Phenobarbital For Dogs

Treatment For Seizures In Dogs

       Phenobarbital for Dogs

Is your dog having seizures and you are wondering how to help your pet? Are you concerned about the side effects of drugs or that the prescribed drug may not help?

These are common concerns many dog owners have. Fortunately, there are ways that your epileptic dog can be helped with some drug therapies. One of them is the application of phenobarbital.
 Phenobarbital Canine

Phenobarbital is a barbiturate, which means it is a drug that acts as central nervous system depressant and can produce a number of effects from mild sedation to anaesthesia. If overdosed, phenobarbital can be lethal.

Though it is not approved by FDA, phenobarbital is a very common treatment for seizures in dogs due to its effectiveness and reasonable cost.

It is important to point out that phenobarbital for dogs and other anti-epileptic drugs do not eliminate the disease but rather control it and help decrease the frequency and severity of seizures.
It may not be necessary to use Phenobarbital or other drugs if the seizures occur less than every two months. Yet, ignoring the condition in cases where the seizures take place more often than that may be very damaging to the brain and a treatment therapy with phenobarbital may be the only way to help control these epileptic attacks.  

 Your vet will help you make a decision by weighing the risks of administering phenobarbital and not doing anything at all.

Since it is highly unlikely that your dog will have a seizure at the time of the visit to the veterinarian, it is very helpful for the vet if you could record the seizure in progress and/or any details about it.  

The reason for this is that medical tests, after the seizure, do not point to any abnormalities; the blood tests and the x-rays do not reveal any sign of both the seizures and the reasons for them.

Recording the seizure will shorten the guessing game about what your dog has really experienced because often what looks like seizures to the untrained eye may prove to be something totally different, for example, dizzy spells.

Phenobarbital is taken orally and must be prescribed by a veterinarian. Usually, seizure treatment with phenobarbital is recommended when:
a. seizures occur more often than every second month
b. clusters of seizures occur
c. seizures do not stop without medication
Seizure Treatment For Certain Breeds of Dogs

For some unknown reason it is more difficult to suppress the seizures for certain breeds of dogs such as German Shephards, Golden Retrievers, Irish Setters, Saint Bernards, Beagles, Cocker Spaniels, Dachshunds, Schnauzers, and Huskies.
Often, veterinarians want to start applying phenobarbital for these breeds in the early stages of the epileptic attacks.
Make sure you know the difference between seizures, epilepsy and idiopathic epilepsy (see menu right) because phenobarbital is reported to be most effective for idiopathic epilepsy ( 60-80% success rate), and not just for any kind of seizure.