Jay Our German Sheperd

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Wellsaline
Posts: 7
Joined: Mon Jun 02, 2014 2:45 pm

Jay Our German Sheperd

Post by Wellsaline » Mon Jun 02, 2014 5:15 pm

Our German Shepard Jay is a 3 year old is ex-police dog.

We re-homed him around 12 weeks ago after he had a seizure. As a result he was retired from the police force after 14 months as working dog. We adopted him a little over 5 weeks later, and in that short amount of time he has become a member of our family and my shadow.

Up until recently he was running the 5 miles to work and 5 miles home again with me each day; a good portion of the route is through a nature reserve so he gets a good amount of time off the lead which he loves. When he’s at work with me he lies on his bed or under my desk all day. He is always happy to meet new people that come on to the premises and is in no way territorial. At lunch time we try and get to the park for 20 mins run around with a ball. I searched the internet and found a giant ball and launcher from the US made by a company called Chuckit. The ball is much larger than a tennis ball and so far has been indestructible.

At the weekends we have tried to get out a little further afield into Northumberland or over to the Lakes where Jenny’s parents live. He’s always great when we meet other dogs and on a Wednesday nights we have been taking him to K9 Academy for a dog training class. Three weeks ago was our sons 1st birthday and Jay was perfectly behaved. We had our families over for the day and had a house full of our little nieces and nephews. Jay was brilliant with the kids and when he’d had enough he simply took himself off to his bed.

Unfortunately however on Tuesday afternoon a fortnight ago whilst sleeping under my desk at work he had a seizure. He was already on medication (x2 60mg Epiphen a day) which was controlling the epilepsy but we knew he might have seizures. I had done a bit of research and read about what to expect, so after the first episode I was relatively calm but we had no idea that it would escalate as it did. About 10 mins after the first fit he had another and then another. Jenny, my wife, just happened to be passing work and had popped in just after the first one. We called the vets who at first said there was no rush and to wait until he had settled. However as one fit turned into five we decided we had to get him to vets as soon as possible. Driving to the vets he continued to fit every few minutes so we had to keep stopping the car to ensure he didn’t hurt himself. By the time we arrived at the vets in he was losing consciousness and struggling to breath. The vet took longer to come out to the car to see him than would have been ideal and by the time he received any medication it had been over an hour since he had started fitting. He had messed himself and had a dangerously high temperature. I really thought he was going to have a heart attack.

The vets stabilised him and sent us home. They called us to say he had responded well to the drugs but would need transferring to a larger surgery for 24 hour care. When we arrived to collect him we were ushered into a little room and told his condition had taken a nose dive he'd started fitting again, he had to be put on an IV line and might not make the night. He made it through the night but the next few days were touch and go. During this time the vets were trying different cocktails of drugs to try and get control of the seizures and get him off of the diazepam drip. Finally they started to say that he might pull through and on the Saturday we were able to visit him for the first time (up until then they hadn’t wanted to risk the excitement setting off another seizure). He was very weak and wobbly on his feet but seemed to recognise us. When we went back on the Sunday he was much more like his old self, still very wobbly on his feet (his rear legs were not really working at all) had lost a lot of weight but very excited to see us. He came home with us on that Sunday afternoon and for the next three nights I slept downstairs in the living room with him.

So far he has made brilliant progress and on Saturday I took him out for his first proper walk in two weeks. He is still a little unsteady on his feet and the drugs have made him a little slower (he is currently now on 300mg of Eiphen, 1000mg Epilease, and 400mg Gabapentin) but it was great to see how happy he was after a week cooped up in the house he loved being out with sights and smells of outside world.

I am currently a little concerned that he may have suffered some long term damage. His back legs are still not working as they were but they are improving all the time so I’m less concerned about that. My biggest concern is that he seems less switched on. He is just as excited to see us and gets excited to go out on a walk so it’s not like he seems dopey or spaced out on the drugs. His appetite is still great. He still has remembered most of his commands and is mostly still housetrained (although we have had a couple of accidents). It’s just that he seems to have less spatial awareness and sometimes looks like he has forgotten what he was doing. He also seems to struggle with getting around things. For example we have a blow up foot stool and doesn’t seem to try to go around it just try’s to walk over it (and falls in the process). Today he was upstairs when my wife got home. He’s not allowed upstairs and in the past either wouldn’t have gone up or if he’d be caught upstairs would have been in hurry to get back down to avoid being told off. Today he seemed oblivious. When my wife told him to back down he tried to go through the banisters (rather than around and down the stairs).

