Medications and Treatments
This section includes various types of treatments for epilepsy in our dogs. Although medication is still the primary treatment, other treatments are being studied and information will be provided here.
New medications for treating epilepsy in humans are continuously being approved. Unfortunately most of these new medications are metabolized too quickly to be useful in treating canine epilepsy and are very erratic in their effectiveness, therefore Phenobarbital and Bromide remain the first choice of anti-epileptic drugs for our pups. Additionally, most of these new medications have not had toxicity studies done on them in dogs and at least one (Lamotrigine) is extremely toxic to dogs although it's perfectly safe for humans.
The goal of drug therapy is to reduce the frequency and severity of seizures without compromising the quality of life your dog enjoys. Some dogs respond very well to medications and never have another seizure. Most veterinarians will consider treatment successful if seizures are reduced to less than once a month, however, many dogs obtain much longer seizure free periods and some will never have another seizure as long as they take their medication.
If your dog does not gain control of seizures with the use of Phenobarbital and/or bromide, your vet may refer you to a neurologist who may prescribe one of the other drugs listed here, or he may want to try another medication that has shown promise in treating humans with epilepsy.
All medications, both natural and prescription, have potential adverse side effects. Most of the potential adverse effects are not harmful long term, but several of them can be. Please be sure to learn what signs to look for to determine if your pup is having an adverse reaction to anti-seizure medication and seek prompt medical attention in the event they occur.
The following is some terminology that is pertinent to the medications used to control seizures:
Clinical Syndromes in Veterinary Neurology, Kyle G. Braund
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Last Updated August 2009