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J Am Vet Med Assoc. 1995 Nov 15;207(10):1305-7.

Effects of phenobarbital administration on results of serum biochemical analyses and adrenocortical function tests in epileptic dogs.

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Department of Surgical and Radiological Sciences, School of Veterinary Medicine, University of California, Davis 95616, USA.



To determine what effects long-term phenobarbital administration to dogs with epilepsy would have on serum biochemical factors and adrenocortical function.


Prospective, uncontrolled study.


Five dogs with idiopathic epilepsy.


Serum total protein, albumin, total bilirubin, and cholesterol concentrations and serum alkaline phosphatase and alanine aminotransferase activities were measured before and 2 weeks, 6 months, and 12 months after initiation of phenobarbital administration. Endogenous ACTH concentration was measured, and ACTH stimulation and low-dose dexamethasone suppression tests were performed at the same time.


Serum albumin concentration decreased in 4 of 5 dogs, and serum cholesterol concentrations decreased in all 5 dogs over the course of the study. Serum alkaline phosphatase concentration and alanine aminotransferase activities increased over time, and were greater than the upper reference limits in 4 of the 5 dogs by the end of the study. Endogenous ACTH concentration increased in all dogs but remained within reference limits. Plasma ACTH-stimulated aldosterone concentration increased over the course of the study. Plasma cortisol concentration did not suppress, after administration of dexamethasone in 1 dog after 6 and 12 months of phenobarbital administration.


Although endogenous ACTH concentration should be normal in dogs receiving phenobarbital, results of ACTH stimulation and dexamethasone suppression tests may be altered. Serum albumin and cholesterol concentrations, and serum alkaline phosphatase and alanine aminotransferase activities may also be abnormal.

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