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Old 06-16-2021, 08:52 AM
Location: Phoenix
105 posts, read 258,567 times
Reputation: 114


I have a 10 year old standard poodle. When he was 3 he started having seizures. The vet put him on 60mg of phenobarbitol twice a day, and that controlled his seizures for years. About 3 weeks ago he began to have seizures again, and the vet upped the phenobarbitol to 90mg twice a day.

Sunday he had 3 seizures within 6 hours so we brought him to the emergency vet, where he stayed overnight. The emergency vet added keppra to his medications - 1000mg 3 times a day.

Since coming back from the emergency vet he hasn't been the same. Pacing, whining, stumbling, running into things. He doesn't listen to our voice commands, and has been having accidents in the house. The pacing goes for hours until he collapses from exhaustion. He will sleep for 20-30 minutes then he's back up again. This goes on day and night.

We spoke to our regular vet and she thought the keppra dosage was too high, so we have dropped it to 750mg 3 times a day. She didn't think that he should be exhibiting the side effects I mentioned above from the keppra.

He hasn't used a kennel since he was one, but we are so tired and don't want him to hurt himself, so we tried to use his old kennel last night and he just started attacking it, so we took him out.

Has anyone else had these kinds of side effects from using keppra in their dog and how long did they last? From what I've read keppra has little side effects - mostly lethargy, hunger and thirst. It has been 3 sleepless days, and my husband and I are exhausted.

He also had atypical addison's disease.
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Old 06-16-2021, 02:07 PM
1,895 posts, read 1,762,356 times
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I used Keppra for my 20 pound Peke mix after the phenobarbital ceased to work, as happened in your dog's case too. She didn't have any problems with it. My dog had inflammatory bowel disease and liver issues but the Keppra didn't affect those at all.

I just realized that you said that the ER vet "added" Keppra to your dog's meds. Is he getting both the PB and Keppra? If so, I'd start with that. My dog came off PB and on Keppra, but not both at once. If he's on both that might be the problem.

Anyway, I believe there is a time-release version of Keppra - at least there was 2 years ago when I was dealing with this. My dog - at 20 pounds - didn't meet the weight requirement for the time-release version but your larger dog might. I wonder if that would work better rather than 3 doses a day. It would make your life a bit easier, too. As you know the 3 times a days regimen can be life altering for the human administering the med.

I also wonder if the Addison's Disease and the treatment for it might affect the metabolizing of the Keppra. I don't know but it's worth asking your vet.

One other note. Keppra isn't inexpensive. If the price is important to you, you might check with your local Costco (if you have one). The pharmacy is open to the general public without membership. Their price for the Keppra was much much less than through the vet, Walmart, or any other pharmacy I checked.

I hope others will respond to your post. While that dog is no longer with us (unrelated health issue caused her demise) I'd be interested to follow this situation, especially in case my current or future dog/s develop seizures.

Please keep us posted on how this plays out. Good luck and I hope you find a solution and soon.
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Old Yesterday, 04:37 AM
Location: Oak Park, IL
148 posts, read 72,002 times
Reputation: 332
Different onset and diagnosis for my old lady dog (brain tumor) but she had similar symptoms after her second grand mal seizure and the vets felt she must have also had a stroke. They couldnt get her to stop circling and relax without sedating her so we had to let her go… I’m so sorry you’re going through this; it’s the worst.
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Old Yesterday, 10:08 PM
Location: Puna, Hawaii
2,809 posts, read 2,895,713 times
Reputation: 4647
Phenobarbital lowers seizure threshold but it doesn't eliminate it.

We had a dog that was well managed with low dose phenobarbital but she would still get grand mals occasionally. The problem was that once the grand mals started nothing would stop them other than an injectable intervention. Our vet was more educated than most on this disorder and rather than adding another anti-seizure med, or increasing dosage, gave us injectable valium. At the first sign of a seizure we would give a wallop dose of diazepam and after the dog had recovered from the seizures she could go months, sometimes as long as a year, without having another seizure while still on a low dose of phenobarbital. Over years we eventually learned to recognize some of the dog's seizure triggers (excessive exercise was one of them, for example, a very long hike on a camping trip) and could double the phenobarbital dosage just for that incident and avoid the seizures altogether. Her behavior changed significantly a few hours before a seizure occurred and recognizing that we eventually learned how to circumvent the seizures entirely most of the time.

She lived to an old age, and didn't die of a seizure.
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