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Cat Can’t Walk After Gabapentin – Know the Signs and What to Do

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Cat Can’t Walk After Gabapentin – If your cat suddenly can’t walk after taking gabapentin, it’s important to know the signs and what to do. Gabapentin is a medication that is sometimes used to treat pain in cats. It is also sometimes used to help with anxiety or seizures.

Gabapentin can be a very effective medication for some cats, but it can also have some serious side effects. One of the most serious side effects of gabapentin is that it can cause paralysis. If your cat takes gabapentin and suddenly can’t walk, it is important to take them to the vet immediately.

What Are Gabapentin And What Are Its Uses For Cats?

Gabapentin is a medication that is used to treat pain, anxiety, and seizures in cats. It is also sometimes used to help with post-operative pain. Gabapentin is a member of the class of medications known as anticonvulsants.

Anticonvulsants are drugs that help to control seizures. Gabapentin is also sometimes used to treat pain in people.

Can Cats Take Gabapentin?

Cat Can't Walk After Gabapentin - Know the Signs and What to Do
Cat Can’t Walk After Gabapentin – Know the Signs and What to Do

Yes, cats can take gabapentin. Gabapentin is a medication that is approved for use in cats by the FDA. It is also a Schedule V drug, which means that it has a low potential for abuse and is not a controlled substance. Cats taking gabapentin should not experience any adverse effects from the medication.

If your cat suddenly can’t walk after taking gabapentin, it is important to know the signs and what to do. Gabapentin is a medication that is sometimes used to treat pain in cats. It is also sometimes used to help with anxiety or seizures.

How Does Gabapentin Work In Cats?

The mechanism of action of the unusual medicine gabapentin, which is used to treat pain, as a sedative, and as a supplement to treat seizures, is not well known. The release of excitatory neurotransmitters including substance P, glutamate, and norepinephrine is believed to be prevented by its binding to a subunit of calcium channels.

The most typical application of gabapentin in cats is as a chronic pain reliever, such as for arthritis.

Additionally, gabapentin has been shown to be helpful in lowering any fear reactions that a cat can experience as a result of handling and medical examination stress.

Veterinarians sometimes recommend a single dosage of it to be administered a few hours before veterinarian appointments to offer mild drowsiness and lessen the stress of handling and examination for some patients.

Anecdotally, it also seems to help some cats travel in cars or airplanes considerably calmer, thus it may be advised to help make prolonged journeys less traumatic.

Since studies have not demonstrated that gabapentin is as helpful for treating acute pain in cats as certain other drugs, such as buprenorphine, it is less frequently used for painful conditions that develop suddenly or after surgery.

What Are The Side Effects Of Gabapentin In Cats?

Cat Can't Walk After Gabapentin - Know the Signs and What to Do
Cat Can’t Walk After Gabapentin – Know the Signs and What to Do

Lethargy and ataxia, which is improper walking or movement, are the most frequent adverse effects of gabapentin in cats. It is significant to highlight that when gabapentin is taken deliberately as a sedative, some of these effects may be anticipated or even desired. Within 12 hours, effects usually start to fade.

Cats with liver or renal illness should use gabapentin with caution since the effects might last longer. In general, pregnant queens shouldn’t use it.

Gabapentin Dosage For Cats

Cat Can't Walk After Gabapentin
Cat Can’t Walk After Gabapentin

When used to treat pain or as a sedative, a normal gabapentin dose for cats will not exceed 50–100 mg per cat from a safety standpoint.

It is frequently administered as a sedative a few hours before a vet exam, before getting in the car, or on a plane.

Many veterinarians believe that giving an extra dosage 24 hours beforehand improves the sedative’s effects (followed by the second dose closer to the vet visit or travel). It is often administered as a pain reliever every 12 hours, to begin with, but the dosage can be raised to every 8 hours if necessary.

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These are only basic instructions, and for the most efficient and secure administration of this drug, it is crucial to strictly go by the advice of your veterinarian.

What Is The Form Of Gabapentin?

Cat Can't Walk After Gabapentin - Know the Signs and What to Do
Cat Can’t Walk After Gabapentin – Know the Signs and What to Do

The most popular form of gabapentin is a powder-filled capsule that contains the recommended dosage of canned or soft food.

The most often given dosage for cats is a 100mg pill. Additionally, gabapentin is available in a liquid 50mg/ml version that needs to be refrigerated.

The artificial sweetener xylitol could be included in the commercial liquid form. While xylitol is not dangerous to cats, it is hazardous to dogs, so if you have a dog in your household, use caution when using this form.

Your veterinarian may also order gabapentin as a compounded drug in various forms to make dosage simpler, particularly for tiny cats.

