- When Your Dog Has Seizures
- Dog Seizure Causes
- Triggers For Dog Seizures
- Which Breeds Are More Likely To Have Seizures?
- Looking At Levetiracetam For Dogs
- Traditional Medications Versus Levetiracetam
- Levetiracetam For Dogs: Benefits
- Keppra For Dogs: Downfalls
- Dosage Of Keppra For Dogs
- Side Effects Of Levetiracetam
- Keppra For Dogs Precautions
- Levetiracetam For Dogs And Kidneys
- Keppra And Pregnancy
- Counteractions Of Levitiracetam
- Ceasing Keppra
- Conventional Medication Dangers
- More Seizures From Anti-Seizure Medications?
- Alternate Brands Of Anti-Seizure Medications
- Alternatives For Levetiracetam
- CBD For Your Dog
- CBD to Manage Seizures
- Our Top Product Choices
- Diet Changes
- What Should You Do If Your Dog Has A Seizure?
- Levetiracetam For Dogs: A Final Thought
If you've ever had a conversation with your veterinary about treating your dog's seizures, then chances are they've mentioned Levetiracetam. It's a veterinary medicine that's commonly prescribed to treat seizures in dogs, and it's generally well-tolerated with few side effects.
However, as with any medication, there are potential risks involved. That's why it's important to do your research and talk to your veterinary about whether Levetiracetam is right for your dog. To assist you in that endeavor, we're taking a close look into Levetiracetam for dogs.
When Your Dog Has Seizures
When it comes to veterinary medicine, one of the most common issues that pet owners face is seizures in dogs. Before you start researching the various medications used to treat seizures, it's important to understand what they are and how they occur. Essentially, seizures result from electrical activity in the brain that has lost control. As a result, convulsions and other symptoms take place in the body.
Generally speaking, around 5% of all dogs can have issues with epilepsy and the seizures that come with it. Because of the loss of control, it's a good idea to find ways to limit the number of seizures as much as possible.
The best way to do this is through behavior modification and medication prescribed by a certified canine epilepsy clinic. By working with canines who suffer from seizures, you can help make their lives considerably better.
Dog Seizure Causes
While most seizures are part of an inherited condition known as idiopathic epilepsy, there can be some other causes for them.
These conditions can typically result in seizures:
- Kidney failure
- Brain trauma
- Liver disease
- Brain tumors
Triggers For Dog Seizures
When you have a dog that is prone to seizures, it's important to know what kinds of things can trigger them. Some of these triggers can include stress, anxiety and excitement. For those who have anxious dogs behavior, it's a good idea to get a handle on the anxiety as well as the epilepsy.
Which Breeds Are More Likely To Have Seizures?
It can be very helpful to know that there are some breeds that can tend to have epilepsy more than others.
The following breeds are more likely to suffer from epilepsy:
- Golden Retrievers
- Labrador Retrievers
- Shetland Sheepdogs
- Belgian Tervuren dogs
Looking At Levetiracetam For Dogs
Now that we've looked into seizures a bit, let's take a look at Levetiracetam for dogs. Firstly, the name Levetiracetam is the generic name. The available brand name for this medication is Keppra. It's used to treat both cats and dogs who experience issues with epilepsy.
One of the benefits of Levetiracetam is that it can also be used with another anticonvulsant medicine. As a result, the dosage of the other medication can be lowered pretty decently. Considering that these other medications can come with highly adverse side effects.
Traditional Medications Versus Levetiracetam
For many, Levetiracetam represents a breath of fresh air because it doesn't contain harmful ingredients that can often be found in other options. These can include potassium bromide and phenobarbital, which can cause problems for many dogs who take the medication.
Furthermore, these ingredients aren't always going to be able to keep the seizures at bay by themselves. This can be a huge issue because not only is your dog dealing with especially troubling side effects, but they also aren't getting much in the way of benefits. Because of these issues, Levetiracetam for dogs is prescribed in veterinary medicine to help to provide more benefits with fewer negative effects.
There are both short and long-term issues that can occur while taking medications using this ingredient. The short-term effects can include fatigue, ataxia, nervousness and lethargy. Meanwhile, long-term issues may include liver damage as well as anemia.
Potassium Bromide Warnings
Similarly, potassium bromide can also provide some nasty side effects for your pet. Short term issues with this ingredient can be ataxia, irritability, instability and vomiting. For the long term, more serious side effects can include failure or disease of important organs due to bromide toxicity.
