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Idiopathic Seizures


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We've had Henry for about 2 and a half years now. In the time he's been with us, he's had a total of four seizures. I've had him to the vet a few times, but the diagnosis is "idiopathic seizures," meaning, they come on at any time, they are unpredictable, and the cause is unknown. Unless he would continue having them more frequently or have them back-to-back, the vet says not to medicate. The other possibility is that he eventually becomes epileptic, or he has a tumor in his brain (in which case, little can be done anyway). Even though it's really not a huge deal, they are always very scary to experience.

 

Over the weekend, we took Henry to Frick Park in Pittsburgh to meet jenniferk's Django. We were in a fenced area, and both of mine were running around and playing. Out of the corner of my eye, I saw Henry's legs tensing up, and within seconds, he went down with a seizure. It lasted maybe 30 seconds, but his legs were really shaky and he didn't want to stand up. Afterwards, he's always pretty confused. Luckily, there were only a few other dogs there, and they didn't pack up and try to attack him. I sat next to him and talked to him. Then, Truman came over, and Henry immediately got up to greet his brother (it was actually kind of sweet). The whole thing lasted five minutes at most. Following the seizure, Henry continued running around the park, and he even walked on the trails with us for about an hour. He acted as if nothing happened.

 

I am lucky that Truman is sort of an oddball greyhound. He's never raced or been in a pack, so I highly doubt he would ever attack Henry if he had a seizure when we weren't home. And I know that the seizures are unexplainable, and don't require medication (at this point). I just wonder if there is anything else I should look for? The last two seizures Henry has had were out in public places. People walking by were extremely alarmed and kept asking "is your dog okay??" Maybe they're brought on by extra stimulation? Does anyone else have experience with idiopathic seizures?

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Sorry about Henry's seizures. Maybe they just won't ever get no worse and all will be well. I would be very careful with vaccinations-based on my experience I had with Minny. Also Truman might be the nicest guy in the world but he may still attck Henry if he is seizuring. I say this based on experience too. My angel little girl Bobber attacked her packmate Cash one day-totally out of character. Bobber wouldn't attack nothing but a hamburger-I thought. I asked her why did she attack/injure Cash like that ( I can talk to them). She told me she didn't know why. I realized she was telling me the truth. It was just in her genes-pack behavior is hardwired and from what I've seen they all are inclined to take out a weaker member that could threaten the packs survival.

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Guest zombrie

Make sure you keep a log, and maybe you can find a trend in his seizures.

When Manny was here (he was epileptic and had 5-12 grand mal seizures once they started) we had a log on our refrigerator with the date of the seizures, how many he had, what he was doing when it started, how long they lasted, etc. Through that we discovered he seized at the very end of each month, to the day. He also had more cluster seizures on nights there was a full moon.

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Make sure you keep a log, and maybe you can find a trend in his seizures.

When Manny was here (he was epileptic and had 5-12 grand mal seizures once they started) we had a log on our refrigerator with the date of the seizures, how many he had, what he was doing when it started, how long they lasted, etc. Through that we discovered he seized at the very end of each month, to the day. He also had more cluster seizures on nights there was a full moon.

 

Wow, that's crazy. I'll start keeping track. It's weird because by the time he has them, I've pretty much forgotten that he's a seizure boy. It's about twice a year.

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Guest zombrie

Make sure you keep a log, and maybe you can find a trend in his seizures.

When Manny was here (he was epileptic and had 5-12 grand mal seizures once they started) we had a log on our refrigerator with the date of the seizures, how many he had, what he was doing when it started, how long they lasted, etc. Through that we discovered he seized at the very end of each month, to the day. He also had more cluster seizures on nights there was a full moon.

 

Wow, that's crazy. I'll start keeping track. It's weird because by the time he has them, I've pretty much forgotten that he's a seizure boy. It's about twice a year.

 

All the more reason to keep a log :) By the time he has them you have more than likely forgotten about the details of that day. There could be a trigger, there may not be.

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On your log, in addition to what Zombrie said, note the time of his previous meal, what he ate, how much. Also, how long has he been awake. One handy way to do it is to get a spare calendar and note the info there. It makes it easier to look for a pattern, see whether the frequency is increasing, etc. It's also handy to take to his vet (they can make a photocopy).

