Monday, June 25, 2018

Benny and Gabapentin

Our love bug.

Benny is nearly 18, and his joints have gotten stiffer in the past couple of years. About two years ago, we started giving him Adequan injections. They have helped him, but we know it can only do so much and it wouldn’t help with pain.

In the past couple of months, Benny had shown signs of pain. For instance, twice during the night he has tried to bite me when I brushed up against him in bed. He is a sweet boy and I knew it was a defense mechanism.

A few weeks ago, Benny had a check up, so I asked our vet about options for pain control. I knew there aren’t many choices that are safe for kitties long term. Our vet suggested trying gabapentin for two months. Because of the small dose a cat needs, she suggested using a local pet pharmacy that compounds medication. While I waited for the prescription to arrive, I searched online for side effects.

To be honest, reading about the drug scared me because of all the possible side effects—sleeping more, diarrhea, becoming zombie-like. (What I didn’t know was most of this was from using the non-compounded version. Humans take around 100 mg while Benny’s dose is 10 mg.)

He has been on the drug almost 3 weeks, and I’m happy to say it’s going well! He had a couple of wobbly moments the first day or two. The other day I noticed he jumped up on the bed easier! He sleeps a lot, but again, he is old so it's hard to tell if it's from the medication.

Another possible side effect is weight gain, which in his case is a plus! He has lost weight as he’s aged. His appetite has increased and we are happy about that.

Pros: Does not interact with his thyroid medication, won’t affect kidneys or liver, can be used long term, can give dose with or without food*

Cons: It is more expensive when compounded (around $50/month), you dose every 12 hours (no big deal to us as his thyroid medication is also every 12 hours)

We wanted to share this information with anyone who has a senior-aged kitty in case it might help. We want to make Benny’s time on Earth as happy and comfortable as possible.

*A tip: We learned that it’s easier to pill him when the capsule has a tiny dab of cream cheese on it. He tastes the cream cheese and it makes the capsule a little bit “sticky.” We follow the dose with a couple of treats to make sure he swallows it down.


The Rosie Bee said...

I'm glad the new meds are having a positive effect. :)

Colehaus Cats said...

Yippee on finding something that works for him! Gabapentin can be a Godsend!

pilch92 15andmeowing said...

I am glad it is helping Benny. Emmy has arthritis, if she starts acting like she is in pain, I will ask the vet for some.

Summer at said...

I'm glad the Gabapentin is helping Benny.

Greg_1948 in_WA said...

Don't know anything about that medication until you mentioned it here, but I will keep it in mind for the future, thanks! Glad it appears to be working.

Tails from the Foster Kittens said...

Wow, $50 a month.. although in the big scheme of things it really isn't that much when you think about the costs of other medications.

I'm glad it is helping him. I'll probably give that a shot once my kiddos start showing their age

The Island Cats said...

We’re glad the gabapentin is helping Bennie. What we’ve learned is that cats taking it at first are wobbly and may sleep more, but once they get used to it, do much better. Zoey takes gabapentin at a high dose, 100mg, before a vet visit to make her easier to handle. And believe it or not, even at that high dose, she can still be a handful!

Cathy Keisha said...

Whoa! 18 years and he's practically still a kitten. Glad gabapentin is helping.

Laila and Minchie said...

Very glad to hear the gabapentin is helping Benny!

Rene, thank you so much for the beautiful home made card we received from you. It was so very thoughtful of you. It really means a lot.

Eastside Cats said...

Whoa, that's great that it's working for Benny! I wonder about Angel, who will be 14 in July. This morning, I checked her over, as if I were frisking her for hidden weapons, but she's got the same attitude as she has as a kitten. But, now I have knowledge for the future...thanks!

HollyAnne said...

Glad it is helping him. I shared on my page.

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