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Boronia

Epilepsy Info Please

18 posts in this topic

Boronia   

I may have the opportunity in acquiring a 12 month dog, she has epilepsy.

She is on Phenomax twice a day and her owner also has valium for her should she start twitching; 1 tablet. If she fits 1 1/2 tablets mix with some water administered with a syringe rectally.

There is sure to be some DOLers here who have epileptic dogs:

how are you managing the problem?

Does diet make a difference?

How much exercise?

What other meds are you giving?

There are sure to be other questions but I thought I ask the relevant ones and come back after more discussion

Thanks,

B

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CaseyKay   

We don't have an epileptic dog now, she died aged 11.5 years (from cancer not epilepsy) in 2013. She started seizing at 20 months, we owned her from a puppy. She used to cluster seize and went through a very bad time around 4-5 years old, so she was put on Potassium Bromide as well as Phenobarb which she started at 20 months. KBr can make them ataxic and prone to pancreatitis but the clusters were life threatening so we had no choice. Our girl had 2 bouts of pancreatitis, the 2nd time very severe aged 9 years and thought we would lose her.

But she never clustered again after starting Kbr, instead having one grand mal seizure every 3 weeks no matter how we tweaked the 2 meds. The second time she got pancreatitis she was put on a very low fat kibble for recovery and that is all she ate (previously on a raw diet as I had read that helps). After starting this diet her ataxia became better, she stopped seizing and we reduced her meds. She did not seize at all the last two years of her life and I never dared feed her anything but this kibble...which she ate grudgingly. She died of pancreatic cancer so I often wonder now if her seizures were related to some medical issue and were not idiopathic (diagnosis) after all.

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~Anne~   

I also had an epileptic dog. Monte was 12 when he died, 2.5 years ago, as an indirect or direct result of his condition. The jury will forever remain out on that score.

Monte began having clusters of seizures when he was around 18 months old. It was why he ended up in rescue and why he came to me.

He was medicated with both bromide and phenobarbital daily and was given rectal Valium (not tablets mixed with water but injectable Valium) when he had a cluster. His clusters never stopped however and he was on maximum doses. There is also another drug, Keppra, and he stared on this towards the end of his life, but only when he had a seizure. He wasn't a candidate for the usual Keppra medication regime because it had to be given 8 hourly to have any real affect and I wasn't able to do this. Bromide and pheno have to be given 12 hourly.

Compliance with the timing is important because the drug levels reduce in the system and effective control lessens. We couldn't afford to lessen the control of his seizures any more then they were - he averaged a cluster every 2-3 weeks or so and maintained this average for a good majority of his life.

He remained under the care of the leading expert in canine neurology in Australia, his entire life. Unfortunately she's in Sydney so it will be hard for you to consult with her.

Monte was fed largely a natural diet, but not raw. One of my other guys couldn't tolerate raw meat so it was always cooked. He also had low fat high quality kibble.

He lived a wonderfully happy little life though. His drug regime and care was very rigorous and I can't say it was easy, however I wouldn't have changed those years for the world.

He never had any other health problems his entire life, only things related to his condition.

Edited by ~Anne~

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gillbear   

i have a current foster dog who came into the rescue with epilepsy. we had minimal info on her medical history though and as she has shown no signs and is a minimal dose i have trialled her off meds. no seizure activity for a month now so fingers crossed she will remain that way and go on to being rehomed without meds but under watch.

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Dogsfevr   

I haven't had owned one but have boarded numerous dogs with it .

I think i would have to think long & hard taking on a dog at such a young age with it but i guess it depends on how much time you have & you obviously will be aware of the ongoing costs which for many people is an important factor.

Most of the dogs we have boarded have been on such high doses that that where just lethargic zombies,infact it was very depressing seeing dogs live such a life & truly just wanting to sleep & look older than what they are .

If you have other dogs keep in mind some do react different around them & if they have a seizure when your not there some dogs will pack on it through fear & the unknown .

I guess all you can do is talk with the vet & your vet & see exactly where this dog stands & if you go ahead good for you

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Boronia   

Thank you all for replying.

I phoned my vet and ran it past her.

She said it was up to me but it was not a good idea.

She felt it would be too much to take on...much of it similar to what Showdog has just written, she also added that it could cause problems with our newby 8y/o Saffy: two bitches, one not well; could be bitch-problems.

And no, I am not going to live in a house where the girls would need to be separated, not fair on either dog our ourselves.

Awww poop!...she is a lovely looking dog too.

