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Gabapentin for the treatment of neuropathic pain in a pregnant horse

Jennifer L. Davis DVM, PhD1, Lysa P. Posner DVM2, and Yvonne Elce DVM3
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  • 1 Department of Clinical Sciences, College of Veterinary Medicine, North Carolina State University, Raleigh, NC 27606.
  • | 2 Department of Molecular and Biomedical Sciences, College of Veterinary Medicine, North Carolina State University, Raleigh, NC 27606.
  • | 3 Department of Clinical Sciences, College of Veterinary Medicine, North Carolina State University, Raleigh, NC 27606.

Abstract

Case Description—A 24-year-old 732-kg (1,610-lb) pregnant Belgian draft horse mare developed neuropathy and signs of intractable pain following colic surgery.

Clinical Findings—Following recovery from colic surgery to treat compression of the small and large intestines because of a large fetus, the mare was noticed to have signs of femoral neuropathy involving the left hind limb. Within 36 hours after recovery, the mare developed signs of severe pain that were unresponsive to conventional treatment. No gastrointestinal tract or muscular abnormalities were found, and the discomfort was attributed to neuropathic pain.

Treatment and Outcome—The mare was treated with gabapentin (2.5 mg/kg [1.1 mg/lb], PO, q 12 h). Shortly after this treatment was initiated, the mare appeared comfortable and no longer had signs of pain. Treatment was continued for 6 days, during which the dosage was progressively decreased, and the mare was discharged. The mare subsequently delivered a healthy foal.

Clinical Relevance—Gabapentin appeared to be a safe, effective, and economical treatment for neuropathic pain in this horse.

Abstract

Case Description—A 24-year-old 732-kg (1,610-lb) pregnant Belgian draft horse mare developed neuropathy and signs of intractable pain following colic surgery.

Clinical Findings—Following recovery from colic surgery to treat compression of the small and large intestines because of a large fetus, the mare was noticed to have signs of femoral neuropathy involving the left hind limb. Within 36 hours after recovery, the mare developed signs of severe pain that were unresponsive to conventional treatment. No gastrointestinal tract or muscular abnormalities were found, and the discomfort was attributed to neuropathic pain.

Treatment and Outcome—The mare was treated with gabapentin (2.5 mg/kg [1.1 mg/lb], PO, q 12 h). Shortly after this treatment was initiated, the mare appeared comfortable and no longer had signs of pain. Treatment was continued for 6 days, during which the dosage was progressively decreased, and the mare was discharged. The mare subsequently delivered a healthy foal.

Clinical Relevance—Gabapentin appeared to be a safe, effective, and economical treatment for neuropathic pain in this horse.

Contributor Notes

Dr. Elce's present address is the Veterinary Teaching Hospital, School of Veterinary Medicine, The Ohio State University, Columbus, OH 43210.

Address correspondence to Dr. Davis.