Page 1 of 15

My story ... so far

Posted: Fri Aug 30, 2013 5:25 am
by Chris Douglas
My Brittany Molly turned 5 in March of this year. She started having seizures last Aug. They have gone from months apart to every 2 week seizure's starting last Dec. and have been every 2 weeks since. They might be a day early or a day late but basically every 2 weeks. I should also mention that Molly is deaf. I got her at appox. age of 9 mos. without any background on her.

In the beginning I tried everything I could think of from all natural dog food, filtered water, detox the home removing all chemicals only using white vinegar and/or hydrogen peroxide for cleaning and the blue Dawn for dishes and laundry, replaced water/feeding dish with new stainless steel bowls, and even used gallons of vinegar to kill everything in the small yard we have. Kept the home aired out even in winter for fresh air. Removed anything new or different. Got rid of house plants. I change out the light bulbs(CFL's) and checked into the "flicker" rate of the computer/t.v ... needless to say nothing I did helped.

I have learned through internet research and "trial & error" that the trigger for seizures can be anything, anywhere, at anytime, and not necessarily the same trigger each time ... I personally believe that in some cases like mine that there isn't even really a "trigger" per se ... mostly not only for all the things I have ruled out as being a "cause" or trigger for the seizures whether it be the food, water, chemical toxin's ... etc ... but also because Molly has had seizures in every room, inside, outside, while awake or asleep, in the yard and vehicle, alone or not, daytime/nighttime, every day of the week, month of the year, and season know to man ...

She can have 1 seizure, or 1 followed hours later by another 1, all grand mal, or clusters with brief 1 to 1 1/2 minutes in between of heavy panting where she doesn't wake up before going into another full tilt seizure ... the vet gave me the valium to give to her as she is having her 1st one but it doesn't work quick enough to keep her from having more ... the only pattern is the pattern that presents itself every 2 weeks. Each time being different than the time before.

When she's awake beforehand she may know it's coming with a 1 minute or 15 minute warning where she fast trots thru the house ... or she might have no warning at all and just stiffen up, tip over with her head back, and face grimaced. A valium given beforehand doesn't help in time to keep her from seizing. Afterwards she doesn't know me or trust me like I'm a stranger, fast trot's incessantly back and forth through the house from front door to back door bumping into things and even startling herself with things she suddenly see's or runs into. I feed her small amounts of food and water periodically during this period but once she gets some food/water she become fixated on food and water and the only way to get her to relax is to put her in her cage where her bed is. then she lays down and sleeps. For days she's not herself. It can take up too 10 days before all the little things that make her who she is comes back little by little. Just about the time she's back to being her ol' self it's almost time again ...

Immediately following the very first seizure a trip to the vet and blood tests were done. I started a log of seizures and kept in close contact with the vet. Another round of tests were done a week ago and just like the 1st tests everything came back normal.

3 Days ago the vet and I put Molly on Keppra 250 mg twice a day. Today is the day. Now I wait to see if since having an every 2 week schedule of seizures since last Dec. anything will change because of the Keppra. So far the only noticeable difference in the last 3 days is she sleeps a lot. More than I ever thought possible.

I often wonder if whatever has caused her to be born deaf is somehow the same cause of her seizures.

Thanks for letting me share this ...

Re: My story ... so far

Posted: Fri Aug 30, 2013 4:26 pm
by Kipsmom
My husband and I were just talking about the same thing you said...about the time our dog was actually acting like "our dog" again, we knew a seizure was imminent. So frustrating.

I hope the addition of Keppra will help Molly. Hang in there, it sounds like a rough ride you and she are having. Don't give up, there are a lot of meds out there, and hopefully you will find the one that makes the difference.

That was an interesting comment you made about the thing that caused her to lose her hearing possibly being related to what's causing her seizures. Sounds like a reasonable theory...maybe a neurologist could help find a connection?

Wishing you and Molly the best!

Re: My story ... so far

Posted: Sat Aug 31, 2013 2:34 am
by Chris Douglas
hi kips mom,

thanks for your reply ... my heart aches for you and yours for your loss 8/20/13 ... may your kip and my last brit. of 15+ years Boots who passed in Nov. 2008 be best buds across the "rainbow bridge" ...

hmmm ... yes, I have read many time's here about people using a neurologist for their dogs ... this is something new to me ... I have never heard of it before. All my experiences have always been with vets. as that is all that has ever been available as far as I know.

