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Update Post #10 - Ava Has Seizures And I Have Questions


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A quick history and then some questons................

We adopted Ava (formerly Lass Dance) in late February 2012. She was retired from the track (I think in November 2011) because she had three seizures in the kennel - the probable causes given were she was stressed at the kennel or they sprayed something at the kennel. She went into foster care at that time and was there until we adopted her almost three months later. Completely seizure free after retirement until Saturday morning.

 

Had one seizure at 130am (very violent, lasted around 5 minutes). After was very wound up, pacing, panting uncontrollably. She went out in the yard and just kept walking very fast around the yard as if she was looking for something. Approximately 145am, she went to the back gate, came back towards me, her back arched up and she fell into another seizure (also very violent). I tried to craddle her as she was on the concrete walk (this one last maybe 3 minutes). Again she got up and continued to race around the yard (fast walk), I guided her in the house and locked her in the bedroom with husband (Herman) and I went and called the emergency vet to tell them we were on our way.

 

In the bedroom Ava went to one side of the bed, jumped on the bed, and then jumped off the other side. Ran to the other side and just kept repeating this. She was panting so hard. I ran out to get the car ready with quilts and Herman said she had another seizure in the bedroom.

 

In the car she was so restless, crying, panting, trying to force herself to the front seat. Herman blocked the front seat from her as she was really wild and wound up, I was afraid she was going to make me have an accident. She reminded me of someone you see on Cops that is high and out of control with super strengths.

 

Ava was admitted to the hospital because they wanted to make sure she was seizure free for at least 24 hours. We waited for the labs to be done before we left her and everything came back normal. They started her on IV phenobarbital and I know they gave her valium as she kept pacing in her cage and was very vocal.

 

We were able to pick her up on Sunday morning. She has a pink bandage up to her thigh on her back left foot because she cut her leg by her hock and it wouldn’t stop bleeding. (I imagine that was from the seizure out in the yard on the concrete). Ava looked better than I expected.

 

She did whine off and on and was restless on the way home. Once home, I put her in our bed and sat with her while I did some research on my laptop. Our other dog Sam was laying next to me. At one point Ava looked up at us, although her eyes were vacant. All her teeth were shown as if she was in a growl mode and a lot of saliva was dripping from both sides of her mouth. It lasted about 20 seconds. I helped Ava off the bed and went into the kitchen. Ava had her head up, constantly smelling my shirt. She had the same episode (without the smelling) about 20 minutes later, which lasted 15 seconds. Then another episode 50 minutes later that lasted about 10 seconds. I didn’t notice any the rest of the day. Other than a few whines when I turned out the lights, she slept well. (I thought the whines may have been because the bandage was tight at her thigh so I cut it down a bit).

 

(I did call the hospital about the mini seizures and the person who answered said they were able to talk to two technicians and their best answer was to bring her in. I felt that would stress her out more, and then I rationalized that these little episodes were probably happening in the hospital, but unless you happened to catch them, you’d miss them. I think I just wanted someone to tell me that this is normal activity after what she’d been through.)

 

 

 

Now for my questions….

 

The week leading up to her seizures, I remember about three instances. One night after work she laid next to me as I watched tv in bed. I felt her shaking a bit and I noticed her eyes were half open, half shut (they looked weird) and were flickering/blinking. I called her name and it took a few moments for her to come to. Then there were two instances where the lights were out, but I was still awake and Ava was trembling in her sleep enough that you could hear her. I know dogs do this and maybe I am just overly paranoid because I know she has had seizures in the past, but these just seemed different. I didn’t think much about them until we were at the emergency hospital that night.

 

Were these signs that she was headed to the violent cluster of seizures she had later that week? If these were signs and it happens again, is there something we can do to stop the seizures before they even start?

 

Any other advice or helpful things to know?

 

Thank you and sorry my “quick history” was all that quick!

