tortoiseshell-cat-sunshine

As most of you know, Allegra was diagnosed with hyperthyroidism in January. She has also had some issues with overgrooming. She is currently taking Methimazole for her thyroid, and very low dose of Prednisolone, a steroid, to calm down the itchiness that was causing her to overgroom. She has been doing extremely well on both medications, but of course, she now needs regular bloodwork to monitor her thryoid and kidney function.

When our wonderful vet, Dr. Tasi, came a couple of months ago, Allegra was not in the mood to donate blood. Dr. Tasi never forces the issue. Stressing a cat beyond her tolerance capacity doesn’t serve anyone – not the cat, and not the vet or cat parent. We decided that we’d try again, and that this time, we would give Allegra a single dose of Gabapentin about two hours before Dr. Tasi’s arrival.

Gabapentin, commonly used to treat chronic pain and epilepsy, can make a significant difference in how a cat experiences a veterinary visit. In a study of 20 healthy cats with a history of signs of stress or fractious behavior during the trip to the vet and during the examination, guardians were instructed to administer a capsule of Gabapentin 90 minutes prior to placing the cat in the carrier.

Dr. Tasi has used Gabapentin successfully for her clients for quite some time. “It is remarkable to me that cats who previously hid from me or were otherwise impossible to handle will now come to me and be relaxed enough so I can perform a thorough physical exam,” says Dr. Tasi. Even though Dr. Tasi’s practice focuses on using homeopathic and other holistic remedies, she believes in an integrative approach to medicine: “If I can minimize stress for my patients with a safe medication with few side effects, that’s good for the cat, and the cat’s guardian.”

I was a little nervous about giving her the drug, since she  had never had it before. Gabapentin has few side effects, and any that do occur are transient. Of the 20 cats in the study, five showed mild side effects such as minor muscle tremors, aniscoria (unequal size of pupils), hypersalivation, and vomiting. These adverse reactions resolved within 6 hours of administration. Thankfully, Allegra didn’t have any side effects. She started getting a little tired about an hour after administration, by the time Dr. Tasi arrived three hours later, she was wobbly, but alert.

Getting blood from her was so easy! And, even more importantly, Dr. Tasi was finally able to do a really thorough exam on Allegra, something that previously had to happen over the course of several visits, because she has a very low tolerance of being handled.

Her lab results were beautiful! Everything was in the normal range. Unfortunately, she will need some dental work in the near future. We had been putting it off for the past couple of years, but we can’t put it off any longer, so she has an appointment in October to go see Dr. Buelow at Animal Dentistry and Oral Surgery. Of course, I will update you after she has recovered from  her procedure.

In case you’re wondering, it took about eight hours for the effects of the Gabapentin to wear off completely, but even being a little woozy didn’t stop Allegra from demanding her mid-day meal at her usual time!

25 Comments on Allegra’s Health: An Update

  1. So glad gabapentin worked well for Allegra. I have it in a liquid from my late bunny, Charlie (he had seizures and arthritis but couldn’t take Meloxicam). My kitty Max lived to 16 with hyperthyroidism. Just keep up with those meds!

  2. So glad to hear Allegra did well with the gabapentin. I still am hesitant to use it for Tasha when traveling to the vet. I will try 1/2 the dose. They gave 100 mg for her to take. I’m afraid it will overdose her. What dose did you give Allegra? Tasha is about 13 lbs. I’m sure the weight has an impact on the dose also.

  3. When my cat was 10 years old, he was diagnosed with hyperthyroidism. We took him for the 1 shot radioactive treatment, which was successful! It was expensive, but totally cured his condition with no need for medication after treatment. He lived to be almost 15 with no further issues.

  4. So glad to hear Allegra’s exam & labs went well. It’s good that you found a medicine to relax her through the visit. Thanks for keeping us posted. Love & purrs to you & Allegra

  5. My Chloe has just been diagnosed also. Started her on the transdermal. After 1 day of dosing her vomiting stopped. I can’t wait for her beautiful coat to come back.

  6. I use Gabapentin with two of my cats for pain. A 10 lb cat gets a whole 25mg tablet and my 6 lb has 1/2 tab. What was the dose used with Allegra just for the car trip which I assume would be lower? She looks like a lovely but fairly petite cat., maybe 7-8 lbs? I have two additional cats, not using pain medication, and both are about 11 lbs. I have asked my vet about using Gabapentin before visits but she defers to Diazepam for my larger cats. It certainly relaxes them but they are so dopey for so long and become agitated in the last hours meowing on and on. I would love it if you could share some more accurate information without expecting to give dosing information.
    Every morning is a pleasure reading your posts.
    Thanks again.

    • Actually, dosing for “sedation” is quite a bit higher than dosing for pain. I gave Allegra her capsule around 9am, she started getting a little loopy an hour later, vet came to our house around noon, and it took until around 7/8pm for the sedative effects to wear off completely. And I’m so glad you’re enjoying my posts!

  7. Wow, thanks for that information about the med which would help make a vet visit easier for my cat. I wish I had known about that for Ella. My dear girl was so sick and I took her to the vet and she needed blood drawn so they could check. It was not a good experience. I could hear her screaming and I was so upset and she was SOOO angry. It took an entire day before she would forgive me enough to come and sit with me. This was my velcro kitty and it was a terrible thing.

    Having a sick and upset cat was terrible.

  8. My heart frozen when I saw your post today, I am so glad you got good news. I need to take my Tortie to vet for a checkup next we I will ask about gabapenten for her as she is a wild child if handled it might help. Hope both a you have a pleasant day after this good news.

  9. Great news! I wonder if seasonal allergies might be to blame for the itchiness. All of my girls are super itchy this year and Rye has been overgrooming as a result but our vet prescribed Zyrtec and it has calmed her itchiness though her fur is slow to grow back. Did your vet go with pred for a specific reason?

    • We tried antihistamines but they didn’t help. Allegra’s overgrooming is not seasonal, and she also has some mild IBD symptoms, so Pred made the most sense. I’m glad Zyrtec is working for Rye!

      • Gotcha! Makes sense. I also tried CBD for a while because Rye just seemed so amped up and agitated all the time but it didn’t seem to help that or the overgrooming unfortunately.

  10. I’m glad everything went well on her visit this time. I had a laugh when you said Allegra still wanted her meal. That would be my girls. Nothing stops them from their meals. I hope everything will go well for her with her dental work next month.

  11. Allegra,

    Glad all went well with your tests & exam. Was good Mom was there too! As for the dental work…..that will go fine too. Keep us up on that end too.

    Nan

  12. I am definitely going to try gabapenten for our next vet trip! Thank you 🙂 Glad to read Allegra is in good health!! =^..^=

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