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Old 08-06-2014, 06:42 AM   #1
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Pets with epilepsy...

Just throwing this out there to see if there are any others who are dealing with epilepsy in pets. My dog Roscoe had his first grand mal seizure on Sunday (after a heartworm preventative on Friday and a round of vaccinations on Saturday). We ran him to the ER vet, but they didn't find anything wrong in bloodwork or ultrasound, and said we could take him home and keep an eye on him. Not long after we got him back home, he had another seizure, though not nearly as bad as the first. We took him back, fearing a cluster, and they put him on Keppra XR Sunday night and kept him for observation.

As far as we know, he's been seizure free since then, and I'm praying so hard that it stays that way. I've read so many horror stories about pets ending up on four kinds of meds for this and still having several seizures a month. I'd love to hear from anyone, but I'm especially interested in success stories. I registered on a forum, and all the stories there are horrific, and then I think 'Well yeah... people who had great luck with their meds are probably not going to post on a canine epilepsy forum'.

We work all day, and my biggest fear with all this is that he'll seize while he's at home, and go into status. He's always been destructo-doggie, so he is well crate trained for his own protection (he has eaten entire bushes before), but I also think about him seizing and losing bladder or bowel control and having to be stuck in his crate with that until we get home.

This has turned our lives upside down a little. It breaks my heart to see him suffer. I completely freaked out at the first seizure... screamed for my husband, had an adrenaline dump myself, after. But I know how to handle it now... I know the importance of staying calm, I know one seizure isn't going to kill him as long as it ends in a minute or two as they typically do. I know I've done all I can, and there's some peace in that, but I can't stop worrying about him when he's home alone.

He's my baby.
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Old 08-11-2014, 12:07 AM   #2
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Awww. I honestly have no knowledge of this, hoping someone does for you..
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Old 08-11-2014, 02:45 PM   #3
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It sounds like he had a reaction to something, so he may not have seizures permanently. As his body metabolizes the meds he may stop having seizures. You should definitely talk to your vet the next time he is for for vaccines or heartworm. One of my cats had seizures after his annual shots. After realizing that is what was happening we stopped the shots.

My dog had seizures due to Lyme's disease. It honestly just becomes your new normal. They are scary, but you learn to do what needs to be done. Maybe you could get him a bigger crate, or somehow give him a bigger space so that if he has an accident he can get to a clean spot to sleep, because that is all he will want to do after a seizure.
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Old 08-22-2014, 09:53 AM   #4
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Thanks to both of you for the supportive words and ideas!

He was put on meds the day he had his first (and second) seizure, and he hasn't had one since. Breakthrough seizures do happen, so I am hopeful that this means his epilepsy is circumstantial, and can maybe be avoided in the future. But I also know that they CAN happen at any time, so I am trying not to get my hopes up.

I am confident in the knowledge that we have done all we can, which is the best we can do.
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Old 08-24-2014, 01:16 PM   #5
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I'm sorry to hear that your dog and family are going through this. I have experience with a dog with epilepsy (sadly not a story with a happy ending, I wont go there though).. That said, I wanted to share that it was the opinion of professionals that short of having someone stay with the epileptic dog, the dog is safer in his crate when you are away, try not to worry and don't feel bad.. As his human it feels "wrong" thinking he may end up in a pile of his own mess if he has a seizure, but he can be bathed and truthfully is safer than he would be at doggie daycare (where other dogs could turn on him if he has an episode).
Our pet was adopted from a shelter, we didn't know his true breed/ mix or age, but while were dealing with his epilepsy we learned that there are breeds where epilepsy is more common and age ranges where the seizures may start presenting, different med types, tests to make sure the meds weren't affecting organs etc. Depending on the meds some have some serious side effects (extreme thirst, increased appetite, increased need to urinate, lethargy etc).. I know the forums and web pages that you are likely referring to and they can be sad and worrisome, I do recommend that you read up as much as you can, learn about the signs that come before the seizures and take a look at your dogs age and history to try to tell if the seizures were coincidentally near the vet visit or if they may have been linked to the vaccines. Either way, only time will really tell, try not to worry and enjoy every moment you have with your pet.
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Old 08-24-2014, 02:08 PM   #6
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I have a 6-year-old Chinese crested with epilepsy. I can't give you any expert information but I can share our story.