 

Kim & Ava

Edited by brindlebaby

Kim, (Herman), Pixie (NK Mary Ann), Kitten, Sammie, Darcy and Scout

Callie (Callie Walker), Ava (Lass Dance), July, Peanut, Kodi, Bailey, Kony, PJ, Scampie, Carlo & Casey waiting for us at the bridge

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I would make an appointment with a neurologist and he will likely put her on medicine to keep the seizures under control. Usually if a dog is clustering (more than one seizure in 24 hours), a neurologist is probably going to want her on seizure medicine. The neuro would also likely prescribe some rectal valium that you could use if she does start seizing and doesn't stop in 4 or 5 minutes (the neuro will let you know the exact procedure).

 

My Lucy started seizing in March of 2011 and went on medicine in October of 2011. She is pretty much under control at this time and has less than 1 seizure a month. She is on Zonisamide for seizure control.

 

Some neurologists will want to have an MIRI and spinal (usually about 2K+ in costs) before they will determine a course of action but, you can usually find a neurologist that does not require that.

 

 

edited to add -- if she does have a seizure it might be a good idea to give a bit of vanilla ice cream - about 2 tablespoons. Having a seizure depletes the sugar store in the body and the body will produce more but, it might not be enough so it's a good idea to supplement. You don't want to give too much though as you could cause a sugar high. As a note, since I started giving the ice cream, it seems to cut down on the "post-seizure" symptoms.

 

Also, dogs get very hot when having a seizure, if you have a long seizure you might need to get some ice (or cold towel) to try and lower temperature a bit.

Edited by MaryJane
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I know Lass Dance from the racing kennel! I knew she started having seizures and was retired. Ask your vet for some valium (either suppositories or liquid) at the first sign of clusters, give her some valium and an extra dose of phenobarbital. I'm hoping at this point she is on meds for seizure control. If your vet has not started her on meds I would ask him to do so. If she's not controlled on one med she can take more than one.

 

She's panting and pacing after her seizure to cool herself down. Her temperature is going to rise quite quickly during her seizure and she needs to cool off. My Saint would pace for 45 minutes before calming down. Try and give her something sweet after she seizes. It will bring her blood sugar back to normal because it drops during a seizure and may keep her from going into clusters.

 

I'm on my Ipad so it takes a long time for me to type this all out and thre are quite a few others with seizure pups that can chime in. You can also PM me if you have more questions. I don't have the websites where you can get more information but someone else does and will post them I'm sure. Hopefully you will get Ava on the right meds and get some control of those seizures.

 

Oh and if she's growling, please keep your other dog away from her when she's going into seizures and stay back, she may bite you. Wait until the seizure has passed and you know she's "all there" again before touching her.

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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Hi Mary Jane,

 

They did send Ava home with Phenobarbital and we are supposed to go back our regular vet in 10-14 days to get refills and I think more labwork. The doctor at the emergency hospital said given her age he felt pretty certain she didn't have a brain tumor, but mentioned that they could do MRI, etc. to rule that out. He said if it was his dog he would try medication first.

 

 

 

I would make an appointment with a neurologist and he will likely put her on medicine to keep the seizures under control. Usually if a dog is clustering (more than one seizure in 24 hours), a neurologist is probably going to want her on seizure medicine. The neuro would also likely prescribe some rectal valium that you could use if she does start seizing and doesn't stop in 4 or 5 minutes (the neuro will let you know the exact procedure).

 

My Lucy started seizing in March of 2011 and went on medicine in October of 2011. She is pretty much under control at this time and has less than 1 seizure a month. She is on Zonisamide for seizure control.

 

Some neurologists will want to have an MIRI and spinal (usually about 2K+ in costs) before they will determine a course of action but, you can usually find a neurologist that does not require that.

Kim, (Herman), Pixie (NK Mary Ann), Kitten, Sammie, Darcy and Scout

Callie (Callie Walker), Ava (Lass Dance), July, Peanut, Kodi, Bailey, Kony, PJ, Scampie, Carlo & Casey waiting for us at the bridge

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Hi Mary Jane,

 

They did send Ava home with Phenobarbital and we are supposed to go back our regular vet in 10-14 days to get refills and I think more labwork. The doctor at the emergency hospital said given her age he felt pretty certain she didn't have a brain tumor, but mentioned that they could do MRI, etc. to rule that out. He said if it was his dog he would try medication first.