Levetiracetam For Dogs: Benefits
For the most part, Levetiracetam assists with keeping side effects of other medications to a minimum while providing more help with seizures. So if you have a pet that currently uses other medications, especially those including potassium bromide or phenobarbital, it can be a good idea to ask your vet about Keppra. It's also worth taking a look at if your pet isn't currently on a medication for epilepsy.
As any dog owner knows, a dog's behavioral factors play a big role in a dog's overall health and well-being. And when it comes to epilepsy, there are certain risk factors that can increase the likelihood of seizures. Studies have shown that dogs who exhibit certain behavior patterns are more likely to be seizure-free when taking Keppra. That means if your dog is already on Keppra and showing good results, it may be worth keeping them on the medication even if they start to exhibit some of the behaviors associated with risk factors for seizures.
Keppra For Dogs: Downfalls
Some can find Keppra to be a bit on the expensive side. However, you can use the generic version at a much lower cost. Currently, the most difficult aspect of this medication is that it does need to be provided three times every day.
Dosage Of Keppra For Dogs
Keppra tablets can come in a variety of dosages from 250mg all the way to 1,000mg. That way, dogs of all sizes can receive the benefits of this medication. However, it is an option that breaks down in your dog's body very quickly. Consequently, it has to be given to them three times a day.
Side Effects Of Levetiracetam
Although Keppra has been found to be safer than many other anti-seizure options, it's still not a perfect medication. As a result, it's important to be aware of the potential side effects.These can include:
- Behavioral changes
- Gastrointestinal issues
Keppra For Dogs Precautions
Not only are there side effects, but there are also conditions under which you should not use Keppra for your dog. Before using the medication, it's wise to make sure you understand these conditions fully, as well as what can result if dogs with these conditions receive the drug.
Levetiracetam For Dogs And Kidneys
If your dog experiences kidney issues as well as seizures, you may want to double-think this medication. Although it does tend to be easier on your dog than other options, it can negatively impact dogs that already experience some issues with their kidney functioning.
Keppra And Pregnancy
For dogs that are pregnant, Keppra is not a good option. This medication is one that can increase the possibility of miscarriage. It's also not good to provide the medication to a dog that is nursing, as it's not going to be good for very young, nursing puppies.
Counteractions Of Levitiracetam
This medication is one that may not always mix well with other medications. Consequently, it's important to make sure that you don't pair it with Deramaxx, Rimadyl or other NSAID medications. There can also be cases when it may not agree with medications your dog presently receives, such as those including Phenobarbital.
Levetiracetam is a medication that has been studied in dogs with a history of idiopathic epilepsy. The purpose of this study was to find the impact of negative adverse behavioral effects in juvenile and adolescent dogs. The study found that there was no difference in the risk factors for adverse behavioral effects between dogs treated with Levetiracetam and dogs not treated with the medication.
However, the study did find that dogs treated with Levetiracetam were more likely to have characteristics and dog personality trait associations with a higher risk for adverse behavioral effects. These findings suggest that Levetiracetam may be an effective treatment for dogs with idiopathic epilepsy, but that there is a potential for increased risk for adverse behavioral effects in some dogs.
Levetiracetam Studies on Dogs
Levetiracetam, also known as Keppra, is a medication used in dogs to treat refractory canine epilepsy and seizures. It is also sometimes used as an adjunct to other seizure medications. The most common side effect of levetiracetam is mild sedation.
Behavioral factors that were found to be predictive of the response included age, weight, breed, prior history of seizure-free dogs, and concurrent medications. Withdrawal seizures were not reported in dogs treated with levetiracetam.
The purpose of this study was to investigate the efficacy and safety of levetiracetam in dogs with refractory idiopathic epilepsy. A total of 10 dogs were enrolled in the study, and all dogs received levetiracetam at a dose of 20 mg/kg/day. After 12 weeks of treatment, 7 out of 10 dogs were seizure-free.
There were no serious adverse events reported in any of the dogs. This study provides preliminary evidence that levetiracetam is safe and effective in treating refractory idiopathic epilepsy in dogs. Further studies are warranted to confirm these findings.
According to a study conducted by veterinary medicine researchers, dogs may experience behavioral changes after being treated with LEV. The ten dogs behavioral factors were found in some of the 40 dogs in the study.
