How fast does gabapentin work in dogs is something many dog owners wonder about. It's a very good question, especially when dogs are suffering from painful ailments such as back pain. Gabapentin is an anticonvulsant drug (meant to reduce seizures) but it also has shown to have the potential to help reduce neuropathic pain and postsurgical pain. These qualities make this drug appealing to owners of dogs suffering from painful conditions. So how fast does gabapentin work in dogs? Following is some information about this drug.
Mode of Action
Gabapentin is a medication that is often prescribed for nerve pain, basically, that burning, shooting or stabbing pain as it happens in dogs suffering from back pain. Indeed, Gabapentin for dog back pain is commonly prescribed for dogs suffering from IVDD (intervertebral disk disease).
Gabapentin works by altering the way nerves send messages to the dog's brain. Once these messages are reduced, the pain would therefore be expected to reduce as well.
Dogs may show signs of pain differently. The most obvious signs are whining, walking stiffly, reduced mobility and decreased appetite. Some dogs may show pain in more subtle ways though and not always these signs of pain are readily recognized. Some dogs may smack their lips, while others may pant as if they are hot. Frequently changing position or sleeping more than normal are also other potential signs of pain in dogs.
As pain is relieved, dog owners expect to see reduced signs of pain in their dogs, but how fast does gabapentin work in dogs? Following is some information provided by the manufacturing companies, doctors and veterinarians.
How Fast Does Gabapentin Work in Dogs?
Gabapentin is a drug used in people as well and therefore it's not a bad idea to see what doctors and manufacturing companies have to say about this drug and how quickly it works.
Pharmacokinetic studies conducted on dogs reveal that gabapentin has a half-life of 3 to 4 hours. The half life of a drug is simply the time required for the concentration of the drug to be reduced by one-half in the body. This suggests that dogs may be better on three-times-a -day schedule.
However, the administration of gabapntin three times a day may be difficult for dog owners to adhere to long-term. Anecdotally though, a twice a day administration appears to achieve a clinical effect in dogs, explains Dr. Mark E. Epstein, a Diplomate of the American Board of Veterinary Practitioners.
So how fast does gabapentin work in dogs? According to a drug leaflet found on the The Royal College of Anaesthetists website, initial benefits of Gabapentin may be noticed as early as within a few days, however it may take up to 2 months for a full effect.
Of course, this is just a range, just like in people, each dog may react differently to medications. Dog owners report seeing effects almost immediately, while others report it may take days or even 1 to 2 weeks. Dosage also matters. Some dogs may feel pain relief at low levels, while others need a higher dosage. Consult with your vet should your dog not seem to respond to the medication as expected.
Interestingly, other than for pain, gabapentin in dogs may be used as a sedative for stressful events such as vet visits, most likely because this drug is known for causing sedation as a side effect. In such a case, gabapentin is given 1 to 2 hours before the appointment, explains Karen Overall in Manual of Clinical Behavioral Medicine for Dogs and Cats. Elsevier, 2013.