Seizure episodes - always cluster seizures

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Carrie
Posts: 8
Joined: Thu Aug 21, 2008 12:25 pm

Seizure episodes - always cluster seizures

Post by Carrie » Thu Aug 21, 2008 5:43 pm

Last Nov by 2 year old at that time Giant Schnauzer started having seizures. Her first major episode was seizures every hour on the hour from 8 pm until some time the next day. We went to the vet, were diagnozed with epilepsy and were given Phenobaritol (Pb) 60 mg. I gave the loading dose of 2 tablets then tried to get some sleep.

She continued to have seizures thru the day and into the night. My husband called the vet who said to give 2 more tablets and then wait 2 hours but between hubby and myself we misinterpreted the answer. I then proceded to give Shelby (the dog) 2 tablets every 2 hours. Needless to say, I managed to give her a really good trip and I now know what a stoned dog is like. Thankfully there were no side affects other than it controlled her seizures really quickly. (and me the owner felt like an idiot)

We went several months without seizures but started up again in May 3/2008. We uped the dosage to 90 mg of Pb twice a day. She then seized again on May 21st so upped her to 120 mg twice a day.

She just had seizures two weeks ago (Aug 7th) and then today.

Anytime that she has seizures, they are cluster seizures. I give her a dose of 60mg of Pb as soon as she is able to take it after the first seizure but it sometimes talks up to half an hour before the seizures stop with seizures every five to nine minutes.

Is it normal that the seizures are always cluster seizures instead of just one seizure? And is giving her the Pb the right thing to do to help stop the seizures? And last, should I up her dosage each time that she has an episode?

So far surviving but would just like a bit of moral support and a few people to toss ideas around with.

Thanks

Any advice would be appreciated.
3 year old giant schnauzer
First Siezure Nov 21/07
Last Siezure March 27/09

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

Post by MK's mom » Thu Aug 21, 2008 6:19 pm

Hello and Welcome!!

Are you giving your girl Pb according to your vet's recommendations or are you winging it? Do you have her levels checked every 6 months or more often when she's clustering? I have found that an extra dose of Pb is a good cluster buster, but sometimes it doesn't work. Clusters are common for dogs like ours, so yes, it happens.

Has your vet mentioned putting your girl on potassium bromide (KBr)? some dogs have very good luck when using the Kbr in addition to the Pb. Other dogs don't do as well, it's a chemistry test with every one of them. You could always try Taurine, it's an amino acid and won't hurt your dog. I started using it last summer and my boy went 10 months without a cluster. you can buy it at the health food store and it isn't that expensive. my boy weighs 70ish lbs and I give him 2, 500 mg capsules with his meals twice per day. My neurologist gave me the go ahead, so you wouldn't have to worry about it harming the pup.

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

debs
Posts: 30
Joined: Fri Jul 25, 2008 11:05 am

Seizure Episodes

Post by debs » Fri Aug 22, 2008 4:18 am

Hi--you might ask your vet about using valium rectally to stop the clusters. Saylor, our german shepherd, seems to have more than one at a time so to try and limit that we use the valium. We've not used more PB, no one has ever mentioned that. The valium is pretty immediate, although as you can imagine it makes them quite sleepy and unable to get around for a few hours. We've been told that we can use 3 valiums within a 24 hour period.

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

Post by Mandypop » Fri Aug 22, 2008 4:35 am

Echoing Debs' reply - Has you vet mentioned rectal valium? My dog started with clusters, and the valium really helped stop them and also greatly reduced the post-ictal phase.

Have you been referred to a Neurologist, as it sounds like your dogs seziures are not being controlled by phenobarb alone, you may need to 'add on' another drug. If your dog is continually seizing for an hour, that is really not good.


Good luck with your boy and hope that you can get his seizures under control.
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

Carrie
Posts: 8
Joined: Thu Aug 21, 2008 12:25 pm

Post by Carrie » Fri Aug 22, 2008 11:09 am

Thanks for the suggestions guys. I dropped my girl off at the vet this morning after a rough night of it. My vet and I discussed Valium and KBr as additional therapies. And possibly upping the Pb until the KBr takes effect.

Here's to hoping that the KBr is available in town and doesn't need to be shipped and that we have a quiet weekend.

I will look into the Taurine and see how easy it is to get for me. I live in a small town so not always able to get more than the basics.

