Gabapentin And CBD Oil For Dogs

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All About Gabapentin for Dogs: Safety, Uses, and Risks

Gabapentin, a common anticonvulsant drug, has numerous uses for both humans and pets and is commonly used in dogs. It is a fast-acting medication with nervous system dampening properties. Particularly in conjunction with other medications, gabapentin is thought to be an effective treatment strategy for many pups suffering from seizures and chronic nerve pain.

Table of contents

What is Gabapentin?

If your dog has ever been prescribed gabapentin, you may recognize it by common brand names Neurontin®, Aclonium®, Equipax®, Gantin®, Gabarone®, Gralise®, Neurostil®, or Progresse®. Falling under the anticonvulsant class of drugs, gabapentin is a structural analog of the inhibitory neurotransmitter gamma-aminobutyric acid (GABA), according to the Veterinary Information Network (VIN). It is considered a calcium channel blocker and is often used to inhibit neurons stimulated by pain.

Gabapentin can be used alongside other medications to treat seizures; but more often it is used to alleviate chronic nerve pain. In some cases, Today’s Veterinary Practice (TVP) notes that veterinarians also prescribe gabapentin to treat anxiety in dogs and cats. These uses are considered ‘off label,’ meaning that while the drug is not approved for certain uses, veterinarians have success treating patients with these conditions. Gabapentin is thought to specifically address neuropathic pain, and is also a nonopioid drug, making it an attractive option for many pets.

What is gabapentin used to treat?

A primary use of gabapentin is in the treatment of chronic neuropathic pain, which we would recognize as the burning and tingling sensations that come from damaged nerves. In dogs, neuropathic pain can stem from issues like extruded discs and nerve injuries. When used together with non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) and opioids like methadone and tramadol, gabapentin may boost their efficacy. This may allow for lowering NSAID and opioid doses. This is important, considering that long-term use of both NSAIDs and opioids is associated with severe side effects.

Seizures are the most common neurological disorder in dogs. Depending on the underlying cause, they can be hard to manage. Unfortunately, traditional anti-seizure drugs are often linked to adverse reactions. Gabapentin decreases the release of excitatory neurotransmitters, quieting the nervous system and effectively acting as a specific nervous system dampener. With this, gabapentin is sometimes used as an add-on treatment to manage seizures.

Gabapentin can also be used for anxiety relief in pets, according to DVM360. For humans, gabapentin is prescribed for patients with issues like social anxiety and panic disorder. Although less traditional, gabapentin has become increasingly popular for addressing both generalized and situational anxiety in pets. DVM360 notes that veterinarians may recommend dogs take gabapentin for generalized anxiety, impulsivity, phobias and panic disorders, and compulsive disorders.

The various dosing protocols for gabapentin are generally different depending on which issue the drug is intended to address. Anti-seizure doses tend to be higher and more frequent than those for anxiety and pain.

How is gabapentin administered?

Gabapentin must be prescribed by a veterinary professional and should always be used under vet supervision and guidance. The medication can be administered by mouth in the form of a capsule, tablet, or compounded liquid. As previously mentioned, gabapentin is a fast-acting drug, taking effect in as little as one to two hours.

While the best time to give your pet gabapentin is immediately before mealtime, it can be delivered with or without food, according to Veterinarians.org. It’s possible for pets to vomit after receiving gabapentin. If your dog throws up the medication on an empty stomach, try giving future doses with food or a treat.

Gabapentin’s maximum effect becomes apparent after consistent use for between seven and 10 days, notes VIN. Therefore, it is not recommended for owners to ask their vet for a dosage modification before this timeframe.

Potential side effects

Gabapentin is both effective and does not have any serious safety issues, according to VIN. The primary side effect of gabapentin therapy in dogs and cats is sedation and lethargy. Additionally, owners commonly report their dog experiencing ataxia, or loss of coordination, resulting in stumbled walking, swaying, and or head tilting. These side effects are temporary and typically will likely resolve within a few hours, assures TVP. They are also generally dose-related and can be alleviated by reducing your dog’s dose.

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It is important to note that gabapentin can also cause false positive readings on urinary protein tests. Veterinary experts from Today’s Veterinary Practice warn that this can impact testing for kidney disease, bladder infections, and other conditions.

Risk factors

It is important for pet parents to be aware of potentially dangerous risks associated with the use of gabapentin for dogs. It is important to closely follow the guidance of a veterinarian when giving your pup this medication. Dog owners should be careful not to give their pups the oral liquid form of gabapentin made for humans. This product often contains xylitol, a sweetener that is highly toxic to dogs and can cause a potentially fatal drop in blood sugar.

