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Veterinary Teaching Hospital

Gabapentin and Feline Heart Function

Effect of Gabapentin on Cardiovascular Parameters in Cats

Gabapentin is an oral medication commonly given to cats for sedation or prior to veterinary visits to reduce their anxiety. While there are currently no known side effects in cats, this medication does tend to lower their heart rates, which can be detrimental to cats with heart conditions.

The purpose of this study is to evaluate the effect of gabapentin on feline heart function. If our study finds that gabapentin affects the function of normal cats significantly, judicious use of this medication will be recommended for cats with known or suspected cardiac disease.

Benefits

Cats in this study will receive a physical examination, two blood pressure checks, two echocardiograms and two electrocardiograms (ECG). The approximate value for these procedures is $866.00.

Enrollment Requirements

This study is being conducted in clinically healthy cats between 1 and 7 years of age and at least 8.8 pounds. Enrolled cats cannot be on any medications other than heartworm, flea and tick preventatives. Successful candidates for this study must be reasonably comfortable with veterinary visits and amenable to receiving oral medication.

Treatment Methods

There are three appointments necessary for this study, spanning approximately three weeks:

Study Screening: At this appointment, we will do a physical examination and very brief echocardiogram to make sure your cat qualifies for the study. If your cat qualifies, we will send you home with study instructions and medication (either gabapentin or a placebo).

Study Appointment 1: 1-2 hours prior to arriving for this appointment, you will give your cat the study medication dose. At this appointment, we will measure your cat’s blood pressure and do an echocardiogram and an ECG. At the end of this appointment, we will send you home with study medication (whichever medication your cat did not receive the first time).

Study Appointment 2: 1-2 hours prior to arriving for this appointment, you will give your cat the study medication dose. At this appointment, we will measure your cat’s blood pressure and do an echocardiogram and an ECG. At the end of this appointment, your cat will have completed the study.
This is a double-blind study so you and the investigators will not know which medication your cat is receiving for each appointment. Cats will be randomized to receive either gabapentin or the placebo first and will receive the opposite study medication at the second study appointment.

Owner Responsibilities

Owners are responsible for bringing their cat to the WSU VTH for the three study appointments. To be eligible for this study, owners must be able to a) give their cat pills at home and b) carefully follow a written study timeline.

Contact Information

Valorie Wiss, Clinical Studies Coordinator
509-335-0789
v.wiss@wsu.edu