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2 yr old female bl lab had a seizure (Epilepsy)


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#1 Myah's mom

 

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        Posted 15 March 2011 - 06:48 PM

We rescued Myah a year ago. Two nights ago, out of the blue, she had a seizure that lasted about 15 min. She had been playing with one of her humans, was panting pretty good and ran to the other room and jumped on him where he was. All of a sudden her whole left side of her body went limp and she couldn't get up. She was panting hard, her eyes were huge and her ears were way back. You could just see the terror on her face. I sent my son for a cold towel to put on her and she loves ice so he then went after ice water. She did drink the water and after about 15-20 minutes she was able to sit up. We kept her quiet the rest of the night and she seemed dazed and tired for the rest of the night. She did play a little. She's been back to her usual self since then.

I called the vet that night during the seizure,and you know what he told me? To bring her in for a heartworm test and a heart workup!!!!!!!!!!!!! OK, her heart is just fine. She has MORE than proved that. She's a beautiful runner and loves to play ball outside. My hubby and I are both in the medical profession, and he never once suggested a seizure.... He also said she could have pinched a nerve...OK, I have had pinched nerves myself and they hurt...she wasn't wimpering or acting at all like she was hurt....I didn't like that vet before, I really don't like him now.

And, no, she hasn't gotten into plants or anything that she shouldn't. I have been reading about possible high sugar levels in food, food allergies, tumors, and canine epilepsy. Sure sounds more like that to me...or possible head trauma since she was a rescue and we don't know her backround, but I have trouble with that since we have had her a year and have seen nothing like it.

I have read some of the posts on this site--anybody got anything new to add????

#2 Kurt

 

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        Posted 15 March 2011 - 10:53 PM

I feel that this topic is so important to dog owners I am going to make it a pinned post.

I am well versed in canine epilepsy as we have had an epileptic dog in the past and I work with people who have epileptic dogs.

OK, here we go with the info:

Write down the time and date of the seizure and what activity the dog was doing at the time of the seizure. Take this info to the vet with you and keep it for future reference.

The way vets view this is that they go by this golden rule:

If the dog seizes more than once per month, it's put on medication and called epilepsy. If it seizes less than once a month they usually don't medicate. There is no diagnostic test to identify epilepsy in dogs. When a dog has a seizure the brain is electrically short circuiting. And each time it short circuits it creates new pathways for other shorts to occur in the future.

Vets used to use phenobarbitol on dogs to prevent seizures. This also eats up the dogs liver. If your vet decides to use phenobarbitol make sure you also give your dog Milk Thistle as a supplement to protect the liver. There are newer medications available that are less toxic, including specially formulated meds tailored to your dogs needs.

Did the dog have any grapes within 6 hours before? Grapes can cause seizures in labs. Was the dog hot or overheated when this happened? Overheating can cause seizures in dogs too.

If your dog seizes again make sure everyone stays away from the dog. Keep the room quiet. Turn off TV, radio, dim the lights. etc. You want to kill off as much sensory input into the dogs brain while the seizure is taking place. While it is seizing, it is not in control of it's body. If a finger is near the dogs mouth, you may lose that finger! As you have seen a seizure is not a pretty sight. Your dog will recover on her own.

The best thing to do is to sit near the dog with your hands away from the dog. Protect the dog from bumping into any furniture or walls. Our dog collapsed and had a seizure while laying up against the wall. The dog bumped his head so hard into the wall it put a big dent in the plaster!

When the dog recovers from the seizure she will be disoriented and most likely blind for about 10-15 minutes. Offer her some cold ice water and you may want to put some ice on her head (more about this later).

There are Grand Mal seizures and Petite Mal seizures. It sounds like your dog had a Grand Mal. Usually during a Petite Mal seizure there may just be a fluttering of the eyes, a shaking of one leg, etc.

This is VERY important:
If your dog starts to seize and then has another seizure right after wards you need to get her to a vet immediately! They can get into a cycle where the seizures come immediately one after another and eventually this will overheat the dogs brain and do her in. Valium will need to be administered to stop this cycle.


If a dog has seizures and is less than 4 years old when seizures start, chances are it's epilepsy. Vets don't distinguish if it came from a brain insult (injury) or via heredity (and yes, epilepsy is hereditary) if the dog has seizures it's called epilepsy.

If the dog is over 4 years old when seizures start, then the likely cause is brain disease or a brain tumor.

How do/can you control this?

