Phenobarbital For Cats: Overview, Dosage & Side Effects – The Dog Lovers

Phenobarbital is an anti-convulsant treatment used generally in veterinary medication to assist handle circumstances that trigger seizures. On this article you’ll learn the way phenobarbital treats sufferers affected by a seizure dysfunction, unwanted side effects to observe for, and a few continuously requested questions.

Medicine Kind:



Tablets, oral answer, injection.

Prescription Required?:


Model Names:

Luminal, solfoton

Widespread Names:

Phenobarbital, phenobarbitone

Obtainable Dosages:

Tablets in 15mg, 16.2mg (1/4 grain), 30mg, 32.4mg (1/2 grain), 60mg, 64.8mg (1 grain), 90mg, 97.2mg (1.5 grains), and 100mg. Oral answer: 20mg/5ml (4mg/ml).

Expiration Vary:

Tablets needs to be saved in light-resistant containers at room temperature (20 to 25 levels C or 68-77degrees F). Defend from moisture. Merchandise needs to be used earlier than the expiration date on the package deal.

About Phenobarbital For Cats

Phenobarbital is a barbiturate treatment. Barbiturates are a category of medication that act as central nervous system (CNS) depressants. They can be utilized as sedatives, to deal with anxiousness, and to regulate seizure issues.

A seizure happens when a sudden discharge {of electrical} alerts happens within the mind that results in involuntary exercise of the toàn thân, or seizing. 

Sufferers experiencing a seizure usually lose consciousness and the toàn thân might then exhibit the looks of muscle spasms or convulsions, or a pet might go fully inflexible with stiff muscle groups. Drooling, urination, and defecation might also happen. 

Seizures can happen for quite a lot of causes. The presence of mind tumors and inflammatory lesions within the mind could be one phối of causes the place one thing structurally irregular is current. Pets might also develop seizures from sure underlying medical issues lượt thích liver and kidney illness, toxin ingestion, or if a diabetic mèo’s blood sugar goes too low. 

However seizures can even happen secondary to a situation often known as idiopathic epilepsy. With epilepsy, the neurologic overexcitement happens resulting in a seizure, however there isn’t a recognized trigger. Pets with epilepsy usually have regular MRI (magnetic resonance imaging) scans of the mind.

As an anticonvulsant treatment, phenobarbital helps to cut back the possibility of a seizure occurring by lowering the irregular electrical exercise that results in seizure episodes. There are a number of forms of antiseizure drugs obtainable, every working differently, with some simpler in some instances than others.

Phenobarbital is likely one of the oldest antiseizure/antiepileptic medication obtainable for treating cats with seizure issues. 

What Does Phenobarbital Do For Cats?

Cat drooling

Barbiturates lượt thích phenobarbital typically trigger melancholy of the central nervous system (CNS). They will inhibit a number of totally different neurotransmitters, together with acetylcholine, norepinephrine, and glutamate. Their actions elevate the seizure threshold, requiring much more electrical overexcitement within the mind to must happen to trigger a seizure. This typically reduces the frequency of seizure occasions.

The diploma of CNS melancholy phenobarbital causes is dependent upon its dose. Their results can even rely upon a affected person’s age, bodily situation, and different drugs being taken.

Though it has been round for a very long time, phenobarbital remains to be top-of-the-line drugs for use as a major drug, or monotherapy, for a seizure situation. It tends to be simpler as a first-line selection in comparison with another anti-seizure drugs lượt thích zonisamide and potassium bromide. 

Phenobarbital can also be very cheap, making it a choice in some instances, particularly for long-term use, in comparison with an efficient however a lot pricier anti-seizure treatment lượt thích Keppra (levetiracetam).

Aspect Results Of Phenobarbital For Cats

One widespread facet impact of phenobarbital is extreme consuming and urination.

The most typical adversarial results seen in cats on phenobarbital embrace steadiness points when strolling, drowsiness, facial itching, an extreme must eat (resulting in weight acquire), and extreme consuming and urinating. 

