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Dog Seizures- I need help ASAP please!!!


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  #1  
July 11th, 2010, 01:53 PM
mrsracatoe's Avatar Mega Super Mommy
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I have 2 dogs. My 2 year old Siberian Husky Boxer mix has been having seizures since we moved to our temporary house (DH and I are moving to TX because he is Active Duty Army). I have had her fixed and that didn't help like the vet said that it would. He gave me Valium to give her because all of her blood work came back normal so he says that basically her brain is overloading and trying to process everything. I only gave her the Valium when I knew she was overwhelmed or right before I had a lot of stuff going on around here. When I called to get it refilled he wants to put her on Phenobarbital (sorry if it is spelled wrong). I did research on it and it is very harsh and can even kill the livers quickly. I know the seizures are dangerous too but so is the medication. She only has about 2 a month (almost exactly a month apart) and she usually has one and then within 2 hours later she has the 2nd one and then thats it for the month. Anyone here have any expirence with Phenobarbital and their dog?? I just feel like I will be giving her medication that will be killing her. Her seizures are Epileptic Seizures. I would love to be able to get her on something natural/herbal that helps to prevent/block seizures. Anyone know of anything herbal/natural that I can give her?? I am so heartbroken watching her go through this but she is my baby and I will do whatever it takes to help her!!!!
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  #2  
July 11th, 2010, 02:58 PM
Double_N_Jenn's Avatar Super Mommy
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First, you can Google all natural vets if that's what you are after. There is even acupuncture for pets and I know of a lot of people who have put their faith in that and say it works.

So she only seems to seize when she gets excited/over stimulated? Is there any way you can keep her calm? I'm guessing a big part of this can be the move. It's confusing for them and sometimes I wish I could just explain things to the dogs, you know? Tell them things will be okay.

I don't have any experience myself with the phenobarb, but I do know of others that have had their dogs on it. But these folks' dogs had so many more seizures then yours.

I would try doing a search for an all natural vet first. See if you can find someone around you who would know how to treat your dog the proper way. Just looking up what herbs and other things on the internet, you'd probably come back with so many results that it would be overwhelming.
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  #3  
July 11th, 2010, 04:51 PM
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I wouldn't go the natural route with seizures in dogs, it's almost impossible to control them that way because they aren't people who can tell you how they're feeling and such. But I had a dog on Phenobarbitol and it gave him full blown active liver disease which I then spent 6 months curing and had to regenerate 70% of his liver. So...with that said though there ARE other newer drugs with far less side effects. Personally we ended up going with Potassium Bromide. It's liquid and it's salty so dogs tend to hate it but I would put it in a little plain soy milk or mix in with a raw egg and my dog ate it thta way fine. We got ours from RP Healthcare (google it) in Santa Ana, California and it only ended up being about $5 a month (I bought a 6 month supply at the time) and they overnighted it to me at a very reasonable rate. It is processed through the kidneys not the liver and it does not have the same effect on the kidneys that it has on the liver.

So, my recommendation to you, would be to keep the valium on hand and use ONLY if your pup goes into cluster seizures that you cannot stop and then use the Potassium Bromise on a daily basis to control them in the first place. Also if you have stairs in your home or other dogs I would suggest that you crate your dog for their own safety if you are away from the home or sleeping as they can easily fall down the stairs while having a seizure and if they do have a seizure it is not uncommon for other dogs in the household to attack (and quite possibly kill) the siezing dog as this is a natural pack mentality to kill the weaker ones in the pack especially if they are kill to the point of not fighting back. So be careful on that note as well.

I will say 2 a month and in clusters is too many and could very well escalate but just because bloodwork came back normal doesn't automatically throw it into the idopathic category. The only way to get into that category for sure is to have bloodwork, along with an MRI to rull out any brain tumors and to be seen by a veterinary neurologist. So honestly I would probably encourage you to find another vet because I'm not one to trust ones that throw animals into the idiopathic category without seeing other possibilities first.

Good luck. Oh I'd also encourage you to join the K9 epilepsy group on yahoo. They don't get an over abundance of e-mail but they were a HUGE help to me in the year we were dealing with my dog's seizures and medication and stuff.

