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Old 03-08-2012, 07:51 PM
 
Location: Somewhere out there
9,618 posts, read 12,237,148 times
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Can't remember what it's called, but when she started having "fits", twitching and falling off the sofa, I took Dottie The Wonder-Cat to my vet.

Well... he said "You really ought to put her down! There's really nothing we can do." and left the room for me to consider that.

Hardly. She'd been a wonderful, interactive and loving cat for well over 20 years at that point (and now... she's 21!), and I could not do that.

So, I checked on the web (the source of all knowledge now...) and saw that some vets had tried Neurontin (Gabapentin). It had been successful on dogs, but the results were variable on cats. But at least no cats had died, so I decided to try a 10mg per day dose. (The usual human dose is up to 400 mg per day!)

(oh yeah: Feline Hyper Esthesia; that's it! Their backs twitch when you try to pet them, and they do have fur-tugging episodes, which are very painful to watch!).

So I got some empty glycerine capsules from a local pharmacy and pulled apart some Gabapentin capsules I have (I have some limb numbness from arthritis and this is a common treatment med...). I just kep splitting the 1200 gr does by half (50mg) then half (25) then half(≈12) then half (≈≈6) and started there.

Later, I upped it ( by about 3+ mg, by adding in half of a 12mg half... Gets sorta complex, dunnit?) to ≈ 10 - 12 mg per day, and no apparent ill or side-effects.

I make these up a week or 10 days at a time, and we use one of those little plastic kitty med syringes you get at the pet store to push it harmlessly into the upper side of her jaw. You've got to apply a bit of butter to the outside tip of that syringe though, soz she "enjoys" the taste and swallows the capsule.

But, folks; here's the kicker: the hyper-esthesia symptoms have pretty much gone away! GONE AWAY! Inside of the first two weeks; all gone! And.... she sleeps so much better, is in a much better mood, and even allows me to pet her when she hops up onto my lap when I watch TV at night

NOTE: I usually watch some NatGEo or Nature Channel Big Cats special so that Dottie will watch along with me! I do wonder why she shudders whenever a big leopard charges some antelope into the ground though..

Professional jealosy mayhaps?
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Old 03-08-2012, 10:18 PM
 
Location: Monadnock region
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that's wonderful that she's feeling better! very interesting.
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Old 03-09-2012, 06:04 AM
 
Location: Pittsburgh area
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It is interesting. I was going to reply to this last night but got caught up in the hyperthyroid instead. I've never heard of this condition, but I do notice my 15+ year old cat twitching at times and have wondered about it. I can't remember if I asked the vet last time or not. I think I will look into the condition you mentioned in case there's a chance it relates to what I've seen at times. (It's not anything as severe as you described, not falling off things at all or such.)

Thanks for bringing this up. And 21 years old, that's amazing, clearly you've taken great care of her over the years.
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Old 03-09-2012, 09:57 AM
 
8,505 posts, read 16,142,051 times
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Feline Hyperesthesia seems to becoming more and more common these days, or maybe it is just being diagnosed more often. (though I blame the pet food industry, because of all the hideous junk added to cat food these days)

In many cases it can be controlled with diet changes and a reduced stress environment. When medication is needed vets usually seem to turn to prozac first, though if it were my cat I would refuse prozac as treatment. I am not a vet but if I had a cat with FHS, my first choice of medical (as opposed to diet change) treatment would be phenobarbital.

However there seems to be a lot of info about Neurontin (gabapentin) and use in cats available dating back about 4 years, very interesting! It apparently is being used for long term pain control and as an anti-convulsant (seizure), though the doses are very different depending. Good to know there are other choices out there.

I am glad this is working for the OP, but I would like to caution people that you should never give human medicines, or any medicines to your cats, that has not been prescribed by your vet. If you don't like your vet's diagnosis or suggestions, seek a second opinion. I'm glad the OP's cat is doing well, but this is NOT a safe thing to do.

Incidentally, Neurontin (gabapentin) is excreted by the kidneys, so you should be getting regular blood work for you kitty to check kidney function while she is on this medicine.
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Old 03-09-2012, 10:47 AM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by catsmom21 View Post
Feline Hyperesthesia seems to becoming more and more common these days, or maybe it is just being diagnosed more often. (though I blame the pet food industry, because of all the hideous junk added to cat food these days)

In many cases it can be controlled with diet changes and a reduced stress environment. When medication is needed vets usually seem to turn to prozac first, though if it were my cat I would refuse prozac as treatment. I am not a vet but if I had a cat with FHS, my first choice of medical (as opposed to diet change) treatment would be phenobarbital.

