Can I give my dog pills that got wet?
November 24, 2018 4:13 PM   Subscribe

My English Bulldog Daisy (obligatory picture and picture takes 100 mg Gabapentin to help her sleep at night and avoid the sundowner effects of canine dementia. The pills got wet. Can I still give them to her?

Yesterday I failed to notice until several hours had passed that her pills got wet when I was watering houseplants on the window ledge above where the open bottle was sitting on the counter. Even after drying all night on a towel, many of the pills are twisted and malformed, and possibly (?) some of them seem a little lighter. On the other hand, there does not seem to be any residue or powder in the bottle, so I think just the outer gelatin capsule was affected and the actual medication is probably still in there.

We have some flexibility with her night-time meds for this condition. We can give her one or two 100 mg Gabapentin, or one or two 5 mg Valium, or a combination. So if someone smart says not to dose with Gabapentin any more, we can still get by until Monday. Alternately, if you feel the Gabapentin's effect has been reduced by the wetting, I would feel OK giving her up to three Gabapentin.

The only thing I am not willing to do is not give her any medication at all. From experience we know that this will result in the typical snarl-bark-snap-at-nothing response dozens of times each night. This can't happen because my wife, who is disabled, is in a hospital bed pushed right up against the bed where the dogs and I sleep, and she cannot be disturbed like that when she is so sick herself.

So what do you guys think? Any opinions or experience with pills that got wet but otherwise seem OK? Thank you for any advice you can give.
posted by seasparrow to Pets & Animals (7 answers total)
How about giving a pharmacist a call? Gabapentin is a common drug and maybe you can check with the pharmacy or even a nurse hotline.
posted by XtineHutch at 5:24 PM on November 24, 2018 [1 favorite]

IANAV. Upon quick google search, gabapentin is considered to be water soluble, so the pills that got wet are likely not to contain as much as described on the label and are going to be pretty iffy. Call your vet if possible, but if you can't get ahold of anyone before it's time for Daisy to go to bed, is there any reason not to go with your alternative medication of Valium that you've used in the past before?
(If I was extremely desperate and had to use the gabapentin, I'd use the least warped pills possible since it looks like a couple escaped the worst of the water)

adorable dogs by the way, and I hope you all have a good night's rest tonight!
posted by devrim at 6:02 PM on November 24, 2018 [1 favorite]

This is my experience only.
I’ve done this on more than one occasion, and I’ve taken/given the regular dose, plus an ativan chaser. It worked well enough on both me (epileptic) and my sundowning 80pd mutt. Can you bury it in peanutbutter? It tastes like __ when it’s partially dissolved! (Trapped behind a molar)
posted by whowearsthepants at 8:35 PM on November 24, 2018 [1 favorite]

Not sure if it’s the same where you are but here in Berkeley CBD oil is sold at our local pet stores and has done wonders for our older dog’s anxiety. Might help tide you over. It’s helped with our dog when we were short on her meds. (She’s got epilepsy and has been on a gamut over the last few years including gabapenten). It may work to help counter any reduced effects from the Gabapenten.

PS I know this advice might sound a bit strange but CBD had instantaneous effects on her when she started getting anxious with some construction we were doing.
posted by bitdamaged at 12:04 AM on November 25, 2018 [2 favorites]

Thank you all for your kind words and suggestion. They were a measurable help to me as I made my decision-- which was to follow devrim's sensible advice and use the least warped pills.

Result: She slept through the night without incident. Our whole family was relieved and happy.

The first suggestion to call a pharmacist was a good one, and if I only thought of it earlier I might have been able to get in touch with the Costco pharmacy that issued the pills, but here in the rural northwest they close early on a Saturday. I will call on Monday as soon as I can to ask about the rest of the pills.

whowearsthepants's comment, from a person with experience in the same two medical issues, was particularly comforting.

Finally, bitdamaged, we live in a state where cannabis is legal, and make heavy use of it to manage chronic pain in a human family member, but so far haven't felt comfortable or found the right way to use it in a dog. In the boom after legalization, just finding CBD-heavy formulations continues to be a real challenge. We've had to change shops and suppliers several times. I'd really be interested in hearing exactly what you use with your dog and how you administer it.

Thank you all! Crisis averted.
posted by seasparrow at 6:32 PM on November 25, 2018

Might help tide you over. It’s helped with our dog when we were short on her meds. (She’s got epilepsy and has been on a gamut over the last few years including gabapenten).

bitdamaged, I just wanted to say how happy we've been with Daisy's final epilepsy cocktail, which consists of 800 mg of zonisamide, (300 mg at 6:00 am, 200 mg at 2:00 pm, and 300 mg at 10:00 pm) along with 4.4 mL of Potassium Bromide (which is only used for epilepsy in pets, not in humans). Very smart dog neurologists in Washington DC came up with the combination, and also suggested equivalent amounts of Keppra if Zonisamide was not available, but zonisamide has always been cheaper and available and we have never used anything else. Daisy weighed 78 pounds at the time she went on this drug cocktail, and it has been effective for 10 years. This information may be useful to you if you are still "on the gamut" looking for the best meds. Something to share with your vet, at least. Using a zonisamide coupon code from goodrx at a local pharmacy, and then ordering the bromide from a large online compounding pharmacy-- Wedgewood-- brings our total cost for her meds down to about $55-60 per month.
posted by seasparrow at 6:44 PM on November 25, 2018 [1 favorite]

Good info on the cocktail, we've just settled into a combo of Keppra and Phenobarbital (reduced the Pheno by adding the Keppra) thats been working really well.

I'm intrigued by your formula pricing however. I'll bring it up to our vet.

We get Treatables brand CBD Oil from our local Pet Food Express (CA based pet store). We get the droppers of oil and put a few drops on a cracker (number of drops is based on weight of dog, and strength of formulation) when needed.
posted by bitdamaged at 12:23 PM on November 26, 2018 [1 favorite]

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