Does your pup experience many seizures? If you answered this question with a “yes,” you probably know how scary it is to watch your pup have a seizure.
Many people are unaware that certain breeds are much more likely to experience seizures. Some of the breeds more prone to seizures include Beagles, Labrador Retrievers, Golden Retrievers, and many more. These breeds are still great for families, busy professionals, and seniors, though. According to much research, most African dog breeds aren’t known to experience seizure.
How do you prevent your pup from having another seizure? Many veterinarians may suggest Phenobarbital for your pup. Here is everything that you need to know about Phenobarbital for dogs.
First Things First: What Exactly Is Phenobarbital?
If you are like many people, you may not have even heard of phenobarbital. The drug is often marketed under the following brand names: Sodium, Bartia, Luminal, and Solfoton.
Phenobarbital is known as one of the most common drugs to control seizures and treat epilepsy in humans. The good news is that this drug can be used to treat seizures in dogs too, improving their quality of life. Many vets have also prescribed the drug as a sedative.
Phenobarbital is not the only drug used to control seizure, but it is the most effective and affordable option. A vet may also prescribe diazepam or potassium bromide to treat seizures in dogs.
There are also a few other anticonvulsant drugs on the market, but they cost a little more. Many of the more expensive anticonvulsant drugs have few side effects.
How Does The Drug Work?
The drug is specifically formulated to decrease the neuron activity in your pup’s brain while increasing the neurotransmitter known as GABA. The primary purpose of GABA is to prevent nerve impulses.
Many pups that take this drug feel extremely tranquil and relaxed. As a result, the drug can be thought of as a central nervous system depressant.
How Much Phenobarbital Does Your Pup Need?
When it comes to the standard dosage of Phenobarbital for dogs, it can vary based on a wide variety of factors. An experienced veterinarian will examine your pup’s weight and frequency and severity of seizure to determine the right dosage.
Generally speaking, most veterinarians prescribe 1 to 2 mg per pound of body weight. Depending on your pup’s reaction to Phenobarbital and seizure, the veterinarian may increase the dosage to 8 mg per pound of body weight.
The medication should be given two times a day, and you should continue giving this drug to your pup until there isn’t any left. The drug can be given to your four-legged friend with or without food.
In order to prevent your pup from experiencing a seizures, make sure that you don’t skip doses. You should also think twice before giving your pup too much Phenobarbital to avoid nervous system depression and liver failure. Don’t worry. You will receive instructions on how to properly give this medication to your pup. Always remember to follow the instructions extremely carefully.
While your pup is on Phenobarbital, a vet may perform blood tests every few months to ensure that your four-legged friend isn’t taking too much of this drug for seizure control.
Just so you know, Phenobarbital is a controlled substance that’s not approved by the FDA, so you can only obtain a prescription for this drug from a veterinarian who holds a DEA license.
What Are The Potential Side Effects?
According to most veterinarians, phenobarbital is typically a safe drug for your four-legged friend. Although Phenobarbital for dogs is considered an extremely safe drug, there’s always a possibility that your dog will experience some side effects. The side effects can be short-term and long-term.
When it comes to short-term side effects, they shouldn’t last more than a few weeks. As far as the long-term side effects, they could occur for an extended period of time, prompting a vet to monitor your pup extremely closely.
These are the most common side effects of Phenobarbital.
- Poor coordination
- Severe tiredness
- Frequent urination
- Excessive appetite/ weight gain
- Increased thirst
- Severe damage to the liver
- Allergic reaction
As soon as you notice any of these side effects in your pup, contact your veterinarian as soon as possible. In order to prevent these side effects, your veterinarian may need to lower the dosage or pursue another epilepsy treatment.
An allergic reaction is an extremely serious side effect because it may eventually result in death.
If your dog is experiencing an allergic reaction, you should definitely call your veterinarian right away. Here are the symptoms of an allergic reaction: Hives rashes, difficulty breathing, and constant sneezing.
Make sure that the vet knows about your pup’s medication conditions. Phenobarbital is not recommended for pups that suffer from the following medical conditions: Liver disease, kidney disease, heart disease, Anemia, and Addison’s disease. In addition, a vet might not prescribe this drug if your pup has respiratory problems.
Can Your Pup Take Phenobarbital With Other Drugs?
Like any medication, Phenobarbital for dogs shouldn’t be taken with certain drugs.
A vet will not prescribe Phenobarbital if your pup is taking any of these medications: Opioids, carprofen, acetaminophen, and phenytoin. The reason why is because Phenobarbital may react with these medications.
A vet may also take into account the following drugs as they can also have interaction when taken with Phenobarbital: Beta-blockers, rifampin, opiate agonists, benzodiazepines, and many more.
Please note: These aren’t the only medications that can interact with Phenobarbital. You should always let the vet know what medications your pup is taking. By doing so, it’s likely that your pup will avoid the previously mentioned short-term and long-term side effects.
There are plenty of alternative treatments to this drug such as CBD, but Phenobarbital is definitely the best one for seizures in pups. A vet may also prescribe potassium bromide with Phenobarbital.
Did your dog ever take this Phenobarbital or potassium bromide? How effective was Phenobarbital for dogs?
What are the side effects of Phenobarbital in dogs?
There are many short-term and long-term side effects associated with Phenobarbital in dogs. Dogs who take this drug may become lethargic, anxious, anemic, restless, hungry, and thirsty. They may also have poor coordination and frequent urination.
How long does it take for Phenobarbital to work in dogs?
Generally speaking, Phenobarbital for dogs works pretty quickly. Most dogs won’t have any more seizures after being on the drug for about two weeks. Consult with your vet to determine exactly how fast it will work.
When should I give my dog Phenobarbital?
The drug should be given to your pup every 12 hours. The drug is typically available in the following forms: Liquid, paste, and pill.
Can a dog be taken off of Phenobarbital?
Many pups do not need to take this drug for the rest of their lives.
A dog can be taken off of this drug, but it definitely shouldn’t be abruptly. The drug should be tapered slowly to avoid seizures.
Before taking your pup off of this drug, make sure to talk with the vet. Many vets encourage pet owners to stop giving their pup this drug if it has been completely seizure-free for a few years.