridge

Member Since:
25 April 2007
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11 May 2023 - 11:56 am
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First, if you haven't seen our Gabapentin articles, do check them out.

This story came out in the vet publication Clinician's Journal and I wanted to share it because it has a good summary of how pet parents should be instructed to use Gabapentin in dogs and cats. You can download it below, but if you just want to know the highlights keep reading:

Top 5 Uses for Gabapentin in Dogs & Cats



  • Use in veterinary patients is extra-label.
  • Conditions associated with neuropathic pain
  • Dogs: 10 mg/kg PO every 8 hours
  • Cats: 8 mg/kg PO every 6 hours

Preclinic sedation

  • Dogs/cats: 20 to 25 mg/kg PO the evening before the appointment and 20 to 25 mg/kg PO at least 1 to 2 hours before the appointment
  • Sedation is likely in both dogs and cats at 20 mg/kg PO.


  • Single agent for acute postoperative pain: Inflammation is the most common component of acute postoperative pain. Gabapentin modulates pain signals from the periphery but does not treat inflammation and can reduce (but will not stop) pain signaling in the CNS.
  • Renal compromise: Gabapentin is removed from the body via the kidneys and should be used with caution in patients with renal insufficiency, as increased adverse effects (eg, sedation, hypotension) are possible.
  • As-needed administration. Frequent administration of gabapentin is required to maintain adequate plasma concentrations in dogs and cats. Administration on an as-needed basis or at intervals less frequent than indicated by pharmacokinetic studies can result in insufficient plasma concentrations and lack of efficacy.
  • Long-term postoperative sedation: Sedation is a common adverse effect of gabapentin, particularly with administration of high doses; however, this effect diminishes over time, and gabapentin is unlikely to provide sedation over several days or weeks.
  • Pelvic-end weakness. Ataxia is a common adverse effect of gabapentin. Administration in patients with pelvic-end weakness may exacerbate signs and decrease the ability to ambulate without assistance.
Member Since:
13 June 2023
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20 June 2023 - 1:39 pm
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So, Scooter, my almost 13-year-old cat, is on day 12 post-amp of his right back leg due to osteosarcoma. We get staples out in 2 days!

The vet only suggested 7 days of pain medication, but from everything I've read here and elsewhere, that is seldom sufficient, so I decided to keep him on pain medication for 12-14 days (we had breakthrough pain the first night and it was terrifying, so I'm scared to even let him feel any pain at all).

Question now is if you guys weaned your fuzzy people off of the gaba, or did you stop it after the 14 days cold turkey? I read that you shouldn't stop at cold turkey for seizures, but I'm weary about just stopping it, because he was on it for a month and a half prior to the diagnosis and surgery (for bone pain from the tumour).

If you did wean them slowly, over what kind of time frame did you do it? 

Thank you a million again!!

Steph & Scooter 💙🐾

The Rainbow Bridge

Member Since:
25 April 2007
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20 June 2023 - 10:23 pm
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Hi Steph, sounds like Scooter is rockin it!

You are correct, don't stop it cold turkey. Have a Cincinnati with your vet first. Dial back gradually, maybe cutting out a midday dose first for a few days, then seeing how it goes when you cut out the AM dose. I would slowly taper that nighttime one down over at least a week to see how Scooter handles the withdrawal at night when pain buildup is commo . Then start dosing maybe every other night until you run out.

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13 June 2023
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21 June 2023 - 8:37 am
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Update:  we started getting what I am pretty sure is phantom pain, no dialing back the dose just yet.... the phantom pain is so scary!  I posted elsewhere but Im going to get the farabloc blanket for him - but the gear site keeps timing me out icon_cry

The Rainbow Bridge

Member Since:
25 April 2007
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21 June 2023 - 9:27 am
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You are right, phantom pain can sneak up even days or weeks later so good move to keep it in the daily routine for now.

I'm sorry about the Gear blog time-out. We are testing it right now. Any issues please call us on the Tripawds Helpline 844-TRIPAWD. Thanks for your patience.

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