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Basset Hound Epilepsy

Discussion in 'Dog Health and Nutrition' started by MeanwhileInHell, Feb 11, 2020.


  1. MeanwhileInHell

    MeanwhileInHell PetForums Newbie

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    Hi all. I was wondering if anyone could help, or has a similar experience to the one my wife and I currently are. We have two basset hounds, Betsy just turned 9 and Dudley is almost 8. When Dudley was 7 1/2 in August 2019, we were awoken one morning to him having a full general (grand mal) seizure. He had never experienced one before and we were terrified of what was happening. We took him to the vets and he said that it might be idiopathic epilepsy, but since it only his first, to monitor it and see if it ever happens again. Two and a half weeks later, he had another. Then nothing for over a month. Another thing we noticed once this started was that he was having a lot of what looked like tremors throughout the day. These ranged from small twitches to much more violent looking spasms that would literally jolt him into the air. The vet told us that these were likely petit mal's, and it did seem like the more violent they became, he would eventually go into a full grand mal.

    Not long after the vet suggested we put him on Pexion and had been on 400mg every 12 hours. This didn't stop the seizures, in fact they seemed to slightly increase in frequency. However this could just be down to the disorder naturally getting worse. We noticed that they mostly tended to occur during the night, likely when he was coming in and out of sleep. One positive we did notice on the Pexion was that his grand mals were much shorter in duration, from 5 minutes to most of the time below 2 minutes. But the Pexion did nothing for his tremors. So to try to tackle these, the vet put him on Gabapentin (400mg twice daily). While in the beginning we did notice a change (he wouldn't tremor/spasm until 1-2 hours before his next Gabapentin).

    Anyway, his grand mal's now occur every 10-12 days, and now mostly come in clusters. Each seizure is about 3 hours apart, so there is a recovery period, so not status epilepticus. There seems to be a lull in them right after his tablets (8am/8pm). My wife and I decided to up his Pexion by a half so he's on one and a half every 12 hours. That first week seemed like we had turned a corner, that maybe we had hit on something. However, that Saturday, he had 6 full grand mal seizures, (12pm, 3pm and 6pm, then again at midnight, 3am and 6am. The 6pm one, he was excessively drooling, like it was pouring out of him, and his tail was rigid and horizontal. He shook his head and fell straight into the seizure). He was off his breakfast that day, and possibly just didn't get all his meds that morning. I don't know if that would lead to what happened. We do know that once before he spat out his Pexion and had three in one day. We found it later that day luckily, and once he got his night tablet, stabalised. The past two days he has not been himself at all, he cannot settle, pants from time to time, but we did read that the postictal period can last up to 2 days after a particularly bad spell of seizures. Today he does seem a good bit better, he's sleeping now rather than endlessly pacing the house (luckily i work from home and my wife mostly works from home, so we are here to monitor him).

    His last vet visit was last Thursday and the vet suggested we look into a drug called Levetiracetam (brand name Keppra). He told us that this is very fast acting, and since Dudley is having more cluster seizures than not, we would give him one of these immediately after the first, and it should stop any remaining.

    But our main concern is that while the Pexion is maybe shortening the length of them, its not really doing anything to help with the frequency. Every 10-12 days is not management at all, and our vet agrees. He thinks that anything more than 1 a month is too much. Doing an MRI has been floated around a couple of times, but the vet thinks this unnecessary as Dudley is not exhibiting any other symptoms of brain damage or tumor like changes in personality, etc. And nor is the Gabapentin. I absolutely do not want to put him on Phenobarbital due to the liver damage with long term use, and the need to increase the dosage over time to compensate for building a tolerance. He is also on Onsior for some mild arthritis and Thyforon for an underactive thyriod. Also, I don't want to move him onto Potassium Bromide due to it taking up 3-6 month to build up to the correct level in his system, and I can only imagine what that will do to the frequency of the seizures. We are stressed out of our minds and haven't had a full nights sleep in weeks. It just doesn't seem fair to the little guy given his other issues. We are completely beside ourselves with worry as to where this is going to end up.

    Sorry for the huge post, it just kind of poured out. Has anyone else had a similar experience of not feeling in control and then changing to a different med that worked?

    Thanks.
     
    #1 MeanwhileInHell, Feb 11, 2020
    Last edited: Feb 11, 2020
  2. lullabydream

    lullabydream PetForums VIP

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    Bless you I know you are dealing with a lot, its really hard to know what to do for a dog with epilepsy. My first dog was epileptic many moons ago, and at that time it was phonobarb and bromide to manage and it was really upping medications, blood tests for the liver and seeing how we went really. We could be OK for a while, see many grand mals over quick succession and was such a worrying time. Plus Internet not everyone had so although there was a bit of information few and far between. Plus less medication

    What I will say, my friend/old work colleague uses keppra and finds it helpful for her dog.

    I think epilepsy is one of those conditions, even in humans there is very little we can do as carer givers for want of better word that it is watching and waiting for a seizure to take its course so to say. Can be playing around with medications to see if anything helps, which is often a long winded affair and what works miracles for one dog doesn't for another. It really is hard to work out what we need to do, and yes feelings of helplessness are all but too common. However when we have those breaks from a seizure, no matter how short these are it does help to focus on these.

    Probably not much help, but it's always a hard one to control as I said often in humans too. It's really so, sadly.
     
  3. MeanwhileInHell

    MeanwhileInHell PetForums Newbie

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    Thank you lullabydream. I've had real trouble posting this response, I keep getting an error that it contains spam. The little guy has had an MRI scan of his brain to rule out anything sinister that could be causing his seizures. And to make sure that it is true epilepsy, so that we are treating the true cause. He should get the results today, but preliminary results were good from the vet who performed the scan (they send the results off to expert vets for a proper analysis, but he didn't see anything obvious to him).

    Dudley has had a good week and a bit, and like you said, we've tried to focus on these and its been nice seeing his true character coming back out. He's been playing ball and sitting by the fridge in the hope of getting some cheese when its opened :) But now it's approaching the time when his cycle seems to come around, 10-14 days. So we're on edge a bit. Fingers crossed the MRI results are clear, and we know that we can go down another epilepsy drug med, vet mentioned adding pot bromide.
     
  4. SusieRainbow

    SusieRainbow Administrator
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    Has he been tested for Lafora ?
    This is a condition seen mostly in miniature wire-haired dachshuds but occasionally in Bassets and Beagles too. It's a genetic problem , characterised by neurological symptoms and epilepsy-type seizures.
    https://wagwalking.com/condition/lafora-disease
     
  5. MeanwhileInHell

    MeanwhileInHell PetForums Newbie

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    Hi SusieRainbow, no we haven't had him tested for that. We will likely have an appointment this week with the vet so I will be sure to mention it to him. Thanks!
     
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