need some advice...thanks

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need some advice...thanks

Post by poodlemom » Tue Oct 16, 2007 3:01 pm

my rescued four year old (that's how old we think he is) mini poodle started seizing last week. last saturday nite he was on the bed with us. he looked as if he were trying to smell something in the air. then he fell to his side and became stiff. he then started paddling and drooling excessively. all the tell-tale signs of a seizure. it seemed to last an eternity, but in actuality it only lasted seconds and he was back to himself in less then 15. i was pertified. it was the most frightening thing i have ever witnessed. he then had another one early monday morning. this time he was in his crate and i heard it rattling. again it was quite short. the next one was late that afternoon. he was sleeping in his bed in the familyroom. that seizure seemed to be the shortest. he didn't have another one until early saturday morning. he was in his bed in our bedroom. we had an appointment to see the neurologist that morning. i felt so relieved. he took bloods, did a neurological, and said it was probably idiopathic epilepsy, but couldn't rule out encephalitis, congenital problems, etc without more extensive testing, i.e. mri, which would run $2200. how will i know if i need to do the mri? his bloods came back normal. we are still waiting for his thyroid panel. i emailed him yesterday to see if he did a bile acid test and he said no. he usually waits to see what the thyroid test say. he put charlee on a loading dose of 30mg pb, twice a day, and then 7.5mg, twice a day. i am having a horrible time splitting the pills, even with a pill splitter. i asked him about that. he said as long as he gets his 15mg for the day, he should be fine. it seems like one dose can be a few crumbs and the other looks like a 3/4 of the tablet. has anyone tried liquid? do they gain weight because they are eating more or just from taking the pb? he is a ferocius eater anyway, so i really have to watch him.
charlee is on heartgard plus, and gets vaccinated every year. he loves chewing rawhide. can anyone suggest anything else that i could substitute? he eats canidae dry and canned. should i put him on milk thistle? should i ask for valium? i know that the pb doses have to be given at the same time everyday. what happens if you have to go out and won't be home on time for the second dose? can you split the dose?
here is a little background on charlee. he was found living in a barn with 30 other poodles and livestock. they were all interbreeding, not the livestock! i've had him for over a year. i initially fostered him and then couldn't give him up. he is the the sweetest, gentlest dog i have ever had, i could go on and on. a few months back, he was found to have retinal degeneration in one eye. i was wondering if this could be related to the seizures, just a thought.
thanks in advance. i am so glad i found this website. i'm actually sorry that i have to use it!!!

Dylans Dad
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Joined: Sun Oct 08, 2006 5:12 am
Location: SE Iowa

Post by Dylans Dad » Tue Oct 16, 2007 4:25 pm

sorry you had to join us.
sounds like the same seizures as Dylans. it does scare you to death. and it doesnt get a whole lot better.
many have had the mri debate here. I myself haven`t. the majority of the time, they come back neg. so lots a money for nothing. if it doesn`t come back neg. there isn`t much you can do most times, so I just take it 1 day at a time.
Dylan gave me a crash course, clusters for 3 months last fall. then 11 months free
ask anything you want, lots helpful people here
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

