- VPS advice on routine use of gabapentin for cats prior to ultrasonography (cardiac or otherwise)
VPS advice on routine use of gabapentin for cats prior to ultrasonography (cardiac or otherwise)
Cats aren’t always easy to scan and especially to echo! It’s not good practice to struggle to restrain them: for humane reasons, for patient safety and, perhaps most importantly, for the safety of staff. We don’t like to get into situations where we end up ‘giving it a go’ and then to discover by trial and error that the patient isn’t going to tolerate being handled for scanning.
Ultimate decision-making on care of patients rests with primary care vets. However, our advice is that it’s good practice to consider giving gabapentin before scanning in the vast majority of cases.
Apart from anything else it often saves lots of time for everyone and then we are much less likely to end up having to ring the owners during the procedure for permission to sedate and to discuss the fact that it’s going to be more expensive than they thought. Verbal phone consent isn’t really ideal at the best of times.
Although unlicensed, specialist opinion is pretty much unanimous that gabapentin is safe in the vast majority of circumstances and doesn’t affect sonographic findings. The only significant contraindications that we are aware of are renal insufficiency and liver failure -although, even in these situations, the potential adverse effects are limited to deeper sedation or longer duration of sedation than anticipated.
Mild transient adverse effects are uncommon and may include vomiting, salivation and ataxia.
Dose: 50mg per cat for cats <3.0Kg, 100mg per cat for those >3.0Kg
Give directly or in one tablespoonful of food 2-3 hours before transport to the surgery. Specialist opinion backs up our opinion that this volume of food on this time scale is not an unacceptable risk even if subsequent additional sedation or anaesthesia is required.
As always, give us a shout via email or whatsapp with any specific queries.