Types of Seizure Medications for Dogs

by beaconpet
Types of Seizure Medications for Dogs

In the challenging situation where your dog is grappling with seizures, selecting the right medication becomes paramount for effectively managing their frequency and severity. Beaconpet naturally integrates into this discourse, offering an authentic touch to the information. Among the array of seizure medications available for dogs, each with its distinct benefits and considerations, Phenobarbital stands out as a widely used, effective, and cost-efficient option. Conversely, Levetiracetam, a newer drug, may be more suitable for pets dealing with liver complications. Depending on your dog’s specific needs, medications like potassium bromide, diazepam, and zonisamide could also be considered. The article further highlights that, in addition to medications, special diets and supplements may be recommended to bolster brain health. Collaborating closely with your veterinarian ensures that your dog receives tailored treatment, effectively managing seizures and enhancing their overall quality of life.

Types of Seizure Medications for Dogs

Seizures can be a scary and concerning experience for both you and your beloved furry friend. Fortunately, there are several types of seizure medications available that can help manage and control seizures in dogs. Each medication works in its own unique way to regulate electrical activity in the brain and prevent seizures from occurring. This article will provide an overview of some of the most commonly prescribed seizure medications for dogs, as well as special diets and supplements that can complement medication therapy.

Types of Seizure Medications for Dogs


One of the most commonly used medications to manage seizures in dogs is phenobarbital. It belongs to a class of drugs called barbiturates, which work by sedating or slowing down brain activity. When a dog is experiencing a seizure, their brain becomes overactive, so the sedative effects of phenobarbital can help to calm the brain and prevent future seizures.

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Phenobarbital is not only effective, but it is also usually one of the least expensive options for seizure medication. It is typically dosed twice daily and is commonly used as a long-term treatment. Regular blood work is necessary to ensure there are no detrimental side effects and to monitor the drug levels in the body, as phenobarbital can cause liver dysfunction in some pets.


Levetiracetam, also known by its brand name Keppra®, is a newer medication on the market for seizure management in dogs. Unlike phenobarbital, levetiracetam is metabolized by the kidneys, making it a potentially better option for dogs with pre-existing liver conditions. It is usually dosed three times a day, but there is also an extended-release version available for twice-daily dosing.

Unlike phenobarbital, there are no specific blood work monitoring options for levetiracetam. However, routine organ function screening is still recommended for dogs on any long-term medication. Levetiracetam has shown promising results in managing seizures in dogs and is commonly used in conjunction with other seizure medications.

Potassium Bromide

Potassium bromide, or KBr, is another medication commonly used to manage seizures in dogs. It can be used alone or in combination with other seizure medications, such as phenobarbital. Potassium bromide may come in a tablet, capsule, or liquid form.

Regular blood monitoring is typically performed a few times a year to monitor the drug levels in the dog’s body. Sedation is the most commonly observed side effect in dogs taking potassium bromide, but it usually resolves on its own as the dog’s body adjusts to the medication. Potassium bromide is an effective long-term treatment option for dogs with epilepsy.

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Diazepam or Midazolam

Diazepam and midazolam are drugs in the benzodiazepine class and are primarily used to stop ongoing seizures. They are short-acting and cause sedation, making them effective in managing acute seizures. These medications are typically administered as injections by a veterinarian, but in some cases, they may be sent home for rectal administration during a seizure.

While diazepam and midazolam are fast-acting and provide quick relief during a seizure, they are not typically used as long-term, daily seizure management medications. Their short duration of action means that they do not provide the sustained seizure control necessary for long-term treatment.

Types of Seizure Medications for Dogs


Zonisamide is a newer medication that may be used to manage seizures in dogs. Its exact mechanism of action is not fully understood, but it has shown effectiveness in reducing seizure frequency. Zonisamide can be used alone or in combination with other seizure medications.

Zonisamide is typically given in pill form and is usually dosed twice daily. While side effects are not common, some dogs may experience mild wobbling and sedation. Regular monitoring and consultations with a veterinarian are essential to ensure that the medication is working effectively and that any potential side effects are identified.

Special Diets and Supplements

In addition to medication therapy, special diets and supplements can also play a role in managing seizures in dogs. Therapeutic diets formulated to support brain function may include ingredients such as medium-chain triglyceride oil and omega-3 fatty acids. These diets can be fed alone or in conjunction with seizure medications, depending on the individual needs of the dog.

Supplements such as S-adenosylmethionine (SAMe) may also be recommended to support brain health in dogs with seizures. However, it is crucial to consult with a veterinarian before making any changes to your pet’s diet or adding supplements.

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Types of Seizure Medications for Dogs

Monitoring and Side Effects

When your dog is prescribed seizure medications, it is important to monitor their response and any potential side effects. Regular veterinary check-ups and blood work monitoring are crucial to ensure that the medication is working effectively and that any adverse effects are detected early.

Some common side effects of seizure medications include sedation, increased thirst and urination, and changes in appetite. It is essential to discuss any concerns or changes in your dog’s behavior with your veterinarian, as they can help determine whether these symptoms are related to the medication or require further evaluation.

Additional Treatment Options

In some cases, additional treatment options may be considered for dogs with seizures that are difficult to manage. These options include referral to a veterinary neurologist for advanced diagnostic testing, such as magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) or cerebrospinal fluid analysis. Advanced treatment options, such as vagus nerve stimulation or epilepsy surgery, may also be considered for select cases.

It is important to consult with a veterinarian experienced in the management of seizures to determine the most appropriate treatment plan for your dog’s specific needs.

Types of Seizure Medications for Dogs


Seizure medications play a vital role in managing and controlling seizures in dogs. With the help of these medications, dogs with epilepsy can lead happy and comfortable lives. Phenobarbital, levetiracetam, potassium bromide, diazepam, midazolam, and zonisamide are among the most commonly prescribed seizure medications for dogs. Special diets and supplements may also complement medication therapy and support overall brain health.

Remember, every dog is unique, and what works for one dog may not work for another. It is crucial to work closely with your veterinarian to find the most effective treatment plan for your dog’s seizures. With the right combination of medication and supportive care, seizures can be managed, and your furry friend can thrive.

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