Posts: 438
Joined: Mon Aug 22, 2005 9:08 pm
Location: KY

Post by lovemypups » Tue Oct 16, 2007 4:42 pm

Good evening poodle mom,
I'm really sorry you have had to join us, but it's a great group of people here who will help as best we can based on our experiences. It is very scary to witness our dogs having seizures and while this may be of no comfort now, it does get easier as time goes on. We suggest to newcomers to keep a journal with as much info as you can, time of seizures, how long, what they were like, anything and everything you can remember to help you and your vet when it comes to a plan. We learn as we go, and each dog is different, so what may work well for mine, may or may not work as well for yours. Read, and read some more, not only is it informational but it gives us a better understanding of what we are dealing with. This site as well as the two other mentioned have a lot of useful information: and The majority of our dogs start out on PB (phenobarbital) and if that doesn't give good control then KBr (potassium bromide) is normally added to the combination. While I can't tell you what to do as to whether or not you should get an MRI, if it were me, I would probably give the medications a chance to see if they will work and help control the seizures first. If your dog is only 4 or in that range he is still young and most of the younger dogs between the ages of 1-5 fall into the "idiopathic or primary epilepsy". That's not to say something else couldn't be causing the seizures but many have spent a large amount on the MRI only to be told there was nothing wrong. The PB should be given every 12 hours, but most of us will admit, there are times when we just can't make it home or are running late and have had to give an hour later. I would just try to stay on time as much as you can. The important thing is not to miss a dose. Some of our dogs do gain weight and yes they want to eat constantly in the beginning. It does taper off though and they drink much more, which means more potty breaks. Epilepsy is very frustrating, we are all looking for that magical cure because we hate to see the pets we love so much go thru this. I wanted nothing more than to see this stop, but after time learn, it isn't going to stop, we just have to accept it and our goal now is to have better control. We have good days as well as bad days, but this group as well as another I belong to help me tremendously. Your vet may or may not offer valium depending on the number of seizures or the severity of them. It sounds like you are on the right path though, and hopefully your pet will be one of the lucky ones and the medication will help. Please keep us posted and let us know how your pet is doing.
Angel Casey
and his non epi sister Callie

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

Post by High_Voltage_Head » Tue Oct 16, 2007 6:35 pm

Glad to hear he didn't breed with any livestock, although it would be interesting to see a cowdoodle. You gotta wonder about the other 30 dogs though, and the possibility of passing epilepsy on to their future offspring. Not good. Maybe you could alert the other owners if you know where they are.

That sniffing the air thing before the seizure, i have definitely seen that, almost like they detect some invisible ghost. I decided it's probably just the neurons going crazy in their smell centers.

Watch out for that Heartgard, lots of dogs have seizures from it.

I have a pill splitting problem too. I end up throwing the ones away that don't come close to splitting properly.

My dog hasn't gained weight but then i don't just leave a bowl of food around for him either. If you do that it's going to be a problem, i guarantee it.

Liquid Valium in the rear end is good if he has clusters or to prevent status epilepticus. I don't know much about milk thistle.

I kind of doubt the eye problem is related to seizures, mainly because i've never heard of anything like that. But who knows.
Me: Kurt
Dog: Jackson the 6 y.o. Standard Poodle 55lbs
died March '08

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Location: London, UK

Post by Mandypop » Wed Oct 17, 2007 2:44 am

Hi there Poodle Mom

I see you have had some good advice already.

Reading through your post, my dog has done the sniffing the air bit before a seizure and I don't think until you witness a seizure yourself how frightening an experience it is.

I think most dogs on Pb will want to eat more - Poppy would eat 24/7 if I let her!! She used to be such a fussy eater. I have put her on the 'home cooked diet' from the Canine Epilepsy Guardian Angels site. I no longer give hide chews or treats as they are full of chemicals. She has gained a few pounds, but I can live with that!

Valium will help with the post ictal stages of the seizure and helps to break clusters.

Poppy did have a couple of MRI scans and spinal taps done - and she does have an abnomality with ventricles which drain fluid in her brain - but this was not the cause of her eplilepsy, and she was diagnosed with idopathic epilepsy.

Maybe just see if the Pb works, and go from there. If the seizures do not get good control you may think differently about MRI's. It is good that you have sought the advice of a neurologist early, they should be able to advise you.

If you search through the posts for Heartguard, you will find that quite a few dogs have had problems with this.

Good luck with Charlee and let us know how you are getting on. Poppy is also a rescue doggie!
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

MK's mom
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Location: Michigan

Post by MK's mom » Wed Oct 17, 2007 6:22 am


YOu already got very good advice and I have little left to offer. One thing I would say is to get him off of the Heartgard PLUS. No combos or plus's for epi dogs! Dr. Jean Dodds advised me to use Interceptor or Heartgard regular.