 

P.S. You also can note medication dates: when heartworm meds are given, flea preventative, etc. It'll give you a way to see if any of those things correlate.

Edited by KF_in_Georgia

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Kathy and Q (CRT Qadeer from Fuzzy's Cannon and CRT Bonnie) and
Jane (WW's Aunt Jane from Trent Lee and Aunt M); photos to come.

Missing Silver (5.19.2005-10.27.2016), Tigger (4.5.2007-3.18.2016),
darling Sam (5.10.2000-8.8.2013), Jacey-Kasey (5.19.2003-8.22.2011), and Oreo (1997-3.30.2006)

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It might be worth running a thyroid panel on him. I had a greyhound who was having seizures so I had a thyroid panel run on him and sent to hemopet for evaluation and his levels were low, even for a greyhound.He had no other symptoms other than the seizures.He was put on thyroid medication and the seizures stopped except for a rare mild one,barely noticable.

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It might be worth running a thyroid panel on him. I had a greyhound who was having seizures so I had a thyroid panel run on him and sent to hemopet for evaluation and his levels were low, even for a greyhound.He had no other symptoms other than the seizures.He was put on thyroid medication and the seizures stopped except for a rare mild one,barely noticable.

 

He had bloodwork done a few months ago when he had the tail amputation. I think everything was normal, but maybe I'll double check the thyroid panel with the vet.

 

On your log, in addition to what Zombrie said, note the time of his previous meal, what he ate, how much. Also, how long has he been awake. One handy way to do it is to get a spare calendar and note the info there. It makes it easier to look for a pattern, see whether the frequency is increasing, etc. It's also handy to take to his vet (they can make a photocopy).

 

P.S. You also can note medication dates: when heartworm meds are given, flea preventative, etc. It'll give you a way to see if any of those things correlate.

 

I know one time, it was a few days after I had given Frontline/Heartguard. I discussed with the vet, because I read that Ivermectin in Heartguard can aggravate symptoms in seizure dogs. He said that the amount in Heartguard wouldn't be enough to make a difference, but I did consider switching him to a different preventative. Any opinions on this?

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Definitely keep a log, with as many details as you can remember - time, date, duration, seizure activity, recovery time, what he was doing before, medications and dosing.

 

Stress can definitely bring on a seizure, and an over-stimulating place like a dog park would cause stress, even though it's also fun. There's also some evidence that there can be food triggers, so you might keep an eye on what he's eating. Immunizations can also bring them on if he's sensitive (our girl wasn't and never had problems with shots or flea treatments). It just takes planning to make sure he gets all the ones he needs from now on - you may be able to run titres to check for immunity before giving further shots, check with your county for what's acceptable for licensing purposes.

 

FWIW, we had a seizure dog for several years, with other greyhounds, and there were no issues whatsoever with them wanting to attack her when she had a seizure. It really never even occurred to us that that might be a problem (we hadn't found GT yet and not one of the doctors mentioned it). We *believe* she never experienced one while we were NOT home, but we really don't know.

 

As I'm sure your vet said, there's no need for medications until the seizures are closer than every 6 weeks weeks, or he begins to cluster. Libby was 8 before she reached that mark and she lived for a couple more years with her seizures under good control. She finally passed from unrelated complications to a surgery.

 

It's a good idea to give them something right after a seizure like ice cream to get their blood sugar levels back up a little quicker and help them recover.

 

I don't have a link, but there's a good listserve on yahoo for seizure dogs. Hopefully someone will post it.

Chris - Mom to: Lilly, Felicity (DeLand), and Andi (Braska Pandora)

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Angels: Libby (Everlast), Dorie (Dog Gone Holly), Dude (TNJ VooDoo), Copper (Kid's Copper), Cash (GSI Payncash), Toni (LPH Cry Baby), Whiskey (KT's Phys Ed), Atom

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Guest snakes

FedEx has idiopathic seizures. His sister hardly even notices! :) when we are out she just sands calmly until we are ready to go again. The only aggravating factor I found to his seizures was his anxiety. He has always been a nervous dog but when that anxiety climbs and/or he pees in the house, I know ones coming.

