2.5 Year Old Golden/Collie Mix with Cluster Seizures/Ataxia

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2.5 Year Old Golden/Collie Mix with Cluster Seizures/Ataxia

Post by frank.n.furter » Fri May 16, 2014 11:21 am

Hi guys, I've been lurking around here for a while but thought this would be a good time for my first post in light of our recent/continuing rough patch.

My boyfriend and I adopted Frankfurt almost 5 months ago from a shelter knowing he had seizures and unfortunately not knowing what his medical history was. Because of that, it's been a lot of trial and error trying to figure out which medications would work best for him. He's never had an MRI/spinal tap done, and his vet didn't notice anything odd with his bloodwork.

On phenobarbital alone, he had cluster seizures (3-6 in a row) every 3 or 4 weeks or so, accompanied by facial focal seizures. Our vet suggested adding potassium bromide to hopefully control the clusters. While Frankfurt didn't have any seizures for 3 months with the combination of the two, he turned into a zombie from their size effects (very lethargic, staggering and falling over, restlessness at night, etc). So we started working with his neurologist to keep him on the potassium bromide but to gradually wean him off his phenobarbital, decreasing his dosage every 2 weeks until it was completely gone.

Unfortunately this Wednesday while he on a very low dose of phenobarbital, he had 3 seizures in a row, with the second one over 5 minutes long. Usually he's up and pacing during his post-ictal period but this time he couldn't get himself off the floor after the first seizure - his hind legs were twitching as if he were trying to get up, but he just couldn't. We took him to the emergency clinic (which also happens to be his neurologist's), and at that point he could still barely walk and was staggering and falling over. They kept him overnight, checked him out and said that he wasn't on any pain but to call back if his walking doesn't get any better.

Fortunately Frankfurt's had no more seizures since then and now he's back on phenobarbital again with keppra while we slowly wean him off the potassium bromide, the logic being that his ataxia only showed up after the potassium bromide was introduced. He's still been staggering around and falling over a lot since we brought him home, more than he ever did on the potassium bromide. When we take him out for walks, he can't stay focused/upright long enough to go potty unless he's almost bursting, and we're only walking to the corner of our apartment building. So far we've been woken up in the middle of the night when it was really urgent...and now as I'm typing this he's just had an accident in the kitchen. I tried taking him out earlier when he was barking but he just kept falling down every few steps. I'm worried it's a sign of possible brain damage, but I don't know enough to have a proper guess and I'm not sure if I'm just overreacting.

Waiting for a phone call back from Frankfurt's neurologist now, but I'm wondering if anyone's had any similar experiences. I'm happy to provide additional details too if anyone's interested.

MK's mom
Posts: 1708
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Location: Michigan

Re: 2.5 Year Old Golden/Collie Mix with Cluster Seizures/Ata

Post by MK's mom » Fri May 16, 2014 12:16 pm

My boy was on KBr and although it did the best job of keeping the seizures to a minimum (he was on several different drugs at the end of his life), the KBr was soooooooo hard on his body and I totally suspect the KBr is what cost him his life, although I cannot be 100% sure. Yes, he would look stoned at times and he DID have hind end weakness, but not to the extent that your dog does. The meds affect them all differently, too.
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

Posts: 228
Joined: Sat Feb 11, 2012 9:25 am
Location: South Australia

Re: 2.5 Year Old Golden/Collie Mix with Cluster Seizures/Ata

Post by SpencerBhumi » Fri May 16, 2014 1:49 pm

Hi Frank.n.furter,

I am sorry to hear your story.

Spencer is currently stable on Pheno & Potassium Bromide with as good success as any drugs he’s received. He occasionally has the ataxia & dopiness on routine medicating but not to the extent you are describing. He has however shown similar manifestations following severe clusters & associated change of medications. These episodes have lasted 1 to 3 weeks whilst he recovers and stabilizes. I hope this will be so for Frankfurt – a case of extended recovery and stabilization rather than brain damage or other causes.

