Paper of the Month - Volume 3 Issue 4

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Bersan E, Volk HA, Ros C et al.

Animal Health Trust, Newmarket, UK.

 Vet Rec 2014;175:247.

Mark Lowrie’s review: Phenobarbitone (PB) is an anti-epileptic medication licensed for dogs with idiopathic epilepsy. Sedation, ataxia, polyphagia, polyuria/polydipsia, and body-weight gain are common dose-related adverse effects that generally improve or resolve after serum concentrations of PB reach a steady state. Idiosyncratic reactions related to PB are rare but include superficial necrolytic dermatitis, pancreatitis, haematological abnormalities, and dyskinesia. PB-induced haematological abnormalities (PBIHA) such as anaemia, thrombocytopenia, and/or neutropenia have been reported in a small number of dogs.

The current authors document clinical presentations and pathological abnormalities of PBIHA in dogs receiving PB. In addition, the prevalence and risk factors for developing PBIHA among the entire population of idiopathic epileptic dogs was evaluated. Dogs with idiopathic epilepsy receiving PB as monotherapy or polytherapy were included. Dogs that received medications other than PB that have been reported to cause haematological abnormalities, and dogs with concurrent medical disorders that could result in haematological abnormalities, were excluded from the study.


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