Galliprant Vs. Gabapentin: Which Is Best for My Dog?

Woman giving Golden Retriever arthritis medicaiton

Our dogs are our best friends and playmates, and we hate to see them slowed down by painful conditions like arthritis. Many options for managing chronic pain in dogs exist, with two of those options including Galliprant and gabapentin. You may find yourself wondering which is better for your dog: Galliprant vs. gabapentin.

A Quick Comparison Guide

Galliprant is the brand name for the generic drug grapiprant. Gabapentin is a generic drug name. Galliprant and gabapentin are both medications which are used to manage pain in dogs, but they have different indications and side effects.

View the chart below for a quick comparison of gabapentin vs. Galliprant.

Galliprant Gabapentin
Type of Medication Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drug (NSAID) Neuropathic pain analgesic (works on nerve pain), anxiolytic (reduces anxiety), and anticonvulsant
Active Ingredient(s) Grapiprant Gabapentin
Used to Treat Pain and inflammation associated with osteoarthritis Chronic pain, especially nerve pain;
Anxiety and phobias;
Seizures
Available Forms Tablets Capsules, tablets, liquid
Prescription or OTC Prescription Prescription
Dosing Frequency Once daily 2-3 times per day
When Does It Start Working? May take up to 14 days to see improvement Same day
Possible Side Effects? Vomiting, diarrhea, decreased appetite, lethargy, increases in liver enzyme values Sedation, ataxia (drunken gait), vomiting
Safe for Long-Term Use? Yes, with regular monitoring of liver and kidney values Yes
Is This a Controlled Drug? Not a controlled substance Controlled drug in some states

Differences in How These Dog Pain Medications Work

Galliprant works on a specific receptor that is more active in dogs with arthritis. By inhibiting this receptor, it decreases the inflammatory effects of arthritis, which translates to less pain for the dog.

The action of gabapentin isn’t fully understood, but it appears to inhibit the release of chemicals that cause anxiety and nerve pain.

Galliprant’s main use is to reduce chronic pain caused by arthritis. Gabapentin has multiple uses outside of pain, including anxiety reduction and seizure management.

When it comes to pain, gabapentin is most useful for nerve pain. Examples of diseases that could cause nerve pain in dogs include intervertebral disc disease (IVDD), phantom limb pain following amputation, or abnormalities in the shape or formation of vertebrae causing pressure on the spinal cord. However, the efficacy of gabapentin used alone for pain control isn’t supported by research studies at this time.

Pros and Cons: Galliprant Vs. Gabapentin

Pros Cons
Galliprant It is considered more targeted toward arthritic pain in dogs than most NSAIDs.

Reduces inflammation while relieving pain.

Only needs to be given once per day.

More expensive than other NSAID options.

Bloodwork is recommended with long-term use.

May take up to 2 weeks to see the effects.

Gabapentin More affordable than many dog pain medications.

May also help treat anxiety in dogs.

Provides same-day pain relief.

Not recommended as the sole treatment method for pain.

Does not reduce inflammation or swelling.

Sedation is a common side effect.

It is a controlled drug, and could be difficult for some pet parents to purchase.

While we can give you a general idea of the benefits and risks of Galliprant and gabapentin, your veterinarian will know what is best for your pet’s specific situation

Effectiveness of Galliprant Vs. Gabapentin for Dog Pain

Galliprant has been shown to be safe for most dogs [1], as well as an effective treatment for osteoarthritis pain [2]. 

Two studies found that Galliprant wasn’t as successful at treating acute pain in patients with experimentally induced arthritis than carprofen or firocoxib, two other NSAIDs [3][4]. However, these studies didn’t look at long-term efficacy. Osteoarthritis is a long-term condition which requires long-term pain control. More studies comparing Galliprant to other NSAIDs for long-term pain control are still needed.

Gabapentin hasn’t been evaluated for efficacy in treating chronic pain in dogs [5]. In fact, gabapentin used alone for the management of pain in dogs lacks support from research studies. In most cases, gabapentin isn’t considered a first-tier option for treatment of pain. Instead, gabapentin is usually added as an adjunctive treatment to a pre-existing treatment regimen.

