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My poor girl. She is dealing with pneumonia and it has made her back/right hind leg really flair up...probably from the coughing and lack of regular activity. She is in a lot of pain when we try and move her right now.

The vet suggested gabapentin which she was on once before but seemed to make her really sleepy. That scared me enough at the time to discontinue it at that time. Is this a common side effect? Does it eventually level off? I am nervous to give her a medication that has a somewhat sedating effect while she has pneumonia. On the other hand I certainly don't want her in pain, not able to move.

The other option is Rimadyl.

She is on Adaquan and fish oil, have tried "natural" pain relievers, Dasaquin and has been having acupunture, had laser therapy and water therapy in the past. I have tried to stay away from the constant use of NSAIDS in the past. My plan was to start her on Rimadyl on a regular basis after her annual vet check next week. She threw that plan off by contracting pneumonia this week which has been my primary focus obviously.

Any suggestions regarding Gabapenin vs Rimadyl? Is the lethargy a normal reaction to the Gabapentin? The vet didn't feel this is a problem for her while dealing with the pneumonia but I keep wondering if a sedating effect is a good thing right now????
 

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I would imagine you would not want to put her on anything that would make her lethargic. Her being lethargic is a symptom you need to watch out for and to monitor her on how she is doing i have used Rimadyl with no signs of sleppiness. Talk about this with your vet. Glad you got the mist humidifier vaporizer i t should help.
The crate idea is great. Severe lethargy,not eating increase in coughing all signs to look for.
 

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Earlier this year my dog was on Gabapentin and Rimadyl (Carprofen) with the antibiotic Amoxyclav. He did sleep more, but it wasn't a respiratory infection. Can you ask your vet if the Gabapentin dosage can be lowered to decrease the sedating effect, while still managing the pain?
 

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My dog had osteosarcoma and was on carprofen and gabapentin. They always told us the gabapentin had a side effect of lethargy. I would talk to your vet about your concerns, maybe they can change the dose or figure something out. Best of luck to you and your pup.
 

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We have two seniors...one is 12....the other is 13...the 13 year old has ED and arthritis in that joint and in his hips and spine.....the 12 year old had surgery for a torn CCL when he was two-ish he has arthritis related to the CCL surgery and in his hips....the 13 year old (Beau) takes Rimadyl and gabapentin he does well with no visible side effects.....the 12 year old (Cody) takes rimadyl the vet suggested gabapentin for him also--the effect on him was entirely different then Beau....he was very sleepy and even when awake very zombie like IMO so it wasn't a good option for him.


Either med has the potential for very bad side effects--both these guys get blood tests regularly to check their liver...dogs have died related to carprofen.....we've used it for arthritis in seven different dogs over the years with no negative effects...it works great for pain relief IMO....the gabapentin is an opioid any one who watches TV knows what that means.....Beau and Cody are proof for me that just like humans... dogs can be affected in different ways by the same drug.
 

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I know pain meds are scary, but so is pain. We have an obligation to our friends to offer humane pain management, and when the natural stuff doesn't cut it, we have to do what you and your vet are doing here. So don't beat yourself up about needing pain drugs -- owners who are so afraid of them that they let their dogs suffer in a lot of pain are failing their dogs. You're doing the right thing by finding a way to control severe pain!

I've often used carprofen and gabapentin together. The gab does make them "foggy" -- some get sleepy, some are just kind of "dopey." I've never used it with a dog with pneumonia though, so I just don't know about that. On the one hand, they tend to sleep a lot anyway when they're sick. On the other, I don't want you missing symptoms of a downturn. What did your vet say about it?

One thing to ask about carprofen (= Rimadyl) is whether the vet anticipates needing to put the dog on prednisone for the URI. It's not out of the realm of possibility that it could be needed at some point. You cannot give prednisone and carprofen together. So using carprofen now may have an impact on URI treatment plan, depending on how it goes -- that's a conversation to have with your vet based on the progress of the URI treatment.

*Most* dogs tolerate carprofen well -- I've used large amounts of it over the years on many, many dogs -- BUT -- you have to use it carefully. There are other NSAID choices too, and they're also usually tolerated pretty well in most, but not all, dogs.

Here are my guiding principles for NSAIDs:

1. I want to use the lowest effective dose. That might be the bottom of the effective prescribing range, so I ask the vet if we can start there. With chronic pain, we might learn that it's even LESS than the official range that the vet used to calculate the dose. My last oldster's arthritis flare-ups were well-controlled by a dose that was about half the low-end of the official range, and we figured it out by very gradually decreasing. My vet was thrilled. Not all dogs will have that benefit at so low a dose--it's very individual. (I know you know this Katdog, but since this is an internet forum where clueless people might read this...I have to add: DO NOT INCREASE DOSING WITHOUT BEING TOLD TO DO SO BY YOUR VET!)

2. You ought to be testing kidney and liver values relatively soon after starting, because there are a FEW whose bodies don't break it down and excrete it properly, and it builds up to toxic levels (and the blood test a few days in checks for that). If the vet says bloodwork is needed a few days in, believe them. They're not scamming you to increase the bill; they're being careful to protect your dog.

3. I also ALWAYS give NSAIDs like carprofen with food -- get them to eat at least a small meal first (canned food at least), then dose them, so that you don't have them take the pill and then not eat. It's like when you take aspirin--you want something in your tummy to cushion it. This reduces the odds of a gastric bleed.

These warnings go for the entire class of NSAIDs. Carprofen is the cheapest but I'd do the same thing with any of the others too, as they're all at risk of exactly the same side effects. If you're going to be using carprofen chronically, be sure to price check it online (Valleyvet.com is where I usually order it), or at Walmart or Costco pharmacy (they sell "Vetprofen" as well as Rimadyl flavor-tabs).

Lastly, there are some other non-NSAID options. I had a specialist once put a dog that couldn't tolerate NSAIDs well on a totally different type of prescription drug in a different class (I filled it at the human pharmacy, but I'm not saying the drug name here because I don't want people trying to go out and find OTC versions of it...since OTC human pain meds can kill a dog).
 

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Yes. Sleepiness is a side effect of gabapentin. It's not a big deal. It's a short acting drug. It's a nuerontin not an anti inflammatory so you may need both.
 

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Spoke to vet again this morning. She must think I am a real pita! But we decided for now, that if my girl is able to get up and move without the additional pain meds, let's just get the pneumonia taken care of first.

I thought about the Rimadyl/Prednisone situation too. So will definitely wait till the pneumonia event is over.

I am not sure I feel comfortable giving Gabapentin to her if it makes her more lethargic. I have to agree that I could miss a downturn.

I know she hurts when she is walking but she seems to be a bit better since I have her moving more. I will try and help her with some extra massage and heat therapy on her sore hindquarters. Once I see her pneumonia on the right track, we will get back to pain treatment.

It looks like both of these meds might be in her future. Right now I just want her back to her normal again...
 
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