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Old 12-21-2010, 09:02 AM   #1 (permalink)
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MOrning, all.
I am new to this forum and am searching out support/help with our 10 month old basset.

Tulip starting having what we termed 'episodes' about a month and half ago. She would run around climbing at the walls, barking and howling and generally going crazy. She would then lose control of bladder and bowels. We thought they might be seizures, and took her to the vet. The vet said it was possible and to watch her and try to record one so they could see it.

Well...3 weeks later and she has had a couple more (but we hadn't been home, or had the camera ready to take the video, unfortunately). Last night, however, she had a full blown, grand mal seizure (stiff legs, foaming, uncontrollable shaking, etc.) She didn't seem to recognize me after and growled at me and tried to snap at my hand. (She is normally the most loving dog you will ever meet). We called the vet and they are prescribing Pheno and we should get it this afternoon.

So...long story....these are my questions:
1. Does anyone have experience with Pheno (good/bad) and do you know of any better alternatives (I'm worried about the liver damage and weight gain)
2. When she comes out of a seizure (and for the last month or so in general) she has been incredibly whiny, and clingy. (totally unlike her up to this point on the 7 months we have had her). Can that be caused by seizures? I have read so much saying dogs don't know it has happened, but she seems particularly cognizant of it.

Thanks for any advice!
Sarah
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Old 12-21-2010, 12:34 PM   #2 (permalink)
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They know something has happened but they are not actually conscious during the seizure (as per someone I knew with epilepsy). Seizures are tiring and usually leave them a bit disoriented.
There is a website devoted to canine epilepsy, I'll try to find the link later. A lot of its members reported a reduction in seizures after switching their dogs to a homemade diet. FWIW, ketogenic (very low carb) diets are also often used to help control seizures in children. So that might be worth looking into. Personally I did notice that my dog seemed to have fewer sei_res when being fed homemade.
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Old 12-21-2010, 12:41 PM   #3 (permalink)
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Thank you for your comments, Soundtrack.

We changed her food from puppy wellness to the Wellness Simple Duck and Rice when she was about 8 months. It is a limited ingredient, hypo-allergenic dog food that our older dog, Owen, eats. Do you think that could be contributing in some way? When you say homemade, where do you find good information on what should be included in a homemade dog diet? Is that something my vet could tell me?

Also, even if her seizures end with Pheno, is there a decreased lifespan with epileptic dogs in general?

Thanks again!
Sarah
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Old 12-21-2010, 04:36 PM   #4 (permalink)
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Quote:
2. When she comes out of a seizure (and for the last month or so in general) she has been incredibly whiny, and clingy. (totally unlike her up to this point on the 7 months we have had her). Can that be caused by seizures? I have read so much saying dogs don't know it has happened, but she seems particularly cognizant of it.
This is known as the post ictal phase and can be non-exsistant to lasting days. The female i had that was epileptic this lasted ~24 hrs. From the first link below
Quote:
Following the seizure, the dog may lay motionless for a brief period. Eventually he will get up on his feet and may appear to be perfectly normal, but typically will show signs of post ictal behavior. These signs may include blindness, disorientation, pacing or running about the house bumping into things. The post-ictal behavior can last anywhere from hours to days after a seizure.


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Does anyone have experience with Pheno (good/bad) and do you know of any better alternatives (I'm worried about the liver damage and weight gain)
The Female above almost died from liver problems even though she was having monthly liver funtion tests. Because her seizures where never "under control" she was at maximium theraputic value of pheno at the time.

The most common alternative is KBr (Potassium Bromide) often times they are used in conjuction with each other however KBr takes 2 weeks or more to build to theraputic level so most dogs are started on Pheno and then sometimes weened of of it once theraputic Values of Kbr are reach and/or If KBr does not contol siezure on its own. Used in conjuction with each othe the amount of Pheo can often be reduced thereby reducing the risks associated with it. Most of the other medication used to treat epilepsy in humans are rapidly metablized by dogs meaning these more expensive medication need to be given very frequently and precisiely timed to be effective so they are general reserved for those cases that are not responsive to Pheno, KBr or a combination of the two.