The study found that out of 40 dogs, 5 reported changes in behavior, such as calmer mood, increased activity, and a joyful mood. While 10 out of 40 experienced anxiety, depression, attention-seeking behavior, aimless behavior, decreased learning ability, and hyperactivity. In one of the 10 dogs the behavioral factor became more noticeable after the dosage was increased (19.7 mg/kg TID to 26.3 mg/kg TID).
The researchers conclude that behavioral changes can occur in dogs being treated with LEV and that these changes may be more likely to occur during the first 2 weeks of treatment.
If for some reason your dog needs to stop taking Keppra, then it's best to discuss the situation with your vet and then follow their guidelines for stopping the medication in the safest possible way. Otherwise, your dog can begin to experience erratic seizure activity, and convulsions that can be life threatening.
Conventional Medication Dangers
With epilepsy and seizures becoming an epidemic among dogs. Because of the increase in impossibly difficult disorders like these, owners are forced to find the best answers they can. While conventional medications can be very helpful in many situations, there are some dangers to keep in mind.
As an example, vital organs need to be monitored with anti-convulsant medications that are more conventional. Many of these medications can have effects on the kidneys and liver that can be irreversible and result in failure of these organs. Owners can often be left wondering if the benefits are worth the drawbacks.
On top of that, types of epilepsy that are drug resistant can limit the benefits even when you administer the medication correctly. In these cases, the drawbacks remain but your dog gets no benefits from the potentially dangerous effects of the ingredients.
More Seizures From Anti-Seizure Medications?
Furthermore, toxins and chemicals that are rather dangerous can build up in your dog's body. As a result, more seizures can occur. Simultaneously, life-threatening seizures, cluster seizures, and withdrawal seizures can begin if you try to cease using the medication. Keep in mind that Levetiracetam has been discovered to be quite a bit more safe than other options, but the risks still exist.
Alternate Brands Of Anti-Seizure Medications
Aside from Levetiracetam, there are some other medications that are worth having an understanding of. These include Zonisamide and Primidone. While Levetiracetam for dogs is one of the top-running choices, it's good to understand the other options available so that you can be well-armed.
For the short term, this medication can result in vomiting, appetite loss, diarrhea and losing coordination. For the long term, issues like skin reactions, hyperthermia and blood disorders can occur.
The effects of this medication that can take place in the short term, are lethargy, ataxia and weight loss. In addition, fibrosis, hepatic necrosis and liver cirrhosis can occur when the medication is used for the long term.
Alternatives For Levetiracetam
Holistic healing options can be ideal for not only helping your pet to get relief from symptoms, but also to cure the source of the problem. Furthermore, these options are perfect for those looking to avoid the nasty side effects that can come from standard medications.
CBD For Your Dog
CBD oil is one of the most recent holistic wellness advancements on the market today. CBD for dogs comes from hemp plants, and is able to help your pet in a number of ways while avoiding adverse reactions. It's also fantastic for handling anxiety, stress and even reducing the spread and creation of cancer cells.
CBD to Manage Seizures
One of the most important effects of CBD is that it can ease and treat seizures very well. As a result, epilepsy can be much more managed overall. It's also great for those who have dogs that don't respond well to conventional options.
Our Top Product Choices
If you want to try out CBD, take a look at these great options!
For those who enjoy ease and complete control over the dosing, this is a fantastic choice. You can easily place a drop of this CBD oil right into your dog's mouth or mix it up with their kibbles!
If oil seems like too much of a hassle, Innovet makes both hemp treats and chews that dogs absolutely love.
Your dog will surely love these Soft CBD Chews. They taste like apples and turkey and are a great way to help with your dog's mood, digestion and overall health. It's a great option to assist epilepsy while giving your pet a delicious treat!
CBD Side Effects
You may wonder about the side effects of CBD, which is a wise way to think! Pet owners will be happy to know that this natural substance has essentially zero side effects.
A diet that is specifically formulated can be fantastic for dogs who need help with epilepsy. For example, diets that contain a lot of fat and lower amounts of carbohydrates, or a ketogenic diet, can be ideal. Experts also recommend a raw food diet. Any of these options can help your dog with their health overall. Talking to a holistic vet can give you a clear idea of exactly how these diet changes can help your dog!
If you're willing to take the lesser-known path, regular acupuncture has also shown that it can be a great way to help reduce and keep control of seizures in both humans and dogs. Yet another great option to have, though it may not be everyone's top choice.
What Should You Do If Your Dog Has A Seizure?
