Dub has epilepsy. He has had 3 more seizures since last night. We started him on the pheno this morning and so far not so great but we are hoping. The vet is concerned because he is clustering but he is settled now and we will take him to the hospital overnight if things get bad. Such a gorgous dog, such a tragic turn of events the past two weeks. I wish things were how there were before but I can't go back now. I didn't think it would progress this fast.
I haven't been on the board in a very long time but had the urge to check in tonight. Toby, my Irish clown, has been an epi dog with cluster seizures for 4 years and counting. We currently rely on phenobarbital for control and rectal valium to break clusters if needed although we may be adding or switching to potassium bromide as some vets have experienced it working better with dogs who cluster. We will also consider newer drugs and alternative therapies down the road if needed. We're doing okay with control but still hope to do better. I have also fostered an IS with frequent and severe seizures turned into rescue after his original vet wanted to euthanize him and was able to keep him seizure-free for 8+ months while he was with me with the help of a great vet not willing to give up on him and minor changes already done with my dog. End result is every epi dog is different and the road can be challenging but there is more hope than ever for them.
Nobody can tell you what to do and not do with Dublin as far as exercise. My philosophy has always been to let these dogs lead as normal a life as possible. Quality over quantity since nobody knows what the next moments will bring (regardless of whther or not a dog has epilepsy). Toby leads his normal life in and out of the house as long as he's recovered from any seizure he may have had and no longer appears post-ictal. I don't see any reason to keep Dublin solely at home if he's feeling himself and you're comfortable with the idea of taking him out. You may want to limit or shorten excursions while he's adjusting to the pb (incoordination is normal for a couple weeks but inform vet if it lasts longer) but a return to normal routine may provide some of the stress relief that both of you need. Seizures are scary but over time you will learn how Dublin tends to seize and recover and gain confidence in handling at such times so that whether you are home or out and about won't really matter or you adjust by taking him out with someone who can help if necessary or who you can call to come help.
I haven't seen much mention of seizure logs. One of the next best things besides a great vet experienced with seizure dogs. Keep a journal of what you notice about Dublin if your vet has not already advised you to do so. Write down little notes such as different foods given, when heartworm and flea/tick meds are given, when using different chemicals around the house, when seizures occur and their pattern, etc. Logs are the best way to try to find patterns and discover possible triggers. There are some known triggers but for every known trigger there are a myriad of triggers not known or specific to only one dog (my dogs only known and a huge trigger is a prescription drug for stomach upsets listed as safe for epi dogs!). Most of us look for triggers for our dogs seizures and many of us never find them but if you discover one it will give you insight in what to avoid with Dublin.
Very well put Katy. Many different things can trigger seizures as they lower the fitting threshold, making it easier for the dog to have a fit. Many medications do this so it is always worth rreminding your vet, or specialist, especially if it isn't your usual one, that your dog is Epileptic. My vet has given drugs to Geordie, my epileptic dog, for me only to find that they have lowered his fitting threshold. My vet only discovered that the drug she'd prescribed was causing a problem when I took him to the specialist and also took the list of medication he was taking. Despite attending the latest vet course only two weeks prior to this, my vet was unaware that the new drug prescribed for an injury, (TRAMADOL) could have the effect of lowering the fitting threshold. It is also worth remembering that what is not ok for one dog, may be ok for another and vice versa. There is no blanket rule here, as every Epileptic is different and responds to the medication differently. My vets are very experienced and have quite a few Epileptic clients, but she commented that Geordie was the worst Epileptic that she had treated and was therefore stumped when her normal course of action didn't seem to be working. I asked to be referred to the specialist, who changed the medications, adding in two new drugs to the regime he already had. It has worked so well for Geordie that my vet now has other clients on the same regime. Detailed noted about your dog are a must! The specialist was astounded at the detailed notes I took with me, along with a complete list of medications and food, even treats were listed. She said that my detailed notes helped her enormously to see exactly what was going on with Geordie.