I will still think about it but maybe she's not the best choice for a second dog

I did take a look at McDowell Herbals, anyone here used the epilepsy drops?

https://www.mcdowellsherbal.com/treatments/for-dogs/780-epilepsy-mix

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I have an epileptic dog. Her seizures started when she was about 18 months old and she is now 8 and a half. She is not on medication although I was given some to try at one stage but I did not use it. They only go on medication when the seizures are frequent (more than once a month I think) and hers were about 2 every three months. Even now I find the frequency is not consistent. Just recently she had three in three months but she has not had any since. What is difficult about it is that they could have a seizure when you are not around and you would not know. Also the medication does not stop the seizures it just makes them less severe.

She is a gorgeous dog and I would do it again although the actual seizures are horrific. All you can do is keep them safe (my dog throws herself around violently and I can still remember the crack as her head once hit the concrete) and wait for them to pass. I have got used to it now and they don't bother me as much. My dog is on the small side (10 kgs) but I don't know if I could handle a bigger dog having a seizure. I had a boxer who had a one off seizure when I was out walking with her and I just waited and prayed that she would recover because there was no way I could carry her. Fortunately she did come around and we made it home but the experience has made me wary of having a bigger dog who might have a seizure.

I agree with Showdog that you can't leave them with another dog because the other dog might attack them. When I leave her at a kennel she is always kennelled separately from other dogs although that being said I do leave her with my other dog sometimes but that dog is only small (5 kgs) and I don't think she would hurt my seizing dog although if I am going to be gone for a while I do leave them in separate parts of the house.

I think it might be a good idea to try the dog off the medication before you make a decision, but that is up to you of course.

Whatever you decide good luck with it it's not easy.

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~Anne~   

It is a responsibility, that's for sure and if you're not 100% comfortable with it, then I think your decision not take the dog on is a good one.

One consideration should also be around aggression. Aggression exhibited by both the epi dog and others reacting to a dog having a seizure. Dogs have been known to attack a dog experiencing a seizure. I've read many forum posts on the epi forum I used to belong to, where this occurred.

I ran a rescue while I had Monte. In having said that, it was for pugs and so we didn't really have any issues with others attacking him.

Monte looked very youthful for his age. He barely had a grey hair to be seen, even when he died and he enjoyed his life as much as the others.

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I had a foster pup (sbt) that was returned to me when he was about 8 months old. He was on phenobarb to the maximum dosage possible for him but was still having terrible seizures and was walking around like a zombie and couldn't keep any body condition on him. By the time he was 2 years old it was all looking pretty bleak for him but my holistic vet worked with a local naturopath and we trialled a few things. Eventually one worked and he stopped fitting and was no longer on any meds by the time he was 4 but there was a legacy. He was terrified of so many things. He did some extreme damage to both my houses during a fear event triggered by the smallest of things (the garbage truck for instance). Surprisingly the damage he did to himself was fixable. He was rarely left alone for longer than a couple of hours and I was lucky I could go and pick him up and take him to work if a storm was coming or if he was having a special day. I usually dropped him at my parents or they would come and see him during the day while I worked.

When he was 11.5 I came home from work to find him hardly able to walk. He'd managed to get his legs caught up in some wire mesh that he'd pulled off the frame around my back garage door (he'd chewed his way through the actual metal garage door already so the mesh was nailed in place to cover the damage). I took him to the vet and he'd done severe damage to the nerves in his spine and needed to be pts. So even though we managed so many incidents over a lot of years it was still the fallout from having epilepsy since he was a pup that got him in the end. It was a very sad ending for the gentlest of dogs. The fear that lived in him was immense.

As for your other questions - diet didn't seem to alter the seizures. They took a lot out of him calorie wise and being on the phenobarb dulled his appetite so keeping weight on was a problem. It always took him a long time to be back in the present after a seizure. He went for a long walk everyday still and remained playful and active right up until his passing. We never had a seizure out of the house or in transit to anywhere. He seemed to know when one was coming on and he'd lay on the floor right where you could see him. They are messy events - loads of slimy frothy phlegm. And I don't recall him ever having one after activity.

