The Short Answer is:
Gabapentin, like any prescription medication, can harm a dog if it is misused. Dogs are most at risk from the liquid form of the drug that contains Xylitol. Gabapentin is a liquid form of gabapentin containing xylitol as a sweetener. Even in small amounts, it is extremely toxic for dogs.
In this article you will know the answer to the query “Gabapentin Killed My Dog“.
- Can Gabapentin kill my dog?
- What is Gabapentin?
- What brand names is it also known by?
- How is Gabapentin administered to dogs?
- Gabapentin and Xylitol- a warning
- What is the dosage for Gabapentin?
- How long does Gabapentin act and how long will a dose last?
- What are the side effects of Gabapentin?
- What factors should be considered before taking Gabapentin?
- Can it be used with any other medication?
- Are there alternatives to Gabapentin?
- My dog ate Gabapentin What should I do?
- What to do if your dog died from a Gabapentin overdose?
- Should you consider suing your vet?
- Pet bereavement services and support groups
- Gabapentin Killed My Dog (Watch Video)
In the past two years I lost a beloved pet to tragic circumstances.
After being a seemingly healthy fit and active 10-year-old for a week our dog had to be euthanized.
Despite being in the vet for about three days they could not save her from a blood disorder.
We were in shock and distraught after the vets tried everything.
This was simply a set of tragic circumstances and we were still deeply traumatized by the experience.
Throughout this article I want to walk you through some options and considerations if you think that your dog has died after taking a drug called Gabapentin.
I will provide you with a short and concise answer before getting into more detail.
Can Gabapentin kill my dog?
Gabapentin like any prescription medication can harm a dog if it is misused.
Dogs are most at risk from the liquid form of the drug that contains Xylitol.
Gabapentin is a liquid form of gabapentin containing xylitol as a sweetener.
Even in small amounts it is extremely toxic for dogs.
As well as looking at the box that the medication came in (to confirm that it contained xylitol) you will also be looking for any signs of poisoning in your dog.
In severe cases seizures can occur. Symptoms include vomiting weakness and lack of coordination.
Even if you suspect that your dog may have eaten some liquid Gabapentin you should contact your veterinarian right away.
Dogs can also be given too much Xylitol in addition to the danger from Xylitol.
This however would not be life-threatening as your dog will remain more heavily sedated for a longer period of time.
What is Gabapentin?
Among the most common uses of gabapentin include treating epilepsy and nerve pain.
Dogs can also be treated with it for things like seizures pain and anxiety.
“Off-label” medications are those designed for use by humans but that are also used to treat dogs because they were not designed to treat animals.
What brand names is it also known by?
In addition to Gabapentin there are other names for it: Neurontin Aclonium Equipax Gantin Gabarone Gralise Neurostil Progesse.
How is Gabapentin administered to dogs?
Gabapentin is available in three forms: tablets capsules or liquid.
Your dog should be given this drug just before a meal because some dogs who are given this drug on an empty stomach could vomit.
Gabapentin and Xylitol- a warning
Gabapentin should never be given to your dog in liquid form.
This is due to the presence of Xylitol an artificial sweetener that is toxic to dogs even in very small amounts.
In gabapentin xylitol is used so that it tastes sweeter and more pleasurable.
Xylitol is used in quite a few human medications because of this very reason.
What is the dosage for Gabapentin?
There are three different sizes of tablets and capsules: 100 mg 300 mg and 400 mg.
The dosage of Gabapentin will vary depending on whether it is being used for seizures pain or anxiety.
Your dogs treatment course will depend on the type of drug and the size of your dog.
We are provided with a range of information from this reputable source.
It is recommended that between 4.5 and 9 mg per lb of body weight be used.
Even the 100 mg tablets will be too small for some dogs so they will require a specialist dog pharmacy to prepare the right dose for them.
How long does Gabapentin act and how long will a dose last?
Within a few hours gabapentin should begin to work and then any effects should wear off after 24 hours.
What are the side effects of Gabapentin?
Gabapentins most common side effect on dogs is drowsiness and sedation.
Nevertheless the effects of oversedation can be compensated by lowering the dose of the drug going forward.
Apart from that other common side effects seem to be mild.
Its like a mild case of diarrhea.