So we made it past the "every 2 week" seizure day ... guess that means it's "seizure day" plus 1 ... or 15 days and counting ... here's hoping ... :D

Re: My story ... so far

Posted: Sat Aug 31, 2013 10:24 am
by Gentle Jacob's mom
Hi Chris,
Is it possible for you to get rectal valium? It gets into the system immediately so that could help with clusters. It doesn't do a lot to keep them from happening but each dog is different so it may help. Also, if the Keppra doesn't give more time between seizures giving it three, or even four times a day (with the same total mgs per day) can help. We give it to Jake four times, and that has been the only significant thing that has helped in the seven years we've been in this mess. I'm sorry to hear you and Molly are going through this. It's a hell these wonderful animals should never have to deal with. I can tell you that in time you will adjust to the reality of this. Notice I didn't say get used to. You never get used to this, but you and Molly will become a team and will hopefully find the right combination of drugs and supplements that will help.
I hope Keppra starts improving her seizures.

Take Care,

Re: My story ... so far

Posted: Sat Aug 31, 2013 3:42 pm
by Chris Douglas
hi Lynne,

Thanks for your response ... I am soooo open to any feedback ... is "rectal" valium different than tablets?

I have valium 5 mg tablets (started that 8/2/13 and we're into the 2nd bottle of 20 now) that I give rectally during her 1st seizure in hope's that it will stop her from clustering ... or I have tried giving her 1 orally when she behaves in a away that says to me that a seizure may be imminent ... it doesn't seem to help as 1 of the times I did this she had a seizure 15 minutes later anywayzzzz ... or maybe it wouldn't been worse without it but I can't tell since I didn't go down "that' road of what it would have been like if I hadn't given any valium ...

as for the schedule and dosage on Keppra (Levetiracetam Tablet 250 mg) ... I asked for a lower dosage of it ... originally the vet was going to have me do the 500 mg every 12 hours but I asked if there was a lower dosage I could try 1st ... that's when the 250 mg was prescribed ... and the every 12 hour part came in when I said there was "no" way with my sleep/work schedule I could manage an every 8 hour schedule and be anywhere near "on-time" with the pills ... can't even imagine trying to maintain an every 6 hour schedule and still get any sleep or be here when "it's time" for a pill ...

If this had happened to us 2 or 3 years ago it woulda been different since I wasn't "single" then ... and whatever schedule is needed woulda been "do-able" ... lol ... not to mention cost wouldn't have been the issue it is today ... funny how "the road in life" turn's and twists in ways sooo unexpected for both of us Molly and I .... :shock:


Re: My story ... so far

Posted: Sat Aug 31, 2013 6:17 pm
by Gentle Jacob's mom
Hi Chris,
I haven't heard of using a tablet rectally. That doesn't mean it isn't a possibility. Rectal valium is usually in a gel or suppository form. I think the suppositories are available at most regular pharmacies, but we use the gel because our vet felt it was better for Jake. I guess as with most of he meds for canine epilepsy, it depends on the dog.

I hope this helps.

Re: My story ... so far

Posted: Sat Aug 31, 2013 9:16 pm
by Kipsmom
Hi Chris - thanks for the condolences. It's very hard to get used to Kip being gone.
He had a neurologist we were referred to when he didn't respond well to the typical treatment (he had a rare side effect to phenobarb - it attacked his bone marrow.). Anyway, the neurologist was well-versed in the most up-to-date treatments for epilepsy, and we were able to get the best treatments available, although the poor little guy only survived about nine months from his first seizure. He really had a bad case of this awful disease, as it seems most dogs do live a fairly long life.
One of the things we used as a rescue treatment was intranasal Valium. We had syringes of Valium that we could shoot up his nose at the first sign of a seizure. Once, we were able to stop a seizure dead in its track during his ramp-up (pre-ictal) which was awesome. The intranasal Valium was only effective for about 30 minutes, according to the neurologist, so at least the times it didn't stop a seizure, it prevented him from clustering. I have typically only heard of rectal Valium, but the intranasal dosing was helpful. We also had tried Clorazepate for three days after a seizure to prevent clustering, with limited success.

