Surely, your cat was prescribed Gabapentin to treat certain conditions it was going through like any nerve-related pain or seizures management. But mostly it is recommended for anxiety that would put a new spring in your lazy cat’s steps. But now, you do not want it to be a drug dependent and here you are for, ‘how to wean cat off Gabapentin?’ At once tapering off would not be helpful at all. Be steady in what you do!
Here is a total guide for you that might help your ambiguity of, ‘how to wean cat off Gabapentin?’
Let us start with what is Gabapentin, why is your cat even taking it, and what it is actually doing in your cat’s body?
What is a Gabapentin?
Also known as Neurontin…
It is originally used in humans to treat partial seizures and neuropathic pains which are the burning sensations that originate due to damaged nerves.
Like many other human drugs, Gabapentin is also known to way itself in veterinary medicine.
The use of Gabapentin for cats:
Following are some reasons, Gabapentin is being administered to your cat:
1. The anxiety and fear stress in cats:
Gabapentin is known to be used in cats to get rid of anxiety which might be associated with any veterinary processes, the traveling fear, and other stress-creating scenarios.
Studies show that when Gabapentin was administered to cat’s prior visiting to the vet about 90 minutes before, it particularly reduced the signs of stress-related behaviors during transportation and examination.
2. Neuropathic and Chronic pains:
Gabapentin is an analgesic as well as an anticonvulsant that is used to treat neuropathic and chronic pain in cats and other animals.
3. Pain sensations after Surgeries:
It is also used in cats and other creatures preoperatively to lessen the pain sensations that are experienced after surgery.
4. Malignant and Chronic arthritis pain:
Gabapentin is also recommended for malignant pains and chronic arthritis pain in cats.
Hence, it is NORMAL that your cat is taking Gabapentin, but long-term use and dependency is not preferred at all, no matter what the thing is.
You do not want your cat to be Gabapentin-Addict, right?
How to know if your cat is being addicted to Gabapentin?
There should be some signs and symptoms that would help you know that is your cat is taking Gabapentin as a cure or just addiction.
Some common physical and mental behaviors exhibited by your feline could be as follows:
1. Notice any Behavioral changes?
This would be a definite and most observable symptom. Your cat would act very differently when you would not give her the Gabapentin pill.
Gabapentin is making it feel normal and less anxious. And that is why it is now essential for your feline’s normal functioning.
Or at least your cat thinks so!
Without having Gabapentin or not administering it at that specific time, your cat would start to act up. It would show aggressive behavior towards not only you but everything.
Depression and Anxiety:
Not getting the pill in its system, would make your feline feel more depressed and anxious.
Bite and Claws:
And hence, the result of all these mental disturbances would be biting and clawing by your feline. The target could be you or anything in their site.
Maybe you even get swiped by your cat when you walk by it.
2. Physical Body Reaction:
Long-term dependency has made your feline normal functioning with Gabapentin present in its system.
And now, when you test to terminate the doses, the body might get upset too.
Your cat might end up consist anon pains, diarrhea, or other digestive disorders.
And when your cat ends up making the following streaks, it is the time for, ‘How to wean cat off Gabapentin?’:
Safety and Risk Information when weaning cat off Gabapentin
There is some important safety and risk information that one should go through when going for tapering off the cat off Gabapentin.
They are as follows:
1. Consulting your vet:
This is one of the most important and foremost steps that you should take care of is, “Asking your vet about the path you are going to take”.
Because he is your best guide!
· Knowing about your cat’s health:
Your cat has been prescribed Gabapentin for some health issue in the first place. You need to take it to your vet to check its medical condition.
He would better judge through tests that if your cat has recovered from that specific issue like neural pain, epilepsy, or arthritis disorders, etc. for which your feline was administering Gabapentin.
This could also happen that maybe your cat is already recovering with Gabapentin from that certain disease and your vet would just adjust the dosages.
· Telling the vet about your cat’s current health:
It is not only your vet’s duty to guide you about your beloved feline’s health. You should also keep him updated about what is your cat going through.
- Is it really becoming an addict to Gabapentin?
- What do you feel about it?
- Did you do a test weaning off Gabapentin?
- Is it exhibiting some odd behavior when you did that?
- Did you notice any physical or mental impacts on your cat’s body?
· Taking a guide plan from your vet:
And finally, keeping in view your cat’s health conditions, weight, age, and other important information regarding your feline, your vet would be able to help in the best manner.
He would help you with designing the best guide plan for weaning your cat off Gabapentin.
So, it is way better to get professional help rather than messing it up on your own. After all, your pet’s life is at stake… do not play with it.
2. Go Slow and Steady with weaning off:
You need to mark this point, ’Weaning off Gabapentin or any other drug, must be a slow and gradual step!’
As mentioned earlier, your feline’s body is already working normally with having Gabapentin in its system.
There might be drawbacks when tapering it off that particular drug but there could be many adverse effects when abruptly stopping it.