I have a dog that had seizures that were caused by Frontline. He was five when he started them, he would have clusters of two or three a day, skip a few weeks and then start over again, we put him on pheno, did all the bloodwork and tests...everything was fine. Once I figured out what was causing it, I was able to wean him off the meds. It's been over a year now...no seizures. I don't know if this is helpful at all, but I thought I should bring it up. Best wishes for you and Dublin
Interesting to hear that the Frontline caused a problem for your dog, I haven't heard of this before, but I do know that it causes diarrhoea in my dog every time I use it, yet my other dogs were all ok with it. My experience of owning an epileptic dog, is that they don't deal with anything, including medications and preparations as non epileptics do. Often the condition itself and the medication needed for it affect the way that their system deals with these things. I don't want to put a dampner on things, but Geordie went 18 months without fitting until he hit a bad patch again last year. The specialist I took him to see told me that this is not normal. Epileptics can sometimes go for about 12 months without fitting, but then will start again. It is incredibly unusual for the dog to stop fitting completely, if the fits are caused by Idiopathic Epilepsy. It is not as well controlled in canines as it is in humans, for one thing, they metabalise the drugs through the system much more quickly than humans do, hence the higher doses needed. But like everything else, nothing with an Epileptic can be written in stone, they are all so different and react differently to the medication and treatment.
A dog I have bred reacts with seizures when it came to Ex-spot (stronger than Frontline). Also I have been training with a rottweiler that reacted in the same way when it came to Scalibor.
All chemicals used to controll ticks can course neurological problems (it states this on the packets as well) and is - according to a vet I spoke to - a well-known trigger. But then you need to protect your dogs against ticks...and stopping all use of everything is unfortunatly no option either.
We use Advantix every 5 weeks for flea/tick control. Could they be fine for two years with it then develop a problem? He has been on it for over 2 years now. And he just go this new dose a week ago. But the seizures started 3 weeks ago. I have a calendar type log going but will detail it more with things before they are no longer fresh in my mind. My concern was that both the first two were a week apart and both after returning home from our daily dog park two hour time, after eating and he passes out to sleep since we are out for a good amount of time. Remember he is the dog who goes nuts in the car on the way there barking like a loon and even yesterday on the meds when I took him to the park, he carried on like usual with the barking. Almost more angry though. I was curious about being more aggressive on the meds? I have only seen it when he was barking in the car at other people passing by. He seemed more angry than usual. And last night he had fallen asleep on with half his body on mine. I tried to get up after my leg fell asleep and he jumped up and curled his lip at me. Stayed frozen like that for a minute or more till I yelled for my son to come out of his room to assist me. He seemed seriously angry and out of it. Till my son called him off and he then returned to his normal self. I was actually afraid of him for a minute or so because he did not uncurl his lip and was growling at me with this horrid expression on his face. Could this be from the drugs? I only kept him out for 1 hour since he seemed like he had enough and it was warm out. I miss my dog park friends, my 2 mile hike that is what clears my head and stress and just the time out in nature that Dub and I shared daily. I hope we can do it again for longer. With rain for the next 3 days our challenges are many. He is won't go out in the rain. I have to drag him out and even then he holds it until I think he would explode. He already refuses to go out for almost 14 hours now without urination and he is drinking quite a bit more from the meds. I hear his usual stomach growling noises which I think come in part from stress and he won't eat again because of that. I can't head to work without getting him to go potty so here is another morning of problems. Luckily I have a job where I set my own hours and can skip a day here and there (without pay though). Thanks for reminding me to start a log while I am stuck home.
I realy can not answer the question if they can start reacting to something they have been OK with before.
Although I can not see why not.
Just as we can suddenly become allergic to something we have been able to cope with before.
And it seems that all the triggers described here (like lights and smell etc) must be things that dogs will suddenly start reacting to.
Otherwise you would notice the seizures at a much earlier age.
As for side-effect of medicine (change of temperament), I hope there are members on this site that can give you some information regarding this.
Anyone know much about gold bead implants for this condition? I am more of a traditional medicine type but I am also open to all ideas. I found a vet in IL who does this and am emailing him for more information. It is considered to be permenant accupunture. I know it has worked very well in Great Danes with hip problems but has about a 60% success rate for seizures. With medication lowered or without it eventually.
I haven't tried gold bead implants although know they exist. K9 epi group on yahoo, to which I figured you joined by the name Dublin, is probably the group I know about where the most experience may exist. Lots of alternatives tried with the group so may want to search archives since many, like me, don't post regularly if at all (I'm guilty of not posting on more than one group!).
