Antidepressant Medications For Cat Anxiety
Some antidepressants can help calm anxious cats. Dr. Miller says these medications don’t stop the cat from experiencing his or her world, but they can take the edge off the anxiety the animal feels. ” would be my first choice because it mellows them out,” he says. “It works with aggressive cats and insulates them from the intensity of the situation.” There are several anti-depressants your vet might consider, including the following:
- Selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors – These long-acting medications include fluoxetine, paroxetine, and sertraline, which can be especially effective for generalized anxiety, inappropriate urination, and aggression. Antidepressant anxiety medication side effects are rare but can include appetite changes, lethargy, vomiting, and diarrhea.
- Serotonin antagonist and reuptake inhibitors – These are shorter-acting medications, such as trazodone, which can work well to control generalized anxiety and aggression in cats. Side effects may include lethargy, agitation, vomiting, and diarrhea.
- Tri-cyclic antidepressants – Tri-cyclic antidepressants like amitriptyline and clomipramine are longer-acting medications that help control cat anxiety symptoms like aggression, inappropriate elimination, and compulsive behavior. They have similar side effects to other antidepressants, including lethargy, appetite changes, and stomach upset.
Potential Side Effects Of Gabapentin
Gabapentin side effects in dogs and cats are typically mild. Sleepiness is the primary side effect, but that may be beneficial depending on your pets condition. Your pet may also experience some incoordination and staggering. If you dont want your pet to grow sleepy, your vet may be able to recommend a smaller dose.
Other side effects include vomiting, diarrhea and swelling of the limbs. If your pet experiences any of these side effects, tell your vet immediately. Side effects should go away after 12 hours but may linger if your pet has kidney or liver problems.
Gabapentin For Cats Usage Guidelines
Gabapentin is a fast-acting agent meaning, you will be able to see an improvement in your cats condition 24 hours after the administration, but it will need between 7 and 10 days to achieve full efficacy,
If the effectiveness of Gabapentin during the early pain management stages is not enough, it can be combined with other pain medications , and then after a while, the second drug can be discontinued.
It goes without saying that not all drugs are compatible. In these terms, Gabapentin has the potential for drug interactions with the following meds:
- Antacids they decrease Gabapentins absorption making it less efficient
- Hydrocodone and morphine Gabapentin boost their effects as pain relievers
When talking to your veterinarian about Gabapentin for your cat, make sure you mention all medications your pet is receiving, including dietary supplements, vitamins, and herbs.
If your cat is receiving medications that are not compatible with Gabapentin or is prone to more intense side effects, you should look into potential alternatives. CBD oil for cats is a natural remedy and can help felines with the same issues as Gabapentin.
Namely, CBD oil has strong anti-convulsive and anti-epileptic properties and can potentiate the effects of standard seizure medications. CBD oil changes the brains response to pain and has natural calming effects, thus supporting relaxation and preventing anxiety.
Recommended Reading: Best Way To Clean Cat Urine From Hardwood Floors
Gabapentin For Feline Hyperesthesia Syndrome
Gabapentins pain relieving properties were originally designed for neuropathic pain. Neuropathic pain is generated from the peripheral nerves, spinal cord or brain. Gabapentin is a calcium channel blocker and targets a specific region of the spinal cord. A particular disease entity in cats that gabapentin is useful for treating is a condition called feline hyperesthesia syndrome . This syndrome is also referred to as rolling back syndrome. Cats exhibit sudden rippling and twitch the skin over their back. They have sudden reactive signs such as whipping around to look at their hind end, chasing their tail and biting and licking their lumbar spine. Some cats race around in response to the perceived noxious sensation. These events can happen multiple times a day and may cause much distress to your cat. Gabapentins neuropathic pain relieving properties are useful to treat this condition. The dosing of gabapentin is similar for other conditions and may be titrated to effect.
|150 mg||3 ml|
Original studies of gabapentin used 6.5mg/kg up to 10mg/kg every 8 hours orally in cats. Some specialists use much higher doses in cats to achieve the best effects. Dr. Kelly St. Denis in the VIN community recommends 15-20mg/kg. She likes to start a cat out once daily in the evening for 5 days and then move to every 12 hours thereafter.
