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Talk To Me About Seizures


Guest FireHorse
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Guest FireHorse

Luke had what I think was another seizure on Thursday. The event itself didn't look like what I know as a seizure (not as 'big', if that makes sense) but the aftermath sure did. This will be his second seizure this year, third in the four years we've had him.

 

He has an appointment with Dr C on Monday. Dunno what I expect her do do/to do about it though-he's perfectly fine now. I guess my question is, at what point do you put a seizure dog on meds? How many seizures is "too many"? I don't truly know at this point if he needs to be on some sort of preventative or not. Is it easier on his body--at this point--to just let him have the occasional seizure? I know some of the anti-seizure meds can be hard on the liver.

 

So, please, tell me about your experiences. When and why did you decide it was time to medicate your seizure dog? Where was the line for you?

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Information that most of us on here can give you will be anecdotal and I really must stress the importance of a through examination by your vet to work out and treat what is causing the seizure.

They may be bad ones (Grand Mal) or minor, they may be focal (affecting just one particular set of muscles or part of the body) and they may in the end be 'idiopathic' (cause not possible to diagnose). The key thing I've been told is if your dog doesn't come out of it in a couple of minutes or if it keeps re recurring after a few minutes then it is cause to see the emergency vet.

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My first greyhound was a seizure dog. He had his first seizure about two months after I got him. When I took him to the vet they asked me to document the frequency and lengths of any seizures he had. They didn't want to put him on meds unless the seizures became more frequent.

 

The seizures came about every 4-6 weeks and were varying degress of severity. It so happened that the week before he was scheduled to go back to the vet he had a severe Grand Mal seizure that wound up putting him in the ER for three days. His temp had spiked to 108 and the ER vets worked hard to save him. I was told that he would very likely have brain damage from the high temperature and would probably never "be right again". Instead of letting him go to the bridge I told them to do everything possible to help him and they did. After three days I brought him home and he began twice daily doses of the Phenobarbytol.

 

Once he began the meds he never had another seizure. Unfortunately one of the side effects is possible liver issues and after 5 years on the medication he succumbed to liver failure.

 

I know there are others on this forum who have dealt with seizures and who will have much more detailed information they can give you. There are also previous threads on this subject that you could look for.

 

Good luck and I hope everything goes well for you and your pup.

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Most vets won't treat seizures unless the dog is having more than 1 seizure a month. That just seems to be SOP for most vets. There is such a variety of medications and types of seizures and side effects. Here is a website where you can learn anything and everything you want to know about seizures LINK

 

Hope that helps.

Judy, mom to Darth Vader, Bandita, And Angel

Forever in our hearts, DeeYoGee, Dani, Emmy, Andy, Heart, Saint, Valentino, Arrow, Gee, Bebe, Jilly Bean, Bullitt, Pistol, Junior, Sammie, Joey, Gizmo, Do Bee

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Guest EmilyAnne

It's not just how often the seizures are that need to be considered, but also the severity of the seizures. If the seizures are earth shattering, then I think once a month is far too often. But if the seizures are mild, as in *really* mild, then possibly I wouldnt medicate unless they are more often than biweekly. I had a pointer who had very mild seizures. Sometimes he would go months without a seizure, sometimes only a couple weeks. But each time he recovered very quickly. Some seizures are so damaging, it can take a couple months to recover. And even after we think they are recovered, their brains are probably still in the process of recovering in ways we can't see. It is important they be able to sufficiently recover between seizures, otherwise the seizure pattern will worsen. The seizures will often become more severe, and more frequent. This is when meds need to step in asap to halt more seizures from fueling that harmful pattern as much as possible.

