Gabapentin side effects in dogs. looking for input

Hello -
I’m looking for input.

About six weeks ago I took my 11-year-old Welshie to a new small-animal vet practice. Brand new. I’d liked the former practice, but all the veterinarians I knew were gone, it dropped the emergency hours, and it wasn’t all that convenient. Saw a new practice opening a few blocks from my house, so signed up.

Dog needed her annual exam and a couple vax. Blood work showed higher BUN and creatinine levels. Vet recommended a kidney disease diet. Fine. Ordered and started on that.

Couple weeks later, dog slips and injures her stifle. She’s hesitant to walk. Take her in. Vet diagnoses ACL/CCL injury based on manual exam. Makes total sense to me. Prescribes gabapentin. Based on dog’s weight, can give her 1-2 cc every 8-12 hours. I restrict her movement, keep her off any slippery surface, and carry her a lot. Vet also recommended upgrading her from Cosequin Max to Dasuquin with egg shell membrane. Fine. Ordered that and am waiting for it to arrive.

After she’s been on new diet for about a month, we draw blood and urine samples to see if there’s improvement. The BUN and creatinine levels are about the same, but seems one indicator (sorry, I didn’t get the report) shows a lot more protein in the urine. Vet wants to put her on telmisartan to treat the proteinuria.

Meanwhile, getting the liquid gabapentin down twice a day is challenging. I think her tremors are worse and she’s more anxious when she’s not passed out. I fluctuate between wanting to taper her off of it, and wanting to leave her on it a couple more weeks to give her stifle more time to mend.

And then today I saw this: Keep in mind that gabapentin can cause a false positive result for urinary protein and increased anxiety. yikes.

I’m thinking I should sit tight for a couple weeks after I’ve weaned her off the gabapentin, then collect a urine sample myself and take it in. See what her protein urine levels are then. I feel like we have too much fluctuation to really know anything.

And also, in terms of tapering off: vet says OK to go from 2x/day to 1x/day for a couple days, then half the morning dose for a couple days, then stop. Some of what I’m reading says don’t stop too fast, and to make one change per week.

Any advice? TIA

No advice but I will say that my 13 y/o lab cross who has pain/weakness in her hips (due to aging) has been doing well on a cocktail as follows:

  • Cosequin (once a day)
  • meloxicam (1/4 pill, once a day)
  • gabapentin (breakfast and dinner)
  • omega 3 (once a day)

Plus laser therapy on her hips and back regularly. We started 3x/week, then twice a week, then once a week, and now just every month or so.

She also has high protein levels in her urine but her bloodwork shows everything normal, so our situation is a bit different.

She is maybe a bit sleepier with the gabapentin, but realistically she is an old dog who sleeps most of the day anyway (as does the other, slightly younger dog who is not on gabapentin or meloxicam right now). She is a bit wobbly but I chalk that up to “old lady balance” rather than a drug side effect since it was something she had before the gabapentin was added to her regimen.

I hope your pup feels better soon. Do look into laser if that’s an option near you. I think I have a copy of the brochure, PM if you are interested in looking at it.

It breaks my heart when the aging pups don’t understand why their body doesn’t work the way it used to.

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Yeah, I’d also get her off the gabapentin here. It sounds like it’s really not working for her. How long has she been on it? You can use something else for pain & sedation, it’s not this or nothing. I’m sorry she’s been having a rough go of things lately :frowning:

Thanks, Simkie. She’s been on since Jan. 27.

Got up this morning to find she’d thrown up twice in the early morning. Rather than dropping the evening dose, maybe it’s better to reduce morning and evening doses for a few days, then drop the evening dose?

I think the new vet is very new, and the clinic director just signed off to have a baby any day now. Seems like new vet has been consulting with clinic director on most decisions related to this case.

I am not a fan of gabapentin either in dogs or people.

My geriatric lab was prescribed it for pain, and it didn’t do much for his arthritis based pain and seemed to make his anxiety worse.

I have prescribed it for back pain, and not only did it not help the back pain, it made me stupid/goofy. Not sleepy or sedated, not unaware of the pain, just stupid.