Comparing Side Effects

Any oral medication can cause vomiting, so you could see this side effect from giving both Galliprant and gabapentin to dogs. The main side effects of Galliprant are vomiting, diarrhea, and loss of appetite. The primary side effect of gabapentin is sedation.

Thus far, gabapentin isn’t known to cause long-term side effects in dogs. Galliprant, on the other hand, may increase liver enzymes. Despite this, studies show that long-term treatment with Galliprant is safe in most dogs [6]. Dogs with kidney disease or liver disease should not take Galliprant.

Cost Comparison of Galliprant Vs. Gabapentin

Galliprant costs quite a bit more on a monthly basis than gabapentin – usually over four times as much. Because they have slightly different uses, your veterinarian isn’t usually going to be asking you to pick one or the other.

If Galliprant is cost-prohibitive for you, there are other NSAIDs like carprofen which may be good options for your pet. However, other NSAIDs may have different safety concerns, so make sure to speak with your veterinarian about which options are safe for your dog.

If you have dog insurance, it may cover one or both medications. If your insurance isn’t covering one, speak with your veterinarian to see if there is a covered option.

Can I Give My Dog Galliprant and Gabapentin Together?

Yes, it’s okay to give dogs both Galliprant and gabapentin together as part of treating dog pain or dog arthritis.

If your veterinarian suspects nerve pain as a component of your dog’s arthritis, they may recommend both Galliprant and gabapentin together. This is especially likely in dogs with arthritis in their vertebral column (backbone) or dogs with arthritis from previous injuries like fractures.

Galliprant and gabapentin don’t have any known drug interactions that should cause you any concern using them together. You will want to be aware of their individual side effects and monitor for those.

The Bottom Line When Choosing Between Galliprant and Gabapentin

If you’re talking about dog arthritis medications, Galliprant alone or Galliprant and gabapentin together are usually better than gabapentin alone. If your dog has both arthritis and anxiety, gabapentin may be added to the treatment for its ability to treat both pain and anxiety. For chronic nerve pain, like phantom limb syndrome, gabapentin may be an effective option.

The bottom line when choosing between Galliprant and gabapentin is to rely on your veterinarian’s recommendation as to what’s best for your dog. They will work with you to determine whether one of these drugs, both drugs together, or a different option entirely is the best strategy for managing your pet’s pain.

References

  1. Rausch-Derra, Lesley C et al. “Evaluation of the safety of long-term, daily oral administration of grapiprant, a novel drug for treatment of osteoarthritic pain and inflammation, in healthy dogs.” American journal of veterinary research vol. 76,10 (2015): 853-9. doi:10.2460/ajvr.76.10.853
  1. Rausch-Derra, L et al. “A Prospective, Randomized, Masked, Placebo-Controlled Multisite Clinical Study of Grapiprant, an EP4 Prostaglandin Receptor Antagonist (PRA), in Dogs with Osteoarthritis.” Journal of veterinary internal medicine vol. 30,3 (2016): 756-63. doi:10.1111/jvim.13948
  1. de Salazar Alcalá, Andrea García et al. “Correction to: Assessment of the efficacy of firocoxib (Previcox®) and grapiprant (Galliprant®) in an induced model of acute arthritis in dogs.” BMC veterinary research vol. 15,1 347. 17 Oct. 2019, doi:10.1186/s12917-019-2116-1 
  1. Budsberg, Steven C et al. “Comparison of two inhibitors of E-type prostanoid receptor four and carprofen in dogs with experimentally induced acute synovitis.” American journal of veterinary research vol. 80,11 (2019): 1001-1006. doi:10.2460/ajvr.80.11.1001
  1. Gruen, Margaret E et al. “2022 AAHA Pain Management Guidelines for Dogs and Cats.” Journal of the American Animal Hospital Association vol. 58,2 (2022): 55-76. doi:10.5326/JAAHA-MS-7292.
  1. Sartini, I., & Giorgi, M. (2021). Grapiprant: A snapshot of the current knowledge. Journal of Veterinary Pharmacology and Therapeutics, 44, 679–688.

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