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Monitoring your dog on Levetiracetam

Monitoring your dog on Levetiracetam

Dr. Natascha Hedegaard BVetMed MRCVS graduated as a veterinary surgeon from the Royal Veterinary College, London, in 2018. She is passionate about optimising canine health with a holistic approach to veterinary medicine and consideration for the individual patient .She is currently undertaking her Postgraduate Certificate in Small Animal Medicine with an aim to becoming an Advanced Practitioner. As pet parents, ensuring the well-being of our furry companions is our top priority, especially when managing conditions like epilepsy. If your dog has been prescribed levetiracetam for seizures, monitoring their response to the medication is crucial for their health and comfort. In this blog post, we'll explore what to expect when monitoring your dog on levetiracetam and provide helpful tips to make the process smoother for both you and your beloved pup.

Understanding Levetiracetam

Levetiracetam, often sold under the brand name Keppra, is a commonly prescribed anticonvulsant medication used to manage seizures in dogs. It is generally well tolerated, and side effects are rare. It works by stabilizing electrical activity in the brain, helping to reduce the frequency and severity of seizures.


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Why Monitoring Matters

Monitoring your dog's response to levetiracetam is essential for several reasons:

  1. Assessing Effectiveness: Regular monitoring allows you and your veterinarian to evaluate how well levetiracetam is controlling your dog's seizures.

  2. Adjusting Dosage: Monitoring helps determine if adjustments to the medication dosage are needed to achieve optimal seizure control.

  3. Detecting Side Effects: Keeping a close watch on your dog's health enables early detection of any potential side effects or adverse reactions to levetiracetam.

What to Expect

Here's what you can expect when monitoring your dog on levetiracetam:

  1. Initial Adjustment Period: Your veterinarian may start your dog on a low dose of levetiracetam and gradually increase it to find the optimal dosage for seizure control. During this adjustment period, your dog may experience mild side effects such as drowsiness or gastrointestinal upset, which typically resolve within a few days.

  2. Regular Veterinary Check-Ups: Your veterinarian will likely recommend periodic check-ups to assess your dog's overall health and monitor their response to levetiracetam. Be sure to attend these appointments and communicate any concerns or observations with your veterinarian.

  3. Blood Tests: In some cases, your veterinarian may recommend blood tests to monitor your pet's health while on Levetiracetam. These tests help ensure that your dog is tolerating their appropriate dosage and that they have no comorbidities such as kidney disease. Most veterinarians are likely to recommend these every 6-12 months while receiving chronic medication.


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Tips for Monitoring Your Dog

Here are some tips to help you effectively monitor your dog on levetiracetam:

  1. Stay Consistent: Administer levetiracetam at the same times each day, as directed by your veterinarian. Consistency is key to maintaining steady blood levels of the medication.

  2. Watch for Side Effects: Keep an eye out for any signs of side effects or changes in your dog's behavior, such as lethargy, vomiting, diarrhoea, or loss of appetite. If you notice any concerning symptoms, contact your veterinarian promptly.

  3. Communicate with Your Veterinarian: Maintain open communication with your veterinarian throughout the monitoring process. They can provide guidance, answer your questions, and make adjustments to the treatment plan as needed.

Conclusion: Monitoring your dog on Levetiracetam

Monitoring your dog on levetiracetam is crucial for ensuring their health and well-being while managing seizures. By staying informed, observant, and proactive, you can help your furry friend enjoy a happy and comfortable life with effective seizure control. Remember, your veterinarian is there to support you every step of the way. Don't hesitate to reach out to them for guidance and assistance whenever needed.

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