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ForTheLoveOfHammy
Posts: 6
Joined: Tue Sep 04, 2007 6:57 pm
Location: Jersey City, NJ

New to Site - Looking for Advice!

Post by ForTheLoveOfHammy » Thu Sep 06, 2007 9:51 am

Hello! So glad I found this site.

Almost two years ago, I found a little old pug abandoned in a park. When no one claimed him, I took him in. When I brought him to the vet, he was emaciated, flea ridden, and had eye and ear infections. They said he was the oldest pug they had ever seen, but was in good health. We treated his eyes and ears, got rid of the fleas, and made sure he got great nutrition. He is the sweetest, most devoted and loving little dog ever, and seems very happy.

Unfortunately, after a couple months of taking him in, I witnessed him having a seizure. From all descriptions of a grand mal, I am certain that's what it was. After that, probably within the first 6 months of having him, he had 3 or 4 seizures. I thought it could be from lack of nutrition, stress, etc... So, when the dissappeared for virtually the past year, I thought he was fine, and not epileptic. Unfortunately, about a month ago, he had a seizure. I brought him to the vet and was told to put him on phenolbarbitol. I have yet to fill the prescription however, because I am afraid that this little old dog will not be able to handle the medication. I don't know which is doing more disservice to him at this point... From reading the posts, it appears that many of your dogs have seizures quite regularly (even sometimes when on medication). My dog didn't have one for almost a year, so I am hesitant to just start him on this medicine that I've heard can really take a toll mentally and physically on dogs...

The other part of this story is that for the past few days, I've noticed that his eyes have been uncontrollably darting back and forth... I don't know if this is some type of low-grade seizure, or if it is vestibular disease, which lots of old dogs get, and although looks scary, is harmless... His eyes will dart back and forth, but he still goes on walks, eats and drinks, snuggles, etc... and then it will just go away... But, this has been happening on and off for a few days.

I guess I'm wondering, in this instance, if this sounds like it is obviously epilepsy? I'm still trying to read up and learn about this, and try to determine if there is anything else that it could obvioulsy be. He's had multiple blood tests, that all come back fine. His back legs, since we've found him, have been very wobbly, which the vet said could be attributed do an old accident or a neurological disorder that he could have even been born with. Not sure if that would be connected to epilepsy? My vet is wonderful, and he has been very good to both my dogs, so it's not that I don't trust him... I just know that it's hard to often diagnose things in animals that can't talk or express problems for themselves, when my vet has never seen his seizures or eye twitch, etc... I know his recommendation is to put him on the phenolbarbitol, so I feel terrible not doing so immediately, if this is causing my little guy any stress or pain...

This little dog is very old... I don't want to stress him and take away the quality of life that he has now, in case he does have a seizure in another 6 or 7 months... but, obviously these seizures aren't just scary to watch.... they're mentally and physically detrimental to him... If this sounds obviously like epilepsy, I guess I should/would put him on the medicine...
ForTheLoveOfHammy

MK's mom
Posts: 1708
Joined: Wed Mar 01, 2006 9:48 am
Location: Michigan

Post by MK's mom » Thu Sep 06, 2007 10:17 am

If it were me, I would wait a little longer and see how long he goes before another seizure. My vet told me that when a dog seizes so infrequently, there's really no need to put them on medication.

As for his eyes darting back and forth, I can't comment on that because I haven't heard of it before. I don't know if it's to do with his seizure activity or something else going on.

Unless the little fellow starts to seize more frequently, my vote is to hold off on the medication and pursue with the vet what might be causing his eyes to dart.

Vivian
Nathan
3.5 yo Irish Setter boy
First seizure 7/26/2013
Last seizure 3/24/2014
__________________________________
MK
5 yo Irish Setter boy
First seizure 1/25/06
Last seizure 9/4/2009

Aug 17, 2004- Sept. 22, 2009
May the shamrocks fall softly sweetpea

ForTheLoveOfHammy
Posts: 6
Joined: Tue Sep 04, 2007 6:57 pm
Location: Jersey City, NJ

Post by ForTheLoveOfHammy » Thu Sep 06, 2007 11:53 am

Thank you so much for your response... It makes me feel better that it's not so obvious and cut-and-dry, because I was starting to feel terrible for not putting him on the medicine...

The vet said the eyes darting could be a low-grade seizure. He definitely has neurological issues, as evident in his hind legs sorta dragging when they walk. But, that makes me think the eyes darting could also be "old dog sydrome" or "vestibular disease" which is not dangerous and has no treatment... just something little old doggies get sometimes.. I feel like since he really hasn't had many full-out seizures, that it wouldn't be epilepsy then... Or, can some epileptic dogs, not on any medication, have seizures as infrequently as every few months - even up to a year?
ForTheLoveOfHammy

High_Voltage_Head
Posts: 193
Joined: Thu Jan 25, 2007 10:00 pm
Location: Minnesota

Post by High_Voltage_Head » Thu Sep 06, 2007 12:05 pm

What kind of nimrod would abandon an old dog in a park? If i ran the world i'd make people undergo a series of tests before i'd allow them to own a pet. And judging by the stories i hear, at least half of them would fail.