k9epileptics : Worldwide Canine Epilepsy Support Group
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  #4  
July 12th, 2010, 07:50 PM
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OMG! I didn't even know that there were Natural/Alternative Medicine Vets or Acupuncture for dogs. Wow you ladies sure do know all about this stuff. I hand the Valium on hand ONLY for times she was overstimulated/stressed and he wrote a RX 3 months ago for 15 of them and now that I am out he refuses to treat her without placing her on the Phenobarbitol. The RX was for the Valium pills. I wasn't doping her up all the time as you can tell with 15 pills lasting 3 months. She took 1 pill as needed or every 6 hours but we only used them when we knew a lot would be going on. There are only 2 vets around here and the last one we saw that gave us the Valium for the overstimulation is now refusing to cooperate with me about this. The first vet i took her to just did the bloodwork and stool sample and they treated her as if she had "cooties". In other words they didn't want to touch her at all and also talked very rudely to me about her situation by telling me that there is nothing that they can do for her and that she would just die if I wasn't with her thats why I took her to the only other vet around here. I refuse to let my furbaby continue to suffer and I refuse to give her medication that is going to cause her to die. How can I get a vet to cooperate with me, about the Valium, until I move?? I have to be in TX before 5 weeks from now. She is going to have to have something to keep her calm for the 3 or 4 day drives and staying in hotels till we get there. I will be so glad to get out of SC and get to TX. The closest vet other than those two that won't help are over 1 1/2 hours away. This is so ridiculous!!My baby needs help and I can't help her without a vet to cooperate. Why is this process so difficult for them to work with me until I get moved and find a permanent vet in TX? Also, isn't it strange that her seizures are happening almost exactly 1 month apart (almost to the day)? Is there any other seizure triggers that I may be missing since they are on a schedule (or somewhat of a schedule of the days? I don't know since her bllodwork and stool samples came back perfect and that was within 20 minutes of her seizures. According to both vets, there should have been a period of several hours in which her blood work should have to get back to a normal range but there was nothing unusual about her work-up. I just don't know anymore and i am fed up with both of the vets around here. I just want to help my baby so that she isn't suffering anymore by having seizures.
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  #5  
July 12th, 2010, 07:55 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Mommie2One View Post
I wouldn't go the natural route with seizures in dogs, it's almost impossible to control them that way because they aren't people who can tell you how they're feeling and such. But I had a dog on Phenobarbitol and it gave him full blown active liver disease which I then spent 6 months curing and had to regenerate 70% of his liver. So...with that said though there ARE other newer drugs with far less side effects. Personally we ended up going with Potassium Bromide. It's liquid and it's salty so dogs tend to hate it but I would put it in a little plain soy milk or mix in with a raw egg and my dog ate it thta way fine. We got ours from RP Healthcare (google it) in Santa Ana, California and it only ended up being about $5 a month (I bought a 6 month supply at the time) and they overnighted it to me at a very reasonable rate. It is processed through the kidneys not the liver and it does not have the same effect on the kidneys that it has on the liver.

So, my recommendation to you, would be to keep the valium on hand and use ONLY if your pup goes into cluster seizures that you cannot stop and then use the Potassium Bromise on a daily basis to control them in the first place. Also if you have stairs in your home or other dogs I would suggest that you crate your dog for their own safety if you are away from the home or sleeping as they can easily fall down the stairs while having a seizure and if they do have a seizure it is not uncommon for other dogs in the household to attack (and quite possibly kill) the siezing dog as this is a natural pack mentality to kill the weaker ones in the pack especially if they are kill to the point of not fighting back. So be careful on that note as well.

I will say 2 a month and in clusters is too many and could very well escalate but just because bloodwork came back normal doesn't automatically throw it into the idopathic category. The only way to get into that category for sure is to have bloodwork, along with an MRI to rull out any brain tumors and to be seen by a veterinary neurologist. So honestly I would probably encourage you to find another vet because I'm not one to trust ones that throw animals into the idiopathic category without seeing other possibilities first.

Good luck. Oh I'd also encourage you to join the K9 epilepsy group on yahoo. They don't get an over abundance of e-mail but they were a HUGE help to me in the year we were dealing with my dog's seizures and medication and stuff.

k9epileptics : Worldwide Canine Epilepsy Support Group

How often does you dog have seizures now, if the dog even does have them anymore?? How long has it been since your dog had it's last seizure? I am going to go and google the potassium bromide now. Is that something that you need an RX for? OMG sorry for all the questions. I am just in a panic right now.
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  #6  
July 12th, 2010, 08:03 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mrsracatoe View Post
How often does you dog have seizures now, if the dog even does have them anymore?? How long has it been since your dog had it's last seizure? I am going to go and google the potassium bromide now. Is that something that you need an RX for? OMG sorry for all the questions. I am just in a panic right now.
Well I'm sorry to say that my dog that had seizures is the one in my siggy that passed away coming up on 3 years ago (Lucas) so he is no longer with us. He was having seizures due to a probable brain tumor or valley fever lesion on his brain, either way it was not idiopathic and at this point I couldn't tell you how frequent they were, is quite honestly a year of hell I'd like to forget to a certain extent...not very but got worse as his condition worsened. Your best bet is to keep a journal, it could be food triggers, heartworm prevention, flea prevention, something that goes on monthly in your home, or just a coincidence.

Yes all anti convulsant medications are prescriptions.