I think at this point your best bet is to go slowly and a step at a time with Dublin unless there is a drastic change that requires more immediately. It's still too early to know whether the pb alone will work for him since it takes a couple weeks to load the drug in the system and be able to test the pb level to see if or where it falls in the therapeutic range. Toby's seizure pattern improved at Dublin's current dose but first pb level revealed we didn't even have him in the therapeutic range. He's now on double the dosage of Dublin and still tests in the lower side of the middle of the therapeutic range. My foster dog for rescue ended up on the same double dose of what Dublin is getting and tested even lower in the therapeutic range than Toby despite the fact he's a smaller dog. There is a lot of variation and a lot that may have to be checked and adjusted to see the effectiveness of Dublin's current treatment. Your best bet at this point may be to gather info and ideas for now and investigate using them if and when the time may come to explore other options. You don't want to cut everything out of the possibilities from the start. I recently put Toby through changes that involved a move, new schedules, work around the house, unavoidable exposure to a few chemicals, etc and his seizure activity has increased. Giving him a month or two to see if he calms down but if he doesn't we will likely explore acupuncture. Can let you know the results if we do try it but figure it is the next best thing since I don't really want to add more drugs unless needed and it may help determine if it or gold beads which are similar in premise (although a bit more accupressure from my understanding) could be a good route. Alternatives and newer meds are becoming more and more accepted and tried with epi dogs with varying results. I see no reason not to try what is available and within our means to see if it will help our dogs but the timing has to be appropriate and everything has to be done in some order so you can figure out what does help. Throw too much at once and you can end up not knowing what really helped or risk ending up doing too much unnecessarily that could have risky side effects in the long run.
As far as changes in temperament, they can happen. Remember that pb is a barbiturate drug so not overly unusual for Dublin to be a bit out of sorts right now. He should adjust to his normal self in a couple weeks (except for maybe increased hunger and thirst if he's experienced those common side effects) but inform your vet if it doesn't happen. He may need a change in dosage or even a change of drug. It all goes back to no two dogs being exactly the same.
When one of my other dogs was having a course of acupuncture, I enquired if it would be an option for Geordie, my epileptic dog, if he needed it in the future. I was told definitely NO. Epileptics cannot have this treatment as it lowers the fitting threshold, making it easier for them to have fits. The practitioner that told me this, was a very senior vet of ordinary veterinary medicine, as well as being an animal acupuncturist.
Wow, that's interesting. I've always lived in areas where people are very open to using alternative treatments and practices. Have worked with an integrated vet who used acupuncture on epi dogs (of course, before mine was an epi dog), attended lectures where highly respected integrated vets have talked about acupuncture on epi dogs and the new clinic we're using after moving has an integrated vet who is using acupuncture on a few epi dogs (didn't see the vet but talked about doing a consult with her with the vet we did see). Gold bead implants are even based on acupuncture although I don't understand how they get the tiny little wires or balls to stay where they belong and not migrate as microchips are sometimes known to do or even if it is a risk. Exploring possibilities for Toby along these lines are still just a thought and am pretty sure would not be a total control solution but contraindications or possible harm are definitely something to be sure to discuss very seriously if we ever reach that point. Toby definitely doesn't need more seizures in his life!
Strange how we always are seeking the next big solution. Read your article and could relate very well to the ups and downs but thrilled about the control you've achieved with Geordie. Your story of your journey with Geordie proves that after all the bumps in the road that life can be good with an epi dog!
Pleased you related to that and found it useful. The other thing that I forgot to mention is that the specialist I saw, told me that once on medication, it is imperative that they stay on it. Attempts to reduce it, or stop it altogether can actually put your dog's life at risk, unless it is done with veterinary supervision and support. Of course if the dog is only mildly epilpetic, then the rules are slightly different and sometimes dogs may have just one or two fits and then never have any more. The important factor is WHY they are fitting and what is causing it. If it is Idiopathic Epilepsy, then they need to stay medicated all their life. I am more science based, but have used alternative remedies when I've run out of ordinary options, but not for Epilepsy. While the status quo is maintained, I feel it would be foolish to risk messing with it and possibly causing the dog to regress. In short: if it isn't broke....don't fix it! Obviously these are general observations and all Epileptics should be individually assessed, what is ok for one may not be for another.