Levetiracetam (Keppra) for epilepctic dogs

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This article contains details about the usage of Keppra for dogs including the correct dosage, uses of the drug, safety guidelines and more.

Levetiracetam is an anticonvulsant medication sometimes used to control seizures in household pets including dogs. The drug is commonly sold under the name “Keppra”, and works by suppressing electrical activity in the brain. Dogs are most commonly prescribed phenobarbital or potassium bromide for controlling seizures, but in cases where those medicines are either unsuitable or do not provide sufficient relief the vet may wish to try alternatives such as Keppra or zonisamide for dogs. The exact mechanism by which levitiracetam works is not yet known.

Keppra dosage for dogs

The most common dosage of Keppra prescribed for use in dogs is 44 mg/lb body weight three times a day (every eight hours). The vet may alter the dosage depending on the severity of your dog’s seizures and adverse side effects to the drug. Because skipping a dose could result in your dog having a seizure you should be extra careful to follow the medication schedule.

Is Keppra safe for dogs?

Keppra has proven to be quite safe for use in dogs with very few side effects though studies are still ongoing. Unlike phenobarbital and potassium bromide, Keppra does not appear to affect the liver, which may make it a safer option for dogs suffering from liver disease. You should always seek veterinary advice and approval before administering any anticonvulsants including Keppra to your dog.

Safety precautions

  • For dogs with seizures you should never stop administering the medicine suddenly
  • Notify the vet if your dog suffers with kidney disease
  • Notify the vet of any other medication your dog is taking
  • Do not skip any doses of this medicine

Keppra has few known side effects when given to dogs though you should still practice extra care and monitor your dog closely for 24 hours after administering the drug. If your dog is going to be taking phenobarbital alongside Keppra the dosage may have to be increased as there is some evidence that dog’s who have used phenobarbital remove levetiracetam from their body at a higher rate. Dogs with kidney disease will be less effective at removing the drug from their body, because of this lower doses will be necessary to avoid excess build-up of the substance. If your dog does not experience sufficient relief of symptoms continue administering the drug but return to the vet.

Uses of Keppra for dogs

Keppra is an anticonvulsant drug used to treat:

  • Epilepsy
  • Seizures

If Keppra does not provide adequate relief for your dog you may wish to try other drugs such as zonisamide.

Side effects of giving Keppra to dogs

Side effects in canines when administering levitiracetam is rare, however drowsiness should be an anticipated. Less common side effects include vomiting, diarrhea and changes in behavior.

Zonisamide anticonvulsant for dogs
Information about Keppra