Treating Epilepsy in Dogs With Phenobarbital

One of the most frequently prescribed medications for dogs with epilepsy is Phenobarbital. Epileptic seizures can be effectively managed with Phenobarbital, in fact it can be used to treat many different canine seizure disorders.

Use of Phenobarbital with Epileptic Canines

Phenobarbital dosage is prescribed based on the dog's weight. Typically it is prescribed at the lower end of the dosing scale and progressively moved up until the effective dosing is reached. When treatment is first begun, it typically takes 1 to 2 weeks to reach a stable level in the blood system. Until that time has passed, Phenobarbital is unreliable at controlling seizure activity. At first the levels in the bloodstream should be monitored every 2 weeks until stabilized. Once stabilized, the Phenobarbital levels should be monitored every 6 months in addition to checking the liver function.

Possible Side Effects

While Phenobarbital can have side effects associated with its use, they typically lessen with continued use. Side effects include:

  • Excessive hunger and thirst
  • Increased urination
  • Restlessness
  • Lethargy
  • Hyperexcitability
  • Lack of coordination

While Phenobarbital can potentially impact your dog's liver function, it is an effective treatment against the potential harm caused by continual seizure activity. When dosage is adjusted to an appropriate level, Phenobarbital is a safe and effective method controlling the varying levels of epileptic seizure activity.