Anti-seizure drugs for cats
Dr. Rachel Korman, the feline internal medicine specialist at Cat Specialist Services, provides insights into the use of anti-seizure medications for long-term management in cats with seizure disorders.
Purpose of Anti-Seizure Medications
Every time a cat experiences a seizure, their brain becomes highly stimulated, making them more prone to subsequent seizures. The primary goal of anti-seizure medications is to suppress this activity, leading to a significant reduction in the frequency and severity of seizures.
Types of Medications
Dr. Korman mentions two main anti-seizure medications commonly used for cats:
Phenobarbital: Available in tablet or liquid form, phenobarbital is effective in controlling seizures. Individual cats may require different dosages, and administering the medication can vary based on the cat's preference.
Levetiracetam: This liquid drug is administered three times a day and provides an alternative option for seizure control.
Administering medications to cats can be challenging. If cat owners encounter difficulties, contact Cat Specialist Services for guidance.
Some medications may require periodic blood tests to monitor drug levels in the bloodstream. This is particularly important if seizures persist despite medication use.
Indications for Medication
Deciding whether to start anti-seizure medication depends on various factors:
- Frequency of seizures (more than one per month)
- Cluster seizures (multiple seizures close together)
- Presence of structural brain disease (e.g., brain tumour or head trauma)
Drug Therapy Approach
The goal of drug therapy is to minimise the severity and frequency of seizures. The approach involves starting with conservative drug doses and gradually increasing them based on the cat's response and seizure frequency.
Early in the treatment, frequent veterinary visits may be necessary to determine the appropriate dosage for each patient. Keeping a seizure diary documenting frequency, severity, and abnormal behaviours during seizures can aid in treatment planning.
It is important to note the long-term nature of administering anti-seizure medications. Suddenly stopping the medication can induce rebound seizure events, underlining the importance of consistency in treatment.
Cat owners are encouraged to reach out to Cat Specialist Services with any concerns or questions regarding their cat's medication and treatment.