Whereas very uncommon, immune-mediated reactions lượt thích decreased white blood cell and platelet counts have been described. 

As a result of it depresses the central nervous system, respiratory melancholy (ineffective respiration) can happen. Cats seem like extra delicate to this impact, although it’s nonetheless usually solely seen at larger doses. 

Phenobarbital is essentially metabolized by the liver. In contrast to in canines, who generally have liver worth elevations on their bloodwork, a minimum of for the primary couple of weeks when beginning phenobarbital, cats don’t seem to have the identical sensitivity and liver worth abnormalities are thought of uncommon in kitties.

All the identical, phenobarbital needs to be used with nice warning in any mèo with an underlying liver dysfunction. Due to the significance of getting good liver operate on this treatment, veterinarians generally kiểm tra blood work previous to beginning phenobarbital after which a minimum of each six months thereafter.

Phenobarbital also needs to be used cautiously in any mèo that’s in a state of dehydration, has a low crimson cell depend (anemia), cardiac illness, or respiratory illness. 

Whereas phenobarbital doesn’t have direct results on the kidneys, its results on reducing blood stress, which is named hypotension, can result in considerations with renal operate if stress inside the kidneys drops too low. That is usually additionally extra a priority with excessive doses and overdoses.

When first beginning phenobarbital, it’s common to see extreme sleepiness, lack of vitality, higher thirst and urge for food, and an elevated must urinate. These indicators usually abate after about three to 4 weeks. 

In overdose conditions, a majority of cats present indicators of issue strolling or protecting their steadiness and lethargy/sedation.

Phenobarbital can have drug interactions with different drugs. For cats, widespread ones might embrace the urge for food stimulant mirtazapine, the sedative dexmedetomidine, and opioids lượt thích buprenorphine, which needs to be used cautiously. Use with antihistamines might also enhance the sedative impact.

There are numerous drugs the place concurrent phenobarbital use will lower their effectiveness and their doses might have adjustment when beginning phenobarbital or vice versa. At all times make sure that to debate any drugs or dietary supplements your mèo is at present taking when beginning phenobarbital is being thought of.

If you’re ever involved that your kitty might have developed unwanted side effects whereas utilizing phenobarbital, or if an overdose is suspected, make sure that to tương tác your major veterinarian, neurology veterinarian, the ASPCA Animal Poison Control Center (1-888-426-4435) or Pet Poison Helpline (1-855-764-7661) instantly for additional recommendation. 

Phenobarbital For Cats Dosage

Although phenobarbital is taken into account a secure treatment for cats, it may well pose important considerations if dosed too excessive, overdosed, or when it’s improperly used.

Phenobarbital is utilized in an extra-label method, which means that it doesn’t carry an FDA label, however a veterinarian can nonetheless prescribe it so long as an energetic relationship with the affected person is current. This is quite common when drugs additionally used for people are utilized in pets.

Phenobarbital is a schedule IV managed substance. Which means that a minimum of in people, it has some potential for abuse, and prescribed quantities and refills are rigorously monitored.

Phenobarbital is prescribed for folks with seizure and sleep issues. This can be very vital to by no means use any treatment you could have at home page in your mèo. Human doses and mèo doses of a typical treatment might differ considerably and severe unwanted side effects might consequence.

Phenobarbital is taken into account a secure treatment for cats when dosed correctly, however can have important considerations when dosed too excessive, overdosed, or when it’s improperly used. 

For these causes, a selected dose for phenobarbital is just not offered right here. It is extremely vital to at all times seek the advice of together with your veterinarian earlier than beginning a drugs lượt thích phenobarbital.

It’s additionally vital to not give your mèo an additional dose of phenobarbital or to change the dose your self if a seizure sự kiện has not too long ago occurred. In case your mèo is actively having a seizure, it’s most vital to get your kitty to the closest veterinary hospital for therapy. By no means attempt to administer an oral treatment to a pet that’s actively seizing.

