Potassium Bromide Killed My Dog

It’s awful to witness a dog get a grand mal seizure. The dog loses consciousness, slumps to the ground, twitches all of his muscles, and may even lose control of his bowels and bladder as a result of a sudden explosion of neuronal activity in the brain. Since you can’t stand to see your dog suffer, you had to find a strategy to control or halt these seizures. Unfortunately, when potassium bromide was suggested for your dog, it not only stopped the seizures, but it also stopped his heart from beating. Sorry for your loss and I hope this article will help you understand what could have gone wrong and help prevent such instances in the future

Potassium Bromide Killed My Dog

Although it is rare, below are some of the reasons why a dog can die after taking potassium bromide:


Potassium Bromide is a powerful medication that needs to be taken exactly as your veterinarian has advised. A Potassium Bromide overdose could have a fatal impact on your dog.

An allergic reaction

Potassium Bromide or one of its ingredients may cause allergic reactions in some dogs, which could have serious consequences.

Pre-existing health conditions

Dogs who have certain pre-existing illnesses, such as compromised immune systems or organ damage, may be more susceptible to dying from Potassium Bromide or experiencing harmful side effects.

Interaction with Other Mediations

When Potassium Bromide is given to your dog when they are also receiving other medications, it can have catastrophic consequences. To avoid drug interactions, always let your veterinarian know about any medications your dog is on.

What are Potassium Bromide (Bromides)?

 Bromides (brand names: K-BroVet®, Libromide®, sometimes referred to as KBr) is a group of anticonvulsants used to treat seizures in dogs as either a primary or supplementary therapy. In dogs, potassium bromide is used to treat seizures and convulsions. In veterinary medicine, sodium and potassium bromide are the two most often used bromides. Phenobarbital is chosen over potassium bromide in modern medicine because it is easier to administer and less expensive to produce. As a result, potassium bromide is frequently given in combination with phenobarbital or to animals that cannot tolerate phenobarbital alone.

It is used as an ‘off label’ or ‘extra label’ to treat seizures in dogs. In veterinary medicine, many medications are frequently used for off-label uses. In this case, follow your veterinarian’s instructions and warnings closely.

How Does It Work?

Potassium bromide works by competing with chloride ions for access to brain tissues. The inhibition of electrical activity in the central nervous system makes it challenging to start a seizure as bromide levels in the brain rise and chloride levels fall. This drug is typically only prescribed to dogs whose seizures cannot be controlled by phenobarbital due to intolerable side effects or ineffectiveness.

When potassium bromide therapy is started in a patient, it is typical to start with a loading dose, which is a large dose given quickly to raise the blood level. Getting a stable bromide blood level takes 3–4 months.

How is Potassium bromide given?

To prevent stomach distress, bromides should be taken orally in the form of a chewable tablet, pill, or liquid solution. It can be taken directly by mouth with a meal or mixed into food as long as the complete dose is consumed. Elevate the food bowl if it is blended into the meal. If a capsule is administered, make sure it is completely ingested and is then followed by food or water to prevent mouth- or throat irritation. Liquid doses should be measured using a precise measuring tool or syringe. If stomach discomfort persists after taking a dose with food, try spreading out the daily dose across 24 hours. 

 Unless advised by your veterinarian, avoid stopping this medicine abruptly.

Although the full effects of this medicine may not be felt for a few weeks, gradual progress is typically noticeable. Side effects can happen immediately.

It’s crucial to limit your dog’s salt consumption when giving it potassium bromide. Any dietary adjustments for your dog should be discussed with your veterinarian. Bromide levels will drop with increased salt consumption, putting the animal at risk of having a seizure.

Remember to wash your hands after giving your pet this medication.

What Exactly are Dog Seizures

Seizures are the most often identified neurological condition in dogs, occurring in about 5% of all dogs throughout their lifespan. It’s frequently called the “fitz” or convulsions. They are caused by abnormal brain electrical activity.

