Depakote and Dogs

by Mary Lougee
    Seizures occur most often in dogs when they are resting or sleeping.

    Seizures occur most often in dogs when they are resting or sleeping.

    Ryan McVay/Photodisc/Getty Images

    Depakote is used for seizures and repeated seizures, or epilepsy, in dogs. It contains valproic acid, an anticonvulsant, and helps to stabilize brain waves to prevent seizures. Depakote is a human prescription medication that veterinarians can prescribe to dogs diagnosed with seizures. Dogs who need Depakote usually take it for life to control seizures and convulsions.

    Seizures are grouped into two types; generalized and focal. A generalized seizure is happening when your canine friend falls to his side, stretches his legs out stiffly, and holds his head backward. His face may twitch, or he may vocalize until his seizure is complete, normally lasting two minutes or less. The focal seizure is a partial seizure that can include strong panting and listlessness without the full body stiffening.

    A dog's brain has a balance of excitation and inhibition; when the brain has too much excitation, a seizure occurs. Plant toxins, metabolic diseases and brain injuries can cause this to occur. Canines acquire a gene from their parents that predetermines whether they will have seizures. Low blood sugar and heart disease disrupt metabolism in dogs and can cause seizures from excitability of the brain cells.

    Depakote is the brand name of an anti-epileptic drug that reduces the occurrence of seizures. Valproic acid is widely used in controlling seizures in humans but is not widely used in canines. A dog eliminates the drug from his body much more quickly than a human does, requiring the dog to take much more of the drug than a human would. Depakote is a time-release formula of valproic acid, which is why it's better suited for canine medication than other valproic adic medications.

    Some dogs may be sensitive or allergic to Depakote. Your vet will determine if any other drugs interact negatively with Depakote. Some drugs that interact with it are cimetidine, felbamate, aspirin and acepromazine. A pet with liver or heart disease should not take Depakote. A side effect of the drug is hyperactivity in pets.

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    About the Author

    Mary Lougee is a writer in Texas who writes on a wide variety of subjects from home improvement to pet care. Her love of animals led to building a farm and caring for rescue animals from equine and swine to dogs and cats. She holds a bachelor's degree in management.

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