Side Effects of Potassium Bromide for Dogs

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As a dog owner, knowing the side effects of potential medications is vital in order to safeguard the health and wellbeing of your dog. However, it is also very difficult to know what each medication does, how it interacts with the dog’s body, and what potential side effects may occur without having an exposure to veterinary medicine.

Potassium Bromide is a drug that is prescribed to dogs, most often to treat idiopathic epilepsy. This guide provides an overview of Potassium Bromide to help provide a foundational understanding of its use in treating dogs.

What is Potassium Bromide?

Potassium Bromide is a medication that some veterinarians prescribe to dogs, most often for dogs suffering from canine idiopathic epilepsy. Potassium Bromide is often used in conjunction with Phenobarbital, or as a replacement for Phenobarbital in dogs that do not react well to Phenobarbital.

potassium bromide for dogs_canna-pet

Potassium Bromide is an antiepileptic drug that decreases the presence of seizure activity within the central nervous system. Potassium Bromide can be an effective drug when prescribed and dosed correctly; however, it is not a medication that will take immediate effect. It can take up to four months before the levels of Potassium Bromide reach a concentration that is effective in treating seizures in dogs successfully.

Some veterinarians may prescribe a higher than normal dose when a dog is first prescribed Potassium Bromide. This is known as a “loading dose” and is intended to accelerate the timeline for the Potassium Bromide to reach an effective level for treatment. If a dog is prescribed a loading dose of Potassium Bromide, it is important that the owner and veterinarian closely monitor the dog to quickly identify any side effects as the higher dosage increases the occurrence of side effects.

Dogs taking Potassium Bromide will require regular blood work to be completed in order to monitor concentrations of Potassium Bromide in the body. Using this information, the veterinarian will be able to adjust the dosage as needed to remain within safe levels and optimal effectiveness.

Side Effects of Potassium Bromide for Dogs

As with all medications, Potassium Bromide has potential side effects that may occur when taking it. If any side effects begin to occur, it is important to immediately contact the veterinarian that prescribed the Potassium Bromide in order to obtain directions on how best to move forward. Below are a handful of the most common side effects associated with dogs taking Potassium Bromide.

  • Sedation: Potassium Bromide may cause sedation in some dogs, particularly when they are prescribed a loading dose. The loading dose will provide an influx of Potassium Bromide into the body, which may cause profound sedation to occur.
  • Ataxia: Potassium Bromide has also been shown to cause ataxia in some dogs. Ataxia is characterized by a loss of coordination and weakness in the hind end of the body.
  • Increased Urination: Increased urination is a potential side effect for dogs taking Potassium Bromide, particularly those taking Potassium Bromide in conjunction with Phenobarbital.

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  • Increased Hunger and Thirst: Increased hunger and thirst may be a side effect for dogs taking Potassium Bromide, or a combination of Phenobarbital and Potassium Bromide.
  • Irritability and Restlessness: Some dogs may experience irritability and restlessness when taking Potassium Bromide, which is often an indicator that they need a reduction in the dosage prescribed.
  • Stomach Upset, Nausea, and/or Vomiting: Potassium Bromide can cause stomach upset, nausea, and/or vomiting in dogs. This side effect is most common is dogs that are receiving their dose without food. Some veterinarians may recommend trying to give the Potassium Bromide with food or dividing the total daily dosage into smaller portions in order to reduce the negative side effects on the stomach. If a dog is experiencing severe stomach upset, nausea, or vomiting due to taking Potassium Bromide, some veterinarians may also recommend switching medications to Sodium Bromide. Sodium Bromide is effective in controlling seizures like Potassium Bromide, but does not often cause the same stomach side effects.
  • Bromide Toxicity: Bromide toxicity is not a commonly occurring side effect, but is does occasionally affect some dogs. Bromide toxicity encompasses many of the side effects listed above and can usually be stopped by reducing the dose.

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