Is Gabapentin Seen As A Controlled Substance?

Yes, gabapentin is a controlled substance. In several regions of the United States and Europe during the past few years, gabapentin has been designated as a prohibited drug.

It is a Schedule V drug in the US in AL, KY, MI, ND, TN, VA, and WV. It is not formally scheduled in a number of other states, although it is nonetheless subject to further monitoring as necessary.

In Europe, the United Kingdom classifies it as a Class C restricted substance.

Your veterinarian might not be able to prescribe gabapentin for your cat without an examination due to limitations imposed by its regulated status depending on where you live, and recheck exams could be required for renewals. A telemedicine consult can still be necessary if it is prescribed in advance to aid with sedation for an exam.

Because of the additional record-keeping requirements and limitations, it’s also possible that your veterinarian’s office won’t stock gabapentin in areas where it’s restricted and will instead issue you a prescription to pick it up at a nearby drugstore.

Gabapentin For Cats: How Long Does It Last?

Gabapentin is generally effective for about 12-24 hours. Some cats might require a maintenance dose after the initial treatment to prevent future episodes of pain.
Your veterinarian will provide more specific instructions about how often to give the maintenance dose and when to reapply the medication.

Cat Can’t Walk After Gabapentin- Signs And What To Do If You Notice

If your cat can’t walk normally after taking gabapentin, or if it falls a lot, becomes unsteady on its feet, or has trouble climbing stairs, it may need to be hospitalized.
If you notice any of these signs in your cat, contact your veterinarian immediately:

  1. Difficulties getting up from a sitting or lying position
  2. Falling often
  3. Limping
  4. Tremors
  5. Loss of appetite
  6. Increased thirst
  7. Increased urination

The following are what to do when you noticed any of the above signs:

  1. Contact your veterinarian as soon as possible.
  2. Provide your veterinarian with a detailed description of your cat’s symptoms, including when and how they began.
  3. Keep your cat in a warm environment and provide plenty of fluids.
  4. Give your cat analgesics as prescribed by your veterinarian.
  5. Monitor your cat’s vital signs closely.

Gabapentin For Cats: What Are The Signs Of An Overdose?

Signs of an overdose of gabapentin can include

  1. Seizures
  2. Coma
  3. Death

However, overdose is typically only a problem in cats who are not accustomed to taking medications or in those who take higher doses than prescribed.
Your veterinarian will monitor your cat closely and provide supportive care should an overdose occur.

How To Prevent Your Cat From Getting Gabapentin Side Effects

To help prevent your cat from getting gabapentin side effects, keep the following in mind:

  1. Keep the medication out of reach of children and pets.
  2. Store the medication in a cool, dry place.
  3. Dispose of any unused medication properly.
  4. Consult with your veterinarian before starting your cat on any new medication.
  5. Watch for any changes in your cat’s behavior or health. If you notice any changes, contact your veterinarian.
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What Are Alternative To Gabapentin In Cats?

Here are some general information about alternatives to gabapentin that a veterinarian might consider, but it’s not a substitute for professional advice:

  • Pain management:
    • Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs): These can help with pain and inflammation, but they can have side effects like kidney and stomach problems.
    • Opioids: These can be very effective for severe pain, but they should only be used under the supervision of a veterinarian due to their potential for addiction and side effects.
    • Amantadine: This can be helpful for nerve pain and can be used in conjunction with other pain medications.
    • Frunevetmab (Solensia): This is a newer injection that blocks a pain mediator in the body and can be effective for arthritis pain.
  • Anxiety and seizures:
    • Benzodiazepines: These can help with anxiety and seizures, but they can have side effects like drowsiness and incoordination.
    • Buspirone: This is an anti-anxiety medication that can be helpful for some cats with mild anxiety.

Remember, always consult with your veterinarian before giving your cat any medication, including alternatives to gabapentin. They can provide the best advice for your specific situation and ensure your cat’s safety and well-being.

What Are The Preventive Measures For Safe Gabapentin Usage In Cats?

Here are some preventive measures for safe gabapentin usage in cats:

1. Follow your veterinarian’s instructions carefully. This includes the dosage, frequency, and duration of administration. Never give your cat gabapentin without consulting your veterinarian first, and never adjust the dosage without their approval.

2. Only use gabapentin for the condition it was prescribed for. Gabapentin is a versatile medication used for various conditions in cats, including pain management, epilepsy, and anxiety. However, using it for an unapproved purpose can increase the risk of side effects.

3. Be aware of potential side effects. The most common side effects of gabapentin in cats are drowsiness, incoordination, and loss of appetite. Less common side effects include vomiting, diarrhea, and tremors. If you notice any of these side effects in your cat, contact your veterinarian immediately.