The Concern For Abuse Potential
All benzodiazepines are abusable by humans and are controlled substances. Gabapentin is increasingly listed as a controlled substance due to its concomitant use with opioids in addiction and the subsequent increased risk of fatal overdose.
Not all medications belong in all client households. In addition to asking clients if there is anyone in the household or who visits the household who has a substance abuse issue, risk can be minimized by prescribing small amounts of medications that can only be renewed by talking with the veterinarian and with evidence of a beneficial effect . Medication must be secured within the household, and clients should be cautioned not to advertise its presence. Re-examinations present an opportunity to review risks and benefits. All medications can be dispensed using a schedule and oversight that make abuse both difficult and more obvious.
Don’t Miss: Cat Pee On Hardwood Floor
Facial Cues To Determine Pain Levels In Cats
However, facial cues can indicate whether a resting cat is experiencing any pain. The pictures below show the progression of facial changes that occur with discomfort. With increased pain the ears start to separate and the muzzle becomes more oblong from rounded. Whiskers will start to pull apart and lift up and their eyes may start to squint. The feline Grimace scale is published below by Evangelista et al.
Gabapentin For Cat Anxiety
Gabapentin is an anticonvulsant that Dr. Miller says works especially well for cats who are aggressive. “It’s truly a game-changer for aggressive cats,” he says, “but you need to dose frequently. It’s not a long-acting solution.” As a cat anxiety medication, gabapentin only lasts for 8-12 hours and has a few possible side effects, including lethargy, agitation, loss of coordination, and vomiting. It’s also important to note that you should never give your cat a human prescription for gabapentin, as it may contain xylitol .
Also Check: Calico Domestic Shorthair
Gabapentin As A Controlled Substance
Within the last couple of years, gabapentin has become a controlled, scheduled substance in the United States and Europe.
Because of restrictions imposed by controlled status, your veterinarian may not be able to prescribe gabapentin for your kitty without an examination, and recheck exams may be needed for refills. An exception may include prescribing it in advance to help with sedation for an exam, but a telemedicine consult may still be required.
You may also find that because of the additional record-keeping and restrictions, that your vet office may not carry gabapentin, and may alternatively provide a prescription to pick it up at a local pharmacy, instead of at the office itself.
Gabapentin For Cats: A Cat Anxiety Medication
Gabapentin for cats has many uses. It’s used to treat pain, seizures, anxiety in cats. Click to learn more about common side effects, uses & dosage.
Have you ever heard of using gabapentin for cats? This medicine is not new but has been creating a buzz in the veterinary world due to its unexpected effects on our feline companions. Gabapentin for catsâ anxiety and behavioral issues is a revolutionary discovery.
For any cat owner, the scenario is all too familiar. You need to take your dear pet to the vet, but they are less than enthused. It is an ongoing battle that you must wage each time your kitty is due for a checkup.
Luckily, there seems to be some good news for you and your cat. What if you could give your furry friend a short-term anxiety treatment that would help ease their fears? Gabapentin may be the solution to relieving stress associated with veterinary visits.
Don’t Miss: Fun Facts About Calico Cats
Potential Side Effects And Risks Of Gabapentin For Cats
It is possible for cats to have side effects when taking Gabapentin. The good news is that the development of such adverse reactions can be minimized by gradually increasing the Gabapentin doses.
The common side effects of Gabapentin for cats include:
- Incoordination or ataxia
In cats with chronic kidney disease, Gabapentin is more likely to cause sedation instead of simple sleepiness. Gabapentin may also trigger false-positive results on urinary protein tests.
Gabapentin should be used with precautions in cats with kidney and liver problems as well as pregnant and nursing cats. On the other hand, it should not be used at all in felines sensitive to the active ingredient.