Well there ARE things you can do to bring the dogs seizure threshold down. Some dogs have a lower seizure threshold than others. The key is to lower the seizure threshold enough to prevent seizures. But this is not always possible.

Start by observing your notes. Was the dog doing the same thing each time the seizures occurred? I have seen dogs that only have seizures when they get excited about something, like having company come around the house.

Sometimes a change of food can raise or lower the seizure threshold. And yes, sometimes you can lower the seizure threshold enough that the seizures go away, if you are lucky.

Prognosis:

By working with a good canine neurologist you can likely get control of the seizures. Remember that each time your dog has a seizure, it becomes easier for her to have another seizure sometime in the future so you want to do things to prevent seizures at all. Most commonly I have seen control good enough to meet the goal of no more seizures to getting the seizures down to just one or two per month.

But I'll tell you up front. Owning an epileptic dog is hard. But you can do it.

And there is an EXCELLENT support website for people who have epileptic dogs. You can find it here. The people who run it are veterinarians well versed in canine epilepsy.

And lastly, people who breed dogs and have a dog from a litter that comes down with epilepsy are supposed to contact ALL the people who received pups and should tell them to spay/neuter their dog and instruct them to watch out for epilepsy. They are also supposed to spay neuter the dogs that the pups came from.

A lot of breeders don't do this as they are afraid that it will damage their reputations, so canine epilepsy is nearing epidemic proportions in some breeds in the U.S. In fact it's so bad in the St. Bernard dog that you are more likely to get a pup that's predisposed to epilepsy than not.

Just like they can get rid of deafness in Dalmatians in 20 yerars, if only people wouldn't breed Dalmatians that carry the deaf gene. But people won't stop it.



#3 JEWELS

 

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        Posted 16 March 2011 - 10:54 AM

Thats scary and the one thing that concerns me. My lab is 12 weeks old....any precautions I should take in order to prevent this condition?

#4 Kurt

 

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        Posted 16 March 2011 - 02:03 PM

Thats scary and the one thing that concerns me. My lab is 12 weeks old....any precautions I should take in order to prevent this condition?


For most people there is no cause for concern. Seizures come from three main sources, epilepsy, head injury and brain abnormalities (deformities, tumors, etc.). Epilepsy is genetic. It is passed down by the dogs parents to them. It's not contagious. Your dog playing with an epileptic dog will not catch it.

Unfortunately the only thing you can do is wait and see. Epilepsy usually shows it's ugly head around 2 years of age.

When you use a breeder for a pup, your chances are somewhat reduced in getting an epileptic dog. Shelter dogs don't usually have any history so you take your chances. But I have never come across a lab that has had epilepsy. But that is not to say they can't have it.

Breeds that are prone to experiencing dog seizures are the Beagle, Belgian Tervueren, German Shepherd, Keeshond, and Dachshund. High incident rate of seizures are also common in Boxers, Collies, Golden Retrievers, Labrador Retrievers, Wire-haired Terriers, Poodles, Cocker Spaniels, St. Bernards, Siberian Huskies, and Miniature Schnauzers. In general dog population, prevalence of epilepsy in dogs is estimated to be around 5 % to 5.7% and increasing due to poor breeding practices. If you notice, these are all breeds that have been compromised by "back yard breeders".

Fortunately last year British researchers have discovered the gene that causes canine epilepsy. This looks very promising. Hopefully in our lifetime we'll see this condition eliminated.

#5 LuvMyLabs

 

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        Posted 04 May 2011 - 06:23 PM

First I want to say THANK YOU!! I learned more in that little blurb then what my vet has told me...My almost 3 year old lab mix that is about 40 pounds had a Grand Mal Seizure again last night it was by far her worst one yet. She began having seizures when she was a little over a year old. I called the vet and he said to monitor her and if she has another one bring her in. Well she had her second one about 2 months later. I did and he put her on phenobarbital twice daily. I never miss a dose because it is the WORST seeing my precious baby seize. I have a Molly Seizure Diary asI am really obsessive of keeping track of date, time, and stimuli around her as well as her dose of phenobarbital that day. I did not know however that pheno is extremely hard on their liver it would have been nice to know previously. I am now beginning to do a ton of research on Canine Epilepsy as I know it is a common condition in dogs. The seizures are beginning to occur now monthly if not more and I am so worried about her. I feel that my vet doesn't understand that my dogs are like my children and I want to do EVERYTHING possible to give her the best quality of life. I feed her Pedigree brand dog food and I am seeing that their food makes a difference I am willing to take any advice possible. Last night I was devastated she seized for about 10 minutes and was quite lethargic after and then 2 hours later back to her normal bouncing around, playful, bossy self. What other medications should I be looking into being Pheno is hard on her systemically?