He has had maybe six to eight seizures a year for the past three years. After he had three seizures within a couple of months, getting progressively more violent, he was prescribed phenobarbital. It seemed to help as he went about six months between seizures, but his vet was concerned about his elevated liver enzymes and switched him over to Keppra. He's just a little guy so his dosage was a guess and we had to have the pills made into liquid to accommodate the tiny dose. My feeling is that Keppra isn't as effective for him as pheno was, but we couldn't risk liver damage from pheno. He still has a seizure every few weeks but they're not as serious as they used to be.

He remains very conscious and aware during the seizure and they scare the wits out of him. We usually realize he's having a seizure when we hear him crashing around trying to run away in panic, and we have to hold him so he doesn't hurt himself. He is very attached to my daughter so she holds him in her lap until it subsides and that seems to relax him. He is more comfortable lying down rather than being held vertically against her shoulder, although he enjoys that position normally.

I'm sure this has been of very little help, but my advice to the OP would be to make sure Roscoe is safe and as comfortable as possible during the seizures. If you're not there he's probably safer in his crate than out of it. If you're able to keep him in your lap he might find it comforting if he's conscious, but keep a towel or blanket handy in case of loss of control. Our guy doesn't have potty accidents but he drools and his eyes gush water enough to soak you.

Good luck, I hope it was just a one-time event.

I edit this to add that I do consider ours a success story. Lucas still has occasional seizures but his medicine has reduced the frequency and severity. It looks like things have leveled out and we've learned to manage his episodes without too much trauma for anyone. I've heard of far worse cases but ours is manageable.
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Last edited by Mrs Eeyore; 08-24-2014 at 02:57 PM.
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Old 08-27-2014, 10:53 AM   #7
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Thanks for the replies, everyone!

We went seizure free on Keppra for 23 days, but I came home yesterday to find him post-ictal. He had very thick foam on his mouth and front paws, and seemed dazed and tired, but other than that, none the worse for wear. Blessedly, he didn't lose bladder/bowel control, and didn't seem to have gotten anything caught in anything, so the crate kept him safe. He is too big to hold on my lap, so I just let him out of the crate and spoke soothingly to him, petted him gently, and toweled him off.

I know it is probably folly to try to look for patterns, but it is interesting that his first seizure was the day after I brought him home from a vet trip, the second seizure was a couple of hours after we brought him home from the ER vet, and the third seizure was the day after we brought him home from the kennel, after a vacation. I am wondering if the stimulus of going somewhere like the vet or the kennel is too much for his already seizure-prone makeup to handle and it pushes him over the edge.

Interestingly, though, he didn't have any seizures (that anyone knows of - and they said they kept an eye on him) at the kennel.

Yesterday was hard... I kept flinching at every movement worrying he'd go into clusters. It's like reliving that first day of seizures all over again, and that's disheartening because I really did think that I had come to terms with it. I guess I probably won't until we've had enough of these that they become a little more "old hat".
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Old 08-31-2014, 06:12 PM   #8
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How old is he and what kind of dog is he? Have you seen a veterinary neurologist? I would do that and try to keep his life as even keel as possible, as well as space out his vaccinations and heartworm pills.

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Old 09-01-2014, 10:29 AM   #9
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He is five years old, and is a mixed breed. We're honestly not sure what his breeds are, but just going on looks, we would guess maybe Lab, maybe German Shepherd (which I know are prone), maybe Boxer...

He did see a neurologist when he was first diagnosed, and we have a follow-up in a week or so, so I will mention the break-through seizure to her then. It seems as if taking him places might be more excitement than his little brain can handle, so I am just trying to keep things nice and low-key, play with him as much as I can so he gets some stimulation, and trying to keep to a strict feeding/dosing routine. He gets his heartworm pill tomorrow, so I am fingers crossed that he takes it okay.

Thanks for the virtual hug!
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Old 10-14-2014, 05:12 PM   #10
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We had a dauchsund that also went through this. First one hit when he was 3 years old. We didn't medicate him right off because the vet said if it was only once a month or so, it wasn't worth it to put him on the pills.

But after a few years, another vet suggested that his thyroid might be the trouble, and tested and sure enough there was almost zero thyroid function. So he was on pills for that the rest of his life, had a seizsure every few months, but lived a full life until passing two years ago at age 14.

I hope you have as many years together with yours.
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