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Potassium Bromide (KBr) for Treating Seizures in Dogs and Cats

Using Potassium Bromide to Treat Canine and Feline Epilepsy


Potassium Bromide (KBr) for Treating Seizures in Dogs and Cats

Potassium bromide is used to prevent seizures in dogs and cats as a sole agent or combined with other antiepileptic drugs. Photo courtesy of Zahori/Flickr.com

Seizures are, unfortunately, frequently seen in both dogs and cats. Epilepsy can cause seizures in both the dog and the cat.

Potassium Bromide for Treating Canine and Feline Seizures and Epilepsy

Potassium bromide (KBr) is one of the traditional anticonvulsants used to treat canine and feline epilepsy. It is frequently used together with Phenobarbital but may be used by itself to control seizure activity as well.

When starting potassium bromide, often an initial loading dose that is higher than the maintenance dose in recommended and may be given over a one to five day period.

Once potassium bromide is started for your pet, you should not suddenly stop giving the medication unless advised by your veterinarian. Where possible, if potassium bromide needs to be discontinued, it is best to slowly taper the dosage.

Blood tests should be monitored periodically while your pet is receiving potassium bromide. Levels of bromide in the blood can be measured and may be recommended. Other blood testing, including liver enzymes and potassium levels, may be recommended as well.

In addition to monitoring blood levels, seizure activity should be monitored. Side effects should also be monitored and your veterinarian should be notified of any seizure activity your pet experiences or any side effects which occur.

The diet of a dog or cat receiving potassium bromide should not be altered. Altering the diet can affect the metabolism of potassium bromide and make dosing difficult.

Side Effects of Potassium Bromide in Dogs and Cats

As with any medication, potassium bromide does have the potential to cause side effects in both dogs and cats.

In dogs, the side effects that may be seen with potassium bromide include:

  • increased appetite
  • increased thirst
  • increased urine production
  • lack of appetite
  • vomiting
  • constipation

The toxic effects associated with a dosage of potassium bromide that is too high include:

  • profound sedation to stupor
  • incoordination
  • tremors
  • paralysis of hind legs
  • other central nervous system symptoms

Pancreatitis has also been diagnosed in dogs receiving potassium bromide together with phenobarbital. However, it is not known how this is related to potassium bromide administration.

In cats, potential side effects include:

  • increased appetite
  • weight gain
  • sedation
  • increased water consumption
  • coughing
  • difficulty breathing, which can be fatal

(Source: Plumb's Veterinary Drug Handbook, 6th edition, Donald C Plumb)

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