Gizmo

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kabel
Posts: 2
Joined: Fri Jun 22, 2001 12:01 am
Location: Sydney, NSW, Australia

Gizmo

Post by kabel » Fri Jun 22, 2001 3:04 am

Gizmo is a gorgeous black and white pied french bulldog. At 5 months old, she contracted lead poisoning which was treated.

A year later, she started having seizures. We went to the neurologist who diagnosed idiopathic epilepsy, but likely due to the lead poisoning. She was on varying doses of phenobarb, but continued to have cluster seizures. Very little sleep for us for months, it was looking grim - but once we added bromide to her medication she has improved dramatically. The pathologist who processes her blood samples has a particular interest in canine epilepsy (he has an interest in the company that manufactures epiphen and epibrom in Australia) so we get special attention from him.

Her current medication is 125 mg phenobarb twice a day, and 100mg bromide twice a day. She weighs 14 kilos and her blood levels are in the low-mid range. Do not get hung up on how many drugs your dog is taking, the blood level is the important thing. I worried incessantly over how much pb she was getting, but the blood level was always low-mid range.

We attempted to reduce the pb to 100mg twice a day, however she had a seizure 2 days later. She has been seizure free for 4 months now. Our vet is committed to her ongoing wellbeing and so are we.

At first it was extremely tough, if your dog needs help from epilepsy drugs please be sure to give them as much time as you can possibly bear to find the right level of drugs to help them. We found it worth it.

Ron
Posts: 3
Joined: Wed Jun 20, 2001 12:01 am
Location: California

Post by Ron » Fri Jun 22, 2001 10:46 am

Pheno and bromide are excellent at treating the symptoms of epilepsy but you must remember they are not a cure. You can be certain that the cause of canine epilepsy is not a lack of Phenobarbitol or Postassium Bromide. Otherwise all dogs would have epilepsy.

What Gizmo needs to fully recover from lead poisoning is excellent liver function. Your vet will tell you that Pheno will damage your dogs liver.

As for not being concerned about how much drugs your dog is receiving - you should be very concerned. You should feed your dog foods that will enhance liver function as well as the immune system. And plenty of excercise!

Drugs have their place but they do not cure illness, they only treat the symptoms.

Make it you goal to get Gizmo off drugs. Pharmaceutical companys and doctors make a lot of money from the sale of drug and are biased toward their use.

Use your own judgement. Only you know what is best.

Good luck to you.

kabel
Posts: 2
Joined: Fri Jun 22, 2001 12:01 am
Location: Sydney, NSW, Australia

Post by kabel » Fri Jun 22, 2001 3:48 pm

Thanks for your input Ron, but I did say that Gizmo was treated for her lead poisoning. Her liver function is normal and there are no traces of lead in her body.

Phenobarb has not damaged her liver at this stage. I feed both my dogs a BARF diet and they also get plenty of exercise. All I know is, when she is off the drugs she has seizures - and I am well aware that neither drug is a cure.

I can confidently say that myself, my vet,my neurologist and the pathologist are not doing anything here that would lead me to believe they do not have Gizmo's best interests in mind.

I had been feeling pretty good about Gizmo's efforts so far - she has come a long way and been through a lot, but each time I join a list or post a comment about it I end up regretting it.

Liz Hansen
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Posts: 147
Joined: Wed Nov 10, 1999 1:01 am
Location: University of Missouri - Columbia, MO
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Post by Liz Hansen » Fri Jun 22, 2001 5:12 pm

You should not regret posting success - especially those who are new to this need to hear that there are dogs doing well despite their problem. I've got 2 at my house as well. Without medication, they would be dead. With it, they live happy lives. That we have found what works for them is also a success story. Their medication is not the enemy - it is something they need to survive, and that's the reality of the situation with idiopathic epilepsy in the vast majority of cases.

