Seizure disorders occur in dogs just as they occur in people. Potassium bromide, commonly abbreviated as “KBr”, is a drug that is commonly used to control seizures in dogs. However, administering the proper dose to reduce the incidence of seizures without overdosing is key. So the potassium bromide blood level must be monitored carefully when used for treatment. A potassium bromide level is indicated after trying a new dose of potassium bromide, if excessive vomiting or diarrhea occur or if seizures develop during potassium bromide treatment. It is also a good idea to check potassium bromide blood levels at least every 6 months, even if the dog is doing well.
There are no real contraindications to performing this test in an dog on potassium bromide.
What Does a Potassium Bromide Level Reveal in Dogs?
A potassium bromide level will reveal the levels of potassium bromide circulating in the blood. There is a specific amount that is considered safe and therapeutic. High levels of potassium bromide indicate that the dose should be reduced. If seizures continue or gastrointestinal problems occur, additional medications should be prescribed. Low levels indicate that the dose of potassium bromide should be increased in order to be effective.
How Is a Potassium Bromide Level Done in Dogs?
In order to perform a potassium bromide level, your veterinarian must draw a blood sample, which is placed in a special glass tube. The blood sample is allowed to clot, and is then placed in a centrifuge, where it is divided into two parts: serum and a blood clot. The serum is removed and submitted to a laboratory for analysis. The blood clot is discarded. The blood sample is submitted to an outside laboratory for evaluation and test results may not be available for up to 3 to 5 days.
Is a Potassium Bromide Level Painful to Dogs?
Any pain involved is associated with the collection of the blood sample, since a needle is used to pierce the skin and enter a blood vessel to draw the sample. As with people, the pain experienced from a needle will vary from individual to individual.
Is Sedation or Anesthesia Needed for a Potassium Bromide Level?
Neither sedation nor anesthesia is needed in most dogs; however, some dogs resent needle sticks and may need tranquilization or ultrashort anesthesia.