The increased unsteadiness you are describing may be a combination of post ictal (3 fits with one greater than 5 minutes is significant) and the combination of the three anti-epileptic medications, all affecting Frankfurt now. (Did the vet give him any Valium or Pheno loading to control the fits, as these will further contribute to the ataxia, loss of attention & house training etc). Brain damage could cause these effects but you could also look for other changes in personality, behavior & abilities (vision, eating, attention span) if these current signs do not improve.

For the moment, on the info given, this sounds like post ictal and medication effects so I hope it will just be a matter of time for the medications to settle in and for Frankfurt to stabilize and recover. Epilepsy is an unpredictable and grievous disease so I encourage you to be patient and hopeful that this episode will pass and that you’ll get some good stability soon.

My thoughts and prayers go to you, Frankfurt and your family. You also have my greatest admiration for adopting a dog knowing he has seizures.

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

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Re: 2.5 Year Old Golden/Collie Mix with Cluster Seizures/Ata

Post by frank.n.furter » Mon May 19, 2014 1:27 pm

Thanks for the replies, getting input and hearing about other people's experiences really helps a lot. The vet called back, they had loaded him on medication after the seizures, so they think he's still recovering from that plus the seizures too. They said to call back in a week if he doesn't seem to be improving, so we're trying to be patient and hoping he recovers by that time.

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Location: Oklahoma

Re: 2.5 Year Old Golden/Collie Mix with Cluster Seizures/Ata

Post by ShilohsMom » Mon May 19, 2014 2:17 pm

Welcome frank.n.furter, I'm glad you have joined us, but sorry it's under these circumstances.

First I congratulate you on your willingness to adopt a dog with a known history of seizures. So many people would not be so compassionate.

When Shiloh was on PB he was lethargic as well. While he isn't on PB any longer he is on KBr, however it's hard to tell how much ataxia is from the meds and how much is from his intervertebral disc disease. One thing for sure was that when he clustered his ataxia would get worse with each seizure and it could take days for him to get back to his normal.

Hope this finds him feeling better.

P.S. have to laugh at your screen name, I'm assuming someone is a Rocky Horror fan!
Colleen, Rylie, Sophie & angels Izzie & Shiloh
DOB: 11/11/05
First seizure: 07/28//10
Last seizure: 06/27/16

Posts: 48
Joined: Tue Apr 22, 2014 2:59 pm

Re: 2.5 Year Old Golden/Collie Mix with Cluster Seizures/Ata

Post by Esmo » Mon May 19, 2014 3:22 pm

While I am extremely new to this forum and this disease, I can say that every time after Maggie's seizures (which have always been significant clusters) she has had pronounced muscle control and weakness issues that have abated as she recovered and adjusted to the increased medication. After this last episode on May 6th (12 in a little over 24 hours) she is just now showing normal stability in her walking/jumping and overall personality.

Hoping your baby continues to improve...
Esmo and Maggie
Dachshund/Beagle Mix
Rescued 12/16/13
First seizure 1/31/13
Last seizure 9/23/14
48 mg of Phenobarbital 2x day
150 mg of Zonisamide 2x day
500 mg of LevetiracetamER (Keppra) 2x day
200 mg of Gabapentin 3x day

Posts: 140
Joined: Tue Nov 15, 2011 1:32 pm

Re: 2.5 Year Old Golden/Collie Mix with Cluster Seizures/Ata

Post by cesullivan » Wed May 21, 2014 9:55 pm

Cali as well had extreme rear end control issues on Potassium Bromide/Pheno combo. I don't remember how long, but at least a month before she didn't walk with that I drank a big bottle of vodka look. We still call her a stoned dopey dog...
Cali 4YO female Lab/Chow mix
Cluster Grand Mals
Last Seizure: June 10, 13
Pheno 64MG 2x/day
Kbrovet 1,650MG 1x/day

Foster Dog Jim 3ishYO Lab
Pheno 140MG 2x/day
KBrovet 1,000MG 2x/day
Keppra XR 500MG 2x/day
Zonisamide 200MG 2x/day

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