#6 Kurt

 

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        Posted 05 May 2011 - 01:16 PM

Have you read this website I referenced in my first post? It contains a lot of info about canine epilepsy.

Canine Epilepsy

Since your dog is on Phenobarbitol I cannot stress strongly enough the need to give your dog Milk Thistle caps as a preventative. It is available from health food stores. The Phenobarbitol will over time eat your dogs liver. Just buy the smallest dose capsules available and give one daily. Just to be on the safe side have your vet do a liver enzyme test every 6 months to make sure no damage is being done to your dogs liver.

#7 LuvMyLabs

 

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        Posted 07 May 2011 - 03:31 PM

Thank You so Much...Yes I did read that information!! I have the Milk Thistle on my list of things to get ASAP!!! As well as I am going to be taking her to another vet that is more advanced medically to get some blood work done as I am really curious about her labs. I can't get over the fact that my "Country" vet did not tell me that Phenobarbital is hard on their liver. There is so...so...so much to learn about Canine Epilepsy and people have done so many different things...A raw diet? Hmm...Interesting. Well thank goodness I am used to studying this stuff it sure helps being a nursing student!! :) Thanks Again!!

#8 Kurt

 

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        Posted 08 May 2011 - 01:11 PM

I have known three dogs who passed away from liver failure after being on phenobarbitol for about a year. The vets in these cases did not even mention the side effects from phenobarbitol either.

But when our dog Brandy came down with cancer almost two years ago, the doggy oncologist said to give her milk thistle in addition to her chemo meds to protect her liver. I asked him about this and he agreed with the idea of giving milk thistle to dogs on pheno too. Plus every 6 mos getting a liver enzyme test ensures that you are giving the right amount. BTW, Brandy recovered from her cancer and has now been cancer free for almost 20 months.

Sometimes it amazes me that dog owners know more about dog care than vets do......

#9 LuvMyLabs

 

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        Posted 21 May 2011 - 10:25 AM

I agree it amazes me as well I am thankful I have found out all the information I have found. I am starting Molly on Milk Thistle ASAP. I have also switched their brand of food to Solid Gold It amazes me on the transformation energy wise I have witnessed. As soon as my finances are a bit better I am going to put them on "Evo" I am not sure as it is very expensive we will see how well this food does for them I am going to give it awhile. A added bonus I found a company nearby that sells it right there so that helps as well!!! :) I am praying for fewer seizures it will amaze me if she no longer has them just from switching her dog food. Thank You for all you help it is greatly appreciated I have gotten more information from other dog owners then I have my own vet sadly.

#10 Kurt

 

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        Posted 21 May 2011 - 01:22 PM

There is a possibility that the dog food could be raising your dogs seizure theshold too low. I have heard of some dogs that stopped seizing completely with a change of dog food. Sometimes it works, and sometimes it doesn't.

Remember, the key thing is to try to lower your dogs seizure threshold. It can be done via food, exercise, meds, etc.


You may try looking at the website I linked to earlier in this thread to find out what kind of dog food other people have used on their dogs and they noticed a decrease in seizures.

#11 NancyLee

 

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        Posted 04 July 2011 - 05:30 PM

When Spike had his seizures - one at home and one at the emergency vet - we still don't know why. At the time he was getting over a bout of kennel cough but as time went on we learned he had Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever and now he's got 25% kidney function (you may want to have your pups kidney values taken). He was outside by himself, in my view, it was early May so the wild grapes and mushrooms hadn't started blooming but the vet insisted that she thought a toxin was involved. Been racking my brain. He was chewing on very young azaleas and the ASPCA toxin site doesn't have them pegged as a kidney toxin Azalea ASPCA But I did find this Swamp Maple Granted he's not a horse but it makes too much sense. I saw him chewing on something before the seizure, he's been eating crunchy leaves since we brought him home, my hub had trimmed the trees (we have 10 of them) and left some sticks/leaves around because he looked so proud prancing with them and ripping/chewing them. When I checked the area where he was before the seizure I didn't notice anything - which would make sense if there was a leaf/stick there. I never thought trees would be a problem. It does make an awful lot of sense tho. Going to be seeing the breeders vet on Wednesday so I'll talk about it more with him.