What factors should be considered before taking Gabapentin?
If your dog has liver or kidney disease you should use this drug with caution since it will take a longer time to metabolize.
A second risk factor is discontinuing its use abruptly when used on dogs who are epileptic.
An epileptic fit can be triggered by stopping the medication too soon.
Can it be used with any other medication?
Other opioids and NSAIDs can be combined with this drug.
The effect of those medications is thought to be enhanced by Gabapentin
Gabapentin has been found to be effective when combined with Trazodone for treating anxiety.
Gabapentin should not be used with certain medications however.
The most common of these are Tramadol antacids (such as Tums) hydrocodone or morphine.
Are there alternatives to Gabapentin?
Dogs suffering from pain seizures and anxiety can be treated with alternative medicines.
There are alternatives to amantadine when it comes to treating chronic pain in dogs.
CBD oil could also be a natural alternative for this although there has been very little research done on its effectiveness in treating pain.
Dogs can be treated with two drugs that are licensed to treat seizures. Epiphen and Imepitoin also called Pexion are two phenobarbital drugs.
My dog ate Gabapentin What should I do?
As Gabapentin is a human medication you may find yourself in a situation where your dog has eaten your supply of the drug.
Gabapentin supplied in liquid form and containing xylitol is the most concerning situation
Dogs are highly toxic to this substance.
We have already discussed the fact that if you take this drug in tablet or capsule form then your dog is very unlikely to die due to the difficulty of overdosing to that degree.
No matter how much of the drug your dog has eaten you should call the vet and let him know approximately how much has been eaten.
What to do if your dog died from a Gabapentin overdose?
Your first step should be to perform an autopsy on your dog. Even though this may be difficult it is the best way to determine the exact cause of their sudden death. Gabapentin can indeed cause death or other factors such as underlying health issues that are unrelated to heart failure or a toxic environment can very well contribute to death.
It would be possible to file a complaint to the drug company that manufactured the Gabapentin prescribed if it turned out that Gabapentin caused the death. Make sure you have all the medical records and documentation of the events that occurred before their sudden death. If you believe there is a serious problem with a medical product then you can report it to the FDA.
Should you consider suing your vet?
Imagine that you believe your veterinarian has harmed or killed your dog due to negligence or carelessness. In such a case veterinary malpractice has occurred. To rectify this there are several options including:
- You can file a complaint with your states veterinary licensing board which has the authority to suspend or revoke a veterinarians license.
- You can also file a lawsuit.
- Negotiate a settlement or bring a lawsuit with the assistance of a lawyer
- Pursue your case in a small claims court. Although you do not need to hire a lawyer the compensation or money return you receive is relatively small.
When facing veterinary malpractice most lawyers recommend filing a civil lawsuit. Below is a description of the stages:
- A complaint is filed by the plaintiff to start the lawsuit
- Defendant files an answer to the complaint
- A scheduling order will be issued by the judge in charge with important dates and deadlines including the date and time of the trial.
- You should ensure that all records are in place and ready for discovery (exchange of relevant information) between both parties.
- Pleadings and motions may be filed as well.
- The trial will then begin with the selection of a jury.
- Once the jury has decided the trial will begin.
- Both parties can appeal the decision.
Laws are currently changing in order to turn that around since veterinary malpractice claims have historically been low. A few courts are beginning to recognize that animals are unique and irreplaceable. As a result courts are beginning to permit more significant compensations based on the animals’ intrinsic value rather than their economic value.
Pet bereavement services and support groups
Having to deal with the loss of a beloved companion is a difficult experience but you do not have to go through it alone. There are pet bereavement services where you can talk to other pet owners who have had similar experiences and connect with them (it really helps). The following resources can be helpful:
Rainbowsbridge offers a chat room and a forum open daily between 8 am and 12 pm EST with caring volunteers ready to help you with more personal contact with those who have also lost their furry friends.
The Pet Loss Support Team at Lap of Love organizes weekly Zoom sessions throughout the week for pet loss support groups. In this safe and compassionate space you can listen to each others stories share yours and offer support to one another as you move through the grieving process.
On Facebook you can also find the Pet Loss Support Group. Anne created and leads the group. With over 30 years of experience and a Masters in Counseling Psychology she is a trained grief counselor and trauma specialist.