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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
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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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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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
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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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
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.


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.

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
 

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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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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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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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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
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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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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Here is a survey that was done of people who switched to a "natural" diet for their epileptic dogs. As you can see, the actual diet varied as did the results, but it appears that the majority found that their dogs improved on a homemade diet.

Completely anecdotal, but the best I can find at the moment.

Natural Diet Survey Dogs A-J

As for Jayson above, while his story might be true I've seen him spamming other (non-basset) forums advertising his book as well. My guess is he's just Googling the topic and posting on whatever threads/questions he can find on the subject.
 

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Dogs are carnivores; there should be no disputing that.
quite the opposite while cats are carniovore ie. require a meat based diet canines are scientifically classified as omnivoires just as humans. If one studies the evolution of the the domestic dog one would find that evoled from wolves by feeding on human waste dump i.e eating human scraps and as such had a diet that basical mimimic our own. The dog as wolve model simply holds no water this go's for diet as well as behaviorally.

One need to be caerful when evaluating esetial testimonial site in that I do not dispute the accurace of the claims made but quite simply it is often the minority
that have been help that post and the large majority that saw no change or delerious effect simply don't post. There is a tendency for such sites to be selective and slanted. I personnally know more raw zelots that have whiched back to either a cooked homemade diet or commercial kibble after their dogs suffered ill effects from the raw diet that have continued it for more than five years. Anticdotal for sure but these people are simply not posting their results on pro raw polls or advocacy web sites.

We certainly have a lot to think about. I am particularly frustrated because she is still so young
That is the case most of the time with idopathic epilepsy though 1-5 is the time frame cite from nuerologist I have taked with the average age of onset is more like between 1-2 with 18 months peak

Not to be an alarmist but most troubling for me is the "Well...3 weeks later and she has had a couple more " the frequency and if she is actual having cluster siezures all of which are more debilitating on the dog. Hopefully the medication and/or diet change is helpful in controling siezure for you but unfortunately that is not always the case. I don't know where you acquired the pup but if the breeder is reputable they will want to know about this as epilepsy has often shown to be a genetic disorder.

Virtually all the benefit can be maintain and most of harmfull aspects can be eliminated by simply using a handmade diet consiting of cooked meat as opposed to raw. I general have to laugh at rawe advocates use the feed of large cats in zoo's raw as a justification for fed dogs raw. The simply do not understand the fundmental biological difference between the two Cats require taurine which is heat sensitive and can and is distroyed by heat. Cat food manufactures sumplements heat processed protein with taurine That is simply not the case in dogs which can manufacture all the taurine they need, Many so called scientific studies including the one most cited by raw advocates falls to account for the unique nature of cats and there taurine requirements. So studies on raw vs cooked protein that use cats as the subject matter are not germain to raw vs cooked protein in humans or dogs.
 

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It does not need to be raw to be beneficial I think is all Mike is trying to say
There is not any real scientific data to support diet link to epelepsy in dogs, there is not any to disprove it either. If one wants to pursue that avenue for their particular dog I say go for it, if not that is fine too. But I do get a bit peturbed when zelots present only a single side of the arguement completely ignoring the well known and document harm such a diet can cause. If some one makes an informed choice knowing both the risk and potential reward for a diet change that great what ever choice they make but when someone ends up making a choice because they have only i/2 or one side then that is tragic.
 

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Discussion Starter · #15 ·
An update on Tulip and a request for advice, if anyone has any...

Tulip went on Pheno to control the seizures on 12/21. We nearly doubled her dose several days later because she had several more seizures (and administered a loading dose) but on NYD we had to take her to the emergency vet because she was clustering.

We now have Valium we can give rectally so we don't have to incur 300.00 in vet bills if the clustering happens again.

However, the seizures are still not under control. Our vet (very reputable here in MI) has suggested a change in medication and the possibly an MRI.

My questions:

*Does anyone know if we could get her covered under pet insurance at this point? We don't have $2000 laying around for an MRI.

*The emergency vet mentioned the possibility of a liver shunt, but out vet thinks that can't be the case because she doesn't only seize after eating. Does anyone have experience with liver shunts/seizures?

Thank you all for your insights!