Re: My story ... so far

Posted: Sun Sep 01, 2013 1:56 am
by Chris Douglas
Hi Lynne,

thanks for the info. ... is the gel or suppositories something that can sit on a shelf at room temp. ... and what is the dosage of it ... and what does it cost roughly ... sounds like something that would work faster, be more effective, and I'd like to check into it more ... thanks

sometimes I think it just doesn't always depend on the dog but maybe the vet tooo ... kinda like people doctors vary greatly ... :lol:

Re: My story ... so far

Posted: Sun Sep 01, 2013 2:19 am
by Chris Douglas
Hi Ellen,

thanks for your help ... I can understand how hard it is to get used to your fur-kid not being there ... I still feel connected to my Boots and sense her presence at times ... strange thing indeed even after 5 years ...

phenobarb scare's me ... mostly the side-effects I guess ... almost like there's a slight chance it could help in some ways but like commercials on t.v. for human med's. for 1 issue has a list of possible side-effects as long as my arm and a lot of the side-effects are worse tan the original issue ... :?

the nasal valium with a syringe was a liquid? ... interesting ... I'm googling Clorazepate ... wonder how many people have had success with it and all the other options out there as well as side-effects and cost ... how many of these med's, have generic versions ... then there's the whole controversy of what "fillers' are used with generic verse's the original meds ... and I wonder why my head is spinnin' ... ahahahaha

Re: My story ... so far

Posted: Sun Sep 01, 2013 3:19 am
by Chris Douglas
speaking of spinning heads ... my last post ... makes me think of when this all 1st started 1 year ago this month ... naturally like most people we had hoped this was a 1 time event ... and when it wasn't I run to the vet. followed closely by running to the internet to find out what all the things are that can cause my Molly to have seizure's ... only to find out just about anything and everything can do it ...

food ... so I changed her to a all natural diet,

water ... so bought a filter and a water testing kit

her dishes ... so new stainless steel water and food dishes

air contaminate's ... house aired out daily, even left open at night while we slept

anything new ... walked around the house and went thru everything everywhere rackin my brain ... anything new since this started "went-away" ... just in case this, that, or what ever it was might be the culprit ...

anything that's growing inside or out ... got rid of the house plants and killed everything in the yard with vinegar

toxicity/toxic ingredients ... this is where my head spun like on some scary movie ... the list is endless and everything I had in my place right down to shampoo's and toothpaste has carinogene's in them ...

so I threw them all out and started over by scrubbing every inch of home with vinegar and hydrogen peroxide after finding out that every cleaner was toxic or had carcinogen's in them, switched to "blue' Dawn for laundry/dishes and the only personal soap I use is Mane and Tail shampoo ... now that pretty ironic to me cause I don't even like vinegar, much less the smell of it ... and it hasn't gotten any better after a year of it ...

I figured I'd over done it when the neighbors actually complained about some weird smell in the air ... had to explain what they were smelling was vinegar from my place ... :oops: ... gotta admit I could smell the vinegar before I even got near the house ... :lol:

somewhere in the middle of my madness to find a solution came ... daily vitamins, homeopathic remedies for calming dogs with seizures, Schuessler cell salts no 8 magnesium, and fish oil capsules ... not all of them at one time of course ... but one by one ... try something ... nope that didn't work ... back to the internet, friends, pet store, vet. ... anyone with a "set of ear" and any idea not toooo far fetched or expensive ... :lol: :lol: :lol: :lol:

Don't remember exactly when or why ... but there came a day when I walked into the vet office looked her square in the eye and said, "ok ... I give up, she has epilepsy and I can't fix her, now what?"

at that time the vet was of the mindset that until she has a seizure once a week for at least four weeks in a row ... we do nothing, "dogs are resilient"

then came the clusters of 2, 3, and 4 in thirty minutes ... and the 1 seizure every 4, 8, or 12 hour for 2 days running ...

with the 1 year anniversary came new blood work, exam, and it's time for Keppra ...

so here we are day 16 of a every 2 week seizure pattern and some new/old things are coming back for her ... things I haven't seen her do in so long that I forgot she did that ... :D

Re: My story ... so far

Posted: Sun Sep 01, 2013 7:11 am
by Gentle Jacob's mom
Hi Chris,
We've never used the suppositories so I don't know the cost, but we pay around $75.00 for between 15 and 18 doses of rectal valium. It can vary. Jake gets 60 mgs immediately when he's seizing. We tried intranasal with another drug a few years ago, but Jake got so upset when we gave it to him we decided it defeated the purpose. We do use Clorazepate after a seizure with Jake along with an extra dose of Pb (you may want to look into that also). It has knocked out his clusters. I know how scary these drugs sound, but believe me cluster seizures can lead to status and you need to do what you can to keep that from happening. Jake's been on Pb for 5 years and he's handled it well. Just make sure you get Molly's liver enzymes and Pb levels checked every 6 months to a year. In the beginning we had them checked every 4 months. As long as you stay on top of that she should be all right. Unfortunately the drugs to treat this disease can work very differently depending on the dog. As far as the vet, if you can, keep looking until you find one that you feel is the right one. You're a team.
We all understand frantically trying to find a "trigger" for the epilepsy. I was crazy trying for over two years to find something, but unfortunately, like most here, we didn't find anything. Just take a deep breath and remember that the most important thing is that Molly is a happy pup, and try to take some comfort that you're being a great dad to her. I think the owners here are the very best.


