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Keywords:

  • Canine;
  • Cluster seizures;
  • Epilepsy;
  • Pharmacokinetics

Background

Status epilepticus (SE) and acute repetitive seizures (ARS) are common canine neurologic emergencies. No evidence-based studies are available to guide treatment in veterinary patients. Parenteral levetiracetam (LEV) has many favorable properties for the emergency treatment of seizures, but its safety and efficacy in dogs for SE and ARS are unknown.

Hypothesis

Intravenous LEV is superior to placebo in controlling seizures in dogs with SE or ARS after treatment with IV diazepam.

Animals

Nineteen client-owned dogs admitted for SE or ARS.

Methods

Randomized, placebo-controlled, double-masked study. Dogs with SE or ARS were randomized to receive IV LEV (30 or 60 mg/kg using an adaptive dose-escalation approach) or placebo, in addition to standard of care treatment. They were monitored for at least 24 hours after admission for additional seizures.

Results

The responder rate (defined as dogs with no additional seizures after administration of the study medication) after LEV was 56% compared with 10% for placebo (P = .06). Dogs in the placebo group required significantly more boluses of diazepam compared with the LEV group (P < .03). Seizure etiologies identified were idiopathic epilepsy (n = 10), inflammatory central nervous system disease (n = 4), intracranial neoplasia (n = 2), hepatic encephalopathy (n = 1), and 2 dogs had no cause determined. No serious adverse effects were attributable to LEV administration.

Conclusions and Clinical Importance

LEV was safe and potentially effective for the treatment of SE and ARS in these client-owned dogs. Larger, controlled clinical trials are needed to confirm this preliminary observation.