top of page

Side Effects of Anti-Epileptic Drugs in Dogs with Epilepsy

Updated: Apr 18

When managing epilepsy in dogs, anti-epileptic drugs (AEDs) are commonly prescribed to control seizures. While these medications are effective, they may also come with potential side effects. Understanding both the adverse reactions and mechanisms of action of anti-epileptic drugs empowers dog owners to make informed decisions and provide the best care for their dog. In this informative article, we will explore the common side effects of AEDs used in dogs with epilepsy. Additionally, we will delve into the mechanisms of action for each medication to provide a comprehensive understanding of their effects.

dog with epilepsy on anti-epileptic drugs side effects

Phenobarbital

Mechanism of Action Enhances the activity of the inhibitory neurotransmitter gamma-aminobutyric acid (GABA), which reduces excessive neuronal firing.

Side Effects:

  • Sedation or lethargy

  • Increased thirst and appetite

  • Weight gain

  • Increased liver enzyme levels (monitoring required)

  • Polyuria (increased urination)

 

Need Support?

Join our online community of epileptic pet owners who can help you through this journey. We know how stressful it can be caring for an epileptic dog, and we are here to help.

 

Potassium Bromide (KBr)

Mechanism of Action Increases the inhibitory action of GABA in the brain, reducing neuronal excitability.

Side Effects:

  • Sedation or lethargy

  • Ataxia (loss of coordination)

  • Increased appetite and weight gain

  • Polyuria and polydipsia (increased urination and thirst)

  • Vomiting or gastrointestinal upset

Zonisamide

Mechanism of Action Modulates the activity of sodium and calcium channels, reducing excessive neuronal excitability.

Side Effects:

  • Sedation or lethargy

  • Loss of appetite

  • Aomiting or diarrhoea

  • Ataxia (loss of coordination)

  • Akin rash or allergic reactions (rare)

Levetiracetam

Mechanism of Action Binds to synaptic vesicle protein SV2A, inhibiting the release of excitatory neurotransmitters and reducing neuronal hyperexcitability.

Side Effects:

  • Mild sedation

  • Lack of appetite

  • Behavioural changes (agitation, restlessness)

  • Gastrointestinal upset (vomiting, diarrhoea)

  • Allergic reactions (rare)

 

Want hassle-free care for your epileptic dog?

Start building your personalised care plan below.

 

When to Seek Veterinary Attention

While some level of side effects can be expected when starting anti-epileptic medication, it's important to monitor your dog's response closely. Contact your veterinarian if you notice any of the following:

  1. Severe or persistent side effects that significantly impact your dog's quality of life.

  2. Intolerable sedation or lethargy that hinders daily activities.

  3. Gastrointestinal disturbances such as severe vomiting or diarrhoea.

  4. Allergic reactions, including skin rashes, facial swelling, or difficulty breathing.

  5. Unexplained behavioural changes or worsening of seizures.

Conclusion: Side Effects of Anti-Epileptic Drugs in Dogs with Canine Epilepsy

Anti-epileptic drugs are valuable in managing epilepsy in dogs, but they can come with potential side effects. By understanding both the adverse reactions and mechanisms of action of these medications, dog owners can make informed decisions and provide appropriate care for their beloved companions. It's important to remember that YOU know your dog best, and if things are becoming intolerable due t medication side effects you are in your right to consult with your vet to take your pet off the medication. If you observe severe or persistent side effects that significantly impact your dog's daily life, consult your veterinarian without delay. By maintaining open communication with your veterinarian, you can optimize the benefits of anti-epileptic drugs while minimizing their potential side effects.


Note: The information provided in this article is for informational purposes only and should not replace veterinary advice. Always consult with your veterinarian regarding the specific needs and treatment options for your dog with epilepsy.

132 views0 comments

Recent Posts

See All

Comentários


bottom of page