We control it with homeopathic remedies and rescue remedy.

 

Good luck!

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We were one of the unfortunate ones whose pack did try and attack Saint. They did it twice and the only thing that kept them from getting him was me. I put myself between him and the pack. They continued to charge at him even with me yelling at them. I actually had to kick a couple of them to make them stop. Fortunately I didn't get bit and the hardest one to control was Jilly Bean. She kept trying to get between my legs. Pack attacks are not pretty and I would never, ever put a seizure dog at risk of one while seizing, especially when I was away. Saint slept happily in a crate his entire life and he was crated when we left the house and the other dogs were either crated or muzzled when we had to be away from the house because I didn't want them turning on each other if they couldn't get to Saint. Despite the precautions Saint lived a very long and happy life with his seizures controlled by two medications for almost 7 years and passed away just before his 11th birthday from something totally unrelated to his epilepsy.

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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We were one of the unfortunate ones whose pack did try and attack Saint. They did it twice and the only thing that kept them from getting him was me. I put myself between him and the pack. They continued to charge at him even with me yelling at them. I actually had to kick a couple of them to make them stop. Fortunately I didn't get bit and the hardest one to control was Jilly Bean. She kept trying to get between my legs. Pack attacks are not pretty and I would never, ever put a seizure dog at risk of one while seizing, especially when I was away. Saint slept happily in a crate his entire life and he was crated when we left the house and the other dogs were either crated or muzzled when we had to be away from the house because I didn't want them turning on each other if they couldn't get to Saint. Despite the precautions Saint lived a very long and happy life with his seizures controlled by two medications for almost 7 years and passed away just before his 11th birthday from something totally unrelated to his epilepsy.

 

Oh my goodness!! And Jilly was the instigator! So sorry you had to experience that. Do you think with just two dogs, I should still worry? Henry has had the run of the house since Day 1, so I would hate to start crating him now. Truman has been with us through two seizures. Both times, he didn't seem to notice and carried on about his business. After the most recent one, Truman came up to Henry and looked at him inquisitively, then walked away. If we still had Payne, I would be very concerned about him attacking because he was more of a "pack leader."

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It seems there is a low risk of Truman attacking Henry when he seizes but you know, in my gut I always have the feeling that these are dogs and as well as I think we all think we know our dogs you just never know. The thing you have going for you now is that Henry only seizes a couple of times a year which makes the odds of you being there better than most. You just never know what dogs will do when their owners aren't around.

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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When my DD had a seizure dog, several dogs tried to attack her while my SIL was home & he got Sky crated & then called me so I would know the check on her later. When I went to their house she'd had another seizure & some one ripped her ear thru the crate. One afternoon Sky seized out in the yard & several dogs started to attack her so I turned the hose on them, also used it to cool her tummy. Noelle is crated when I leave just to be safe, she sleeps on my bed with me & my old broodie sleeps in the bedroom with us where she just watches over Noelle. I have a very high prey girl that sleeps crated as I know she would attack other wise. Both Laura & I have had other breeds of dogs with seizure problems, it is not just greys that will attack, Laura had a poodle that always tried to attack their lab/pointer.

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We were one of the unfortunate ones whose pack did try and attack Saint. They did it twice and the only thing that kept them from getting him was me. I put myself between him and the pack. They continued to charge at him even with me yelling at them. I actually had to kick a couple of them to make them stop. Fortunately I didn't get bit and the hardest one to control was Jilly Bean. She kept trying to get between my legs. Pack attacks are not pretty and I would never, ever put a seizure dog at risk of one while seizing, especially when I was away. Saint slept happily in a crate his entire life and he was crated when we left the house and the other dogs were either crated or muzzled when we had to be away from the house because I didn't want them turning on each other if they couldn't get to Saint. Despite the precautions Saint lived a very long and happy life with his seizures controlled by two medications for almost 7 years and passed away just before his 11th birthday from something totally unrelated to his epilepsy.