 

My Henry is on the maximum dose of Phenobarbital. In the beginning the side effects were bad, but as the body figured out how to use the Phenobarbital, the side effects dissapeared. he has no side effects that I can see. He doesnt even have the insane hunger anymore. I kinda miss that as feeding time was much easier when he was hungrier! :lol

 

Can you describe the seizure? There are many different types of seizures. Do you know if Luke ever had a head injury? My pointer's seizure were focal seizures, and they were cause by a very severe brain trauma after being hit by a car. The seizures lasted his whole life, but were mild enough that a damaging pattern never formed so his epilepsy never worsened. His seizures involved only the upper half of his body, and he could even sit up while having one of these seizures. He used to bury his head in my armpit to try to stop his head from doing the big wobbles.

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Most vets won't treat seizures unless the dog is having more than 1 seizure a month. That just seems to be SOP for most vets. There is such a variety of medications and types of seizures and side effects. Here is a website where you can learn anything and everything you want to know about seizures LINK

 

Hope that helps.

 

What Judy said. In addition to the link she provided, you can also check out this website which I've also found very helpful. I find myself going back and checking both sites occasionally for info whenever something comes up with Phaelin's seizures.

 

I think we finally put Phaelin on seizure meds once he started seizing more than once a month, but I'd have to go back in my records and check.

 

There are stories of some dogs having liver issues on the phenobarbital, but there are many dogs that are on it that don't have issues with it. Your dog's vet or neurologist should have your dog's blood levels checked while he/she is on the pheno to make sure the levels are within an acceptable range and that the pheno is not harming the liver. In fact, since we've upped Phaelin's pheno dosages recently, I just took him in today for a seizure panel re-check. We had 24 days between seizures this last time (up from 21 days) and I'm guessing we'll need to up the pheno again, so I want to make sure we have room to do so.

 

If the pheno affects the liver, there are other drugs your vet/neuro can prescribe for your dog (if needed). I believe most vets prescribe pheno first because it's a drug that has a high rate of effectiveness and is relatively inexpensive. Potassium bromide is another drug that is used with regularity and it doesn't affect the liver. But, it can take longer to reach full effectiveness.

 

Anyway, I hope that Luke's seizures are spaced far enough away from each other that you won't have to medicate him. Please let us know what Dr. C says on Monday.

Paula & her pups--Paneer (WW Outlook Ladd), Kira & Rhett (the whippets)
Forever in my heart...Tinsel (Born's Bounder - 11/9/90-12/18/01), Piper, Chevy, Keno, Zuma, Little One, Phaelin & Winnie
Greyhound Adoption Center ~ So Cal rep for Whippet Rescue And Placement

For beautiful beaded collars, check out my Facebook page: The Swanky Hound

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Guest FireHorse

Thanks for all the info, guys. I appreciate you talking me down. :blush Dunno how you seizure moms do it with such calmness, but it's looking like I'm going to have to learn. :(

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Some dogs have definite triggers while others don't, so you may want to take a look at the day of Luke's seizure and the day before to see if there was anything different he ate, was around or did.....if he isn't seizing very often, it could be that there is something in his environment that he is exposed to that is causing the seizures. It's good to keep a diary or log of each seizure. The one I have has is on an Excel spreadsheet and has:

 

 

  • Seizure # (he's had 17 that we know of)
  • Date
  • Time
  • Duration
  • Description
  • Recovery time
  • Treatment/Comments

I also try to note when we do medication changes on it. I forgot to do this in the past and now find that it would have been helpful for me to have this information at home in my file. I'm sure my vet has this info, but I wish I had it also.

 

 

 

Oh, and as far as the calmness goes.....you eventually get used to all the terms, medication names, etc. But it was helpful to me to have lots of supportive people here on GT to help guide me too. smile.gif

Paula & her pups--Paneer (WW Outlook Ladd), Kira & Rhett (the whippets)
Forever in my heart...Tinsel (Born's Bounder - 11/9/90-12/18/01), Piper, Chevy, Keno, Zuma, Little One, Phaelin & Winnie
Greyhound Adoption Center ~ So Cal rep for Whippet Rescue And Placement

For beautiful beaded collars, check out my Facebook page: The Swanky Hound

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