Gabapentin should not be used in dogs who are allergic to the active ingredient or those who are receiving other medications with known drug interactions. It should be used with caution in dogs with kidney disease or liver problems, young puppies, and pregnant or lactating female dogs.

Gabapentin should not be stopped abruptly in pets with epilepsy. If gabapentin administration is halted too quickly in these dogs, they can suffer withdrawal seizures. If your dog has been on gabapentin for a long time it is advised to slowly taper off the medication if you need to discontinue use.

Interactions with Gabapentin

When taken at the same time as gabapentin, common antacids such as Pepcid and Prilosec can hinder the absorption of gabapentin, Veterinarians.org warns. If your dog is receiving an antacid, be sure to administer the two medications separately, at least two hours apart from one another.

Dog owners should also keep in mind that gabapentin should not be taken concurrently with hydrocodone and morphine. According to TVP, these two narcotics will increase the effectiveness and side effects of gabapentin, while gabapentin may decrease the effectiveness of hydrocodone and morphine.

What about supplements?

Pet parents concerned about giving their dog this medication or those who prefer a supplement should ask their veterinarian about supplements that can be effective in providing support for these issues.

Any health or medical information in ElleVet blogs is from a variety of public and reputable sources. This information is intended as an educational resource only and is not a substitute for expert professional care.

CBD and Gabapentin For Dogs: Can Dogs Take CBD and Gabapentin?

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Gabapentin vs CBD Oil for Dogs

In the last 2 years, the popularity of cannabidiol (CBD) has exploded in popularity for dog owners seeking to manage pain & anxiety. CBD is often touted by some as a miracle drug, capable of curing nearly any ailment. The truth, however, is much more nuanced and while the industry is plagued by unrealistic promises for using CBD, actual research backed science is emerging that shows great promise for this hemp based compound.

In this beginner’s guide, we’ll introduce you to canine pain management using CBD. We’ll cover topics on the safety and legality of CBD, what scientific studies have shown, the success rates of using CBD on dogs, and choosing a quality product. We’ll conclude with a list of resources where you can learn more about CBD.

How CBD Works In Your Dog’s Body to Modulate Pain

The endocannabinoid system (ECS) is an interconnected chain of receptors found in your dog’s brain, their nervous system, glands, and organs. Scientists don’t fully understand the ECS yet (it was only first discovered in 1992) but its believed to help maintain balance within the body.

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All mammals—humans, dogs, and cats included—rely the ECS system to regulate immune response. CBD oil interacts with the CB1 and CB2 receptors in your dog’s body and acts as a natural neuroprotective agent with multiple health benefits. The cannabinoids in the oil open up two-way communication between endocannabinoid receptors to allow the body to either increase or decrease the immune response as needed. CBD oil is the natural way of regulating the system to maintain the perfect balance.

The reason CBD seems to help modulate pain is that many dog’s bodies are deficient in cannabinoids. Supplementing with CBD increasing cannabinoids in the body and restores balance to the ECS system.

RELATED: 10 Myths Regarding CBD Oil and Dogs

Is It Safe To Use CBD and Gabapentin to Manage Pain for Dogs?

In 2016, Colorado State University completed a pharmacokinetic and safety study of CBD on healthy dogs. This was the first clinical trial to demonstrate that the cannabidiol compound was absorbed by the dogs and measurable in the blood. The study suggests that CBD usage in dogs is safe enough to warrant more studies. Source

For the study, 30 healthy dogs were given 2 different dosages CBD in 3 different methods of delivery: capsules, an oil tincture, and a cream applied on the skin. The results showed that CBD given orally as a tincture was best absorbed and bioavailable to the body. (This is why we recommend buying CBD in a tincture as your first choice).

What Scientific Studies or Clinical Trials Have Been Done on CBD for Pain Management for Dogs?

In addition to the safety and absorption study mentioned above, 3 clinical trials have recently concluded with promising results. It’s important to note that the we’re still in the early stages of understanding how CBD interacts with the body, and much more research needs to be done:

1. Cornell University: Osteoarthritis Pain Reduction in Dogs: Cornell University researchers found that CBD supplied by ElleVet Sciences increased comfort and the activity of dogs suffering from arthritis, according to a study published in July of 2018. This clinical study suggests that 2 mg/kg of CBD given twice daily can help increase comfort and activity in dogs with osteoarthritis. Source

2. Liberty Leaf: CBD Research Study on Canine Pain Management: In August of 2018, results from a randomized, placebo-controlled clinical trial demonstrated that dogs with diagnosed osteoarthritis receiving a daily dose of only 0.3 mg per kg of a CBD-infused oil formulation for 4 weeks showed reduced pain and improved functional performance.

