Keppra For Dogs: Side effects and Dosage – Relievet

Keppra For Dogs: Side Effects And Dosage

Christopher Kjolseth - March 30th 2020

Side effects of Keppra in dogs dosage

With more than 5% of dogs suffering from seizures at some point in their life, there is a constant push to find safer and more effective ways to treat them. Seizures tend to occur when there is a change in brain activity, e.g. waking up, excited, and  dog seizures while sleeping are also possible. 

Keppra for dogs is a relatively new drug often used alongside conventional anti-seizure medications, and it presents some benefits.

We will explore Keppra's side effects in dogs and how they compare to those of traditional anticonvulsant drugs .
 

What is Keppra for Dogs?

Keppra is one of the brands which manufacture the drug Levetiracetam, a relatively new anticonvulsant used for dogs, cats, and people.

Keppra for dogs is often used in combination with Phenobarbital or Potassium Bromide to treat seizures or epilepsy that is not responsive to these drugs, or for animals that have an adverse reaction to these drugs.

Keppra differs from traditional anti-seizure medication in the fact that it does not contain either Potassium Bromide or Phenobarbital, which means it has a wider margin of safety, especially for dogs suffering from a damaged liver, or liver problems.  

Keppra Dosage

As a prescription drug, your veterinarian will direct you on the proper dosage of Keppra for dogs. Keppra comes in a tablet form ranging from 250mg to 1000mg, the extended-release pill comes in either 500mg or 750mg, and it is also available in an oral or injectable solution.

The liver doesn't process Keppra in the same way as traditional anticonvulsants, and it leaves the body more quickly. Because of this, it has a half-life of around four to six hours, meaning that it usually has to be dosed three times a day.

Like many drugs veterinarians prescribe to animals, Keppra is off label, meaning that the dosage and directions probably won't match those on the label; this is common as drugs are usually developed for humans and then used on animals.  

cbd oil for dogs

How long for Keppra to work in dogs?

Keppra starts to work in 1 -2 hours, and the regular tablets last around 8 hours, the extended-release tablets can last as long as 12 hours.

Be aware that you cannot split the extended-release tablets; if you do, they will be absorbed too quickly and could lead to potential problems.  

Side Effects of Keppra

Similar to other anti-seizure medications such as Gabapentin for dogs, the most often experienced side effects of Keppra in dogs are drowsiness and loss of coordination.

Unlike these drugs, Keppra isn't thought to harm the liver or liver enzymes and is generally believed to have a better safety profile.

Here are some other side effects to watch out for: 

  • Decrease Appetite
  • Drooling
  • Persistent Vomiting
  • Sudden Changes In Behavior

Drug Interactions to be Aware of:

You should always make your veterinarian aware of any other drugs your dog is taking, as Keppra can have potentially harmful interactions when used with the following medicines:

Keppra overdose in dogs 

You mustn't stop giving Keppra (or other traditional anticonvulsants) to your dog suddenly, as this can cause withdrawal seizures. Always follow your veterinarian's recommendations for dosage and on how to taper your dog off of this drug.

Don't give Keppra to dogs who are allergic to Levetiracetam and give cautiously to animals that are pregnant or suffer from kidney problems.  

How much does Keppra for Dogs Cost?

According to a popular discount prescription drug website, the average retail price of one 500mg tablet of Keppra is $41.99, with the lowest price being $15.97.

However, there is a generic version of this drug, which is significantly cheaper; its average price comes in at $13.87, with the lowest price being $1.19 for a 500mg tablet.  

cbd oil for dogs

Are there any Natural Alternatives?

As with many drugs for the treatment of animals, we often look to human medication to see what the latest medications are; this is also true for natural alternative medicines.

The FDA recently approved a drug called Epidiolex to treat people with seizures caused by two rare and severe forms of epilepsy. This drug's active ingredient is CBD, which is an entirely natural hemp-derived compound.

CBD has become widely available in recent years, in part due to its anti-seizure properties, and lack of severe side effects.

CBD may have the potential to help some dogs suffering from seizures, but as with any serious health problem, you should never attempt to treat it without the guidance of your veterinarian.

References:

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4328478/

https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/31067185/

https://www.rxlist.com/keppra-drug.htm

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7 comments

  • camDec 08, 2020

    Hello, my dog has been on Keppra for about 3 months… I am noticed increased thirst as he is drinking a lot lately… he is also starting to get into the cat food and demolishing it.. has anyone noticed thirst and hunger in their dogs? if so, what did you do?

  • Jan Southey Nov 20, 2020

    My 10.5yr golden retriever suddenly started having seizures 2 months ago, put him on phenobarbital but side effects quite intense! Switched to keppra, 2×500mgs twice a day (had to wean off pheno over 7 weeks) but have had to add on half a 64.8mg phenobarbital in the evening to prevent further seizures as without the pheno he had 2 seizures after 4 days without phenobarbital.
    Seems to be working so far.

  • Millissia KelsoNov 12, 2020

    Our 11 year old chocolate Chihuahua, Koko, has been on Keppra for a couple of months for control of seizures, we are in the process of switching her over to phenobarbital. She has had an ferocious increase in appetite and thirst. She has forgotten any housebreaking she fully understood before, urinating anywhere and everywhere. We have tried to use diapers, but she has become snappy and mean when we try, and she has never bitten me before-ever, but she has now. We are at our wits end.

  • jim evangelistaNov 12, 2020

    Our dog, Jude, a 7 yr old, 115 lb long haired shepherd is being treated for his seizures. We administer 10 ml Potassium Bromide every 24 hrs. To avoid his patterns of clustering of seizures, we have begun administering Diazepam (a rectal valium injection) at the onset of a seizure and 20mg of Clonazapate given every 8 hours for 6 times following the seizure. This has been a recent protocol and one of our vets has suggested we might add Keppra to the protocol. We’re not clear if we would be eliminating the Diazepam and Clonazapate and need to ask more questions, of course, but our primary concern is the interactions of the Bromide and Keppra. This is an ongoing issue and concern and we welcome hearing from others about their own experiences caring for their canine friends. Thanks !

  • RossiSep 23, 2020

    Please help me. My dog is getting worse and worse. She is been on Kepra of 500mg two pills , twice a day and no signs of her getting better. :(

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