Monday, July 9, 2012

Gabapentin for Dogs – Canine Treatment for Pain

Gabapentin for dogs is a medication used to treat chronic pain due to arthritis and cancer. It is also prescribed for treatment of seizures. Originally, this drug is used to treat epilepsy and relieve pain in humans. Now it is commonly used to treat chronic pain and control seizures in cats and dogs. Gabapentin has been observed to be most effective in combination with other analgesics including NSAIDs.
Gabapentin is not approved by the FDA to be used in veterinary medicine, although it has been a common practice for veterinarians to prescribe this medicine or treating seizures and chronic pain in dogs. Gabapentin is sold per capsule and a prescription from your veterinarian is required. This drug is commonly found in oral form which is absorbed by the duodenum and metabolized partly by the liver. You must tell your veterinarian of your dog suffers from liver problems as Gabapentin may cause severe side effects.
You must take note that the Gabapentin for humans are not intended to be used for dogs. The human form of Gabapentin contains Xylitol which is toxic to canines. For lactating and pregnant animals, Gabapentin should only be given if absolutely necessary as it may lead to fetal loss.
Gabapentin for dogs may cause mild sedation, lethargy and drowsiness, although this is just a minor side effect. In other cases, muscles may not work properly together (imbalance) or symptoms of ataxia may occur. It may also cause vomiting and diarrhea to some canines. You must inform your vet if your dog experiences any of this side effects.This medication cannot be stopped abruptly or it will cause your dog to have seizure or rebound pain. The veterinarian will gradually lower the dose until it is safe to stop the medication.

How Does Gabapentin Work

Gabapentin prevents seizures by stabilizing the excessive electrical activity in the brain. It copies the activity of GABA which is a neurotransmitter to help calm the brain’s nerve activity.
In dogs, Gabapentin in oral form is absorbed in the duodenum. Peak level approximately occurs after one to two hours after taking the drug. It is partly metabolized by the liver and flushed out by the kidneys. This medication is commonly used as an added therapy for refractory idiopathic epilepsy.
Laboratory testing in animals showed that Gabapentin can cause fetal loss and is also associated with teratogenic effects. Pregnant or lactating animals should only be given Gabapentin when extremely necessary as it is also present in milk.
It is important to note that Gabapentin may interact with other drugs. Antacids must not be given within two hours after taking the medication as it may affect the blood levels of your dog. It may also interact with medications such as hydrocodone ad morphine. It must be kept away from children and pets. Store it in room temperature where there is no heat and moisture.
Gabpentin for dogs must only be given to your pet if prescribed by the veterinarian to avoid potentially harmful side effects to your pet.

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