 

 

 

I would make an appointment with a neurologist and he will likely put her on medicine to keep the seizures under control. Usually if a dog is clustering (more than one seizure in 24 hours), a neurologist is probably going to want her on seizure medicine. The neuro would also likely prescribe some rectal valium that you could use if she does start seizing and doesn't stop in 4 or 5 minutes (the neuro will let you know the exact procedure).

 

My Lucy started seizing in March of 2011 and went on medicine in October of 2011. She is pretty much under control at this time and has less than 1 seizure a month. She is on Zonisamide for seizure control.

 

Some neurologists will want to have an MIRI and spinal (usually about 2K+ in costs) before they will determine a course of action but, you can usually find a neurologist that does not require that.

 

 

IMHO, get an appointment with a neurologist. Most regular vets are not equipped to deal with seizures and do not have the latest information on medicines to treat them. My regular vet (who is great) did not provide the proper dosage levels of rectal Valium), luckily, all that was sorted out when I went to the neurologist. I would also suggest that if you have more than 1 greyhound that you keep them muzzled when you leave the house as the other dogs could attack a seizure dog.

 

There is a seizure group that you can join. You might be able to get more information here:

 

Epil-K9's website: http://www.canine-epilepsy.com Archives: http://APPLE.EASE.LSOFT.COM/archives/EPIL-K9.html

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If Noelle has a violent seizure she will be very vocal as she paces afterwards. You can put a bag of frozen veggies on her chest to help cool her down faster & I use honey for Noelle. Some people will tell you to give another half dose of the pheno after she has come out of the seizure. Also it is good to keep a log for the vet & your self as it is hard to remember everything when you talk to the vet. There is a yahoo group for seizure dogs & their owners that is helpful if you've never had much exposure to caring for a seizure animal. Judy is the best one to ask about this problem but if you can't reach her I am more than happy to help as I've had 5 seizure dogs. Try to remain calm while taking care of Ava so you can see everything that is happening.

 

I have to disagree with Mary Jane that most regular vets don't know how to care for seizure animals. Every vet I've had has done a wonderful job of caring for our pets & they can talk to neuro vets if need be so you don't have extra large vet bills if money is tight.

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I'm sorry Ava is having seizures, they are very scary. One of my boys had them and takes generic Keppra to control them. His neurologist switched him from phenobarbital to generic Keppra to help prevent liver damage. I know sometimes it takes trying different medicines and/or more than one medicine to get them under control. And, I've heard some dogs only have them rarely so they don't take medications. But, the neurologist would probably give more detailed information if you can do it. Either way, try to get some of the liquid valium, diazepam, that you can give rectally to stop a seizure and maybe prevent cluster seizures from occurring. I had to use it several times on my boy. All the behaviors you describe Ava doing sound typical for big and small seizures from what I've experienced. She might not have actually been growling, the muscle contractions effect the mouth and lips too. My boy's teeth often showed, but it was just the seizure. I know it's hard but try to stay calm and comforting for her. Zephyr was usually really hungry after and feeding seemed to help him settle. I hope you're able to get them under control fast. Hang in there and sending positive thoughts to Ava.

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I'm so sorry you and Ava are dealing with this. Cluster seizures can be exhausting for everybody concerned. Your experience...the cluster episode, the brief focal seizures...sounds very similar to what happened with Piper when his seizures started.

 

Here are links to the web sites that did so much to equip and inform me about managing his seizures:

 

http://www.canine-epilepsy-guardian-angels.com/

 

 

http://www.canine-epilepsy.com/ This site has an e-list that can be a great source of support on information

 

 

A consult with a neurologist would be great. I took Piper to a neuro early on and after that my regular vet was able to use him for phone consults so Piper got the best of care without regular out of state trips to the nearest neurologist.