It Must Be Magic: How Gabapentin Can Change Your Cats Vet Visit
For most cats, a visit to the veterinarian can be an overwhelming experience. Even though you and your vet team do everything possible to make their visit stress free, it can still be too much for some cats. Being removed from their familiar comfortable environment, a trip in the car, new smells and sounds at the vet any one of these things can be stressful, but combine them and its no wonder some kitties need a little extra help when they visit us.
In the past few years, feline veterinarians have discovered that Gabapentin can aide in examining some kitties that have previously had to be sedated. Its been used for chronic pain safely for several years, but has only recently been recognized for its effectiveness as a great short term anxiety medication for cats. It takes the edge off without having to use an oral tranquilizer medication or anesthesia. Other than drowsiness it has very little risk for side effects, and a lot of kitties will eat the capsule contents sprinkled in/on their food making it easy to give at home or at the vet. Occasionally owners report more increased drowsiness which can make them a little wobbly on their feet but it generally resolves within 12 hours.
Read Also: How To Draw Cat Noir From Miraculous
How Is Gabapentin Given
Gabapentin is administered by mouth in the form of a capsule, tablet, or compounded liquid. It can be given with or without food, but if your pet vomits after receiving this medication on an empty stomach, try giving future doses with food or a treat. The best time to give this medication is right before feeding. Measure liquid formations of this medication carefully.
Do not give the oral liquid form made for humans, as it contains xylitol, a substance that is toxic for dogs. Do not stop this medication abruptly in pets with epilepsy, as this can cause withdrawal seizures.
This medication will take effect quickly, in about 1 to 2 hours, and improvement in clinical signs should follow.
What Is Gabapentin & How Is It Used For Cats
The fact that gabapentin can quickly and effectively ease anxiety is a recent discovery, but the medicine itself is not. As an anticonvulsant and analgesic medication, gabapentin has been proven effective in animals. It treats cats, dogs, and horses with different types of chronic pain, diabetic neuropathy, and seizures. Veterinarians started to notice that one of the side effects of this medication is sedation.
Interestingly, gabapentin was first used as a medication to control seizures in humans. Later, vets discovered that the medicine had the same effect when given to animals with epilepsy. It can also treat inflammation and arthritic pain in cats.
While gabapentin is not labeled as an anxiety medication, it has gained popularity as a safe treatment for anxiety and fear caused by stress. It is especially helpful for cat owners while on the way to a checkup at the vet. Many cats struggle against going into carriers and cars and may even bite or scratch their owners during the arduous process of getting them there. Gabapentin may be the solution to this unpleasant ordeal.
In addition, some vets have noted that gabapentin has been a successful alternative for procedures that would typically require heavier sedation or tranquilizers. Other than causing short-term drowsiness, gabapentin seems to be free of severe side effects.
Recommended Reading: Cat Pee Out Of Wood Floor
Gabapentin For Acute Pain In Cats
Gabapentin can be used for acute pain but is best studied when given long term for painful conditions like chronic osteoarthritis. There have been some encouraging studies on the use of gabapentin for post surgical pain relief in cats. Oftentimes gabapentin is used in combination with other drugs such as opioids or non steroid anti-inflammatory drugs for acute post surgical pain. In our practice we send home gabapentin for post surgical pain following dental extractions. These cats have been treated with opioid analgesics and local intraoral nerve blocks prior to the surgery and they are sent home with only gabapentin for post surgical pain relief.
When gabapentin was given immediately following a spay surgery in cats, those cats that received gabapentin ate more at every meal than cats that were not given gabapentin.
Gabapentin To Reduce Fear And Anxiety At The Vet
In cats, the drug is excellent as a pre-visit pharmaceutical. It helps to lessen the fear, anxiety and aggression in cats that visit the veterinary office. These calming effects can also be harnessed for other stressful events like car and plane travel.