 

Oh my goodness!! And Jilly was the instigator! So sorry you had to experience that. Do you think with just two dogs, I should still worry? Henry has had the run of the house since Day 1, so I would hate to start crating him now. Truman has been with us through two seizures. Both times, he didn't seem to notice and carried on about his business. After the most recent one, Truman came up to Henry and looked at him inquisitively, then walked away. If we still had Payne, I would be very concerned about him attacking because he was more of a "pack leader."

 

I had a grey who developed siezures at about 5 years old; two weeks after her distemper/parvo innoculation. Coincidence? Nobody can say for sure. Ever since then, I have titered all my dogs ahead of innoculations, and have not innoculated in some time except for rabies.

 

I lost my seizure girl to unrelated osteo a couple years later, but at the time it was only her, and another very shy skittish grey in the house. My shy girl would get very, very agressive when my Lulu siezed. I had to physically put myself between them several times so the seizure dog was not injured. My shy girls whole demeanor changed when Lu seized. She would get a crazed look in her eyes, drooled a lot, and went after Lu very agressively. It was almost as if she didn't know what she was doing. She wouldn't listen to a word I had to say either...she just wanted after my seizing dog.

 

I kept both my girls safe at the time by gating them off into two parts of the house while we were gone. Because we never knew when there was going to be a seizure, we needed for all to be safe. Lu was in an area where she would not get tangled up in anything, of fall into, or down any stairs if we were away. I changed her food to grain free, and began giving her a "snack" of an extra handful of food at night before bedtime to boost her glucose levels thru the night. I also began titers as stated above. Over time with all these changes, it seemed that the farther in time we got away from the innoculations, the farther apart the seizures became. Coincidence? Again, nobody will know for sure.

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Passion and my foster Thunder both have idiopathic seizures.

Everyone is muzzled at night now since they all sleep in my room.

Both are crated for their safety. Thunder had a very violent seizure last Wed and actually thrashed enough that the back of the crate opened. He was not hurt, thankfully.

I am now putting him in a plastic crate.

They are very scary. Both are on medication now. Passion has not had a seizure since starting meds. Thunder has and is no on 2 drugs.

 

I am friends with Judy on FB and she's the 2nd one I contact after a seizure (my vet is the first but Judy usually gets back to me first). She's been a life saver for me and a huge source of information. I've neve sent her messages while at the vet to get a 2nd opinion :) Thanks Judy :kiss2

Edited by Wonder

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Kari and the pups.
Run free sweet Hana 9/21/08-9/12/10. Missing Sparks with every breath.
Passion 10/16/02-5/25/17

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Passion and my foster Thunder both have idiopathic seizures.

Everyone is muzzled at night now since they all sleep in my room.

Both are crated for their safety. Thunder had a very violent seizure last Wed and actually thrashed enough that the back of the crate opened. He was not hurt, thankfully.

I am now putting him in a plastic crate.

They are very scary. Both are on medication now. Passion has not had a seizure since starting meds. Thunder has and is no on 2 drugs.

 

I am friends with Judy on FB and she's the 2nd one I contact after a seizure (my vet is the first but Judy usually gets back to me first). She's been a life saver for me and a huge source of information. I've neve sent her messages while at the vet to get a 2nd opinion :) Thanks Judy :kiss2

 

Happy to help Kari. I'm thrilled that Passion is doing so well and that Thunder is doing so well after that round of clusters.

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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I know one time, it was a few days after I had given Frontline/Heartguard. I discussed with the vet, because I read that Ivermectin in Heartguard can aggravate symptoms in seizure dogs. He said that the amount in Heartguard wouldn't be enough to make a difference, but I did consider switching him to a different preventative. Any opinions on this?

 

I've read that you should not give Heartguard to any sighthounds whatsoever, seizure-prone or not. We only give Sentinel or Interceptor.

 

Nube never bothered Rainey during hers, either, but that's only when we were home. He was crated and she was not so they never were left alone at the same time. He generally got as far away as he could when she was having one -- although since all happened while eating or within 60 seconds of eating, he was usually still eating too and NOTHING would have pulled his attention away from grub.