4. Monitor your cat closely while they are taking gabapentin. Pay attention to their behavior, appetite, and activity level. If you notice any significant changes, contact your veterinarian.

5. Do not give gabapentin to pregnant or nursing cats. Gabapentin can pass through the milk and harm kittens.

6. Store gabapentin in a safe place out of reach of children and pets. Gabapentin can be toxic to humans and other animals.

7. Tell your veterinarian about all other medications your cat is taking. Gabapentin can interact with other medications, so it is important to let your veterinarian know about all the medications your cat is taking, including over-the-counter medications and supplements.

8. Do not stop giving gabapentin abruptly. If your cat needs to stop taking gabapentin, your veterinarian will slowly taper off the dosage to avoid withdrawal seizures.

9. Have your cat regularly checked up by your veterinarian. This is important to monitor your cat’s response to gabapentin and to check for any potential side effects.

By following these preventive measures, you can help ensure that your cat stays safe while taking gabapentin.

What Can Too Much Gabapentin Do To A Cat?

Here’s what you can expect with increasing severity of overdose:

Mild overdose:

  • Drowsiness and lethargy: This is the most common sign, with your cat appearing sleepy and less active.
  • Incoordination and wobbliness: They may stumble or have difficulty walking and maintaining balance.
  • Loss of appetite or decreased interest in food.
  • Tremors or shaking.
  • Nystagmus: Rapid, involuntary eye movements.
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Moderate overdose:

  • Increased severity of the above symptoms.
  • Disorientation and confusion.
  • Vomiting and diarrhea.
  • Difficulty breathing.
  • Uncontrollable muscle twitching (myoclonus).

Severe overdose:

  • Coma and unconsciousness.
  • Seizures.
  • Respiratory depression, potentially leading to respiratory failure.
  • Death (rare).

How Do You Treat Gabapentin Toxicity In Cats?

If you suspect your cat has ingested too much gabapentin or is experiencing symptoms of toxicity, you should contact your veterinarian immediately. The following are steps that your veterinarian may take to treat gabapentin toxicity in cats:

Decontamination: If the cat has recently ingested gabapentin, your veterinarian may induce vomiting or perform gastric lavage to remove any remaining medication from the stomach.

Supportive care: Supportive care may include administration of intravenous fluids to maintain hydration and electrolyte balance, as well as medications to manage symptoms such as seizures or respiratory depression.

Monitoring: Your veterinarian will monitor your cat’s vital signs, including heart rate, respiratory rate, and temperature, as well as kidney and liver function, as gabapentin toxicity can affect these systems.

Treatment of specific symptoms: Your veterinarian may provide medications to manage specific symptoms such as seizures, tremors, or respiratory depression.

Conclusion

Cat can’t walk after taking gabapentin. Gabapentin is a medication that is sometimes used to treat pain, anxiety, and seizures in cats. It can also have some serious side effects, such as paralysis. If your cat takes gabapentin and suddenly can’t walk, it is important to take them to the vet immediately. A cat can’t walk normally after taking gabapentin, or if it falls a lot, becomes unsteady on its feet, or has trouble climbing stairs, it may need to be hospitalized. If you notice any of these signs in your cat, contact your veterinarian immediately.

FAQs

Can gabapentin cause difficulty walking?

Yes, gabapentin can cause difficulty walking in some people. This is listed as a possible side effect of gabapentin, although it is not a common one.

Can gabapentin cause weakness in legs in cats?

Gabapentin can affect the nervous system and may cause drowsiness or lethargy in some cats. This can lead to weakness in the legs, especially if the cat is already experiencing mobility issues due to a pre-existing condition.

How long does it take for gabapentin to wear off cats?

The duration of action of gabapentin in cats can vary depending on the dose, the individual cat’s metabolism, and other factors. Generally, the effects of a single dose of gabapentin will begin to be noticeable within 1-2 hours after administration and can last for 6-12 hours.
It takes approximately 5-6 half-lives for a medication to be completely eliminated from the body, so gabapentin should be out of a cat’s system within 10-18 hours after administration.

Can gabapentin kill a cat?

While an overdose of gabapentin can be dangerous for cats, it’s generally not fatal. The medication acts on the nervous system, and excessive amounts can cause intoxication, but with prompt veterinary care, most cats recover fully.

Is gabapentin bad for cats’ kidneys?

Gabapentin can be safe for cats’ kidneys when used as prescribed and with proper monitoring.
Cats with pre-existing kidney disease require extra caution and may need dosage adjustments.
Always consult your veterinarian before giving any medication to your cat, including gabapentin, and discuss any concerns you may have about its potential impact on their kidneys.

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