Double-masked, placebo-controlled study of intravenous levetiracetam for the treatment of status epilepticus and acute repetitive seizures in dogs

J Vet Intern Med. Mar-Apr 2012;26(2):334-40. doi: 10.1111/j.1939-1676.2011.00868.x. Epub 2012 Feb 1.


Background: Status epilepticus (SE) and acute repetitive seizures (ARS) are common canine neurologic emergencies. No evidence-based studies are available to guide treatment in veterinary patients. Parenteral levetiracetam (LEV) has many favorable properties for the emergency treatment of seizures, but its safety and efficacy in dogs for SE and ARS are unknown.

Hypothesis: Intravenous LEV is superior to placebo in controlling seizures in dogs with SE or ARS after treatment with IV diazepam.

Animals: Nineteen client-owned dogs admitted for SE or ARS.

Methods: Randomized, placebo-controlled, double-masked study. Dogs with SE or ARS were randomized to receive IV LEV (30 or 60 mg/kg using an adaptive dose-escalation approach) or placebo, in addition to standard of care treatment. They were monitored for at least 24 hours after admission for additional seizures.

Results: The responder rate (defined as dogs with no additional seizures after administration of the study medication) after LEV was 56% compared with 10% for placebo (P = .06). Dogs in the placebo group required significantly more boluses of diazepam compared with the LEV group (P < .03). Seizure etiologies identified were idiopathic epilepsy (n = 10), inflammatory central nervous system disease (n = 4), intracranial neoplasia (n = 2), hepatic encephalopathy (n = 1), and 2 dogs had no cause determined. No serious adverse effects were attributable to LEV administration.

Conclusions and clinical importance: LEV was safe and potentially effective for the treatment of SE and ARS in these client-owned dogs. Larger, controlled clinical trials are needed to confirm this preliminary observation.

Publication types

  • Randomized Controlled Trial
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Anticonvulsants / administration & dosage*
  • Anticonvulsants / adverse effects
  • Anticonvulsants / blood
  • Diazepam / administration & dosage
  • Dog Diseases / blood
  • Dog Diseases / drug therapy*
  • Dogs
  • Double-Blind Method
  • Female
  • Half-Life
  • Injections, Intravenous / veterinary
  • Levetiracetam
  • Male
  • Pilot Projects
  • Piracetam / administration & dosage
  • Piracetam / adverse effects
  • Piracetam / analogs & derivatives*
  • Piracetam / blood
  • Seizures / blood
  • Seizures / drug therapy
  • Seizures / veterinary*
  • Statistics, Nonparametric
  • Status Epilepticus / blood
  • Status Epilepticus / drug therapy
  • Status Epilepticus / veterinary*


  • Anticonvulsants
  • Levetiracetam
  • Diazepam
  • Piracetam