 

Through the years Piper had awful cluster episodes about once a year. He'd have 10 to 12 bad seizures over 36 to 48 hours. Grueling for both of us. The common wisdom was to give phenobarbitol and potassium bromide twice a day to try to control seizures and then to give rectal valium after each seizure to prevent a cluster. The problem with that regimen in Piper's bad cluster episodes was that his seizures were 3 hours or so apart. I eventually learned that rectal valium is most effective in stopping recurring seizures that happen within 30 to 45 minutes of each other. Rectal valium's charm is that it gets absorbed into the system immediately, and is working right away. The down side it that its effects diminish fairly quickly too. What ended up working for Piper was this: after his first seizure he received and extra 1.5 grains of Pb and 10 mg of Valium. He got both meds at that same dose every 6 hours until he was seizure free for 24 hours. After starting that protocol he never had another one of those horrible annual cluster events. I'm not so much suggesting that the same treatment is what Ava needs as I am stressing that managing seizures is almost as much art ans it is science. You need to keep careful notes about seizure dates/times/duration and be willing to change meds and experiment (with your vets involvement all the way) until you find what works for your girl.

 

Warm good wishes to you and Ava.

 

 

Lucy

gallery_2398_3082_9958.jpg
Lucy with Greyhound Nate and OSH Tinker. With loving memories of MoMo (FTH Chyna Moon), Spirit, Miles the slinky kitty (OSH), Piper "The Perfect" (Oneco Chaplin), Winston, Yoda, Hector, and Claire.

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Guest LindsaySF
The week leading up to her seizures, I remember about three instances. One night after work she laid next to me as I watched tv in bed. I felt her shaking a bit and I noticed her eyes were half open, half shut (they looked weird) and were flickering/blinking. I called her name and it took a few moments for her to come to

This sounds like a partial (aka focal) seizure. The dog does not lose consciousness, but they have seizure activity (tremors, involuntary movements) in one part of their body. Sometimes calling their name or distracting them with something can snap them out of it. Sophie will often have focal seizures that preceed her grand mals (aka generalized seizures). Her focal seizures involve head shaking side to side, or jaw chomping. Sometimes the focals happen a day or two before a grand mal, or sometimes the focals turn right into a grand mal.

 

 

Then there were two instances where the lights were out, but I was still awake and Ava was trembling in her sleep enough that you could hear her.

Hard to say about these ones without knowing specifics, since they were in the dark. They could have been focal seizures too, or maybe she was just dreaming.

 

At one point Ava looked up at us, although her eyes were vacant. All her teeth were shown as if she was in a growl mode and a lot of saliva was dripping from both sides of her mouth. It lasted about 20 seconds.

That sounds like a partial seizure too, especially with the drooling. Sophie often has this preceeding a grand mal. Sometimes she has them on their own, and then she snaps out of it. But it's a grand mal trying to break through (but usually being kept at bay by the anti-seizure meds).

 

 

Were these signs that she was headed to the violent cluster of seizures she had later that week? If these were signs and it happens again, is there something we can do to stop the seizures before they even start?

Yes, some dogs have focal seizures before grand mals or clusters. But some dogs don't ever have focals, only grand mals. If you see a focal seizure, I'd give rectal valium right away. That will often prevent further focals, and prevent the focal from progressing into a grand mal. Did your vet give you rectal valium? I'd also give some extra Phenobarbital (ask your vet how much). The valium has an immediate effect, but it wears off in a few hours. The Pheno takes several hours to start working, but lasts longer. The valium/Pheno combo has worked best for Sophie.

 

 

Most regular vets don't understand the importance of rectal valium (I had to go to a neuro to get some), but given Ava's recent cluster, and the continued focal seizures, I would make sure you get some rectal valium ASAP if you don't have it already. Also be certain it is the correct dosage. (The dosages for IV, IM, and rectal valium are all different due to absorption rates. The first neuro Sophie saw gave us the IV dose for rectal use, no wonder it didn't work, rectal dose is much higher :rolleyes:).

 

 

 

The pacing, panting, running around, "looking for something", that is all post-ictal activity. Be careful, as sometimes they are blind, and they might hurt themselves. (Sophie tried to dive off a set of stairs once during post-ictal running). Most dogs are very warm after a seizure, and very very hungry. Do what you can to cool them down, and feed them. Sophie will eat an entire bowl of food and 2 cans after a seizure, as well as drink a ton of water.

