View Full Version : Melatonin to help dogs with SM rest better?

12th September 2012, 01:04 AM
Scarlett, my girl with severe SM, has been having trouble lately- more than usual. Lots of scratching, bunny hopping, etc. I am giving her Gabapentin 100 mg 4/day, Omeprazole 10 mg 1/day, and Tramadol as needed. My vet is working in conjunction with the neuro who is a good distance away from me but we had her MRI done at a much lower rate so we traveled to have it done. Anyway, I would like to try Lyrica but it is $200/month. The patent will be up in October from what I understand but the pharmacist told me it is usually a good year before the prices come down very much as only one company will make the generic for the first year. I did order the generic (pre-gabalin) from a compounding pharmacy but have been afraid to use it as it is not FDA approved so wanted to try some other things before spending $200 more each month on meds.

Anyway, to make a long story short, we are going to try a small amount of Pred to see if we can give her some relief and the doctor also added in Melatonin at night to help her rest better. I started the Melatonin last week bc I wanted to start them one at a time in case there were issues. The melatonin has worked like a charm. She seems to rest much better and is much calmer at night. I just started the Pred yesterday and will monitor her closely on it. i really didn't want to put her on it, but I she needs some relief. Her liver and kidney values have been perfect each time we have checked them, even after four years of meds for SM. I am hoping she will do ok on the Pred.

Her spinal cord has so much damage that surgery wouldn't have helped her a lot, so we opted to treat her medically and it has been working well for the last four years. She is almost 6 years old. She came to live with me when she was two.

Has anyone had experience using melatonin? I really knew nothing about it but I have been reading some very good things and it appears to be helping Scarlett a bit. She gets 3 mg before bed.

12th September 2012, 06:04 AM
I've used melatonin successfully with my Golden, mostly when he was an antsy puppy having trouble settling down at night. It worked very well for him, and I've recommended it to many people. I gather it only works in about 80% of dogs, but it does seem to relax them and lessen anxiety. I also gave it to him for a few days following his neuter surgery.

With Tucker, I put it into warm goats milk on the theory that warm milk helps young children, so why not puppies too? I gather that most dogs tolerate goats milk better than cow's. Since melatonin is a natural substance, it seemed a reasonable approach.

Glad you found something to help ease your dog's discomfort. Hope the prednisone helps too.

Brian M
12th September 2012, 08:28 AM

Jill Scandroli has recently posted a lot of info on this on the CKCS-SM yahoo site ,I am trying to digest it all
with the idea of maybe trying Daisy on it as it also seems to benefit SM Cavaliers in lots of ways .

12th September 2012, 11:15 AM
What is the dosage of melatonin that you are using with success? I have a friend with a sleepless SM dog and would love to recommend it to her!

Brian M
12th September 2012, 11:27 AM

Here is a link to Jills posts re the melatonin ,have a good read theres a lot of stuff starting with the
oldest post and read your way through .She says 3 mg for a 20lb dog ,but of course advise your Vet
prior to adding .


Hope it helps .

Best Wishes


13th September 2012, 01:42 AM
Brian- thanks, it was interesting bc my vet recommended this last week and then I read Jill's post on the Yahoo list. I started Scarlett off at 1.5 mg but can go up to 3mg. I bought it at the drugstore and it was relatively inexpensive but definitely seems to help her rest at night. After reading Jill's info, it seems there are other benefits, as well.

13th September 2012, 03:35 AM
Hey Holly,

I'm sorry to hear that Scarlett is having a tough time. I am so glad the melatonin seems to be giving her some relief. Scarlett is lucky to have you because I'm sure you are doing everything you can for her.

I don't want to start a debate about prednisone but just wanted to say that it really helped Ella. I would never tell someone to start on prednisone but for some, of course with neurologist recommendation, they may need or benefit from the addition. There was a noticeable difference when I added it to her medications. I really hope that you start to see an even greater improvement in Scarlett

13th September 2012, 02:03 PM
My 12 year old son takes melatonin to help him sleep. I have never given it to a dog but I won't see why not. My son has been taking 5 mg for several years and it works great for him. I think because of the other medication he is on going with the melatonin instead of another drug for sleeping is better. I have also giving it to my younger son when he has been sick (with ear infections) he doesn't sleep well and its a life saver. I have been told that sometimes the melatonin does not work for all people and the dose might need to go up from time to time but I have never experienced that.

I hope your little girl starts to feel better very soon.

22nd January 2013, 09:23 AM
Thistle is still struggling to sleep at night. 1:30 am-2:00 am she usually wakes up and is restless, and barking. I have tried timing her gabapentin so it will give her good coverage, but even that doesn't seem to be sufficient.

I've just emailed her neurologist to see if we can add melatonin for the evenings. It would be nice to have her sleep through the night.

Hopefully we can use this and avoid stronger medications.

Brian M
22nd January 2013, 09:50 AM

May I ask why are you giving gabapentin 4 x 100 mg and not say 3 x 200 mg as it is normally accepted that one dose has an effective time cover
of 8 hours ,just curious .

Kate H
22nd January 2013, 10:08 AM
'it is normally accepted that one dose has an effective time cover of 8 hours'

8.5 hours is the average time it takes for gabapentin to work through the body (metabolise). This means that some dogs will take more time, some less time. So part of tweaking individual SM medication is to see how long it takes before your particular dog starts to show signs of discomfort, as a symptom that they need another dose of gabapentin. Some dogs will go a long time and manage well on gabapentin x 3; others will need a boost every 6 hours or so, so will need gabapentin x 4, even if it may be the minimum 100g each time. The important thing with gabapentin is to give blanket coverage, keeping up the level throughout the day.

Kate, Oliver and Aled

22nd January 2013, 10:28 AM
I am not giving 4x/day. Only 3x (100 mg). The doses are 8 am (when I wake up), 5 pm, and midnight to 1 am (when I go to sleep).

I am giving omeprazole around 9 pm, and rimadyl around 2-3 am "as needed" which seems to be most nights. I'm not sure the rimadyl does anything.

Edit: just realised that Scarlett is receiving 4x/day. I assumed the question was directed at me.