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My Dog and her Seizures.

Discussion in 'Dog Health and Nutrition' started by cassie hutton, May 6, 2020.

  1. cassie hutton

    cassie hutton PetForums Newbie

    May 6, 2020
    Likes Received:
    Tiny is a Yorkshire terrier and weighs 7-8kgs.

    I got Tiny almost 2 years ago when she was 4 and a half years old. On her fourth day with me she had her first seizure. Since then, she has suffered from partial cluster seizures which have grown worse over time. I have done extensive research into canine seizures, tried hemp oil supplements, tried a grain-free / rosemary-free diet, and given her medication prescribed by a vet.

    The special diets never really helped Tiny, but if you haven’t tried it and your own dog is suffering from seizures, it may be worth a go. While no specific diet is currently recommended by UK vets, I’ve been in touch with a reputable vet from Europe who specialises in nutrition and who tells me that there is a lot of good research to show that it can be effective for some dogs (note that he was not selling anything and was only advising me as a favour to a mutual friend).

    The hemp oil reduced the severity of the seizures, but it increased the frequency. However, as it caused her to seizure every other day, I couldn’t keep her on it. I haven’t tried CBD oil because it is not currently legal in the UK for animal use.

    And so I have relied on medication.

    Due to the fact that her seizures were severe and in clusters, the vet prescribed phenobarbital – a powerful drug with numerous side effects. I was very hesitant but didn’t feel that I had any other option. After the first month of use, she had to go for blood tests. The idea of these tests was to check her liver and kidney enzymes (the drug can cause liver and kidney failure), with the schedule of testing being after the first month, after the third month, and every 6 months thereafter. Unfortunately, Tiny’s seizures didn’t reduce as the vet had hoped, so the dosage was periodically increased to the point where she had to have monthly blood tests due to the high risk of organ damage.

    At the peak of this regime, Tiny was on 45mg of phenobarbital twice a day, supplemented with 250mg of keppra 3 times a day. Still, her seizures occurred every 3 weeks or so. When she went in for her blood tests after 3 months of this dosage, her liver enzymes had increased and she was at the limit of the therapeutic threshold, meaning that the dosage could not be increased any further.

    I kept her on this dosage for about 5 months, but found that she had stopped behaving like a dog. She slept all day, didn’t play with toys, and lost interest in her food. As she was not getting any significant benefit from the drugs, I finally decided to reduce her dosage (with guidance from the vet but against their recommendations).

    I slowly reduced the phenobarbital by 15mg per month, and after two months I reduced the keppra to half a tablet. During the reduction of her medication, her seizures continued every 3 weeks or so, i.e there was no change. Once she was fully weaned off the phenobarbital (she was still taking half a keppra tablet) she had two seizures two days apart, followed by another two seizures within a week (also a couple of days apart).

    After this, I increased her phenobarbital to 15mg twice per day, finding that the frequency and severity of her seizures remain as they were when she was on her highest dosage. I am happy to report that she is now so much happier - she loves playing with her toys, going for long walks, eating her food and is generally back to her old self.

    When she does seizure, it tends to be at night. For that reason I keep her in bed with me so that she is able to wake me up just before the seizure starts, which she always does. I also keep 6 x 5mg diazepam in the house so that I can give her 3 x 5mg of diazepam 20 minutes apart. If that doesn’t work, I have to take her to the vet. Also, the reason I need to keep this amount of medication in the house is that the waiting time for vet prescriptions is up to 48 hours, meaning there would not be enough time to re-stock if she were to suffer seizures two days in a row.

    When she is having a seizure I take her downstairs so that she can’t fall off the bed and hurt herself (she loses the ability to move her legs). Although the seizures usually occur at night, if it happens while it is still light, I close all the blinds downstairs to keep the room as dark and as possible, which seems to help. I also talk to her and stroke her to try to calm her down. Some dogs (so I have read) should not be touched during a seizure, as they can become aggressive. However, Tiny is very docile by nature and I have never had any issues stroking and holding her. She doesn’t like to eat after a seizure, although I have read that a seizure takes up so much energy that dogs are usually hungry afterwards. She also refuses to drink out of her bowl, so I submerge her favourite stuffed toy in water, placing it beside her afterwards so that she licks it dry until she has effectively had a drink!

    After a seizure I always keep her downstairs – her legs take a while to start working again, so I can’t put her on the bed in case she falls off, and I can’t go to bed myself in case she goes back into a seizure and is unable to wake me up, as she is unable to jump up onto the bed. Instead, we both camp out downstairs on the floor where she can easily wake me up if she needs to.

    I am posting this information in the hope that it may help others, and also to see if anyone has any tips for me that I haven’t yet tried.
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