ETA: No a peer reviewed double blind trial, obviously. Purely anecdotal.


Check out this video from Dr. Judy Morgan. At around 30 minutes she names the side effects:

She also recommends Palmitoylethanolamide (PEA) for pain and allergies.


I also have a dog who needs Gabapentin but has kidney disease. I asked about switching to something like Quellin or Rimadyl or Meloxicam, but was told that Gabapentin is actually the easiest on kidneys. So (shrug). Do you feel that she still needs pain management?

One of my dogs becomes very anxious on gabapentin, another is very sedated on a small dose. I am not a fan but it seems to be the go to drug for the modern small animal vet. I personally - and I am not a vet - don’t like to give pain relievers for a CCL after the first couple days. The dog needs to know it’s hurt and act accordingly. My dogs seem to benefit noticeably from adequan. Hope you are both feeling better soon!

thanks for this. At first it was pain management and sedation, and then just sedation. Now I’m trying to taper her off, but what I heard from the vet didn’t reconcile with what I read. Vet said half the dose every couple days and be done in about 4 days. Everything I read was that was too fast.

I seem to have both: sedated and anxious. The vet mentioned adequan, and maybe that’s the route to go. It’s certainly helped a lot of horses!

How very interesting. Do you take pain relievers when you tear a ligament? I 100% assure you that a dog with a CCL rupture KNOWS that it has an injury. :scream::weary::scream::weary:


Our 14 year old Beagle has tweaked her bum right hind twice since the original injury in October 2021. Both times we have treated her with gabapentin for 5 - 7 days with decent results. She is 34 pounds. We dose 2 tablets in the morning and 2 at night. After 4 days reduce it to 1 tablet twice per day and then stop all together. She hasn’t suffered any ill consequences either time. I haven’t noticed the side effects you mentioned. I would be inclined to titrate as slowly as you feel necessary.

I’m going to reduce every 4 days, for 3 step-downs, then quit. She’s not getting much, but she’s 22 lbs.

@pony_baloney - I love Dr. Morgan. I have her books and they are great reads!

Poster - I’m sorry youre going through this with your pup. I don’t have a lot of advice, but our vet pharmacy sells a lot and I mean a lot of gabapentin. Perhaps something else might work better for your pup like tramadol for pain? Can your vet prescribe something else to see if it will work better?

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My Corgi was given gabapentin after his neuter to keep him quiet. It made him nuts. I stopped it without a taper but he only got a few doses. Good luck with your guy.

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What I’ve read is, Tramodol and others like it are hard on kidneys. So off the table for us.

I tend to agree with @Bonnie2. Maybe if it hurts when she gets the zoomies, she’ll slow down. She doesn’t seem to be uncomfortable when she’s resting or going slow. But her terrier wiring overloads the “easy, easy” command when she sees or hears something.

Not much advice specific to what you’re asking, but if you like podcasts than you may want to check out these podcasts that were produced by the Ontario Veterinary College.

This one is about gabapentin.

And this one is about CCL tears in dogs.

And don’t be afraid to speak up if you’re noticing side effects. I just had my dog in to have some lumps removed on Tuesday, they prescribed meloxicam for a couple days, dose was appropriate for her weight. She unfortunately was that unlucky less than 1% who developed gastritis. Thursday night saw vomiting and diarrhea, Friday saw bloody diarrhea. Took a couple days of sucralfate to get her GI tract back to normal.
I’m going to ask about Adequan next time we’re in. She’s lost range of motion in her carpal joints and if it turns out she’s sensitive to most NSAIDs I’ll be kicking myself for not being more proactive.

This is so helpful! Yes, you’re 100% right. Being proactive is the smart way to go.

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My 13 yo is on gabapentin since last year (with meloxicam and CBD oil too) he has no side effects unless being a little sleepy but he’s an old man and sighthounds do sleep a lot anyway. As far as I know Gabapentin is good for neuropathic pain, for your westie’s accident I believe Rymadil or Meloxicam would have been more specific but I’m not a vet

thanks. With her kidney issues, the vet didn’t want to prescribe NSAIDs.

She’s doing lots better, and I’m about half-way through tapering her off the gabapentin.