But back to the little old pug. How old do you think he is? 15? I wouldn't put him on the drugs. Even with young dogs, the standard advice is to wait until the seizures come more than once a month.

Part of the problem here is that you don't know if he had seizures as a young man. If they started in old age then there is likely some other underlying cause besides epilepsy, but since they haven't gotten dramatically worse over the past 2 years i doubt if it's a huge problem that needs to be dealt with immediately. And if he's as old as he sounds, if it were me i'd just let nature take whatever course it's going to take.

The wiggling eyeballs i don't know. I could imagine it might be related to the seizures but maybe not. A neurologist would undoubtedly know more about all this stuff than your regular vet.

As far as the seizures being "mentally and physically detrimental to him", I wouldn't worry too much about that. They certainly put some stress on the body, and old age would make that harder, but most dogs bounce back after a seizure without much lasting effect.
Me: Kurt
Dog: Jackson the 6 y.o. Standard Poodle 55lbs
died March '08

ForTheLoveOfHammy
Posts: 6
Joined: Tue Sep 04, 2007 6:57 pm
Location: Jersey City, NJ

Post by ForTheLoveOfHammy » Thu Sep 06, 2007 12:19 pm

Thanks so much for the post Kurt!

Don't even get me started about him being left in the park. I remember it was right after Hurricane Katrina so hazy days of summer were in fully effect, and there was a crazy heat wave in our area (New Jersey)... We were just passing through with our other dog, and someone with her child mentioned that a little dog had been tied up all day on one end of the park. In his condition (dehydrated, malnourished, etc.) I'm suprised he made it through the whole day in that heat...

Our vet believes he is about 14... It's hard to tell because his teeth were in such bad shape when we got him, they had to put him under (which I was very worried about, but they said it was worse to leave his mouth full of rotten teeth and ulcerated gums, etc) to remove 11 teeth!

It breaks my heart to wonder what kind of life he had prior, but I'm making sure he lives the good life now! Like I said, 99% of the time, aside from being a bit slow from age in general, he's just like a happy puppy! I wouldn't want the medicine to really do more harm than good, with his old age... I know at this point it's most important to just make sure that the time he does have with us is happy and pain-free... It's just hard sometimes to know how best to ensure that!

And, like you said... We don't know his medical history. If he was born with the hind-leg issues, or if he's suffered seizures off-and-on forever... I just noticed/felt that they were sorta frequent when we first got him, but after getting some nutrition and settling in, they all but dissappeared until recently!

I think I am going to wait... Perhaps follow up with our vet about the decision not to put him on the medicine, and ask for a referral to a neurologist, to possibly pin-point some other issues...
Last edited by ForTheLoveOfHammy on Thu Sep 06, 2007 12:30 pm, edited 2 times in total.
ForTheLoveOfHammy

High_Voltage_Head
Posts: 193
Joined: Thu Jan 25, 2007 10:00 pm
Location: Minnesota

Post by High_Voltage_Head » Thu Sep 06, 2007 12:20 pm

The thing about epilepsy is that it's basically a catch-all term that they use whenever they can't figure out any other reason for seizures....which is almost always.

It's very hard to say what is typical because every dog has different symptoms. But yes, what you described was actually the case with a previous dog of mine. She had seizures every 1-4 months for about 6 years, and then she never had another one. She was never on any drugs for them. That is not a story you hear very often though....i'd say it's a little bizarre.
Me: Kurt
Dog: Jackson the 6 y.o. Standard Poodle 55lbs
died March '08

ForTheLoveOfHammy
Posts: 6
Joined: Tue Sep 04, 2007 6:57 pm
Location: Jersey City, NJ

Post by ForTheLoveOfHammy » Thu Sep 06, 2007 12:23 pm

That's good to know! I was a bit skeptical about just diagnosing it as epilepsy, because they didn't seem frequent enough, compared to what I had researched... But, my vet said that because he had some the previous year, there was a history, and pattern, and he believed it was epilepsy...
ForTheLoveOfHammy

MK's mom
Posts: 1708
Joined: Wed Mar 01, 2006 9:48 am
Location: Michigan

Post by MK's mom » Thu Sep 06, 2007 1:16 pm

He COULD have epilepsy, but at his advanced age and with such infrequent seizures thus far, I think you're making the best decision for the little fellow. The Pb (phenabarbitol) will increase his hunger and thirst and could possibly make it more difficult for him to get around. The rest of us on the board have dogs with much more severe cases of epilepsy and if they weren't on meds they'd die. Your little man sounds like he might be able to live out the remainder of his life medication free. Just keep an eye on him and you might want to make a note of each seizure and when it happens so you can see the timelines.
Nathan
3.5 yo Irish Setter boy
First seizure 7/26/2013
Last seizure 3/24/2014
__________________________________
MK
5 yo Irish Setter boy
First seizure 1/25/06
Last seizure 9/4/2009