Seizure signs and symptoms include:

· Drooling

· Twitching

· Stiffening

· Chomping

· Collapsing

· Chewing of the tongue

· Foaming at the mouth

· Involuntary urination or defecation

· Jerking

What Causes Seizures in Dogs

First and first, a seizure’s underlying cause must be determined to properly diagnose the disease. Canines with specific medical disorders, such as liver disease, shouldn’t take certain drugs.

In other situations, the cause of the seizure is unclear. Most of these cases are diagnosed as canine idiopathic epilepsy.  

What is Canine Idiopathic Epilepsy

Canine idiopathic epilepsy is the most prevalent form of seizure in dogs, it is an inherited disorder. Most vets prescribe KBr for this condition.

Health Conditions that May Cause Seizures

Seizures are often associated with the following conditions:

  • Brain tumor
  • Brain trauma
  • Kidney failure
  • Liver disease in dogs

Common Side Effects of KBr

 KBr has its share of side effects like most conventional medicines. Every dog parent should discuss the side effects of every drug with the vet before administering it to his dog. Below are some of KBr’s side effects:


One of the most common side effects of kBr is sedation which leads to drowsiness and lethargy in your dog. Do not get alarmed if your dog seems drowsy after taking this medication. Do not hesitate to call your vet if you have any questions.

Increased Hunger and Thirst

Some animals using this medication may get dehydrated and need to urinate more frequently. It’s crucial to avoid limiting their water consumption throughout the day. You can stop giving them water after supper if they are having accidents at night, but make sure to give them a full bowl of water in the morning. Again, this might not seem like a big deal, but persistent hunger can cause weight problems and other health problems or concerns.

Increased Urination

Increased urination won’t necessarily have dire consequences, but it can significantly change a dog owner’s daily routine because their dog will need more potty breaks.

Loss of Coordination and Weakness of Legs

KBr can result in weakness in the hindlimbs and loss of coordination. In extreme cases, KBr can paralyze the hindlimbs. These adverse effects are challenging and may be impossible to predict.

GI Problems

Some dogs may have stomach pain, nausea, constipation, vomiting, diarrhea, and blood. These problems could get worse and could lead to loss of appetite. When KBr’s side effects are really bad, a veterinarian may switch out KBr for sodium bromide (NaBr) to assist control a dog’s seizures. NaBr is gentler to the stomach but, unfortunately, has possible negative consequences as well.

Bromide Toxicity

Even with the proper administration of KBr, toxicity is still possible. Side effects like those mentioned above, but considerably more severe, are indicators of toxicity. Call your veterinarian immediately if you suspect your dog has bromide poisoning.

What should I tell my veterinarian to see if this medication can be safely given?

The following should be discussed with your veterinarian so that you may decide on the best course of action together.

  • Bromides and other medications can interact, so be sure to tell your vet about all of the drugs you give your pet, including vitamins, dietary supplements, and herbal products, as well as the amount you give and the timing of each.
  • Inform your vet of any diseases or disorders your pet may have currently or in the past.
  • Inform your vet of any disease or condition that your dog had in the past or now.
  • Inform your veterinarian about any previous treatments your pet received for the same illness or condition and whether they worked or not. 
  • Consult your veterinarian about the dangers of using these bromides if your pet is pregnant or nursing.  
  • Any side effects your pet has experienced with medications in the past, such as allergic reactions, lack of appetite, diarrhea, itching, or hair loss, should be disclosed to your veterinarian.

KBr Precautions

No medication is 100% safe for every patient, but your vet will go over with you any particular worries you may have about administering this medication to your pet.

KBr should not be used for patients with the following issues;

  • Patients who are allergic to bromides.
  • Patients with renal damage because the kidneys are responsible for the drug’s removal from the body.
  • Dogs who are breastfeeding or pregnant.


Bromide overdoses can be dangerous. Contact your veterinarian or an animal poison control center immediately if you see or suspect an overdose for more guidance. The ASPCA Animal Poison Control Center (888-426-4435) and Pet Poison HELPLINE (855-764-7661) are two animal poison control centers that are available around the clock; a consultation fee is required for both services.

