Epileptic Dog With Elevated Liver Enzymes

by M

Hello, I have a 9 year old Lhasa Apso who has been on Phenobarbital and Potassium Bromide for the past 4 1/2 years.

We did a blood test in January of this year and his enzymes were 430. My vet suggested we give him Denamarin - a liver supplement. We did a follow up blood test in April and the liver enzymes are now 795.

Of course I am very worried. He takes 45MG of Phenobarbital 2x a day and 30MG once a a day plus potassium bromide 300MG 2x per day.

Thank God he has not had seizures for the past 6 months which is such a blessing. He would have them 1x a month or every couple of weeks.

Now I don't know what to do. My vet told me to decrease the Phenobarbital.

I don't know. Should I change his food?

Any Advice? Need Help!

Veterinarian Suggestion Regarding Elevated Liver Enzymes in Epileptic Dog


The medications that your dog is on can cause elevations in his liver enzymes. I’m not sure exactly which laboratory value you are reporting on, but if it is alkaline phosphatase (ALP), I wouldn’t be too worried about numbers in the 430 to 795 range for a dog on phenobarbital.

It sounds like your veterinarian is doing a good job. If your dog were my patient I would also have put him on a liver protectant like Denamarin, recommended rechecks of his blood work every few months, and be trying to find the lowest effective dose of his medications.

If your dog’s lab results just sort of bounce around in the 400 to 800 range, it’s probably nothing to worry about. If they continue to climb however, some additional testing to rule out other causes of increased liver enzymes (e.g., Cushing’s disease) wouldn’t hurt.

Good luck,

Jennifer Coates, DVM

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Apr 27, 2020
alternatives to prescription medication NEW
by: Anonymous

phenobarbital is very harsh on the liver, especially in dogs. And, elevated liver enzymes can cause seizures. An alternative to the medication would be a product called Nzymes and milk thistle. The Nzymes which can be purchased offline help regulate your pet's natural enzymes and many pet owners, including myself have had great experience with this product when it comes to epileptic seizures in dogs. Milk thistle for dogs helps stabilize and detoxify the liver. Now, you want to do your research on milk thistle because there are certain additives you need to be aware of to make sure they are not in the brand you are getting as it can do more harm to the liver. Chewy.com offers a couple different types of milk thistle for your dog. There are also some other all natural herbs and supplements that can help keep your and your dog's liver healthy and functioning properly. If your pet is having many convulsion that last for 5 minutes or more the medication is definitely a good place to start in order to stop them quickly, but once under control these are things that you can switch too to help promote your pet's health. make sure to wheene your pet off the prescription medication instead of just stopping it all together as that can have risks as well. but start the homeopathic regimen while wheening so it can take over. always consult a homeopathic vet if you are unsure of how to do this or do your research. prescription medications are not always good in the long term.

Jul 19, 2019
5 yr old Mixed terrier diagnosed with addisons and epilepsy
by: Kirk

Chloe was diagnosed with addisons when she was 2 1/2...Last year age 4 she had some seizures and a day of 4 in a row. Took her to the animal hospital and they stated she ALSO now has epilepsy. They prescribed phenobarbital 60 g/twice per day. Her blood was just checked and alp is 800, AST 122, ALT 467 & GGTP is 130. Vet recommended denamarin to help the liver. I have started her on a better dogfood, NutriSource and will be adding supplements to help her liver enzymes to lower. Hopefully we can reduce the amount of phenobarb doing this and still not have seizures. Chloe hasn't had a seizure since being on the phenobarb in January.Your thoughts? Thank you for your time...

Oct 03, 2017
Diazepam NEW
by: Anonymous

Diazepam is no good used as a regular medication to control seizures as it is too short acting with a very short half life. It should only be used to stop cluster seizures. I do wish Vets would learn about theses drugs they prescribe for epilepsy. It makes me so cross. I spend my life advising owners correctly about epilepsy meds when vets have no idea what they are doing !

Oct 03, 2015
Epileptic Dog With Elevated Liver Enzymes NEW
by: WebsBerry

The liver is the major organ into the body. It has six different lobes prepared into 3 regions. The strong livers only use a little amount of its full possible at some one time. Visit Our Website-WebsBerry.com

Nov 09, 2014
by: Louise

Hello Dr. Coates,
My Lab/Doberman mix female is 13 years old. A couple of months ago she started having seizures. The Vet put her on phenobarbital & potassium bromide. We ended up switching to just the potassium bromide and Diazepam, 5mg.Two tablets, three times a day.Her liver enzymes were a bit high before the seizures started as I had taken her in for a check up. They ruled out Lymes, Cushings. She did have an ear infection which they used the one time med in the office. She acts weak and very spaced out. Very fearful but when I call her she will walk the other way.I realize she is a senior but does this behavior change on these meds? Her quality of life has sure changed since it all started.

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