Keppra for Dogs: Dosage, Side Effects, and More

Keppra for Dogs

Keppra for Dogs: Keppra, also known as levetiracetam, is an anticonvulsant medication used to control seizures in dogs. It works by slowing down impulses in the brain that can lead to seizures. Vets often prescribe Keppra for dogs with epilepsy or other seizure disorders to help reduce the frequency and severity of seizures.

Keppra helps stabilize the electrical activity in your dog’s brain that can trigger seizures. It does this by binding to synaptic vesicle protein 2A in the brain, which helps regulate the release of neurotransmitters that can lead to seizures. By stabilizing this activity, Keppra can help prevent seizures or reduce their severity and length.

Keppra for Dogs

Keppra Dosage for Dogs

The typical dosage of Keppra for dogs ranges from 10 to 30 milligrams per kilogram of body weight, given two or three times a day. Your vet will determine the specific dosage based on your dog’s age, size, medical history, and severity of seizures.

1. Start low and go slow

It’s best to start with a lower dosage and gradually increase it to the target level over a few weeks. This helps your dog adjust to the medication slowly and avoids potential side effects. You’ll give the Keppra with food to increase absorption.

2. Adjusting the dosage

Your vet may increase or decrease the dosage over time based on your dog’s response and any blood tests. The goal is to find the minimum effective dosage that controls seizures with the fewest side effects. Some dogs may require dosages at the higher end of the range, while for others a lower dosage does the trick.

3. Missing a dose

If your dog misses a dose, give it as soon as you remember. However, if it’s almost time for the next dose, skip the missed dose and stick to the regular schedule. Do not double up on doses. It’s critical to work with your vet if your dog has a seizure after missing medication.

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By following your vet’s dosage recommendations carefully and making adjustments as needed, Keppra can be an effective long-term treatment for controlling your dog’s seizures. Be patient through the process, provide your dog lots of love and support, and communicate regularly with your vet. With the right treatment plan, your dog can live comfortably despite this condition.

Keppra Side Effects in Dogs

Keppra is generally well-tolerated in dogs, but some side effects are possible. The most common side effects are drowsiness, dizziness, and lack of coordination. Your dog may seem overly sedate or clumsy for the first few days of treatment as their body adjusts to the medication. These effects are usually temporary, but talk to your vet if they persist or worry you.

1. Digestive Upset

Keppra can sometimes cause digestive issues like nausea, vomiting, and diarrhea in dogs. To avoid upsetting your dog’s stomach, give Keppra with food. If your dog does experience digestive upset, try giving the medication with a bland diet until symptoms resolve.

2. Behavioral Changes

Some dogs may experience behavioral side effects on Keppra, such as restlessness, aggression, or depression. Watch your dog closely for any changes in behavior or mood after starting Keppra. Inform your vet right away if you notice your dog acting unusually anxious, irritable or withdrawn. Dosage adjustments or switching to an alternative medication may help relieve these behavioral side effects.

3. Liver Damage

In rare cases, Keppra has been linked to liver inflammation in dogs. Your vet will likely monitor your dog’s liver enzymes with periodic blood tests, especially when first starting the medication or if dosage changes are made. Liver damage from Keppra is usually reversible once the medication is stopped or the dosage is lowered. See your vet immediately if your dog shows symptoms of liver problems like loss of appetite, vomiting, or jaundice.

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By being aware of possible side effects, closely monitoring your dog, and communicating with your vet, you can help ensure Keppra is well-tolerated and effective in controlling your dog’s seizures. With the right dosage and formulation for your dog’s needs, the benefits of treatment often outweigh the risks of side effects.

Is Keppra Safe for Dogs?

Keppra can be a safe treatment option for dogs when used properly under veterinary supervision. However, as with any medication, there are some risks of side effects you should be aware of.

1. Dosage and Administration

The exact dosage of Keppra for your dog will depend on their weight and medical condition. Your vet will calculate the right amount to control seizures while minimizing side effects. Keppra comes in tablet or liquid form and is usually given twice a day with food to avoid stomach upset. Follow your vet’s instructions carefully and never stop treatment or change the dosage without consulting them first.

2. Common Side Effects

The most frequent side effects of Keppra in dogs include drowsiness, dizziness, and behavior changes. Your dog may seem sedated or uncoordinated at first as their body adjusts to the medication. Serious side effects can include swelling of the face or tongue, vomiting, diarrhea and loss of appetite. Seek vet care immediately if your dog shows these signs. Long term use of Keppra can also lead to more chronic effects like liver or kidney damage in some dogs. Your vet will monitor your dog’s organ health with regular blood tests.

3. Interactions with Other Drugs

Keppra can interact with some other medications. Tell your vet about any other drugs or supplements your dog is taking before starting Keppra. In particular, avoid giving Keppra with other anticonvulsant drugs unless directed by your vet. Keppra may also reduce the effectiveness of certain heartworm and flea preventatives. Your vet may need to adjust dosages or switch to different medications to avoid interactions.

When used responsibly under guidance from your vet, Keppra can be a safe and effective treatment for seizures and epilepsy in dogs. However, you must commit to properly administering the medication, monitoring your dog for side effects, and scheduling regular checkups and blood tests as directed. By working closely with your vet, you can gain control over your dog’s condition while ensuring their health and wellbeing.

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FAQs

How much Keppra should I give my dog?

The dosage of Keppra for dogs depends on several factors, including your dog’s weight and age. The typical dosage range is between 10 to 20 milligrams per kilogram of body weight, given twice a day. For example, a 20-pound dog may be prescribed 200 to 400 milligrams total per day, split into two doses. The exact dosage will be determined by your vet based on your dog’s condition.

What are the side effects of Keppra in dogs?

Common side effects of Keppra in dogs include:

  • Drowsiness or sedation: This usually happens when starting the medication or increasing the dosage. It’s temporary but can last for a few days.
  • Lack of coordination or balance: This may lead to stumbling or falling over. Again, it should be temporary but you’ll want to keep a close eye on your dog during the first week of treatment or after dosage changes.
  • Hyperactivity or restlessness: Some dogs experience increased energy or anxiety, especially at higher doses. Talk to your vet about adjusting the amount or frequency if this side effect is problematic.
  • Digestive upset: Loss of appetite, vomiting, and diarrhea may occur. Make sure your dog stays hydrated and contact your vet if symptoms are severe or persist more than a couple of days.
  • Irritability or aggression: Keppra can cause behavioral changes in some dogs. Let your vet know right away if your dog shows any uncharacteristic aggression or irritability. A dosage adjustment or switch to a different medication may be needed.

How long will my dog need to take Keppra?

The length of Keppra treatment depends on why it was prescribed for your dog. For epilepsy, most dogs will need to take the medication life-long to control seizures. If used short-term after a head injury or for other conditions, treatment may last just a few weeks. In all cases, do not stop giving Keppra to your dog abruptly without consulting your vet. The dosage needs to be tapered down slowly to avoid withdrawal effects.