What Medications are used to control seizures?
When treating Canine Epilepsy, it may be necessary to try several medications, or even combinations of medications and different doses to customize the correct treatment for the dog. Each dog is different and each circumstance is different, making individualized treatment necessary.
Don't change or discontinue medication without consulting your veterinarian. Your dog may begin to seizure uncontrollably.
Phenobarbitol (Pb) Most dogs can be controlled by using Phenobarbital. Twenty to thirty percent of epileptic dogs cannot be controlled with phenobarbital alone. This medication is a long-acting barbiturate capable of suppressing seizure activity in the brain. It is an inexpensive drug though the appropriate monitoring blood tests amount to about $300-$400 per year. Phenobarbital is metabolized in the liver. Therefore dogs on Pb need to have their liver enzymes tested every few months using the following tests ALT (SGPT), AST (SGOT), GGT ALKALINE PHOSPHATASE. How to read a lab report
Potassium Bromide: (KBr) is a salt, widely used as an anticonvulsant and a sedative in the late 19th and early 20th centuries. It has no effect of the liver. Potassium bromide is presently used as a veterinary drug, as an anti epileptic medication for dogs and cats. Kbr can take up to three or four months to reach its full effect. Since bromide can have bad effects on humans, handle it cautiously. Keep the solution away from children and avoid getting the solution on your skin.
Phenobarbital & Potassium Bromide: Sometimes KBr and Pb are used together. For those dogs with epilepsy whose seizures are not well controlled by Pb alone, the addition of bromide can greatly improve seizure
Valium (Diazepam): These drugs can be effective for the emergency treatment of status epilepticus or cluster seizures.
Felbamate: Is used to treat seizures that are resistant to Sodium and Potassium Bromide as well as Phenobarbital. This drug is extremely expensive and must be given every 8 hours.
Levetiracetam (Keppra): This drug is very popular for refractory (difficult to control) epilepsy in dogs because it has been shown to be fairly reliable and has minimal side effects potential. Its disadvantages include expense (expect $250-$300 per month for a big dog) and the three times daily dosing schedule. Dosing may require some experimentation to hit on what is effective for a given patient.
Primidone: Is available in tablet and oral suspension that must be given every 8 hours. Side effects include anxiety, agitation, depression, excessive thirst, urination and hunger, sedation and loss of coordination. Rare side effects are loss of appetite, increased heart rate, skin disease, hyperventilation and anemia. This medication can also cause liver disease.
Gabapentin: Is only partially metabolized by the liver, it looks very promising for our dogs. It also can be used in combination with liver-metabolized anticonvulsant. used to treat seizures that are resistant to Phenobarbital and Potassium Bromide.
New medications are always coming available. So, all medications may not be listed here
Why do we need to get blood work done every 3 months?
Any dog receiving anti-epileptic medication should have periodic blood samples evaluated for blood chemistry balance. Since many medications are degraded and eliminated from the body via the liver, an assessment of liver function is a priority to prevent liver disease.