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Hello again,

My 10 month old Nugget has just started having seizures.  He had two on Sunday, and one Monday.  All the seizures have begun while he is sleeping.   Our vet prescribed medication to stop the seizures when they are occurring and phenobarbital to give orally after.  We gave the medication to break the seizure Monday AM, followed by a dose of phenobarbital.  He has not had any more seizures yet.  I am hoping this is not a recurrent condition.  Nugget does not have an infection and appears normal otherwise.  This seizure condition was a total surprise.  Does anyone have any experience with this?  I am contacting the breeder to see if any other puppies in Nugget's litter of twelve has had seizures.


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Nugget has had no further seizures.  I think he is adjusting to his phenobarbital okay.  The thyroid test was low normal per my vet.  I have requested a copy which I think I will send to Dr. Dodd for evaluation.  

Oh am so pleased to hear that Sue!!! Really hope the meds will continue to do their work for him. Yes I would send them...can't hurt!!

Hi Sue, I am so happy for Nugget! I hope he remains stable and the medication keeps working well :)))

I'm happy for you and Nugget that he has had no further seizures! Let's hope it stays that way!

Sending the thyroid test to J Dodds does only make sense, if you have the whole thyroid panel (T4, free T4, T3, free T3 and TgAA). This test is done only by a very few labs worldwide and that is why we sent the blood of our dog from Switzerland straight to J Dodds lab in the States via FedEx. All the other labs only test the whole T4 - the result of that test is very often 'low but normal' - and that test (according to Dodds) only says 'too low' once 2/3 of the thyroid glands are destroyed. Should your very young dog have a thyroid problem, I believe treatment should start earlier than that. What I want to say is: if you don't have the whole thyroid panel, it is probably better to send a blood sample to J Dodds lab and have her evaluation included. Phenobarbital does also lower the T4 by the way - but then your dog was only just on it, when tested. I hope this info helps.

Hi Cornelia,

You are right.  I do not have the whole thyroid panel and the results of the basic T4 and TSH is low normal.  This may be attributable to being on phenobarb a couple of days.  I don't know how long it takes to affect the levels.  I am taking Nugget in for labs again soon to check liver functions, etc.  and I think I will ask the vet to draw extra blood tubes that can be sent to J. Dodds' lab.  Did your dog's labs come back low per Dr. Dodds and what were the levels?  My breeder says that an Irish Setter should have higher levels than other dogs to be normal according to Dr. Dodds (reported to have said this at a seminar).

Hi Sue,

I have two epi Irish, Hawk and Cara.  Neither is on any meds as their seizures are very far apart. Hawk had his first at 18 months and Cara at 11 months. One of the first test we did was thyroid and the blood work was sent to Hemopet.  Cara has only had four and they seemed to be tied to her seasons so we just spayed her in the hope that if they are it will stop the seizures.  Hawk's are random and so far apart it is something we live with.  If Nugget's thyroid is compromised one of the symptoms is seizures. I would start treating his thyroid if it is showing low.  The sooner you start him on meds for his thyroid the better.  A compromised thyroid can cause other autoimmune disease that are worse.




Thanks for the information Jo.  Nugget continues seizure free.  .Does anyone know if Setters are indeed supposed to have higher thyroid levels than other dogs?

Hi Sue, sorry I could not reply yesterday. What your breeder says is in fact true. The thyroid level varies from breed to breed. Galgo's and the like have the level on the lower end, whereas with a Jack Russell the level is normally quite high; so what is normal for the Galgo would be too low for the Jack Russell. The Irish Setter should be in the middle or slightly above the middle. So when you get the results from hemopet, you find the general range of the levels and the case specific range which for the Irish Setter is higher at the lower end; so again what might be still a low but normal T4 for a vet might already be too low according to hemopet. 

It is true what Jo says that one of the symptoms of the preclinical stage of hypothyroidism can be seizures - but it is sadly only one of many things that can trigger a seizure. Dodds recommended not to treat the dog before we have clear lab results, because treatment does influence the results. So because of the TgAA (Thyroglobulin Autoantibodies/autoimmune disease) value being equivalent for our girl, we do not yet treat her but will send blood to hemopet again in due time to see if the value has changed for the worse. The other results are towards the lower end for our girl but are not too bad - again, if they change for the worse, we'll start with treatment. This was a first hand recommendation btw, as we too had the privilege to meet the lady in person - with our girl being with us of course :-).

Thanks for your reply.  Nugget still remains seizure free.  We are taking him to the vet to have phenobarb. levels drawn and I think check baseline liver function?    I may see if the vet will draw an extra blood tube that I can send to Hemopet, but all of this is getting pretty costly.  I do however want nugget to be treated correctly and not be on phenobarb if it can be avoided.  Will keep you all posted.

Glad to hear Nugget is seizure free Sue, keep you both in our thoughts. X

So pleased to hear that Nugget has had no more seizures Sue, good luck and will be thinking of you xxx

Nugget update....He is as adorable as ever!   Took him to the vet yesterday to have phenobarb level drawn.  The vet was very accommodating and drew an extra tube to be sent off to Dr. Dobbs according to her directions.  I sent the tube off today to Hemopet, along with info on Nugget, seizure history and such.  It will be interesting to see how the results are interpreted by her.  Will keep you all posted.  Thanks for your support.

Off the subject, but does anyone have a special way to keep their dogs ears from getting matted hair?  And how to get the mats out without cutting them out?  I think he got them by scratching his ears.  That we are working on with ear drops, etc.




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