 

 

If your vet seems knowledgable, there's no reason you can't continue there. But if your vet seems out of their element at all, or tells you you don't need rectal valium, then speed on to a neurologist right away. It really depends on the vet.

 

Keep us posted!

 

 

 

 

 

~Lindsay~

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  • 1 month later...

Thank you everyone for your all your help, I had printed off all your replies and was keeping them with me!

 

Unfortunately Ava's reprieve from seizures was short lived. She another around 530am this past Tuesday morning (8/28/12) and had gotten the rectal valium for our vet, so I used that. When she came out of the first seizure she seemed kind of calm just laying there, but that quickly turned to the pacing and panting. I offered her water and took her outside where she just kept walking fast as if she were searching for something. While in the yard she had her second seizure. Once she came out of that, I guided her into the house (no small task) and took her to our bedroom and locked her inside. I ran and fixed the car up for the drive (quilt, etc.) and then ran inside to throw some clothes on.

 

I came back in to get Ava and she was half under our bed and appeared as though she was coming out of a third seizure (there was as pee and poop smeared all over the floor). I got her up and she ran to the front room before I could put her collar and leash on and ran head on into our glass storm door. Thank God it didn't break or open! I drove and Herman sat in front and blocked Ava from getting in the front seat. I called the emergency hospital and alerted them we were on our way. I was driving 80mph on the highway, and could see Ava smelling the back window (SUV with all seats down) and I told Herman that I think she's about to have another seizure, which she did (her 4th in less than an hour).

 

At the hospital they rushed her back and took some info. They ran blood tests (I think they were normal, or not different than the last time) and then ran a test to check the levels of the phenobarbital (she was on 1-1/4 tablet twice a day of 64.8mg). They called and said she was on the very low end of a therapeutic dose.

 

No seizures while in the hospital (she was there a day and a half) so she was discharged on Wednesday afternoon (they increased her phenobarbital from 1-1/4 tablet twice a day to 1-1/2 tablet twice a day).

 

So far she is doing well (not a full week yet), but in the last 3 or so days I've noticed her snapping at the air. It's as if she has a itch on her hip bones and just turns her head back on each side in the general direction of her hip and makes air bite motions. I've also noticed when I rub back there, she acts jumpy, like it's sensitive?? Is this some kind of seizure sign?

 

I also am curious, does everyone rush their dog to the vet after/during seizures? Once she gets regulated on her meds, will than continue? I am so nervous and frightened when she is going through the seizures, I don't think I feel comfortable to ride them out at home. We did have another dog with seizures, but her normal routine was to have one and then she was a bit loopy for a time after and then be alright. Ava's seizures are one right after the other (with a short 10 minute or so break in between). I just feel safer to get her to the hospital quickly just in case she doesn't come out of it.

 

I was thinking the valium would stop her from having subsequent seizures, but maybe I misunderstood or we got the wrong dose? (I picked up some more - I have two syringes/directions are to give 1 ml rectally as needed for seizure..... Valium/Diazepam inj. 5mg/ml. Does this dose sound right?)

 

I completely forgot about the vanilla ice cream, would that have stopped the subsequent seizures? (Just went over what you wrote Judy and missed this - "Try and give her something sweet after she seizes. It will bring her blood sugar back to normal because it drops during a seizure and may keep her from going into clusters." CRAP! What do you mean "sweets", like honey or ??

 

Please let me know if anything sticks out to you that we could/should be doing differently. We want to help Ava any way that we can.

 

Thanks for reading!

 

xo,

 

Kim & Ava

 

My pretty girl at Rescued Racers picnic in June (photo by Cheryl Plunk)

ava___picnic_6-12.jpg

Kim, (Herman), Pixie (NK Mary Ann), Kitten, Sammie, Darcy and Scout

Callie (Callie Walker), Ava (Lass Dance), July, Peanut, Kodi, Bailey, Kony, PJ, Scampie, Carlo & Casey waiting for us at the bridge

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I suggested that you go a neurologist before - I am suggesting it again. I give my Lucy 15 ml of valium (1 1/2 bottles) after each incident - it sounds like the 1 ml was prescribed by a regular vet. That's probably why she kept on seizing but, I'm not the vet - so you need to get the dose checked by a neurologist. By the way, Lucy weighs about 65 -70 pounds.