Ron, it's quite possible your dog had a secondary epilepsy which has resolved, and therefor the dog no longer needs to be medicated. Some dogs, like some people, do outgrow their seizure problem - I don't think human doctors have a good explanation for that, and neither do veterinary neurologists. There are certainly far more questions than answers in canine epilepsy at this time. The research underway at the collaborating institutions is seeking to answer some of these, and allow dogs and owners to live happier, healthier lives. The neurologists I know would like nothing better than to have reliable, sound, foolproof ways to stop seizure problems for good in their patients - but the reality at this time is that there is no cure. Some people get lucky and have their dogs seizure problem resolve to a point they can be weaned off medication. Most don't - that's the harsh reality. Getting good seizure control on the least amount of medication is the balancing act that everyone - vets, neurologists, and owners - treating an epileptic perform.

There's no denying that for all dogs, and especially epileptic dogs, they will live longer healthier lives if their health is the very best it can be. A sound balanced diet, plenty of fresh water, and lots of excersize are cornerstones for maintaining good health (works for people too!). Epileptic dogs should have their health monitored, and drug levels checked periodically, but not every dog is going to fit the textbook for what works. It would be nice to be able to say that if a dog weighs this, and you give it that, everything will be fine - real life is that it doesn't work that way. My 2 boys are a good example - they live in the same conditions, same diet, same excersize, etc, yet the dog on the lower amount of medication has better seizure control that the dog on higher amounts. No good explanation, but that's how it is! Phenobarbital can cause some liver problems in some dogs over the long term, and it is certainly good to monitor liver function. However, the dogs who have liver problems are in the minority, most dogs on phenobarbital never have a problem with it. People hear the few cases where it's caused a problem and panic - forgetting that there are many many more trouble-free cases that you never hear about.

Good luck to both of you, and others out there. I wish you continued success with your dogs. If something is working for you. that's great - it may or may not work for any other dog, but if it works for yours, thats great. As they say, "Don't mess with success!".

Janet Woods
Posts: 39
Joined: Fri May 18, 2001 12:01 am
Location: North Port, Fl

Post by Janet Woods » Mon Jun 25, 2001 6:49 am

hi there
Just wanted to let you know that I agree with your supporting whatever works for your dog. Without the medication my dog would not be living a pretty normal life. The medication is not a cure, but it helps get us all through it. None of us like to see our loved ones suffer. keep up the good work and be happy with your successes and keep sharing with us, that is how we all learn and know we are not alone out in this battle.
take care
Janet & Valentine

Ron
Posts: 3
Joined: Wed Jun 20, 2001 12:01 am
Location: California

Post by Ron » Mon Jun 25, 2001 9:44 am

First, let me say that phenobarbitol saved my dog's life. That is certain. Without it Doodah would have died a miserable death. My point is the problem is not solved by drugs. The problem is that medical doctors are just that -- "medicine doctors". They prescribe drugs without actually knowing the patient. They can't know the patient, they don't have the time. Drugs are the first, last and only thing that most doctors do. That is why diligence on YOUR part is so necessary.

Second, I find it truly sad that someone would regret hearing an alternate point of view. Nobody knows all the answers, definitely not me. But you never know where something will pop up that will make your life and your dog's life a whole bunch better.

Third, It has been two months and one week (and counting) that Doodah has had a seizure. With no drugs - he would normally have had at least two seizures in that time frame. I find it more than coincidental that his seizures- lifelong - coincidentally stopped the instant I eliminated the junk food from his diet. And "BARF" isn't necessarily better. "Factory Farming" is responsible for all types of man-made hormones, antibiotics, and diseases which are introduced into meat products through barbaric practices. The only way BARF can be helpful is if it is organic. Remember your dog's system doesn't care about the form of its nutrients, just the substance. If you get your dog a clean, chemical-free source of proteins, enzymes, and vitamins (no matter whether it is a meat or vegetabe source) you will find yourself closer to thinking about getting your dog off drugs. Of course all dogs are different and have different problems and needs, but I believe it is time for medical science and all of us, to look toward preventing disease and eliminating their causes as well as treating the symptoms.

Good luck to you all, Ron.

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