Has anyone else experienced anything similar? Not that it matters (we will love and care for him however he is) but could this change be permanent? Is there a chance he will get back to his old self?

Thanks
Mark

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

Re: Jay Our German Sheperd

Post by SpencerBhumi » Mon Jun 02, 2014 6:02 pm

Hi Mark,

Welcome to the forum.

That is quite a trial you have all just been through. I hope you do not have to go through another one like that.

With many fits in a cluster, days of IV medication to control these and with the increase of Epiphen and addition of Epilease & Gabapentin (you only mentioned the 60 Epiphen prior) you are going to have one spaced out dog for a while.

We have experienced similar events and Spencer has come home quite brain addled, with the confusion & weakness lasting up to three weeks. These behaviours did settle and Spencer has returned to the good ol’ lovable & active dog that he was before. But… now he is steady on quite high doses of Pheno & KBrom he is sleepier than usual and still slothlike in his daily amble but when meals, the tennis ball, the chance of a walk in the park are offered he is excited and active like no one would suspect anything is wrong.

So, take heart to anticipate improvement but be aware the combination of three drugs will likely leave Jay sleepier and maybe hind-leg lazy for the all the mundane times of the day.

My compliments to you for taking on an epileptic dog. He is in good hands to start with. My thoughts & prayers go out to you for Jay’s new life with you.

Regards,
Trevor & Spencer

Grateful for the good days, weeks (months).

ShilohsMom
Posts: 818
Joined: Tue Nov 12, 2013 1:42 pm
Location: Oklahoma

Re: Jay Our German Sheperd

Post by ShilohsMom » Tue Jun 03, 2014 9:30 am

Hi Mark and welcome.

First, I'm sorry that you're joining us under those conditions. Secondly, I commend you for taking on a dog with seizures, it can be difficult enough to take on a dog who develops health issues, it's another entirely to take one on that you know has problems. Sounds like he's a great dog.

I'm not familiar with the meds that he's on, but when Shiloh would cluster bad he would be out of sorts for days. When he was on Phenobarbital it made him more unsteady on his feet. He would also exhibit some of the same behavior as Jay, walking into things, seemed to be confused, sometimes he looked like he just wasn't all mentally there. It usually does get better, it just make take a while considering how much Jay has been through with the amount of seizures and drugs.

I'd suggest getting a baby gate though to block off the stairs just because I'd be afraid he'd have a seizure at the top of the stairs and fall down them and hurt himself.

Best of luck with the new meds and hope that the combination works for Jay.
Colleen, Rylie, Sophie & angels Izzie & Shiloh
DOB: 11/11/05
First seizure: 07/28//10
Last seizure: 06/27/16

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

Re: Jay Our German Sheperd

Post by Esmo » Tue Jun 03, 2014 10:59 am

I am so sorry for what you have been through. I can most certainly empathize. After Maggie’s last set of seizures (several over a 24 hour period and 3 days at various vets overnight), when she finally came home we had many of the same issues you are describing, a combination of agitation/lethargy, spaciness, hind leg weakness and poor spatial awareness. I too was worried about permanent brain damage. We have just today reached the milestone of 4 weeks since her last seizure episode and most of those symptoms have resolved. She still has somewhat poor spatial awareness and has a tendency to “overbalance” when being held/petted on a lap and just last night ran into the screen door! But overall, she has bounced back about 95% and is the sweet little dog we have come to love. Hang in there…
My thoughts are with you..
Kathy
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

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

Re: Jay Our German Sheperd

Post by cesullivan » Tue Jun 03, 2014 7:24 pm

Cali is a spaced out dog after all the meds in the ER. Usually takes about 3 days for her to start acting semi-normal. There were times when she could barely walk. The wind would blow her over. She is a clutz these days as well...she has also had diminished vision after a few of her episodes. And yes, going places she wouldn't normally go. Give it time...
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

cforecatsmeow
Posts: 225
Joined: Fri Sep 20, 2013 5:58 pm

Re: Jay Our German Sheperd

Post by cforecatsmeow » Fri Jun 06, 2014 10:18 am

Sounds like a wonderful pup. Sorry you are having a hard time. Every time we either started medication, or increased medication since this began, Winston became more lethargic and clumsy and during and/or after fits, does not listen at all in his hunt for food. He has always been very well mannered but after a seizure he barrels through my house like a moose. It may just take some time for your pup to even out and get back to his new normal. Winston is not as active as he once was and wears out faster but has been doing well and hanging tight on his new medication regime. Hope things are going well for you guys and the new medication is doing its magic. Wishing you the best.
Cynthia and Epi-Winston
Black Mouth Cur Mix
DOB: 8/2/10
96 lbs.
First Seizure 6/11/13
Last Seizure 1/2/15
Phenobarbital 97.2 bid
Keppra (generic) 937.5 bid, 1125 sid
10 mg Valium tabs as needed
Liquid Oral Valium 5mg/5ml for rectal as needed