 

As to the sweet - give her ice cream - about 2 tablespoons after a seizure - it can help to cool her down and also help regulate the sugar. It helps my Lucy stop pacing almost immediately - don't know why but it does. Be careful giving the ice cream - I usually use a spoon but Lucy tries to actually swallow the whole spoon - so be cautious...

 

2 weeks ago Lucy went into clusters which she never had before. Her last seizure was almost 4 months ago. During the clusters, she had 6 seizures over the course of about 30 hours. I did not bring her into the ER, I gave her the rectal Valium myself and I was in touch with the neurologist over email (he's really wonderful) and he did not think I needed to bring her in. My mistake was that I did not give her the rectal Valium after the first seizure because she never clustered before - lessons learned..... I asked my neurologist if he needed to see her after the clusters and he didn't think it was necessary as long as I wasn't seeing any neurological deficient.

 

You can manage most seizures at home but, I would strongly suggest talking this over with a neurologist and making sure that they provide you with all the information that you need to do this successfully - they should be able to go over all the procedures and the correct dosages of rectal Valium to use. They should also give you guidelines as to when you will need to bring your dog in. If the seizures are not getting controlled by the pheno, then you may need to either up the current med or add another med into the mixture and again, this is where a neurologist is going to be important.

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I also feel you should get a second opinion from a neurologist. With a dog that has an occasional seizure but, for the most part is controlled with meds a gp might be appropriate but, poor Ava really sounds like she's beyond that. There are new medications available that your gp might not be aware of or comfortable using yet.

I do want to thank you for adopting this baby girl-she sure is beautiful!

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Thank you for responding MaryJane and tbhounds!

 

I give my Lucy 15 ml of valium (1 1/2 bottles) after each incident - it sounds like the 1 ml was prescribed by a regular vet. That's probably why she kept on seizing but, I'm not the vet - so you need to get the dose checked by a neurologist. By the way, Lucy weighs about 65 -70 pounds.

 

Ava has not seen our regular vet yet for her seizures and yes she is the one who prescribed the rectal valium at my request. Ava weighs around 73 pounds so it doesn't seem to be enough.

 

Both times of her seizures (July 14 and August 28) we rushed her to Veterinary Specialty Services which has specialists and is open 24 hours. That's where we took our greyhound Callie for her amputation and chemo.

 

We adopted Ava in late February and she went into foster care in December (I think). Since she had seizures in the racing kennel (November 2011?), she had been seizure free until July 14. She was on no medication for seizures until they started on the phenobarbital in July.

 

The first emergency vet we had in July said that they could do a MRI and Spinal Fluid Analysis, but said with her age (3.5 years) he didn't think that was necessary at this point and to try the medication first.

 

The second emergency vet this August gave us a estimate of $2156 - $2619.00 to do the MRI & spinal fluid analysis, if we choose that route, but said we needed to get her phenobarbital levels checked (since she just started in July). They turned out to be low, so they increased her dose.

 

Her discharge instructions were to go to our regular vet to get her phenobarbital levels checked in 3 weeks, of sooner if condition worsened.

 

I will wait until her appointment in 2 weeks and then make a decision. I've searched neurologists in St. Louis and can only find one, but can check with our adoption group and regular vet and see if they have a reference. I have to get Herman on board as right now he is leaning toward what the first doctor said, that the MRI, etc. is probably unnecessary at this point. He wants to go the medication route first and I understand, we just came off a year of having over $10,000.00 in veterinary expenses for Callie. Pixie also has a growing lump on her shoulder that we are going to get checked out in the next week. :goodluck

 

Ava's regular vet has been getting updates on Ava from the emergency hospital so she has been calling to check on her. She is really easy to talk to and will listen and offer support and guidance if we ask or suggest anything.

 

Thank you both so much for your advice.

 

Kim & Ava

 

I do want to thank you for adopting this baby girl-she sure is beautiful!