Some dogs DO have seizure secondary to other things going on in their bodies. I don't know about the eye condition causing that, but who knows? As for the MRI, I had that done and received a $2700 bill for one day's testing that all came back negative. If your dog is young, the chances are great that he doesnt' have a tumor or anything like that. the only way to find out is to have an MRI and a spinal tap that would rule out any immunological problems or airborne toxins. If I had it to do over again, I wouldn't have the MRI and spinal tap but at the time I was worried sick like yourself and wanted to cover all the bases.

It would be best to try and keep Charley on a timely schedule with his Pb if you can. I try not to go over an hour past the scheduled time. Pb doesn't stay in the system long and it's critical for some dogs to keep their therapeutic levels up. there have been times my boy has spit his pill out without me knowing or I have gone way past the scheduled time. I try to feed him around the same times everyday and give him his medications then. It's not easy being an epi dog's mom!!!! You'll do fine, it's a matter of getting regimental with it all.

Please keep us up to speed with Charley's seizures.

3.5 yo Irish Setter boy
First seizure 7/26/2013
Last seizure 3/24/2014
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

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Joined: Thu Feb 16, 2006 12:08 pm
Location: Long Island, NY

Post by Carolyn » Wed Oct 17, 2007 11:32 am

The only thing I would like to add is that when this all began for us, we did all the "normal" blood tests, exray of her stomach and I was ready to spend what ever it took for whatever test we needed. Fortunatly my vet recommended we "get the siezures under control" before proceeding with any extensive testing.
You could spend thousands & thousands of dollars testing FOR NOTHING.
So don't let them make you feel guilty if you don't go for a mri or anyother expensive testing at this point. I still don't have the money for such testing and quite frankly in our case it really wouldn't do anything except give us a "reason" it won't fix our problem.
Your vet could start on a low dose of pb & take it from there.
Kiya 11yr Shiloh Shepherd
PB 60mg am 90mg pm, 1teas kbr 1200mg, turmeric paste
1000mg milkthistle bid
First seizure 11/27/05
Last seizure 5/21/15

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Location: Massachusetts

Post by poodlemom » Thu Oct 18, 2007 6:43 am

thanks to everyone who read and responded to my posting. i talked to charlee's neurologist and vet and they both said to wait on the mri and see how he responds to the meds. i forgot to ask about switching him to interceptor or just plan heartgard. what do you give to the dogs to chew on? charlee loves those rawhide chewies, but i have taken them away from all my dogs. they are driving me crazy, ripping apart stuffed, squeaky toys! i cooked up a bag of frozen vegetables and i've been giving those as treats . i ran out of green beans and had to give broccoli, chauliflower and carrots. there was an awful lot of gas in the house, i don't mean from the furnace!!!! i started him on marin, milk thistle, this morning.
thanks again. i wish i could post a picture of charlee. he is really one of a kind!!!

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Location: Auckland , New Zealand

Post by skrpio » Thu Oct 18, 2007 12:52 pm

Hi Poodlemom
Be careful of the vegetables you give - too much cauli and broccoli can cause problems as they have way too much fibre in them. Small pieces every so often are good but as always in moderation.
Once again - no heartguard plus or anything else with puls in it. The vets will tell you it does not affect the seizures but we all know it does.
Give the meds squashed into a small piece of cheese.
As for the chewing what about raw bones. These are really good for their teeth as well as the vitamins etc from the marrow. I throw a handful of dry food out into the grass and this usually occupies any dog for hours recovering every individual bit. Check out the how to rate you dog food. Cannot remember where your food came on the list. See Diet & Metabolism section - 12th down
As for the eye problems - this is a hereditary thing in poodles and I doubt if it has to do with the seizures.
There is a message for me on how to post pictures. Follow that. See Suggestion section Photo gallery.
In loving memory of my special KiKi Bean
Seizure free forever now
Nov 25th 2002 - Nov 1st 2006
Dogue De Bordeaux

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