As a loving and concerned pet owner, you understand the difficulty in making educated choices regarding your pet’s health and welfare. Often when at a loss given current approved treatments, veterinarians will prescribe alternative medicines. Many times, these prescriptions will have valid medical uses but not be approved for the treatment of your pet’s specific condition. This can often be because of the lack of funding required for research to prove that certain protocols effectively treat specific diseases or syndromes or, sometimes, the discovery of positive correlation is too new to have fully completed length clinical trials.
Such is the case when it comes to using bromides to treat epilepsy. For owners of dogs that suffer from seizures, bromide has been shown to be a lifesaver. If your vet has prescribed bromide for the treatment of your cat or dog, we have some information that may prove useful in helping to make informed decisions regarding your pet’s medical care.
The Benefits of Bromide
If your canine or feline is suffering from seizures your vet’s first go-to medication will often be the steroid phenobarbital. This medication comes with a host of side effects such as sleepiness and nausea and owners looking to scale back their cat or dog’s usage may see an uptick in seizures during the withdrawal period. In addition, some animals simply won’t respond to treatment with this medication, leaving owners and veterinarians at a loss when it comes to preventing epileptic symptoms.
Enter potassium and sodium bromide. While often referred to by their full names, it’s the bromide salts in these prescription medications that has been found to help reduce and eliminate seizure activity. Bromide can be used on its own or in combination with other anti-seizure medications and is equally as effective in both dogs and cats. Bromide has been shown particularly effective in controlling cluster seizures and is not processed by your pet’s liver which is idea for certain animals that may have preexisting damage to this vital organ.
It’s important to maintain a regular schedule when giving your pet bromide since the drug exits the system quickly. Bromide should only be prescribed by an experienced veterinarian and only after a thorough exam and bloodwork is performed on your pet.
Beware the Drawbacks
While this medication may seem like a miracle worker to those whose cat or dog is suffering from seizures, there are serious side effects that owners need to be aware of. For starters, both potassium bromide and sodium bromide can be hard on your cat and dog’s delicate stomachs. The medication should always be administered with food and owners should speak with their vets regarding splitting the dosage to twice a day application. Your pet’s absorption of bromide may be affected by intake of certain supplements such as chloride, which often go unlisted on commercial dog foods. Bromide toxicity is also possible, evidenced by severe stomach upset, diarrhea and lack of energy, and you should speak with your vet if you notice any of these, or other concerning symptoms.
Recap of Bromide Known Facts
While the FDA has not officially approved sodium bromide or potassium bromide for use in treatment of seizures in dogs or cats, there is much anecdotal and scientific evidence to promote these medications as effective in helping to control seizures in your pet. Before administering any drug, especially those available by prescription, to your dog or cat you should always seek the advice of your veterinarian. Working with your vet on the use of bromide to help control your pet’s seizures can help you see an improved quality of life and an increase in time with your four-legged family member.