How to Treat Seizures and Epilepsy in Dogs

There’s a reason behind the saying “Dogs are people’s best friends”. They are social animals that often have the role of protector, loyal companion, helper and even lifesaver in our lives. That’s why we should always take care of their wellbeing, and try to make their lives better. But, even if they seem strong, when it comes to their health, our little furry friends are as fragile as we humans are, and can also suffer from several conditions and diseases.

Some of the most frequently reported health problems in dogs is epilepsy. Epilepsy is a term used to describe repeated episodes of seizures, which can be caused by liver diseases, kidney failure, brain tumours or traumas, or as an inherited disorder. After suffering a seizure, your dog may feel confusion and panic. But don’t worry, seizures are not painful for your furry friend, and as much as they make you feel concerned, it’s possible to maintain a seizure-free status, if the condition is treated properly.

How to Treat Epilepsy in Dogs

In most cases, epilepsy in dogs is not a condition that can be cured. But like we mentioned before, epileptic seizures can be controlled, even prevented if they are treated with the right prescription meds for dogs. One of the dog drugs that are most commonly prescribed to treat epileptic seizures is Phenobarbital.

dog at vet

This drug controls the amount and severity of seizures by decreasing and stabilising neuron activities in your dog’s brain. On the Australian market, Phenobarbital for treating seizures and epilepsy in dogs can be often found under the names of “Phenomav” or “Phenobarb”. Have in mind that these types of dog medications can be only bought with a prescription from your vet.

Also, note that it’s important to consult your vet before giving your dog any other medications or treatments for epileptic seizures on your own initiative.

Can You Order Phenobarbital Online?

Unfortunately, we live in a COVID-19 era, which drastically changed our lives, spreading fear and panic between the people. Not only has the pandemic locked most of us at home, but it also made many businesses put a lock on their doors, regardless if they are small local businesses or big corporations. The veterinary pharmaceutical industry is not an exception to this

At this point, if your closest veterinary medications supplier is closed, it’s important not to neglect your fluffy friend’s seizure condition, especially if it’s treated with Phenobarbital based vet medications. Have in mind that Phenobarbital is an anticonvulsant drug, and when once started, it must be given for life. There’s a lot of evidence that suggests if anticonvulsant dog medicines are started and then discontinued, the dog will suffer from a greater risk of developing more severe seizures in the future.

dog laying on the bed

Luckily, nowadays’ technology made it possible to easily order prescription meds for dogs online. But, before you hit the first online store that offers pet prescription medications, make sure that you’re buying from reliable businesses that are supplied only by the Australian veterinary wholesalers and Australian registered pharmacists. This way, you can rest assured that you get medications registered with the Australian Government (TGA or APVMA) and prepared by an Australian registered compounding pharmacist which are 100% safe for your dog.

After you find a credible online pet medicine shop that offers medications that are processed and dispensed only by Australian-registered pharmacists, it’s important to obtain a prescription from your vet. Having a prescribed recipe in your hands, you can start searching for the pet meds. Have in mind that a legal, credible online supplier won’t deliver any prescribed animal medications before you upload or e-mail a scanned copy of the prescription and post the original pen signed prescription. After you make sure you provided the supplier with the prescriptions, you can rest assured that your order will be delivered in no time while you spend some quality time with your lovely fluffy friend.

What’s the Recommended Dosage of Phenobarbital?

After you get your pet meds delivered, it’s important to pay attention to the dosage of the drug. The dosage of Phenobarbital usually depends on the breed and the bodyweight of the dog. It usually takes 2 weeks for the med to approach a steady-state plasma concentration, because the oral absorption tends to be extremely variable.

For most dogs, the usual dosage of Phenobarbital is 2-4 mg per kg in a day. This dosage can be increased by your vet, depending on your dog’s response to the medication.

sick doggy

When using Phenobarbital, it’s important to remember that you don’t miss a dose, and give the medication to your dog for the full duration of the prescription. Also, have in mind that overdosing your pet with Phenobarbital can result in nervous system depression, ataxia (drunk acting), lethargy, sedation, recumbency (inability to stand), hypothermia (decreased temperature) or coma etc. In such cases, the first thing you should do is induce vomiting and contact your veterinarian immediately.

Note that this is only a guideline for the typical use of Phenobarbital in dogs, and it mustn’t replace your veterinarian’s instructions about the proper dosage of this drug for treating your dog’s epileptic seizures.

What Are the Potential Side Effects of Phenobarbital?

When dosed properly, Phenobarbital is usually safe for dogs. However, your puppy may manifest some short-term or long-term side effects.

Short-term side effects are usually common for all dogs when starting to consume a new dose of Phenobarbital, and they typically clear within a few weeks of continual use. During those few weeks, you may notice things like laziness, lethargy, hyperactivity, nervousness, increased appetite and weight gain or lack of coordination. Even though these side effects aren’t harmful, if your dog’s behaviour still concerns you, make sure your veterinarian monitors it regularly after it starts taking the prescribed dosage.

giving dog a treat

On the other hand, frequent and constant usage of Phenobarbital can lead to long-term side effects that can be very harmful. One of the most common harmful side-effects of Phenobarbital is scarring of the liver, irreversible damage and eventual liver failure. Some of the symptoms that your dog’s organism doesn’t react well to Phenobarbital in the long-term are jaundice, rapid weight loss, dark coloured or foul-smelling urine and excessive vomiting. Although the long-term side effects only impact a small percentage of dogs, it should always be handled properly by a professional in order to prevent fatal consequences.

Make Sure You Don’t Panic

As much as you listened to your veterinarian’s advice and gave your dog the proper dosage, unexpected seizures may still occur. The most important thing in such situations is to take a deep breath, move away from your dog, and try not to panic. Your dog is completely unaware of its behaviour during and after the seizure and trying to comfort and hold it can seriously injure you, even when your dog is having a mild seizure.

Also make sure that you clear the space for your dog, and block the nearby stairs and other dangers, so your dog doesn’t injure itself too. Even though your dog recently suffered a seizure, it can still feel your energy and absorb your nervousness and anxiety. Make sure you stay calm and talk to your dog softly and peacefully.

The view of your dog suffering a seizure can be a frightening experience. Keep in mind that you’re not alone! Your vet’s always at your service, so don’t hesitate to reach out to them about every concern you have about your dog’s condition.