And those would not be affecting its physical health, but mental health also.
3. Side effects for abrupt weaning off:
If you think of abruptly stop administering Gabapentin, this will end up making your cat’s case worse. Your cat might show some serious reactions such as:
- Irregular heartbeats
- Weakness and Tiredness
- Return of the nerve pain
Be aware of anything you do beforehand!
How to wean cat off Gabapentin?
One should opt the following ways when planning to taper their beloved cat off Gabapentin:
1. Slowly weaning off Gabapentin:
The weaning-off procedure must be slow and steady. At once tapering off would be harmful to your cat’s health physically as well as mentally.
Therefore, follow the weaning off protocol slowly.
2. Gradual decrease in the dosage being already administered:
This is related to the above to-do list. Decrease the dosage slowly and bit by bit. At once weaning off would not bring any good.
3. Characteristics for Timeline to Reduce the dosage:
Now when going for the weaning off procedure, the timeline for reducing dosage depends upon specifically these characteristics:
- The disease it was being administered for
- The current dosage being medicated with
- Keeping in view the level of dependency
- The weight and age of the cat
- The level of cat’s dependency on the drug
- Any other mediations your cat is using
The gradual tapering-off process must be continued when all of these points are pondered already. These would help for easy and effective weaning off for your cat rather than a cruel one.
4. Keeping the vet in the chain:
So, keeping the vet in the tapering chain is essential. He would better know that how much lowering of the drug could your cat afford per day.
He knows all about your cat and its major characteristics. There would not be a problem for him to make a gradual guide plan for weaning off.
5. Lowering of the dose:
As in general, it might take a week or several weeks for weaning the cat off the Gabapentin. But here are some specific cases and lowering off dosages.
When giving 100 mg once daily:
- If your cat is being administered a 100 mg of dose once daily, start giving 50 mg daily for a week.
- Then after that, give 25 mg daily for a week.
- Now, start giving 25 mg every other day making it 3 doses.
- Finally, stop giving Gabapentin at all.
The withdrawal symptoms
Weaning off Gabapentin was a major step and now you are going to face the withdrawal symptoms showing dependency on the following factors:
Withdrawal symptoms dependency:
The withdrawal symptoms majorly depend upon:
- the level of dosage such as if high or low
- the time period your cat has been taking it for
Hence, higher the dosage and for longer time period administration like longer than 6 weeks, higher are the risks of displaying withdrawal symptoms,
They would be at a greater rate and also show up early like from the upcoming 12 hours to about a week.
But one thing to keep in mind is that they would milder than when going with abrupt stopping or even long-term dependency issues.
Following are some symptoms your cat could bring up:
1. Changes in behavior:
Your beloved pet would definitely go through some mental stress and behavioral changes that could result in:
- Behavioral changes such as mental stress, aggressiveness, etc.
- Depression and anxiety that could result in purring, biting, and even clawing
2. Physical changes:
From long-term dependency to weaning off scenes, your pet would go through ups and downs in its physical health like:
- Stomach disorders like diarrhea, constipation, etc.
- Nausea and Vomiting
- Mild headaches
- Maybe a little retrieval of pain it was being cured for
- Agitation, Restlessness, and Insomnia
- Sweating, or flu-like symptoms
It is said that ‘Where there is a disease, there is a cure!’
Dealing with the Withdrawal Symptoms:
Therefore, there could be some ways one could try to deal with these symptoms:
1. Go to your vet:
Again, your vet is the best option that could help you in your current situation. Just tell him about your vet’s tapering off process and he would come u with certain options like:
- Meanwhile giving your cat some other drug to compensate for the withdrawal effects in the meantime
- Suggest any mental therapy if required
- Check your feline for any worst circumstances etc.
- Recommend any drug for physical health issues your cat is going through
2. Love and Affection:
Your cat is already acting up, deal it with love and affection. It is the time your cat needs you the most. Make sure you are there for it.
Do not be harsh towards it or it would get only worst. Give some space to your pet but be there for it.
3. Diverting your cat’s Attention:
What you can do is divert its attention off weaning off to other activities. Some suggestions are:
- Feeding it with treats, good and healthy food, and anything that it would love to have
- Take your cat for walks and make it do some exercise to keep it healthy
- Provide it with some fun and complex toys to play with like emery boards, they would love them!
Summarizing ‘How to wean cat off Gabapentin?’
It is hoped that this article would help you the best in dealing with your problem.
Just to keep in mind that weaning off goes slow and steady. But your vet is the key to all the troubles.
Let him know about what you are going to do and have your feline checked that if it is even ready to be weaned off.
When tapering off, find better ways to deal with your cat’s anxiety and do not hurt it or put it away.
Being a pet parent, you have a great responsibility on your shoulders, thus, be careful in what you do!
You may be interested in weaning cat off prozac because the steps are pretty similar to Gabapentin.