Give the age of the dog it is most likely Idopathic ( no known cause) epilepsyn but there is no diagnostic tool for this disease basical the diagnose is reached by eliminating all other possible causes. ie tumor in the brain, brain trauma, toxic chemicals, liver shunts, hypothyrodism. While it is highly unlikely you should have the vet run a complete thyroid panel Even marginal low thyroid levels have been known to induce siezures, Pheno affect thyroid test so it is best to test whenever possible before the dog is on it,

Pheno itself is not the problem in life span with epilepsy it is the siezure. It is important that they be controled because basical each siezure the dog has makes the next siezure more likely as it lowers the threshold of electrical activity that starts a siezure. Keeping a siezure diary may help pinpoint triggers and minimize the dogs exposure to them as well. Unfortunately my experience with the disease is not a good one, The siezures were neer controled and the dog died form her first and only status siezure ( siezure lasting more than 10 minutes) Usually vets are reluctant to do so, but givin my past experience I would insist on a dose of liquid valium that can be delivered rectally just in case. such siezures do not often occur when only minutes from a vet.

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ere is a website devoted to canine epilepsy, I'll try to find the link later.
actual more than one The first listed below is more homeopathic and will have diet and other recomendation like using Milk thistle to protect the liver from the effects of pheno.

Epi-Guardian Angles

The othesr more tradional

Canine Epilepsy Network

Canine Epilepsy Resources

Last edited by Mikey T; 12-21-2010 at 04:44 PM.
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Old 12-21-2010, 07:31 PM   #5 (permalink)
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Hey there Sarah,

I know exactly how you're feeling. I had a dog with canine epilepsy and we were able to treat it without using any anti-epilepsy drugs. Our treatment had to do with a major change in nutrition and worked so well that he didn't have a seizure over the final 5 years of his life.

His name was Cory, and his improvement in health was so significant that my mom actually wrote a book called "Cory's Story" that details his life including how we cured him of seizures through a change in diet.

The diet change? Raw.

We switched him to a raw, meaty-bones diet and his health immediately improved. I now fully advocate this diet to all dog owners; it simply worked miracles for Cory.

I really hope you give it a try and let us know how it goes. It's absolutely the healthiest thing you can do for your dog.
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Old 12-21-2010, 08:29 PM   #6 (permalink)
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It's absolutely the healthiest thing you can do for your dog
What little scientific evidence there is is on raw diets does not tend to support this conclusion,

from the Epi-guardian Angels web site
CAUTIONS ON RAW FOOD DIETS (RAW MEAT) AND EPILEPTIC DOGS
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Old 12-22-2010, 02:57 AM   #7 (permalink)
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Mikey,

Lack of scientific evidence or not (and I am no expert), I can tell you two definitive things:

1) The change in diet from kibble to raw had such a profound effect on my epileptic dog that he was literally cured of seizures. He lived the last 5 years of his life seizure-free. He was a yellow labrador and lived to be 13.5 years old (amazing for a lab, even more so for an epileptic one).

2) Dogs are carnivores; there should be no disputing that. They descended from wolves. Kibble was never nature's intended meal for a dog, though I'm not saying that you are advocating kibble.

What I'm saying is that if kibble isn't right, and dogs are carnivores, what logical choice does that leave? In my opinion, the answer is raw. If it can cure an epileptic dog, imagine what it can do for healthy dogs.
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Old 12-22-2010, 07:49 AM   #8 (permalink)
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It does not need to be raw to be beneficial I think is all Mike is trying to say. There are many home cooked diets that can be administered as well and have the same benefits... plus you then don't need to worry about the splintering bones and harmful bacteria that can sometimes accompany a raw diet when one is new to it and unaware of how to properly prepare it. I know of many who swear by raw... not as a therapy for seizures but just as a general food protocol. I am neither way I prefer the kibble I know and know where all the ingredients come from but that's just me.
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Old 12-22-2010, 09:45 AM   #9 (permalink)
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Thanks for all of your comments. We certainly have a lot to think about. I am particularly frustrated because she is still so young.

But....we are trying to get past that and do what is best for her through both pharmaceuticals and diet change. We are hoping with those changes we will be able to keep her seizure free for the vast majority of her days.
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Old 12-22-2010, 02:32 PM   #10 (permalink)
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One dog is too small of a sample size to come to a conclusion about a diet change universally directly affecting a disease. It is possible that it was simply a coincidence, or that your specific dog reacted better than others would. That's why actual scientific studies involve many subjects and a control group in order to have a large sample size that supports cause and effect, not coincidence.
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