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Relieving Pain in Dogs

Gabapentin is used to treat chronic pain in dogs. It has been shown to be effective for reducing hypersensitivity associated with neuropathic pain and treating chronic arthritic pain. Gabapentin appears to be most effective when combined with other types of analgesics, such as NSAIDs (Rimadyl®), permitting the use of lower doses.

Gabapentin is an appealing therapeutic option because it has relatively few drug interactions and mild side effects. In dogs, the literature recommends initiating gabapentin at a dose of 5-10 mg/kg orally every 12 hours for pain relief. It is suggested to initiate therapy at the lower end of the dosage range and/or once daily dosing and titrate up in order to prevent over-sedation of the dog. 

Gabapentin is commercially available in capsules and a suspension for humans. However, the commercially available suspension contains xylitol, which is safe in humans but is toxic to dogs. Xylitol causes profound insulin release in dogs, which can lead to life-threatening hypoglycemia (low blood sugar). The good news is that our compounding pharmacists can prepare a xylitol-free oral gabapentin suspension. This suspension is the same concentration as the commercially available product (50 mg/ml) but is made without toxic excipients. We can also compound other dog-friendly dosage flavored dosage forms such as medicated chewable treats. Bring us your medication problems!

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