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Dewgreys   

Hi All, I have a dog with idiopathic epilepsy she is a greyhound aged nearly 8yo, her seizures started a year and a half ago, she's had an MRI to determine if there is a cause but none was found. She was just having one seizure every 2 or 3 months but now she has clusters every month. The meds she is on are Phenobarb, Pexion and Keppra, all these drugs are at their max dose. Life is very difficult as she is a big girl and the seizures are violent, she has hurt herself on a couple of occasions once requiring stitches. I love her so much and hate to see her going through this, if I thought for a moment that she was aware or suffering I wouldn't hesitate to let her go but I've spoken to a friends friend who has epilepsy and she says that she is not aware of anything. I hope this is true. My girl is a bit groggy on the meds but she still has a walk and a run every day which she loves, so all in all we're coping. One other thing the meds are very expensive, we have pet insurance for her,(started when she was two) so that goes some way in helping. Does any one use Dr. Charles Kuntz ? I've heard he is very good with neuro conditions. Regards Dewgreys

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~Anne~   

Charles was a member of this forum. I'm not sure if he still is. I had a message conversation or two with him a few years ago on here about my epi boy. I've never met him though.

I totally agree with those who have said they don't feel their seizures. It's why I never considered euthanasia of Monte. Humans also live with this condition. It's treatable and many dogs have their seizures totally controlled by medication.

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Dewgreys   

Charles was a member of this forum. I'm not sure if he still is. I had a message conversation or two with him a few years ago on here about my epi boy. I've never met him though.

I totally agree with those who have said they don't feel their seizures. It's why I never considered euthanasia of Monte. Humans also live with this condition. It's treatable and many dogs have their seizures totally controlled by medication.

I hope we get there Anne, but if not we will give her all our love and comfort. I'm afraid they will get worse, as we are maxed out on meds.

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Maddy   
how are you managing the problem?

Mostly with medication- Phenomav and Epibrom. Idiot Dog (greyhound) is on a large dose of the Phenomav but he's very sensitive to the Epibrom so he's on only roughly half of what the usual dose for a dog of his weight would have. The medication took a LOT of tweaking- espeically the Epibrom- and was not a fun process. It can also require occasional adjustment and keeping levels correct can be frustrating. That said, it depends how bad the epilepsy is. Without his Epibrom, Idiot Dog would have a seizure at least once a day on just the Phenomav. We had peak/troughs done and both numbers were theoretically perfect- it just wasn't enough to keep him under threshold. For a dog with less severe epilepsy, I imagine it'd be much easier to deal with.

Besides the medication, we also avoid things that will cause him excessive stress or excitement- limiting unfamiliar visitors (they stress him out quite a bit), limiting exciting things like other dogs visiting, etc. If we've had a really hectic day, you can safely bet that Idiot Dog will have a seizure between 8pm and 11pm that night, it can be incredibly predictable in some cases.

Does diet make a difference?

Not that I've ever noticed. Idiot Dog gets a great raw diet and it hasn't helped in any obvious way.

How much exercise?

He gets a daily gallop for maybe 10 minutes but I avoid too much exercise because it can trigger seizures for him. For a while, we had to cut out even just short gallops because he'd stop halfway through and have a seizure. Epibrom has fixed that though.

What other meds are you giving?

Phenomav- 100mg morning, 100mg night. No longer works on its own to control his seizures though.

Epibrom - 200mg morning, 200mg night. Controls seizures really well but tricky to balance and tends to compound side effects of the Phenomav. Idiot Dog has also had a few minor bouts of acute pancreatitis and fairly severe ataxia. The side effects have been difficult to adjust to but they reduce seizure to just minor focal seizures and they're no longer an event you can set your watch by. When he does have grand mals, they're usually quite bad (he's done himself injuries a few times because I couldn't get to him fast enough) and his temperature absolutely rockets- which means leaving him home alone wearing his fleecy pajamas becomes a big risk. Or leaving him unattended at all, if he's going through a bad patch.

With regards to some of the other issues.. it's probably an individual thing. We're lucky in that Shitty Whippet was raised with Idiot Dog so she knows when a seizure is about to happen and we've never had any problems with aggression between the two of them. He's only ever wigged out once after having a seizure and luckily for the other dogs (and not so luckily for my leg), I was the only one around him at the time.

The other issue is regular, consistent dosing- if you work erratic shifts and can't be home within an hour or so either side of regular tablet time, the dog may end up having seizures regardless of the meds. This is especially true of things with a short half life, like the phenobarb.

I think it also involves a fair bit of patience and understanding. Idiot Dog wets himself if he has a bad enough seizure, his meds make him wobbly and very prone to falls (his hocks are covered in scars) and on top of that, they sometimes cause polydipsia/polyuria, which means we spend a lot of time cleaning our carpet.

