If your cat becomes stressed or fractious at the vets there is one off medication we can prescribe that has been proven to reduce stress and anxiety levels during transportation to and from the practice and during the consultation.
The medication is called Gabapentin and can be used as a single dose, given in food about 90minutes before putting your cat in the carrier at home.
Most commonly a 100mg capsule will be prescribed. The gelatine capsule can be placed whole into some yummy food or can be opened and the powder sprinkled on to the food. From our experience, most cats eat the medication this way. Give only a small amount of food when hiding the medication and try to avoid feeding your cat before this to increase the likelihood of the whole dose being consumed.
After 90 minutes place your cat into the cat carrier. A top opening cat carrier where the top half can lift off is best. Sometimes reversing your cat backwards through the front of the box can help. Cover the carrier with a blanket that smells of home ready for the journey.
Once arriving at the vets it may suit your cat to wait in the car until called for their appointment. Dave Cumber Vets is a certified cat friendly clinic, which means we have made special provisions to try to help keep your cats stress levels low. You can come into the feline only side of our waiting room. You can place your cat carrier on a chair as height can help to make them feel more secure. If you have forgotten your blanket we have spares available.
When called into the consulting room place the cat carrier on the floor. It may be that we open the carrier and allow him or her time to acclimatise and maybe explore while we talk to you about their recent health. We may decide to examine your cat in the carrier by lifting the top half off. The sides of the carrier can help to make them feel secure.
Repeat the process of covering the carrier on the way home and allow your cat to exit the carrier by themselves once home.
Having the carrier in the home for a few days prior to a planned vet trip can help to acclimatise your cat to the carrier. Placing some treats in the box to encourage exploration and having a blanket draped over it if the sides are quite open to give the feeling of a hiding place can help.
Gabapentin is an off license drug. In veterinary medicine we use a combination of licensed and off license products. It is expensive for drug companies to license a medication for a particular species for a particular condition and therefore there are not licensed medications for every condition in every species. When prescribing off license medication we do so based on evidence for safe doses and proven effects from scientific studies. Gabapentin has been uses for many years as pain relief medication in dogs and cats…and humans. Some cats may experience the following side effects: sickness, salivation, sedation or ataxia (wobbliness). These are self limiting and resolve with 6-8hours.
If you would like any further information please contact your feline friendly vets on 01305 251 632 (Dorchester) or 01305 784 197 (Weymouth)