Aug 17, 2004- Sept. 22, 2009
May the shamrocks fall softly sweetpea

Mandypop
Posts: 238
Joined: Wed Oct 25, 2006 9:29 am
Location: London, UK

Post by Mandypop » Fri Sep 07, 2007 2:00 am

Hi there

I too would maybe wait a bit, as long as the seizures do not get more frequent. It's a hard one to juggle, I note that your vet says that his back leg 'wobbliness' maybe linked to a neurological disorder - did he say what he thought that may be - and could that be linked to the infrequent seizures your dog has?

My previous dog suffered with vestibular disease in old age, and the vet likened it to having sea sickness, her eyes would also dart back and forth, and she would walk in circles, but the attacks were brief and she would return to normal quite quickly. I think this can also be linked to ear infections etc.

Have you seen a veterinary neuroogist, they would be much more better able to help diagnose what is wrong.

Good luck with little pug doggy!
Poppy - 9 year old whippet/greyhound (20 kg)

First seizure- 17th Oct 2006
Last seizure - 17th Nov 2009

90mg Pb twice daily
320mg KBr daily

Dylans Dad
Posts: 490
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Location: SE Iowa
Contact:

Post by Dylans Dad » Fri Sep 07, 2007 4:50 am

this would be tuff. the more seizures he has, the brain learns to patteren and the more he will have. maybe thats why he was left?? not even going to start on that! the angels on the bridge must have led him to you!the darting eyes could be focals.
but after watching Dylan get adjusted to the meds,I don`t think I would start a dog on them unless he was haveing multipuls in a month. may be fill the "script" and have them on hand, if he starts to have a cluster, then give him them.
and a big wag and slurp to you for helping the poor old guy!
and hope we won`t be seeing much of you(you know what I mean)
Wags & Slurps
Debby & Dylan
6 yr old Border collie
1st aug 7 2006
last 7-18-08
375 MG kbr twice a day
1 47.5 pb twice a day

DELETED

Post by DELETED » Fri Sep 07, 2007 2:04 pm

DELETED

ForTheLoveOfHammy
Posts: 6
Joined: Tue Sep 04, 2007 6:57 pm
Location: Jersey City, NJ

Post by ForTheLoveOfHammy » Sat Sep 08, 2007 1:18 pm

Thank you all so much for your advice and information! I (and my puggy) really appreciate it.

I am definitely going to monitor the time between any future seizures. After so long of him not having them, and the last one occuring over two months ago now, I think I'm going to follow up with my vet and tell him that we'd like to hold off on the medication for now...

Meeting a vet neurologist is a great idea, and would probably be worth it at this point. He had very wobbly legs when we found him, and they haven't gotten any worse. The vet said they could be from nerve damage (perhaps an old injury even, like getting swiped by a car?) or from some type of neurological disorder, that could be linked to seizures. But, since we don't know his history, he even said it could have been something he was born with... Perhaps the neurologist could determine more.

I know he's very old, and 99% of the time seems to be in great physical and mental spirts. He has his slow days and his tired days, but he's very happy and I think, as long as another seizure isn't waiting right around the corner, it would be better for him to not be on such strong medication...

Thanks again!!!
ForTheLoveOfHammy

ForTheLoveOfHammy
Posts: 6
Joined: Tue Sep 04, 2007 6:57 pm
Location: Jersey City, NJ

Post by ForTheLoveOfHammy » Sat Sep 08, 2007 1:21 pm

p.s. thanks so much for the kind words debrand... honestly, he gives me so much more love and affection, i'm the lucky one! ;)

it is terrible to think of the way some people treat animals, however. we actually purchased our first dog, when we were a bit younger... after finding this loving little pug, i know i wouldn't go about purchasing another dog... there's so many homeless ones out there, with so much love to give!!

(just my two cents... obviously, the one we purchased has been our spoiled rotten baby for 5 years, and i wouldn't trade having purchased him for the world!)
ForTheLoveOfHammy

manymanyhounds
Posts: 48
Joined: Tue Jul 25, 2006 2:24 pm
Location: Jacksonville Beach, FL

Post by manymanyhounds » Sat Sep 08, 2007 7:11 pm

Thanks for taking him in, first of all and I would also wait on the meds. If he is seizing so infrequently and has a happy life as a loved, little pug.....
well, what more could an old puggy want?

You might want to keep a journal to document the frequency just in case you decide to put him on meds or to just make sure you have a record of the seizure activity.
Dancer 07/04/01-07/28/08
Staghound
We love you sweet Dancer Bear!

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