Sarah
 

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Pheno worked for us

Hi My basset started having seizures aged 10. No warning signs - came from nowhere. Full epileptic fit lasted less than a minute but scared the living daylights out of me. Took her to vet who happened to me by uncle - he came over bt said by the time I arrive she will either have recovered or be dead. Fortunately she recovered. Vets don't pescribe pheno after 1 or 2 fits fit as some dogs apparently have 1 seizure and no more. Over a period of time my dog began to have them more frequently as in the duration of time between them became shorter - they never lasted much more than a minute but at the time it certainly feels much longer- very thirsty afterwards so we stared pheno and I was fortunate enough that for the rest of her life, neother of us suffered her ever having another seizure. There are different kinds of seizures - the ones like i described but also others where the fits lasts much longer or happen in multiple episodes. Fortunately for my basset she happened to have the type where the pheno was successful. I guess all you can do is to try it and see. I gave my basset's her pheno medication (dose depends on dogs weight/age) in food (never an issue - she hoovered it up) each morning and night. I hope this helps - pls feel free to post me if you have any other questions I haven't covered.

Here's hoping the pheno works for your dog as well as it did mine.

Sophie.12
 

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PORTO SYSTEMIC SHUNTS

PORTOSYSTEMIC SHUNTS

Portosystemic Shunts


We nearly doubled her dose several days later because she had several more seizures
has suggested a change in medication and the possibly an MRI
Depending on the current dosing increasing pheno may or may not be a possibility. Adding KBr is always a possibility but the results are never immeadiate because it takes time to develop There are a number of human drugs that have worked to when phen or kbr fail but because they are metablized at a much faster rate in dog than humans and are quite expensive the are generally not a first choice.

The dog need if not done blood test bile assey etc to test liver function see the liver shunt links on of the cheaper diagnostic tools for them will not totally diagnostic it can eliminate them as a cause without extensive and expensive testing. A blood toxicology because their are a number of household toxic substances that can cause siezures. Before even considering an MRI you need to talk to vet on what are the posibilities of problems the MRI will show and if any are actual treatable. It is often the case that such diagnostic tool can help determine a cause but completely useless in effecting a cure or control.

As far as pet insurances yes it is possible to get but the siezure would be a "pre existing condition and any treatment or diagnostic procedure would not be covered. That said 2k sounds about 2x two high. MRI's here general run 1/2 that amount but like I said make sure it will actual help.

other anti siezure medications

KEPPRA (LEVETIRACETAM)

Levetiracetam for Veterinary Use
Levetiracetam is used as an add-on drug for dogs and cats whose seizures are not adequately controlled by phenobarbital or the bromides; as many as 60-70% of dogs and cats with epilepsy are not controlled adequately by these medications.

febalmate

zonisamide
 

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Discussion Starter · #18 ·
Thanks for the shunt and medication information. We are really at a loss as to what to do. She had another grand mal seizure yesterday just before we took her in to get blood taken to check Pheno levels.

All told he has had 21 seizures (4 grand mal) since the beginning of December that we have SEEN. It's a little daunting right now for us. We have been doing a lot of thinking/agOnizing about our next steps.

Thanks again for your help...
 

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I am so sorry you are going through this.

We lost our 10 year old golden about 1 and a 1/2 years ago. Healthy as a horse, vets could not find anything wrong with him despite all their testing. He just suddenly started seizuring. I *think* they prescribed him pheno. I don't recall the name it was injected rectally following a seizure. Started with a p though.

The most important thing is if your dog gives you warning signs prior to seizuring get them to a safe area (somewhere not around stairs or anything they can hurt themselves on). I know our golden would seemingly go lame on his front leg before seizuring which gave me the 30/45 seconds I needed to get him somewhere safe. Also do not try restricting them during a seizure I just sat closeby and watched. Our boy seemed comforted by us being there with him immediately afterwards and so I would sit and talk to him to let him know I was there. Just give your pup space as she seems to need time to regroup.

I doubt insurance would pick her up now seeing as she has a pre existing condition. It's worth a shot but she will probably be denied. Our golden was denied as well from 2 seperate companies.

Grand mals are the worst! Just thinking about them makes me almost cry it's the most heartbreaking things to watch happen to someone that you love especially when they can't be explained to what is happening. I hope you get your baby's seizuring under control.
 

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Discussion Starter · #20 ·
Thank you for your kind words, fred's mom. :)

We have upped the Pheno to almost 100 mg (i think...i know it was a bout 3x what she was taking before) because her bloodwork revealed she was at a 21 (the range they look for is between 15 and 45) so we had room to medicate more. Theys aid since she is so young, her puppy metabolism might be using up the meds more quickly than an older dog. Her seizures, unfortunately, have not stopped. They seem to be slightly further apart (we are looking at about 5 days without a grand mal now. And before the last one, about 5 days as well...

We take her to see a neurologist next Friday in Detroit (about 2 hrs from us). Hopefully they will be able to get us some answers.
 
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