ABSTRACT

The study objective was to evaluate sedative, hemodynamic, and echocardiographic effects of cats receiving single-dose, oral gabapentin. A prospective, double-blinded, placebo-controlled, crossover study was conducted with 10 client-owned cats. Vital parameters, physical exam, blood pressure, echocardiography, and sedation scoring were performed at each visit within 2 hr of receiving either a placebo or gabapentin capsule. Vital parameters, blood pressure recordings, and echocardiographic measurements were compared between baseline, gabapentin, and placebo; interobserver agreement for sedation scoring and correlation between variables were also evaluated. Seven of 10 cats exhibited mild sedation within 120 min after receiving gabapentin, and no adverse events occurred. Significant differences were detected with two-dimensional fractional shortening (P = .022), left ventricular internal diameter in systole using M-mode (P = .014), and left atrial volume (P < .0001). Interobserver agreement for sedation scoring was near-perfect (κ = 0.84). No significant correlation was found for gabapentin dosage and sedation score. Single-dose oral gabapentin is well tolerated in healthy cats and produces a modest decrease in several echocardiographic parameters of systolic function; however, all affected variables remained within established reference ranges. These results suggest gabapentin may be an appropriate sedative to administer before echocardiography in cats necessitating mild sedation.

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