Treating epilepsy in dogs can be as frustrating as the disease itself. It requires steady monitoring with bi-weekly blood tests to check the concentration of the drug that has been administered. It also requires monitoring the frequency and severity of epileptic seizures.
Furthermore, seizures happen suddenly and it is crucial for you to closely observe the symptoms during a seizure and report them precisely and in great detail to the veterinarian.
This helps in diagnosis and choosing the particular path of treatment. In several cases the threshold of tolerance of owners is often crossed with the regular recurrence of seizures and the time demanded for monitoring an epileptic dog.
Bromide was one of the first drugs used for treating epilepsy in dogs. It was discovered during the Victorian times. It was later dismissed as a feasible treatment because of the psychological problems it induced in humans.
Subsequently, veterinarians rediscovered the drug for treating dogs since it was confirmed that the drug did not cause such psychological problems in dogs.
Bromide is blended with either sodium or potassium to form crystals like table salt and packed in capsules for administration. The drug has a long half life and consequently it takes a fair amount of time for it to be passed from the body. The slow acting drug, therefore also has a lag time before the effects of the drug are actually experienced.
With the uncovering of Phenobarbital, bromide has been demoted for use in particular instances of epilepsy where the dog is diabetic.
Moreover, bromide was never sanctioned by the FDA and veterinarians had been looking for special permission for its use. Primidone is an additional drug used for treating epilepsy in dogs.
It acts in the same way as Phenobarbital since it gets converted to Phenobarbital in the body. As Phenobarbital is useable in liquid as well as tablet form of wide-ranging potencies, it can be utilised for dogs of all sizes and ages.
Diazepam, the generic name for better recognised drug, Valium, has a limited effect on dogs and looses its potency if administered daily. Although a tranquilizer, it is an effective method of treating a dog while the seizure is in progress. Even so, it is not recommended for preventive treatment.
Newer drugs like Carbamazepine, Lamotrigine and Valproate semisodium, that are now being used more often for human epilepsy may not be appropriate for dogs due to the easy elimination of the drug and the toxicity that they are apt to cause to dogs.
The side effects of drugs for treating epilepsy in dogs, have to be considered in relation to the risks of frequent epileptic canine seizures.
Treatment of epilepsy primarily involves anticonvulsants that have a sedative effect. The dog is liable to be lethargic when the drug is administered or when the dosage is increased.
Seizures can be caused by reasons other than epilepsy also. Administration of medication must comply to recommended dosage If the dog does not react to treatment then the most probable cause is in all probability to be found in inappropriate diagnosis, insufficient dosage, wrong choice of drug or resistance to the therapeutic effect of medication.
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