Fearful cats exhibit certain postures and behaviors that can be interpreted. For example, fearful cats will crouch to make themselves small. Their ear placement can indicate as well their level of fear. Ears that are directed backwards or flattened are a good indication of their level of fear. Cats that flick their tails are displaying a high level of arousal and agitation. With increased defensiveness cats will crouch, hold their ears sideways so down and growl or vocalize loudly. When the ears swivel sideways and the pupils enlarge, aggression may be coming. If a cat exhibits these types of behaviors at a veterinary visit, it may be best to consider a pre-visit dose of gabapentin. You can discuss this with your veterinarian.
Don’t Miss: Can You Feed A Cat Dog Food In An Emergency
Gabapentin Side Effects In Cats
The most common side effects seen in cats with gabapentin are lethargy and abnormal walking/movement, which is called ataxia. It is important to note that some of these effects may be expected or even desired when gabapentin is used intentionally as a sedative. Effects typically start to wear off within 12 hours.
Uses/benefits Of Gabapentin For Cats
Gabapentin is an anticonvulsant and analgesic drug used to treat chronic pain in cats, dogs, and horses. The drug has been shown to be especially efficient in treating neuropathic pain in cats, usually in conjunction with other analgesic agents like nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs . Gabapentin is also prescribed for pain associated with malignancy and chronic arthritic pain in cats.
Originally developed to control seizures in humans, gabapentin can also be used to treat seizures in animals, usually combined with other anti-seizure drugs. In some cases, gabapentin can be prescribed as adjunctive therapy for cats and dogs with refractory idiopathic epilepsy.
Also Check: How Old Are Cats In Cat Years
Are Lucy & Sunshine Really Happier
Yes, Lucy and Sunshine are happier since being treated with gabapentin. Ive taught Lucy how to walk on a cat wheel and how to walk with a harness in the park. They both play, have fun and escape anxiety by chasing and batting around toys, and being cats. Another thing they love to do is sit at the window and watch the birds. They even purr when Im petting them, whereas initially, they could barely be touched.
- Im unimpressed with this article. Lucy
- Dat birdie looks yummy. Liz, can I haz it?
Lucy and Sunshines progress isnt because of the gabapentin, but gabapentin provided the space for progress. Thats how I would like people to look at it. Its an option when a cats anxiety appears excessive. Its a way to calm the cat down so you can interact with them or help them relax for a vet visit. It doesnt cure anxiety, but it helps manage it when nothing else seems to work.
Whether you decide to use it as a one-off or want it for longer-term use, please consult a vet and/or certified cat behaviorist. Good luck!
Did you miss my article on how to work with shy and scared cats? Check it out here.
Dosage Forms Of Gabapentin
There is no specific veterinary form of gabapentin for pets, and it is always the human medication form that is used in an extra-label or off-label manner, which is common in veterinary medicine.
The most common form of gabapentin is a capsule containing powder, with the prescribed amount mixed with canned or soft food.
The 100mg capsule is the most common size prescribed for cats. Gabapentin also comes in a 50mg/ml liquid form that does require refrigeration.
The commercial liquid form may contain the artificial sweetener xylitol. While not toxic to cats, xylitol is toxic to dogs, so be careful with this form if theres a pup in your home.
To make dosing easier, especially for smaller cats, gabapentin can also be ordered as a compounded medication in different forms by your veterinarian.
Recommended Reading: What Is Lovecraft’s Cat’s Name
A Guide To Gabapentin For Cats
It’s a situation that many cat owners know all too well when it comes to taking their pet in the car throwing up, diarrhea, urinating, and being very vocal the whole ride. The anxiety our feline friends feel during trips and vet visits often make the owners just as stressed.
Fortunately, many veterinarians are turning to a prescription drug for humans called Gabapentin, an effective anti-anxiety medication for cats. But what many pet owners may not know is that this medication is also used for managing seizures and pain in cats.
We put together this guide for everything you need to know when it comes to using Gabapentin for your furry, four-legged kitty.