Having said allllll that though.. I don't regret Idiot Dog at all. He lives exactly the sort of life most greyhounds enjoy: stays home all day, sleeps on the bed, generally slobs around. His only job is to not get stressed. His dosing is high but he's far from a zombie and seems to be a very happy dog.

I have to admit, I find the idea of euthanasing dogs just because they have epilepsy (for their "welfare") to be pretty disgusting. If it gets uncontrollable and the dog is suffering, that's a different story (of course) but otherwise, why wouldn't you attempt to treat it like any other medical condition. I have a close family member with epilepsy and attitudes towards the disease and people who have it can be appalling, even from people who mean well :/

post-19844-0-46479000-1473327388_thumb.jpg

If he is a zombie, it'd be one of those super fast ones from Dawn of the Dead 2004- the ones that can move like Olympic sprinters >.>

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~Anne~   

Charles was a member of this forum. I'm not sure if he still is. I had a message conversation or two with him a few years ago on here about my epi boy. I've never met him though.

I totally agree with those who have said they don't feel their seizures. It's why I never considered euthanasia of Monte. Humans also live with this condition. It's treatable and many dogs have their seizures totally controlled by medication.

I hope we get there Anne, but if not we will give her all our love and comfort. I'm afraid they will get worse, as we are maxed out on meds.

Don't be too stressed. Monte lived for 10 years on max dosage. He still managed a cluster of 4 or 5 every few weeks. He eventually went into status and we couldn't stop his seizures. After 18 or so hours of constant seizures, we elected to euthanise him. I'm still heartbroken. He was a beautiful dog and he lived a wonderful life even with his epilepsy, right up the very end. The only time in his entire life I considered euthanasia was that last day, and I knew without doubt, the time had come.

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~Anne~   

Maddy - just on a side note. On one occasion Monte suffered from bromide toxicity. His dosage hadn't changed, his diet hadn't changed, but the bromide built up in his system to lethal levels.

He'd been on it for many years by them so it was a surprise. He was, however, a very sick little pug for a few days and spent some time in emergency care in Sydney. No-one is sure why the levels built up to such a high extent. I can't recall his readings, but they were triple what they should have been.

Edited by ~Anne~

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#1 ASK HOW SERIOUS THE SEIZURES ARE AND WHETHER THEY SEEM TO BE GETTING BETTER, OR WORSE, OR STAYING THE SAME!

Some dogs have full grand mal seizures and don't do well at all. Others have little focal seizures . . .they may stare fixedly for a minute or two or walk funny or something well short of loosing consciousness, gnashing their teeth and going incontinent. Some dogs do get better. Others just go from bad to worse.

My old girl, who just had her 12th birthday, started having seizures at 7 years. Her muscles tightened and she got uncoordinated, but didn't loose consciousness. It started with a horrid episode of cluster seizures, which I think was brought on by licking a spot-on flea treatment off another dog (synthetic pyretheroid-type ). The vets called it epilepsy. She got put on phenobarbitol, which controlled the seizures. Over four years, I halved the dose, then halved it again, then went to once a day, then stopped altogether. She no longer seizes at all.

Epilepsy is a variable condition, and veterinary science has a lot to learn about it.

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Maddy   

Maddy - just on a side note. On one occasion Monte suffered from bromide toxicity. His dosage hadn't changed, his diet hadn't changed, but the bromide built up in his system to lethal levels.

He'd been on it for many years by them so it was a surprise. He was, however, a very sick little pug for a few days and spent some time in emergency care in Sydney. No-one is sure why the levels built up to such a high extent. I can't recall his readings, but they were triple what they should have been.

Change in sodium intake?

A lovely young vet at the clinic we use was the one who worked out Bosley's original dosage and it was a disaster. Even though I brought up the fact he was raw fed and had a much lower sodium intake than the average, she still considered a 1600mg ( :eek: ) loading dose for several weeks, followed by a regular dose of 800mg, to be correct. Needless to say, he turned into a drugged wreck who could barely walk, let alone function. I weaned him back down by dropping 200mg from his dose each week until he finally reached a dose without the more severe side effects- 100mg a day. That worked for about 6 months and then seizures started creeping back so we slowly went up until we got seizures back under control again at 400mg a day. At that dose, he's still hungry/thirsty a lot and a bit prone to falls but it's as close as we can get to good. The dose I had calculated myself (from working out average sodium content of his diet) was roughly 300mg. I think some vets don't realise how much type of diet can impact on the KBr levels.

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