 

Thank you. :beatheart

Edited by brindlebaby

Kim, (Herman), Pixie (NK Mary Ann), Kitten, Sammie, Darcy and Scout

Callie (Callie Walker), Ava (Lass Dance), July, Peanut, Kodi, Bailey, Kony, PJ, Scampie, Carlo & Casey waiting for us at the bridge

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I also went back and forth over the course of 2 months or so as to whether to do the MRI - I also posted on this site to find out how many people had done it and whether the results changed anything in the treatment plan. From talking to my Lucy's neurologist,the only time having an MRI would change the treatment plan is if you would go ahead and have brain surgery for your dog if there is a tumor and if that is the case, having an MRI and spinal is appropriate. Since not many people move ahead to do such risky surgery, the MRI does become unnecessary in the whole source of events - nice to have but, not necessary. And,if you decide, you can always do the MRI and spinal tap later. Check what I just said with the neurologist and make sure that they concur (what the MRI provides in treatment). Also, try and get an appointment with a neurologist that doesn't require an MRI and spinal (some do).

 

One note, if your dog does have a brain tumor, in many cases it usually becomes evident from the progression of the symptoms anytime from between 6 months to about 2 years after the initial seizures. Because of this, I decided not to have the MRI initially - if Lucy's symptoms progress dramatically and it becomes more evident that we might be dealing with a brain tumor, then I would most likely take the option to have the MRI at that time to see whether there is a chance for her - in effect, it would have turned into a "life or death" decision.

 

As you noted, MRI and spinals are very expensive (2K+) and while it might not fit into some people's budget, it might be OK financially for others but, even for those, they might only be able to do one. If you are one of those people that would be OK with getting one, then it becomes a question of when would it do the most good.

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She is beautiful! I hope you can get her seizures controlled. My boy developed encephalitis a year and a half ago, which then caused seizures. He's had two MRI's and a spinal tap. All were needed and did lead to diagnoses and continued modification of his treatment. He was in an emergency life threatening state when he went to the neurologist and had the 1st MRI, they couldn't do a spinal tap then because he had too much inflamation in his brain. The 2nd MRI and spinal top were done 4 months later and did provide information that led to important changes in our treatment plan. It was hugely expensive, but it saved his life and was totally worth it for me. This is how he is today. :ghplaybow

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With this history, I agree that it's probably epilepsy, but especially with a greyhound, I'd want to make sure she's been checked for tick-borne diseases.

 

I also feel that a consult with a neurologist is a good idea, but if you haven't followed up with your regular vet about this yet, that's the place to start (I thought she was supposed to follow up with your regular vet to refill meds and do bloodwork?). Most regular vets are able to handle straightforward seizure cases, and if there's not a neurologist locally available, your vet may be able to consult with one by phone. That's what I've done with a couple of my more difficult cases.

 

Regarding whether an ER visit is needed, I don't think it's necessary for a single, brief seizure, but it may be needed for a cluster or prolonged seizures (lasting more than 5-10 min). As others have mentioned, 1 ml of Valium rectally is a tiny dose that is unlikely to make a difference with a large dog. But even dosed appropriately, not every dog responds to rectal Valium. If rectal Valium doesn't prevent additional seizures, sometimes giving an extra dose of the phenobarbital (or other anti-seizure med) immediately after the dog is out of the 1st seizure can help prevent a cluster.

 

Each case is different, and not every dog is going to be easily regulated. Some cases never have another seizure after starting on medications. Others continue to have seizures every few weeks despite multiple meds. I'd like to see a dog have no more than 3-4 seizures a year to consider it fairly well regulated, but sometimes that doesn't happen.

 

Hard to say if the air snapping is a seizure sign. If it's involuntary and she doesn't seem like she's quite 'all there' when it happens, I'd suspect it may be a partial seizure. Try to get it on video to show your vet.

Jennifer &

Willow (Wilma Waggle), Wiki (Wiki Hard Ten), Carter (Let's Get It On),

Ollie (whippet), Gracie (whippet x), & Terra (whippet) + Just Saying + Just Alice

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