Secure use of phenobarbital entails checking the blood ranges of the treatment within the toàn thân by means of blood work. That is generally advisable each six months. That is one of the best ways to know if the drug is sustaining therapeutic ranges, what dosage is only, and whether or not any changes have to be made. Serum phenobarbital ranges ought to at all times be rechecked after any dosage changes. 

Phenobarbital could also be given with or with out meals. Nonetheless, if any digestive upset happens, giving with meals might assist. 

Phenobarbital shouldn’t be discontinued abruptly as this will result in withdrawal syndrome. This may be the case if a kitty has been on the treatment for even only a few weeks. The treatment is usually weaned slowly to assist the toàn thân modify. Weaning slowly can also be vital as a result of seizures might recur if the treatment is discontinued too shortly. One other treatment to regulate seizures will usually have to be began on the identical time that phenobarbital is being weaned. 


Phenobarbital is a long-standing treatment for management of seizures in cats and it’s usually very efficient at controlling seizures. It is usually very cheap. It does have some anticipated unwanted side effects to watch for when first beginning it, particularly lethargy, elevated urge for food, extreme water consumption, and urination adjustments, however many of those dissipate after a number of weeks. It does require extra frequent blood work monitoring than another drugs.

Phenobarbital can even have many interactions with different drugs that will require dose changes. At all times make sure that to debate your mèo’s medical historical past and different drugs completely together with your veterinarian earlier than beginning phenobarbital for the most effective and most cautious strategy to your mèo’s well being care. 

Regularly Requested Questions

What does phenobarbital do to cats?

Phenobarbital is used primarily as an anti-seizure treatment in cats. It raises the seizure threshold and reduces seizure frequency by appearing as a depressant of the central nervous system (CNS). 

With correct dosing, phenobarbital may be very efficient at controlling seizures. Nonetheless, at larger doses, the CNS melancholy can result in extra regarding results lượt thích sedation, lethargy, respiratory melancholy, and low blood stress. This is the reason cautious and correct dosing by a veterinarian is essential.

How lengthy can a mèo reside on phenobarbital?

This will rely extra on the first trigger for a seizure dysfunction, in addition to the final state of well being of a selected kitty. In a mèo that’s in any other case wholesome, and has, say idiopathic epilepsy, a standard life expectancy could also be attainable. Liver toxicity has not been described in cats lượt thích it has in canines, and with correct dosing they will tolerate the treatment pretty properly.

Nonetheless, in a mèo with concomitant liver illness or different well being considerations, phenobarbital might handle seizures properly, but additionally contribute to extra important unwanted side effects. If a mèo is suspected to have a cancerous tumor inflicting seizures, phenobarbital will nonetheless management indicators a minimum of initially, however a kitty’s prognosis can be extra linked to the character of the kind of most cancers.

How lengthy does it take phenobarbital to work in cats?

Phenobarbital can take a number of hours to succeed in its peak effectiveness. This will take anyplace from 4 to 12 hours when dosed orally. 

After beginning phenobarbital or making dose adjustments, blood serum ranges might not be checked for a few weeks, because it does take a while for the toàn thân to regulate to the treatment.

Can phenobarbital trigger demise in cats?

That is very unusual, however in principle might happen if a really excessive dose is given or if a mèo in an in poor health or sick state is given the treatment. Happily, most instances of cats getting an overdose of phenobarbital which were reported to the ASPCA Animal Poison Management Heart solely exhibited indicators of lethargy and ataxia (steadiness and strolling points).

Cats do seem like extra delicate to the respiratory melancholy results of phenobarbital when given at larger doses. 

Phenobarbital shouldn’t be confused with pentobarbital, which is usually used as a euthanasia drug in veterinary medication. Whereas they’re each barbiturates, pentobarbital is stronger than phenobarbital. Pentobarbital additionally doesn’t are available in any oral administration kinds.

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