Seeing your dog have a seizure can be terrifying, but it's important to know what to do if it happens. Firstly, you'll want to make sure any loud noises or bright lights are removed, so that the area can be mellow and quiet. If you have other animals that might disrupt the pet having a seizure, they should be placed somewhere else temporarily until the convulsions are over.
Essentially, anything loud or sudden can scare your pet and cause further seizures. Keeping things calm can help them to relax and get through the convulsions in a more gentle way.
For pet owners, it's a good idea to make sure that you keep up with any new information available for epilepsy in animals. There are new discoveries being made all the time, which can let you know what substances might add to seizure problems as well as which can help.
If your dog has an epileptic seizure, it is essential that you are as knowledgeable as possible when it comes to trying to treat seizures in dogs with epilepsy.
Levetiracetam For Dogs: A Final Thought
All in all, you are your pet's best advocate. Dog owners have a sixth sense when it comes to knowing what your pet needs, and at the end of the day, what your pet takes for seizures is ultimately up to you. Whether you are interested in giving levetiracetam to your dog or you would rather pursue other anti seizure medications, making the ultimate decision is easier when you have all of the information.
Ask as many questions as you need to in order to make a final decision regarding levetiracetam and your dog's seizures. While it is not an easy feat to tackle, you should remember that your dog needs you the most because you are his or her greatest advocate, meaning you should ask for more information or speak up if you are confused.
Inquire about the signs to look out for with epilepsy in dogs as well as the symptoms you can expect to see in dogs with epilepsy. Learning about what you should look for can make it easier to spot any signs or symptoms of epilepsy in dogs. Sometimes, being the parent of a furry family member can get very difficult especially when you are facing something very new, like seizures in your pets.
Unfortunately, seizures are not as uncommon as many people might assume, making it all the more necessary for pet parents to look into the signs and symptoms of dog seizures. The truth of the matter is that dog seizures are something that a lot of dog owners will encounter and have to learn how to handle on behalf of their dogs. It's not always a walk in the park, but similar to other relationships and responsibilities, it's imperative that you are there for the good, the bad, and the ugly.
It all starts with being informed and entering situations with open arms. Be ready to learn, grow, and expand your understanding of the health of your dog. Keep an eye out for the many various signs and symptoms of epilepsy. Even if your dog doesn't have a diagnosis of epilepsy, your ability to spot the possible signs of epilepsy can be a total lifesaver for your pup.
That's how many cases of dog epilepsy are pinpointed in the first place. In order for your dog's vet to diagnosis your pet with epilepsy, there will need to be some signs or symptoms present that bring the situation to your vet's attention in the first place. From there, your vet can analyze the situation after you contact them and say that you believe something is wrong.
Knowing as much as you possibly can about epilepsy can change the entire game. Similarly, learning more about the medication options available for pets with epilepsy can be incredibly useful. Just because a vet says an anti seizure medication is safe doesn't mean you shouldn't put in the effort to learn about levetiracetam for yourself.
By learning about the benefits and downfalls of medications, as well as negative reactions and holistic options that can help, you can make decisions to more effectively keep your pet healthy and happy. Remember that epilepsy doesn't mean the end of your pet's life is upcoming any time soon. Plus, with proper treatment, many epileptic dogs can live happy, long lives. Every day, new medicines such as Levetiracetam are in development to help limit side effects and maximize the life of your pet.
Dr. Ivana Vukasinovic
Doctor of Veterinary Medicine, University of Belgrade
Ivana Vukasinovic grew up in Serbia and attended the University of Belgrade where she received a degree in Veterinary medicine in 2012 and later completed surgical residency working mostly with livestock. Her first year of practice was split between busy small animal practice and emergency clinic, and after two more years of treating many different species of animals, she opened her own veterinary pharmacy where an interest in canine and feline nutrition emerged with an accent on fighting animal obesity. In her free time, she acts as a foster parent for stray animals before their adoption, likes to read SF books and making salted caramel cookies.
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The Innovet Team
Please do not ask for emergency or specific medical questions about your pets in the comments. Innovet Pet Products is unable to provide you with specific medical advice or counseling. A detailed physical exam, patient history, and an established veterinarian are required to provide specific medical advice. If you are worried that your pet requires emergency attention or if you have specific medical questions related to your pet’s current or chronic health conditions, please contact or visit your local/preferred veterinarian, an animal-specific poison control hotline, or your local emergency veterinary care center.
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