However there seems to be a lot of info about Neurontin (gabapentin) and use in cats available dating back about 4 years, very interesting! It apparently is being used for long term pain control and as an anti-convulsant (seizure), though the doses are very different depending. Good to know there are other choices out there.

I am glad this is working for the OP, but I would like to caution people that you should never give human medicines, or any medicines to your cats, that has not been prescribed by your vet. If you don't like your vet's diagnosis or suggestions, seek a second opinion. I'm glad the OP's cat is doing well, but this is NOT a safe thing to do.

Incidentally, Neurontin (gabapentin) is excreted by the kidneys, so you should be getting regular blood work for you kitty to check kidney function while she is on this medicine.
Almost word for word, same as the post I was working on last night before I fell asleep, so I deleted it.

The advice to check kidney function is medically sound, and something I felt was important as well.
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Old 03-09-2012, 06:54 PM
 
303 posts, read 581,154 times
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Wow, I can't believe I found a thread on Feline Hyperesthesia! We didn't know WHAT was wrong with our cat until we read about this. Anyways, vet put her on phenobarbital and that seemed to "cure" her. She has been off it for over 6 months now and is fine.

Too funny about NatGeo - my cat's ears perk up when the lions do that mating-roar thing, lol!
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Old 03-09-2012, 07:59 PM
 
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Details please! If you don't mind, I'm still dealing with it, I just haven't had the centered energy to start Meeko on the phenobarbital, in case he gets sick like he did with Prozac, ... so I chose the "devil I know" for at least another month or so. I also had him on Anxietrex for the last 2 months, but if it helped, it was too subtle for me to discern.

Another PO shared her experience with FHS and phenobarbital, but FHS is so rarely discussed, that all first hand knowledge would be appreciated.

Now I Know Why My Beautiful Rescue Kitty was Dumped at a Shelter
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Old 03-09-2012, 09:03 PM
 
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Meeko is not allowed to watch NatGeo, or even the Ice Age movie with the saber-tooth tigers ... he would use it as a continuing education class.

Freddie agrees.
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Old 03-10-2012, 04:54 AM
 
Location: Somewhere out there
9,618 posts, read 12,237,148 times
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Default Correction!

Quote:
Originally Posted by rifleman View Post
So I got some empty glycerine capsules from a local pharmacy and pulled apart some Gabapentin capsules I have (I have some limb numbness from arthritis and this is a common treatment med...). I just kept splitting the 1200 gr dose by half (50mg) then half (25) then half(≈12) then half (≈≈6) and started there.
The Gabapentin dose was 100 mg, NOT 1200 gr!

Wow! That'd stop about most anything even the slightest bit twitchy!

Sorry about that! (Maybe my fingers is a'twitchin' a bit as I type?)

As to possible causes of Feline Hyperesthesia, I'm not sure about food content, though the current ideas oh general cat and/or dog nutrition are that the amount of corn, fillers, etc., in commercial pet foods is somehow harmful.

Well maybe, but Dottie has had pretty much a lifetime of Purina Cat Chow and various (i.e.: Friskies, etc.) consumer cat foods, and it seems to have aided and abetted her 21 years. As well, she won't even sniff at IAM's, etc., and neither will any of our other cats.

Love Your Cat!
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Old 03-30-2012, 08:31 PM
 
Location: Somewhere out there
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I also generally agree about 1)self-diagnosing your pet (cat, dog, crocodile, etc.), but in this case I did run the Gabapentin idea past my vet when I first took Dottie in to have her twitching condition diagnosed. (He did, & it was PHE). He waffled, and said he'd heard it might help such things, but it would be better to put her down. Sure glad I didn't listen to that one, or sure!

So I decided to try it out, starting out with a very VERY reduced dose (the max human dose, it turns out, is up to 3500 mg. Not a typo: 35 hundred mg.!!). My starting dose for Dottie was maybe 6mg max, now up to about 10 mg.

Since then, I've read about others who have had similar success, and now some vets have accepted it as the treatment for both nerve pain and neuromuscular pain, as well as feline hyper-esthesia!

BTW, I have a grad degree in toxicology, so am not entirely in the dark about toxic side-effects, the Cytochrome P450 system and how it metabolizes various toxins and drugs, etc.

As for a course of urine testing, I'm going to forgo it now because of the unnecessary cost, plus, in truth, this is her "last rally" so to speak. When this and her pain meds cease to provide the relief she needs, and she becomes to much more arthritic than she is right now, and is in obvious constant pain, it'll be time for her.

And a very sad day for me.
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