And short answer...you need to drive the 1 1/2 hours to another vet. I know it's not ideal but you can't MAKE someone work with you if they aren't willing to and in the mean time your dog needs help, so....I'm not seeing much of an alternative unfortunately.
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  #7  
July 13th, 2010, 12:38 AM
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Unfortunately, there is not a lot of options. Seizures tend to be grouped into 2 categories: intracranial (originating in the brain) or extracranial (outside the brain). I imagine your vet has ruled out extracranial- usually liver disease or porto-systemic liver shunt. That leaves intracranial. As Meghan mentioned, that is either idiopathic or a brain tumor. By far and away, the most common cause of seizures in the dog is idiopathic. To be completely thorough, you would need to get a head MRI to rule out brain tumors.

Now, many people cannot afford or do not wish to pay for a MRI. In these cases, in the absence of extracranial causes, the dog is empirically treated for idiopathic epilepsy because, as I said before, that is most common anyway. Not saying this is 'best practice', but in real life this is often what happens.

When to treat is often a good question. Humans are not treated unless they have more than 2 seizures per month, or cluster seizure or status epilepticus (sustained seizuring). Often this is used as a baseline for dogs too. Phenobarbitol IS the treatment of choice in dogs. There really isn't a whole lot of going around it. You can choose to not treat him and see how many seizures he has untreated and if they increase in frequency or durations. Keeping a log book is a good idea.

There are ways to help ensure that the Phenbarb does not destroy the liver. The serum blood levels are checked after 2 and 4 wks of starting therapy to make sure the phenobarb levels are within the desired range. After levels have stabilized within the desired range, he should be retested every 6-12 months, along with checking the liver enzyme levels. All this is to ensure that blood levels of phenobarbitol do not go outside the range, which can lead to liver failure.

Potassium Bromide is often used as an 'add on' treatment with Phenobarbitol in severe cases of epilepsy or in cases that do not respond satisfactorily with Phenobarb on its own. K-Br can be used on its own in cases where the dog does not tolerate the Phenobarb (as Meghan described with her dog). It would be pretty rare to start of treatment with only K-Br. K-Br also has side effects, such as a higher incidence of pancreatitis and hyperexcitability.

There are very few other choices for medications. Keppra (levetiracetam) is a human drug that is sometimes used as an add-on when the other 2 drugs are insufficient. Sometime it is used on its own. It can be quite expensive though.

So if you really want to be thorough, I would suggest the MRI. If that is not an option and the amount of seizures warrant treatment, then Phenobarbitol +/- Potassium Bromide is your best bet. Just be sure to be diligent about making and coming to your re-check appointments to ensure serum levels are where they need to be and liver enzymes/albumin levels are within normal limits.
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Last edited by **jessie**; July 13th, 2010 at 12:40 AM.
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  #8  
July 13th, 2010, 12:41 AM
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I will add Gabapentin is also another choice, virtually ZERO side effects, but it is expensive.
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  #9  
July 13th, 2010, 12:40 PM
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Sorry about your doggy! I hope you figure something. I don't know anything about seizures, but what part of Texas are you moving too? I used to live in the Austin area and know of some wonderful vets I can recommend. Good luck to you!
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  #10  
July 13th, 2010, 02:41 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Barlea View Post
Sorry about your doggy! I hope you figure something. I don't know anything about seizures, but what part of Texas are you moving too? I used to live in the Austin area and know of some wonderful vets I can recommend. Good luck to you!

My DH is in the Active Army and we will be living on base at Fort Hood. I think that Austin is only 60 miles away if I am remembering the information correctly. Do you know where Ft. Hood is?
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  #11  
July 13th, 2010, 04:24 PM
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It's near Killeen...and Temple isn't too far either.
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  #12  
July 13th, 2010, 08:37 PM
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Yeah... It's over an hour from Austin, too far for regular vet visits. The ones I know are more to the south also. But I think being in that area you will have more options as far as vet care and I bet with a little bit of research, you can find a vet that fits your needs and is willing to work with you.
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  #13  
July 13th, 2010, 11:02 PM
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Several posts up, **Jessie** has some really excellent information about seizure medication.

With Phenobarbitol, most veterinarians monitor liver enzymes very closely ( within the first month of starting medications, and every 6 months, sometimes every 3 depending on the patient) while the patient is on it. They also do 12 hour post checks to see the levels of the Phenobarb itself. I have seen a lot of success with Phenobarbitol at the clinic I work in (I'm a licensed veterinary technician) but unfortunately it does vary patient-to-patient.
An MRI is a very good idea but cost wise, it is out of the realm of possibilities for most clients. In a perfect world, I'd tell you to seek a neuro consult, but that alone generally is upwards of 150 for the consult, plus the cost of treatment and the cost of MRI and any other procedures they wish to pursue. If this is something you can do, it can be very beneficial, but on the opposite end of the spectrum sometimes you can come back with zero conclusive results and be back in stage one.
I wish you luck in the treatment of your dog. Seizures are so frightening.
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