Re: My story ... so far

Posted: Sun Sep 01, 2013 4:26 pm
by Chris Douglas
Hi Lynne,

Really great hearing from you ... this site is the only outlet for me and I noticed that since joining/posting it has become some sort of "caregiver therapy" for me ... don't apologize to me for what the spelling of my name doesn't say but I'm trying to be the best mom to my molly that I can be ... my family is gone, I'm an only child, and I never had any kids ... so my "fur-bud's" have always been the family ... it's just me and them.

I have another dog, beagle mix that's 11.5 yr's old and healthy ... I believe that dogs need the company of their own as much as we need the company of dogs ...

If the Keppra keeps on working good( everything is crossed for that) .... then the $75.00 for the 15 - 18 dosages of gel would be affordable since they wouldn't be used up quickly ...

When you say "but believe me cluster seizures can lead to status" what do you mean by "status" ... is that to say once they have cluster's then that just becomes the "norm" for them? ... like once they have a cluster then there's no going back to "single" seizures without the use of drugs ... worries me that when it happens( she has a seizure) when I'm at work then I won't be here to give her the drugs she needs to keep from have clusters ... kinda "up's" the possibility of walking in the door from work and finding out I need to start digging a grave out back ... :cry: ... need to prepare myself for that possibility mentally ... *givin' my bud a big hug*

The vet told me that the seizure drugs shorten their normal life span's ... I haven't quite gotten over that idea ... we've been upping the "out's" for walks and good times away from home ...

as far as looking for the "right vet" ... I live in Podunk" (less than 2,000 population) in a county with a county seat of less than 18,000 pop and don't have the big city options here ... :lol: :lol: :lol:

even had 1 "mean-spirited" comment in Podunk that I should "ship her off to a university/lab/drug trial somewhere for experimental drug testing ... :shock: ... people amaze me ...

ok ... sorry for the length of this ... thanks again ... gonna ask the vet on Tues about the gel valium ... ahahahahaha ... the vet is only here 2 days a week ... told ya ... podunk! ... :D

Re: My story ... so far

Posted: Sun Sep 01, 2013 10:22 pm
by Aggie
Status seizure means a seizure that just keeps going on and on. It's a life threatening emergency.

Our dog is on Phenobarbital and after a two week adjustment period, he has no real side effects and no seizures. He had a relatively mild case of epilepsy compared to some here, though.

Re: My story ... so far

Posted: Sun Sep 01, 2013 10:57 pm
by SpencerBhumi
Hi Chris, Welcome to the forum.

You are correct: this is a great place for support from understanding people. I have pet loving friends who care about us (me & Spencer) but do not understand the gravity we go through, so I find a lot of comfort from the many caring members who post here (and a lot of useful info from them too).

Regarding Valium: I give it orally if fits are happening frequently (heading into a big cluster) to try and stop the cluster. I also have a dose of Valium solution for rectal use in case Spencer is still fitting but not able to swallow the tablets.

“Status” (status epilepticus) is an ongoing, unending seizure – which must be stopped. Go back to the CEN front page and look again at “canine epilepsy basics” for more info on types of fits – they provide some brief info on clusters & status.

Tablets can be inserted rectally but will take a little while to dissolve and be absorbed – a good alternative to letting the fit go untreated if your dog cannot swallow the tablet. The gel suppositories will dissolve much quicker leading to quicker absorption. My vet supplies me with intravenous valium solution, for rectal use (much quicker absorption but more tedious storage & handling). If you have the gels supps, stay with them.

My vet assures me that our epi dog’s lifespan should not significantly alter if we can *control the disease… We monitor the drugs to achieve useful but not toxic levels, and as you have, rearrange his lifestyle to achieve optimum health. There have been cluster episodes where I was not sure if we would see recovery but today I have a happy & energetic dog (and given the health scrutiny under which he lives, he would otherwise probably outlive us all).

This is a difficult disease but hang in there – you will come to manage it well and your many good days with Molly will make up for the bad ones.

All the best,
Trevor & Spencer.
Grateful for the good days, weeks (months).

Re: My story ... so far

Posted: Mon Sep 02, 2013 2:48 am
by Chris Douglas
Hi Aggie,

thanks for explaining ... good to hear your dog is doing good on pheno ... nice to have it work so well without all the side effects ... hope it continues ... :D