Are Tramadol and Gabapentin Effective for Cats and Dogs?

August 14, 2018

Although many veterinarians continue to use tramadol and gabapentin, James Gaynor, DVM, DACVA, DACVPM, pain specialist at Peak Performance Veterinary Group in Frisco, Colorado, says there is mounting data that suggests the 2 drugs do not work as intended.

Although many veterinarians continue to use tramadol and gabapentin, James Gaynor, DVM, DACVA, DACVPM, pain specialist at Peak Performance Veterinary Group in Frisco, Colorado, says there is mounting data that suggests the 2 drugs do not work as intended.

"The biggest question that I got today, probably consistently, revolved around 2 drugs: And that was what about tramadol and what about gabapentin, which I didn't talk very much about. And basically, I didn't talk about them, even though they're really popular in the veterinary profession, the data is really counter to using them, in dogs at least. In fact, we have a lot of data that tramadol doesn't work in dogs, virtually every veterinarians using it. So, part of my goal is kind of to dispel the myth.

And gabapentin, we have a handful of papers in both dogs and cats that show that it doesn't work, except maybe in one instance. And as a data-driven veterinarian, coming from an academic background, my job is to present the data to a group like this and then let them make decisions about how they're going to manage that data, and manage their patients."