Gabapentin dosage for cat anxiety?

stoorworm

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Hello, everyone!

My kitty Potato is currently undergoing the GS treatment for FIP. It consists of 84 days of daily injections.
He’s physically showing immense improvement.
We’re on day 17 and he has already put on 450 gr (1lbs) of weight!
He’s a chonk. Currently back at 5.45kg (12lbs) and climbing.
Plays, eats, uses food puzzles, jumps on the fridge and back down etc.
Almost unimaginable compared to how unwell he was just 2 weeks ago. I’m knocking on wood.

Unfortunately his emotional well-being has gone directly in the opposite direction.
The stress of the last couple of months filled with blood tests, X-rays, ultrasounds an so have taken their toll and it doesn’t seem like it’ll improve anytime soon because of the remaining 67 days of injections.
I’ve recently found a vet willing to kindly do daily house calls but he’s still understandably traumatised by it. 🙁

There’s also my panic stricken mind that overthinks and rushes to the emergency vet at 02:00 in the morning dreading pleural effusions only to find out that the bugger ate too much and that’s why he was breathing a bit fast.
I think I’ll frame that 2am X-ray and hang it in the living room once this all blows over.

My vet suggested zylkene and gabapentin after he was basically hyperventilating while there.
He’s on 2 capsules of zylkene and two doses of 4mg/kg oral gabapentin I’m not sure the dosage is enough...
The first couple of days seemed fine but now his anxiety is back with a vengeance.

The day after a vet visit he’s jumping at shadows and the smallest of noises. He even becomes scared of a reflective door handle in my room that I now cover up with a t-shirt.
I’m positive he’s terrified of the t-shirt too.
He’s having nightmares. Way more vocalisation and twitching than before during REM sleep.
The overgrooming and scratching is the worst though... Poor thing now has wounds behind his ears and below his chin.

I’ve been trying to adjust his behavior by immediately engaging him in play when he starts to look anxious or the overgrooming starts.
He’s completely fine while he’s mentally stimulated but the moment he’s left to himself the anxiety comes back again.

I’ve bought a feliway diffuser, the spray, catnip to make him engage with toys, a puzzle feeder (that he instantly realised could be beaten by simply knocking the whole thing over) a cat tunnel, a new cat tree with a bloody hammock installed.
Bird videos are on a loop on my tv while I’m at work.

I see a bit of progress each night and it’s all torn down the next morning with the injection.

Wow, sorry. I vented quite a bit.

My question was; those who use gabapentin for kitty anxiety, what’s the current dose your cat’s on? How are they handling it?
Did you ever need to increase the dose because it wasn’t working?

I have a vet appointment tomorrow too. I want to rule out allergies and parasites for his red and itchy twitchy ears before blaming it all on stress. Just to be sure.
I’m thinking of asking them to up the gabapentin dose while we’re there...
 

sivyaleah

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I've only used Gabapentin to calm my cat for at-home grooming purposes and the dose for that is 100mg. She gets pretty knocked out on that does though.
I don't know personally what a good does is for anxiety but from the people I know that use it, 4mg seems extremely low. Perhaps it's because another medication is being used also.
Once you explain your concerns to the vet they will be able to access if a larger dose is warranted. Sending good vibes to you and your kitty!
 
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stoorworm

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sivyaleah sivyaleah Thank you! It’s 4mg/kg, so a single dose is 20mg gabapentin. A total of 40mg a day.
Still very low though.
I just talked to another FIP kitty owner who’s using gabapentin and she said her dose was 50mg once a day for her 6lbs cat.
Half the weight of mine and more than double the single dose.
Will definitely talk to my vet tomorrow and ask to up the numbers.
I really hope his stress improves on a higher dose.
 

suzeanna

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I used to use gabapentin for awhile (anxious/aggressive cat), and it worked well, but fluoxetine/Prozac worked way better. Not sure if it's useful or compatible with what you already have going on, but we did gabapentin+fluoxetine together for a few weeks while the fluoxetine kicked in.

Edit: all cats are different, but I think mine gets a little stressed out from watching cat TV (squirrels, birds) -- she gets riled up but can't catch anything. After a few minutes of watching, she pointedly faces away from/ignores the video.
 
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stoorworm

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Back from the vet!
They upped the dose to 6mg/kg x2 daily. We’ll see how he does on it and might increase again if he doesn’t respond that well. He’s still only on a total of 60mg (30mg x 2) at 12 lbs so it’s on the lower side.
Allergies and parasites were mostly ruled out. We’ll see how he does on a higher dose of gabapentin and if the scratching and overgrooming don’t lessen we’ll do an IGE test along with his monthly CBC which is in two weeks, just to be sure.
Will also quit zylkene and see how it goes.
He might have beef or milk protein sensitivities that worsened due to stress.

He scared me to death this morning though.
Woke up at 5am to the sound of retching. He vomited a huge hairball. Thought it was over but he just continued to retch and throw up clear liquid. 10 times or so in quick succession, just little bits of clear stomach fluid with a little foam on top.
I kept an eye on him. He settled down a little, slept, curled up, purred happily etc.
Then it started again at 9am. He retched 5 times only to throw up small amounts of clear fluid. But he did poop and pee after the hairball so bowel obstruction isn’t an immediate concern right now.
His poop was a little smaller than usual but he had gone last night too. Might have gone again because of the retching straining or he actually does have slight some hairball obstruction...

He had a physical examination and nothing seemed particularly wrong with him. Probably some left over hair in his GI that he’s trying but failing to throw up. Was told to keep an eye on him and bring him back in if it continues.
Fed him some RC Hairball formula wet food when we got back from the vet.
Also got some kitty grass.
He was a little wary but ate normally.
Pooped a small amount again after eating.
Hopefully the hairball diet and grass will help him get it all out. Either from the top or the bottom.
He’s bound to get hairballs because of the overgrooming but it still worries me.

Also had his ears checked and cleaned and they seem fine, only small irritated areas due to scratching.
All in all feel like it went well!

suzeanna suzeanna Thank you! I was actually looking into long term anxiety meds but the safest ones all had a dormant period of 6 weeks or so. Didn’t know I could use them along with gabapentin until they kicked in!
His cause of anxiety is almost certainly the daily shots and vet visits so if upping gabapentin works for him I think I’ll try to stick with it until his treatment is over. If the stress doesn’t resolve even after the course is done I will definitely look into long term meds. ❤
 
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