In any case before you jump to putting him on epilepsy meds have his kidney, liver, blood values checked. Spike was also tested for EIC (exercise induced collapse) - we're waiting on the results for that. It was a weird fast breathing and a drop for that, he got right up pretty much tho.

Good Luck!

#12 Kurt

 

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        Posted 04 July 2011 - 06:02 PM

You are right, a vet should do a metabolic panel on any dog presenting epilepsy like symptoms before treatment. This is usually why vets want you to track the times & dates of seizures for awhile before they start with the meds.

I did have some problems with my labs having seizures a few years ago. All three of them came down with them and we couldn't figure out why. We ruled out epilepsy because all three dogs were from different lines and therefore not related.

One day I saw one of them chewing on a plant next to the back door. It was planted there by the previous owners of the home and I didn't know what it was. I removed the plant to the front of the house where the dogs couldn't get to it and guess what? All the seizures stopped once and for all. So that was it, the plant was causing it.

#13 NancyLee

 

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        Posted 05 July 2011 - 05:33 AM

You are right, a vet should do a metabolic panel on any dog presenting epilepsy like symptoms before treatment. This is usually why vets want you to track the times & dates of seizures for awhile before they start with the meds.

I did have some problems with my labs having seizures a few years ago. All three of them came down with them and we couldn't figure out why. We ruled out epilepsy because all three dogs were from different lines and therefore not related.

One day I saw one of them chewing on a plant next to the back door. It was planted there by the previous owners of the home and I didn't know what it was. I removed the plant to the front of the house where the dogs couldn't get to it and guess what? All the seizures stopped once and for all. So that was it, the plant was causing it.


It's ridiculous how much stuff is toxic. When we had our first black lab , about 25 years ago, we remember the vet telling us not to let him have onions because they would cause stomach upset. We lost him at 3 years for something internal and totally unrelated to food, plants, etc. When did adding a pup to the family become so complicated?

#14 Kurt

 

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        Posted 05 July 2011 - 09:50 AM

You raised a good point here about toxicity.

My vet has told me that a lot of diseases and thing that go wrong with dogs that are common these days were considered pretty rare 25 years ago. She thinks a lot of it is caused by damage to the environment. Dogs don't wear shoes like we do and they can absorb toxins through the pads of their feet. That combined with poor breeding characteristics of backyard breeders just perpetuate the mess.

Then two years ago we had the dog food poisoning mess...

There are a lot of things that are poisonous to dogs, here is a list of them.

Things That Are Poisonous For Dogs

#15 terminatoress11

 

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        Posted 12 July 2011 - 12:33 PM

Hi my yellow lab whom I lost last year was epileptic all his life. The first time he had a fit was about 5months old. It scared me to death, but as I dealt with fits with people I got used to it and so did he.
I was living in England at the time and my vet would not prescribe medication.He reckoned it was better without.
When I moved to Spain I spent more time at home, and realised just how many fits he was having, every dog varies like people as to how to severe they are.The vets immediately put him on pills which took a few weeks to get his levels correct and it reduced his fits by more than half. He was having about 30 a month, and it went down to about 2 per week.
He got so used to it and I did that when one was coming he would come and lay down by me ready, he would have the fit and then sleep.
Phenabarbitone does the body no favours over long periods,but it doesn't in humans either.The thing is the more fits you have the more predisposed you are to having more,so in the long run medication does help. Anything to make a dogs life more comfortable.
Check it out with your vet, keeping a record of fits times and length of fits helps.
We found his fits went from strong to mild and less time, and a lot less fits.
There can be underlying causes for them but a vet would need to determine that.
Good luck, but don't worry people have them all the time as well as cats and dogs, you can control them.
Also we found if he had the coloured chewy sticks he would fit the next day,
they are full of artificial colourings, so stick to natural things.
Regards

#16 Joe The Manatee

 

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        Posted 19 April 2012 - 05:49 PM

It doesn't sound like an epileptic seizure to me. The first one usually only lasts a very short while. I see nothing described of falling down, jaws snapping, legs running, etc. as is typical of epileptic seizures in dogs. The description of the events given in the post sounds more like exercise induced collapse.
http://www.woodhavenlabs.com/exercise-collapse.html

#17 Kurt

 

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        Posted 20 April 2012 - 12:08 AM

Epileptic seizures run from barely noticeable to severe grand mal. A petite mal seizure could be just a slight shaking of the head for a few moments. And there could be seizures that are between the two.

At any rate if your dog is having seizures it's still best to write down the date & time and what was the dog doing in the preceding half hour before the seizure. This will usually rule out non epileptic seizures.




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