Drug interactions

Potassium bromide may interact with:

  • Central nervous system sedating drugs
  • Diuretics
  • Intravenous fluids containing sodium
  • Low or high-sodium diets
  • Drugs that lower the seizure threshold

Alternatives to Potassium Bromide


Due to its high effectiveness, this medicine is the most widely used. However, it also has numerous negative side effects. It will make your dog tired, Urinate frequently, constant hunger and thirst, wobbliness, and restlessness Some of these side effects go away quickly, while others return each time the dose needs to be changed. Your dog may get liver damage if you have to give him phenobarbital for an extended period. Blood tests can sometimes detect this, and it can also be treated with milk thistle or other medications. Unfortunately, some dogs get liver failure and pass away.


This is an anti-anxiety medicine, yet some dogs can successfully control their seizures when taking it. It makes a dog have drowsiness disorientation, and lack of coordination and your dog might just lie around, except when he wobbles in to eat or drink.


 This anti-epileptic is used to manage seizures when used with potassium bromide or phenobarbital because it won’t make your dog sleepier. The medicine may make a dog uneasy or more hyperactive, it is costly and must be administered three times per day, and it may also cause liver problems.


This medication seems to treat seizures in many dogs, but there haven’t been many negative effects documented because it hasn’t been used often.


How long does potassium bromide stay in the system?

Potassium bromide remains in the body for 24 days in dogs, but in cats, it lasts for 11 days. Potassium bromide has a slow onset of action, taking several weeks before it starts to work.

Can potassium bromide cause pancreatitis in dogs?

Yes. Increased risk of canine pancreatitis is one of the negative effects of potassium bromide medication.

A minimum of 10% of dogs undergoing potassium bromide/phenobarbital combination therapy go on to develop pancreatitis, according to research.

When the medicine that caused the pancreatitis is stopped, the condition usually goes away without any lasting effects. However, if exposed to potassium bromide or phenobarbital over an extended period, some dogs may develop chronic pancreatitis.

 Pancreatitis is characterized by vomiting, a decrease in appetite, abdominal pain, and diarrhea. Pancreatitis may pose a life-threatening situation in severe cases.

How much potassium bromide should a dog take?

Start by administering 22 to 40 mg/kg of KBr orally each day. The maximum dosage is determined by the animal and owner’s tolerance for side effects, even though they are reversible. On average, dogs have a half-life of 25 days (15–45 days), depending on the dose.

Do seizures shorten a dog’s life span?

Poor seizure management and a high initial seizure frequency are associated with reduced lifespans in dogs with epilepsy, which is predicted to be between 2.07 and 2.3 years.

How many seizures are too much for a dog?

It might not be necessary to administer medication if your pet’s seizure activity is relatively intermittent. On the other hand, if the seizures are prolonged, frequent, or clustered (2 or more seizures close together), treatment may be required.

How Should I Store Potassium Bromide?

Keep this medication at room temperature in its original prescription bottle or in a dosage reminder container that has been approved. Avoid contact with children and other animals; this is particularly crucial when using flavored chewable tablets.

Follow the storage instructions and expiration date for any unique formulations your veterinarian or pharmacist has prepared (compound) for your animal.

Missed a Dose?

The likelihood of seizures in your dog may increase if you forget to administer potassium bromide. If you do forget to give a dose, do so as soon as you remember. But if it’s almost time for their next dose, skip the one they missed. Overdosing on potassium bromide can cause bromide toxicity, therefore never give your dog more than the prescribed dose. Contact your veterinarian if you have any questions or concerns regarding missed doses.

Will my dog need to be monitored while taking potassium bromide?

To verify that blood levels of potassium bromide are normal, your veterinarian will do numerous blood tests initially. Given that dogs metabolize potassium bromide at varying rates, these blood tests are crucial. Your veterinarian will most likely conduct blood tests a few times per year once the ideal dosage has been established.

What if potassium bromide doesn’t stop my dog’s seizures?

Be patient and wait for an improvement because potassium bromide takes some time to work. Never change your dog’s diet or dose without first consulting a veterinarian.

Leave a Comment