3. Colorado State University: Reduction in Seizures for Dogs with Epilepsy: For 24 weeks, dogs that experience at least two seizures a month received either CBD oil treatment or a placebo. Preliminary results released in July of 2018 showed that a 89% of the dogs studied showed a drop in regular seizures.

How Successful is CBD At Managing Canine Pain?

iHeartDogs commissioned a survey that was completed by 455 people who gave CBD to to their dogs. The following data represents the responses of dog owners who gave CBD for pain management:

Survey Question: How effective do you feel the product was for your dog’s condition?

You can view the full survey results here.

How to Choose a Quality CBD from Hemp Product for Your Dog

Choosing a high quality CBD product can be confusing since the market is currently exploding and your options appear endless. Unfortunately, many brands do not perform 3rd party batch testing on their products to ensure the efficacy and purity.

We’ve put together a buying guide for CBD, containing 8 things to watch out for before making a purchase. You can receive the CBD Oil Buying Guide by by requesting it below:

What Real Dog Owners Say After Using CBD for Their Dog’s Pain

We asked members the iHeartSeniorDogs Facebook community for their experience with using CBD to alleviate their dog’s pain:

Cannanine CBD is currently the only CBD oil approved and recommended by iHeartDogs.com

CBD has done wonders for our 11 year old Roti. You have to be very careful not to give them too much THC so choose your CBD carefully – Ken Tress

A lifesaver! I truly believe I would’ve already had to put her to sleep if not for it. – Suzanne Stanfield

The best thing I have ever done for my 200 pound Old English Mastiff was CBD oil she is 7 and we rescued her at 3 yrs old she was kept in a crate for 22 hours a day so she has terrible arthritis… so I medicate her 2 times a week and she runs and plays with my 2 puppers!! – Janell Michelle Cody

It’s been two weeks for our 13 year old pug and his hips are shot. His energy is back now, not jumping from pain when I pet him and is happy again. If I hadn’t tried this CBD oil I wouldn’t have believed it. Been a God send for my ole guy. I highly recommend it. Beats giving him pain meds which takes his spirit away. – Susan Johnson-Smith

I purchased Cannanine CBD oil for my two Bull Terriers for two different reasons. One is 8.5 yrs old and has arthritis. After a couple doses 1 per day there was an amazing improvement. She is up and playing and running around with my 2.5 yr. old. My 2.5 yr old is very excitable and we bring them both to our Sean soak campground. I tried it on her for calming effects. It seems to hit her the next day. Still experimenting with this. But for my 8.5 yr old it has brought back her quality of life. – Ann Fyfe

Some dog owners use CBD, but in addition to other supplements or prescription medications:

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CBD and Gabapentin For Dogs

My dog is on Gabapentin along with CBD. No problems. – Mary Mueller

My dog is on Gabapentin and uses a 300mg cbd. It’s Really made a difference. He is 11. – Gene Sorensen

Good option but definitely not 1st line. Glucosamine Chondroitin MSM combo with Turmeric is a better 1st line options. Add CBD if this combo is not fully working by itself. –

My dog was on carprofen (generic rimadyl) and gabapentin for his arthritis pain. When I started him on cbd oil, I started with a much lower dose than what was recommended. Too much cbd too fast may cause issues like drowsiness or loose stool. While the cbd oil gradually increased, the other meds gradually decreased. As someone mentioned, it’s best to wean your dog off gabapentin slowly, don’t stop abruptly. My boy is only taking the cbd oil now and he is doing quite well. He even runs a little and he hasn’t run in years! Good luck with your pup! – Barbara Kalman LaVista

I am using Cannanine cbd oil along with turmeric paste. I couldn’t be happier with the results. – Pam Smith

Other dog owners saw results, but also had a few mild side-effects:

Fang (our 120lb..13 year old lab): has been on CBD oil for about 5- 6 weeks now and we’ve seen a noticeable improvement in his joint pain and overall movements. He’s able to walk up our 5 stairs with NO help and at times even takes off rather briskly up them. As of today, I would highly recommend CBD oil for older dog joint pain. We have noticed an increased appetite which has been a bit of a problem since he’s always had a rather enormous Lab appetite. We just focus on keeping his food intake the same to avoid weight gain…he can be a tiny bit hungry to be pain free. – Sinéad Daly Heath

One User’s Story: CBD for a 12 Year Old Immobile Dog

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