Kim and Bruce - with Rick (Rick Roufus 6/30/16) and missing my sweet greyhound Angels Rainey (LG's Rainey 10/4/2000 - 3/8/2011), Anubis (RJ's Saint Nick 12/25/2001 - 9/12/12) and Zeke (Hey Who Whiz It 4/6/2009 - 7/20/2020) and Larry (PTL Laroach 2/24/2007 - 8/2/2020) -- and Chester (Lab) (8/31/1990 - 5/3/2005), Captain (Schipperke) (10/12/1992 - 6/13/2005) and Remy (GSP) (?/?/1998 - 1/6/2005) at the bridge
"Always do sober what you said you'd do drunk. That will teach you to keep your mouth shut." -- Ernest Hemmingway

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I know some one mentioned it, but i will repeat. Also document what food the dog got/may have got the day of and day before.

 

I had a pack of three; a boy & two girls. The boy, Red, was a seizure dog (idiopathic). Sprite ignored him and looked on in disintresst when he seized, but she also had no teeth. The other girl, Lottie, ran for the hills when he seized.

 

Otherwise we would have crated him. We do know that he did have a seizure or two when no humans were home.

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Nancy and

Grace - Andicot 2/1/07

Solo - Flying Han Solo 3/20/11

Missing: Murphy, Shine, Kim, Sprite, Red Dog, Lottie & Harry

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I know some one mentioned it, but i will repeat. Also document what food the dog got/may have got the day of and day before.

 

I had a pack of three; a boy & two girls. The boy, Red, was a seizure dog (idiopathic). Sprite ignored him and looked on in disintresst when he seized, but she also had no teeth. The other girl, Lottie, ran for the hills when he seized.

 

Otherwise we would have crated him. We do know that he did have a seizure or two when no humans were home.

 

Did it ever progress from idiopathic to recurring? So far, Henry's have been about twice a year. But his last one was just in March. So I think they are getting closer together.

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"Idiopathic" just means there's no discernable cause, such as epilepsy or a tumor. Idiopathic seizures can occur at any time interval from close together or clustering to far apart. They mostly develop later in life, five years or older for greys.

 

Unfortunately the only way to really find out is to run an MRI to search for any tumor or brain abnormality.

Chris - Mom to: Lilly, Felicity (DeLand), and Andi (Braska Pandora)

35764734494_93de5b5963_b.jpg

Angels: Libby (Everlast), Dorie (Dog Gone Holly), Dude (TNJ VooDoo), Copper (Kid's Copper), Cash (GSI Payncash), Toni (LPH Cry Baby), Whiskey (KT's Phys Ed), Atom

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"Idiopathic" just means there's no discernable cause, such as epilepsy or a tumor. Idiopathic seizures can occur at any time interval from close together or clustering to far apart. They mostly develop later in life, five years or older for greys.

 

Unfortunately the only way to really find out is to run an MRI to search for any tumor or brain abnormality.

 

and even then, you may not get an answer. Rainey started having seizures just prior to her 10th bday and had an MRI done (on 10/4/10, her actual birthday) and it showed nothing. We were scheduled to have another on 3/9/11 but instead let her go on 3/8/11. Her neuro said he expected to find brain issues the 2nd time, but I don't know. Sometimes you just never find out.

 

the fact that he's young is in a way better, since when they're a lot older (like Rainey) it's almost always due to a tumor or other brain issue. When they're younger I think you have a better chance of controlling them with meds.

 

good luck! and definitely keep a log, it was invaluable with Rainey.

Kim and Bruce - with Rick (Rick Roufus 6/30/16) and missing my sweet greyhound Angels Rainey (LG's Rainey 10/4/2000 - 3/8/2011), Anubis (RJ's Saint Nick 12/25/2001 - 9/12/12) and Zeke (Hey Who Whiz It 4/6/2009 - 7/20/2020) and Larry (PTL Laroach 2/24/2007 - 8/2/2020) -- and Chester (Lab) (8/31/1990 - 5/3/2005), Captain (Schipperke) (10/12/1992 - 6/13/2005) and Remy (GSP) (?/?/1998 - 1/6/2005) at the bridge
"Always do sober what you said you'd do drunk. That will teach you to keep your mouth shut." -- Ernest Hemmingway

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