Thanks again.
3 year old giant schnauzer
First Siezure Nov 21/07
Last Siezure March 27/09

debs
Posts: 30
Joined: Fri Jul 25, 2008 11:05 am

seizure episodes

Post by debs » Fri Aug 22, 2008 11:28 am

Hi again--kbr takes about 4 months to reach therapeutic levels. Our pet in on kbr 2 ml. twice daily and 100 mg pheno twice daily. From our experience you don't want to let them keep having seizures continuously, that's when they become very dangerous. I would strongly suggest that you speak to the vet about rectal valium. It's really easy to use and works well pretty immediately--that's not to say that it stops another seizure, but may. Good luck with your pet. It really is the most difficult thing to deal with--and they are so precious!

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

Post by MK's mom » Fri Aug 22, 2008 2:40 pm

Your vet can give a loading dose of KBr to get your dog to a therapeutic level quickly, otherwise it takes a good 15 weeks and you don't want to go that long. the valium helps some dogs, it didn't do much for mine though. Clorazapate is another cluster buster and you can also get that from a pharmacy.

I used to buy my KBr from a pharmacy in PA called Lundberg. They were much cheaper than anyone in my area and I could get the meds in about 5 days. Your vet has to fax or call in the script and the owner is very nice. You can find other discount pharmacies on the Epilepsy Guardian Angels website along with a bunch of useful information.

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

skrpio
Posts: 1143
Joined: Sun Sep 25, 2005 5:34 pm
Location: Auckland , New Zealand

Post by skrpio » Fri Aug 22, 2008 4:12 pm

Hi Carrie
When using Pb you need to be careful that you give the meds EVERY 12 hours as they do not last past that. It is very important. Additional doses of PB are ok when clustering but not recommened for continual use. You need to be quite clear with the vets instructions as to giving PB and the doseage. Two tablets does not seem like a loading dose to me - are you sure you got it correct? Check if he meant 2 tabs 2x a day for X number of days. Sometimes vets do not make themselves clear.
You may find that you dog will need KBr as well to control the clusters or the PB may just need tweeking.
If your dog has more that 3 seizures in 12 hours you should be taking it to the vet. Too many seizures like that can cause problems.
Jane
In loving memory of my special KiKi Bean
Seizure free forever now
Nov 25th 2002 - Nov 1st 2006
Dogue De Bordeaux

Carrie
Posts: 8
Joined: Thu Aug 21, 2008 12:25 pm

Post by Carrie » Fri Aug 22, 2008 4:23 pm

The vet has prescribed a loading dose of 2.5 grams twice a day KBr for 5 days followed by 1/2 gram twice a day after that. And they had it in town so can start tonight.

Shelby is on 120 mg Pb twice a day and has been since May when she had another episode (not as intense as this one). She was on 60 mg twice a day before that with a loading dose before that. My vet is going to leave her at 120 mg twice a day for now with instructions to increase if needed if the KBr takes a while to take effect.

When I pick her up, I will also be getting some Valium for cluster busting. So far she has been seizure free since 5AM (after 10 seizures in 24 hours).

Fingers are crossed that we have a good weekend.

Thanks again for the help, support and suggestions.
3 year old giant schnauzer
First Siezure Nov 21/07
Last Siezure March 27/09

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

Post by MK's mom » Fri Aug 22, 2008 5:22 pm

Carrie,

Is there a reason your vet can give the loading dose at his clinic? Rather than doing it over a 5 day period, they can do it on the spot. It might knock the dog on it's behind for awhile, but it breaks the clusters. I remember when MK started to seize at the beginning and I took him to the neurologist for all the tests. He gave him a loading dose of Pb and said it can knock small dogs down, but probably not an Irish Setter. It knocked MK's lights out and I had to leave him at the clinic all night! LOL Some dogs are more sensitive to the drugs than others and it takes a little more or a little less of anything.

Good luck Carrie. I know this isn't easy, but once you get your pup under control you'll have time to read up on epilepsy, learn from our experiences and then you'll feel a little more in tune with what is going on. We never become comfortable with epilepsy, but we learn to live WITH it, not FOR it.

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

Carrie
Posts: 8
Joined: Thu Aug 21, 2008 12:25 pm

Post by Carrie » Sun Aug 24, 2008 9:12 pm

48 hours seizure free. Yee Haw! Other than the velcro dog that is always attached to me, we are good to go until the next set.
3 year old giant schnauzer
First Siezure Nov 21/07
Last Siezure March 27/09

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