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Epileptic Seizures


Guest SueM
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Hi. I recently adopted a 3.5 year old female greyhound whose racing career ended with a seizure. She since has had about 1 seizure per month and after blood testing showed nothing my vet put her on zonisamide.

I am hoping for some advice from this greyhound savvy group.

My questions are as follows:

  1. Are there tests besides blood tests that should have been done? And what would they be looking for? My vet didn't test for thyroid as he said greyhounds always have low thyroid levels.
  2. Does anyone know of any holistic treatments that have worked in place of traditional medicine?
  3. Are there any greyhound savvy vets that have extensive experience with seizures in greys that I could consult with?
  4. Should I be taking her to a neurologist?

Thanks in advance for any assistance with this.

 

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Hi. I recently adopted a 3.5 year old female greyhound whose racing career ended with a seizure. She since has had about 1 seizure per month and after blood testing showed nothing my vet put her on zonisamide.

I am hoping for some advice from this greyhound savvy group.

My questions are as follows:

  1. Are there tests besides blood tests that should have been done? And what would they be looking for? My vet didn't test for thyroid as he said greyhounds always have low thyroid levels.
  2. Does anyone know of any holistic treatments that have worked in place of traditional medicine?
  3. Are there any greyhound savvy vets that have extensive experience with seizures in greys that I could consult with?
  4. Should I be taking her to a neurologist?

Thanks in advance for any assistance with this.

 

 

 

So sorry to hear about your girl. Usually idiopathic seizures don't begin so young. Here are a couple places I have used for research. They both have great general information. There are also Facebook groups you can join for support and info.

 

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

 

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

 

Answers:

1 - There is usually not any indications in bloodwork of possible causes of seizures that would need special testing. Even if she has low thyroid, it is doubtful it would be contributing (though anything is possible). If you wanted to rule out causes, the next tests would likely be an MRI to check for brain tumors or issues, These are very expensive however, and will likely not change your treatment plan moving forward.

2 - There have been some people who have tried holistic cures. I'm not aware if they are effective or not. Accupuncture might be useful if you have a skilled and knowledgable practitioner.

3 - Hopefully one of our vets who posts here on GT will respond! If you would post your city/ area they may be able to recommend a vet for you.

4 - YES! A good canine neurologist who is familiar with treating dogs with seizure disorders can be very helpful. The research and updates on seizure disorders are changing constantly and a general vet just has a hard time keeping up with the latest info.

 

 

You can also do a search here for other threads regarding seizures (there are many).

Good luck.

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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Hi. I recently adopted a 3.5 year old female greyhound whose racing career ended with a seizure. She since has had about 1 seizure per month and after blood testing showed nothing my vet put her on zonisamide.

I am hoping for some advice from this greyhound savvy group.

My questions are as follows:

  1. Are there tests besides blood tests that should have been done? And what would they be looking for? My vet didn't test for thyroid as he said greyhounds always have low thyroid levels.
  2. Does anyone know of any holistic treatments that have worked in place of traditional medicine?
  3. Are there any greyhound savvy vets that have extensive experience with seizures in greys that I could consult with?
  4. Should I be taking her to a neurologist?

Thanks in advance for any assistance with this.

 

 

My Lucy has seizures. She has had them since 2011 and they started before she was 5.

 

There are no blood tests to diagnose seizures - they usually look to see if there is anything else that might be causing a seizure as a result. For example, when Lucy had her first seizure I was adding an addition to the house and there was a chance of lead paint and lead can cause seizures - they tested for that but she was negative.

 

I was part of many seizure groups and while people want to use "natural" methods - many of them wait to long and at the best, they didn't seem to help and at the worst, many dogs went into non-stop seizures (status epilepticus) and died. There was one person that had success in keeping her dog from having any more seizures while using both meds and acupuncture. The holistic vet wanted her to take the dog off the meds but, luckily the dog is still on meds and acupuncture and doing well. One of the problems with holistic vets is that they want you to get off the meds even though all the holistic vets that I know of have never had a dog with seizures that did well with just holistic methods. AND I love alternative medicines, but in this case, not really ... MEDs work.

 

There is a gold bead treatment that has seemed to work very well for a small sample of dogs in keeping the seizures under control. They put gold beads at acupuncture points but, not many vets are able to do the procedure and it is not a common procedure.

 

From my experience, you don't need a greyhound savvy vet for the seizures - you need a neurologist and the sooner the better. Although, if your vet put your dog on zonisamide that means that your vet is up-to-date on the newer treatments which is great. There are so many different drugs and combinations that you need a specialized vet for this and the neurologist knows the meds and can give you the pros and cons. Zonisamide is what Lucy started on and while in works great in most dogs, some dogs have a honeymoon period of about 1 year and then then need another drug added. This is what happened to Lucy, after a year we had to add on keppra (generic).

 

Yes, to whether you need to go to a neurologist. You probably want to find one that does not require that you do the MRI and spinal tap and while these are nice tests to have --- even if they find something, chances are the treatment would be the same. Also, if there is a tumor, it's usually evident after about 16 to 18 months. I went back and forth with having the MRI and spinal done (cost about 2 to 3K) and finally decided that I wanted to save the expense for later if needed.

 

You also need to get what is called a "cluster-buster". You may never need this and that would be great but, it is what you would use if your dog every goes into a seizure that doesn't stop. It is also used if your dog ever has more than 1 seizure in 24 hours which is called a cluster. Lucy has clusters. We use rectal Valium which is the fastest acting but does not last long in the system. Some people give extra doses of medicine.

 

If you are looking for advice, stay away from the FB canine seizure groups - too many dogs dying from seizures on those groups. That's why I left them. The yahoo group is great - very careful and measured responses from pretty knowledgeable people.

 

This is a link to that group's web page --

 

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

 

There is a FB group that is using hemp on their dogs - the results are still out on that.

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I had a retired greyhound who started to have seizures about the age of five and they continued to get worse in strength and more, in spite of her medication, She than started limping, so back to the vet again. It was very sad to hear that she had bone cancer and that the cancer had spread through her body. We had to lay Heart Suit to rest long before her time. At the time she began to limp, is when they took the x-rays and found her condition. There was no long term cure. Her first seizure began in April of 2014 and the cancer was not discovered until August 25, 2014. If I had the proper diagnostic facts, I would have laid her to rest sooner, as I was told that bone cancer is extremely painful. These are personal choices that have to be made for each of us.

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our Rainey develop seizures just before her 10th birthday, which almost always indicates a brain tumor issue -- as opposed to your young one, where it's "just" epilepsy (I don't mean that flippantly, just that when they start at a young age, the outlook is MUCH better).

 

one thing I always suggest when I see a new seizure dog is putting an ice pack on their back as quickly as you can when they start seizing -- the link is here: http://www.canine-epilepsy-guardian-angels.com/icepack.htm I SWEAR it reduced the time the seizures lasted and have heard from many others the same thing.

 

seizures SUCK. I am so sorry you and your pup are going through this. :(

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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1) It sounds like your dog already had basic bloodwork (chemistry and CBC) done. To be thorough, it's also a good idea to do a thyroid panel as well as tick-borne disease testing.


2) I'm not aware of any holistic treatments that are effective.


3) Seizures in greyhounds are treated no differently from seizures in any other dog. Most dogs that start to have seizures between 1-5 years old have idiopathic epilepsy.


4) It never hurts to consult with a neurologist, but IMO, not every case of epilepsy needs to see a neurologist. Straightforward cases that respond well to anti-seizure medication can be managed by a general practitioner who keeps current on the latest recommendations. If you're not getting good seizure control, having a neurologist on your team can be invaluable.

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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