For a dog owner, a terrifying moment for any dog owner is to witness their beloved pet and companion goes through a seizure. The shortest convulsion may seem like an eternity; no pet owner would want to experience such an experience and will look for anything or means possible to stop the convulsions.
If your dog is experiencing a seizure for the first time, you need to evaluate some important aspects of dealing with such occurrences before settling on a medication plan. Most of the anti-seizure medications have severe side effects, some precautions need to be taken, and as such, you need to be aware of them and know what needs to be done.
In this article, we will cover a new drug in the market called Keppra (or Levetiracetam) and all the relevant updates that you need to know before you start the treatment.
What Are Seizures in Dogs?
Before we get into the details of the new prescription, you need to understand the entire concept of seizures in dogs. Recent studies indicate that at least 5% of dogs suffer from seizures. Seizures are an uncontrollable electrical activity in the brain that produces convulsions, though disturbances, and other secondary physical signs. Another term closely related to seizures is epilepsy that describes repeated episodes of seizures.
What Causes Seizures in Dogs?
Experts are still on a debate on what is the exact cause of seizures though the majority still agrees that is wired in the DNA and is an inherited condition. Other common reasons are:
- Kidney failure
- Brain tumor
- Brain trauma
- Liver disease
- Toxins from poisoning
At What Point Do Seizure in Dogs Take Place
Seizure episode in your dog most likely takes place when there is a change in brain activity triggered by stress or excitement. You need to know how to manage a dog that has both seizure and anxiety problems.
Dog Breeds with Potential of Having Seizures
So that you do not get surprised like other first time breeders, some dog breeds have a higher potential of developing seizures and disorders related to epilepsy.
- Belgian Tervuren
- Golden Retriever
- Labrador Retriever
- Sheetland Sheepdog
What does it mean to Say My Dog is on Keppra?
Keppra or Leveticeratam are two terms your vet will use interchangeability when giving you a prescription to treat dogs and cats who suffer from seizures. Keppra for dogs can be used in isolation or combination with other anticonvulsant medications. Putting your dog on Keppra means the additional dosage will be reduced to lower the effects of the medications. Keppra for dogs may be favorable to many pet owners because of the few side effects present in other prescriptions.
Comparing Keppra and Traditional Anticonvulsants
Traditional anticonvulsants contain two ingredients phenobarbital and potassium bromide whereas Keppra does not. This is good news to pet owners because many dogs suffer adverse effects after using Phenobarbital and potassium bromide.
There are cases where the use of phenobarbital and potassium bromide may not control the adverse effects or frequency of seizures. Using the two ingredients may end up subjecting the dog to undue pain without necessarily curing the epilepsy symptoms.
Advantages of Prescribing Keppra for Your Dog
Keppra lessens and possibly treats seizures and reduces dependency on drugs that may cause irreversible damage to organs.
Even in situations where phenobarbital and potassium bromide must be used, introducing Keppra reduces potential harmful side effects by a wide margin.
Keppra is an alternative to traditional anticonvulsant medication
The only downside of using Keppra is its cost and the need that it has to be administered three times a day, which may inconvenience some pet owners.
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At the vet's clinic, you will find it packaged in 500mg and 750mg tablets. The frequency of dosage is at least three times a day, which is higher than the usual anticonvulsants. Keppra can be administered orally by ingesting 250mg to 1000mg tablets.
The need for high dosage frequency is because of the high rate of breaking down of the drug, which is good because it does not overstay in the liver or kidney. However, if you consider the three times a day dosage, the effect on the liver may inconvenience you when you have to leave the house.
Keppra Side Effects
If your dog is using Keppra, then the side effects on the liver may be less. Nevertheless, some concerns still need to be raised for all pet owners to know.
- Lethargy and feelings of drowsiness and it can cause sedation in some dogs
- Changes the animal’s normal behavior
- Stomach upsets leading to vomiting and diarrhea
- Before Administering Keppra for Dogs, Read the Following Precautions
Please look at the following precautions as you search for better ways of showing care:
Keppra and Pregnancy
Pregnant dogs should not be given Keppra medication because they can cause fetal loss. Nursing dogs should also be exempted unless your vet feels and sees the need.
Keppra and Effects on Kidney Functions
If your dog has a weakened kidney functionality, a Keppra prescription further the damage on the kidneys
When Keppra interacts with medications such as Deramaxx, Rimadyl, and anti-inflammatory drugs. Dogs that are currently using Phenobarbital may also counteract with Keppra if Phenobarbital dosage is not reduced.
When Should You Stop Using Keppra
As your dog keeps getting better, you need to be cautious not to stop the medication suddenly. A sudden stop may change the seizure activity or lead to life-threatening convulsions. Discuss with your vet on the appropriate withdrawal approach.
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Keppra: The Bottom-line
We all want the best for our companions and therefore as pet owner always get prepared to walk on the rough road of living with pets if need be. It is in our opinion that getting the right facts about Keppra, seizures, and the registered vet is one of the best combinations that a pet owner should be proud of.
Epilepsy in dogs is scary for any pet lover; however, it is not a death sentence. Epileptic dogs can have a long life, and the only favor they need from you is recognizing their condition and treating them early in life.