Wellsaline
Posts: 7
Joined: Mon Jun 02, 2014 2:45 pm

Re: Jay Our German Sheperd

Post by Wellsaline » Sun Jun 08, 2014 5:22 am

Hello and thank you to everyone who has replied it really is helpful to hear from people who have experienced what we are going through with Jay.

This weekend it is fortnight since Jay came home from the vets (so nearly 3 weeks since his cluster/status seizure) and touch wood, fingers crossed (I really do not want to tempt fate) he is currently doing pretty well.

He is still wobbly on his back legs but much better. He has pretty much completely stopped dragging his rear knuckles and is better, although not perfect, on slippery surfaces like painted or laminate floors. We have laminate floors in our house, so the weekend he came home I had to go to the carpet shop and buy a load of the roll ends to put down to stop him slipping. This has had the added benefit of helping our 1 year old baby boy with crawling! Because of the baby we already had a stair gate so that has gone up, as much for the baby as the dog.

He still seems to be clumsy and a bit more confused although not sedated or spaced out. He is still very alert for example he can recognize the beep of my car alarm locking the doors and gets excited about my return. As a police dog he always had a high prey drive and this doesn't appear to have diminished. He is still tingeing with expectation just before I throw a ball and has to use all of his obedience training not to go for it before I tell him too. His commands have returned and he will sit, recall, down, give paw, go to his bed, leave and wait pretty much as before.

I think he may possibly be showing some signs of diminished vision. Yesterday when throwing a ball for him down the park he would sprint after the ball, and upon reaching it would dive to pick it up fall and tumble head over heels (due to his back end unsteadiness) then recover and run off in the wrong direction. Obviously he would have been disorientated by the fall but whilst he was looking around he appeared not to be able to see where I was and only came back in my direction when I recalled him (his recall is still impeccable, he has always been a Velcro dog).

It's a shame he's not as agile as he was (in the police he was trained to jump fences and obstacles and could clear a 5 foot fence in a single bound from a sitting position). He seems very happy with life even with the slight mobility issues and for me that all that matters.

Since my first post I've learned a bit more about the drugs Jay is on which may help other newbies to the forum:

Jay is on 300mg Epiphen a day. According to the internet Epiphen is brand name for a kind of phenobarbital, or barbiturate (Solfoton is another) that works by reducing over-excited electrical activity in the brain associated with seizures. Phenobarbital is believed to help increase GABA (Gamma-aminobutyric acid) function in the brains of affected animals. GABA is an essential amino acid that helps regulate the passing of electrical signals between brain cells. Many human and animal medical experts believe some forms of epilepsy are connected to reduced GABA levels. Lack of this chemical may contribute to periods of rapid, uncontrolled firing of neurons in the brain, resulting in seizure activity like temporary unconsciousness, involuntary movement of facial muscles and limbs, and loss of bladder or bowel control. As a Central Nervous System depressant, Epiphen and other barbiturates help reduce the likelihood of unregulated electrical surges, which can limit the occurrence of seizures. Extended use of the drug has been associated with liver damage. Other side effects can be tiredness, sedation, extreme hunger and thirst, loss of coordination and excessive urination. Jay certainly urinated more when he first started on the higher dose and had an increased appetite. He is also less co-ordinated now.

He is also on 400mg Gabapentin a day. From what I've found Gabapentin (also know by the brand name Neurontin) is apparently a human drug, which has found its way into veterinary medicine where it is used as a seizure control drug, either alone or in combination with other anti-seizure drugs. Gabapentin is also used in animals preoperatively to minimize pain experienced after surgery. Again this is only from what I have read but Gabapentin's anti-seizure capabilities have met with mixed reviews among veterinary neurologists (although combined with the other drugs it is currently working for Jay). Sedation is the chief side effect of concern although it is usually temporary and resolves in a few days after the patient's body gets used to the medication, Jay is definitely not sedated. Diarrhea has also been reported, we had some in the first week. In mice, male mice on gabapentin were found to have an increased incidence of pancreatic cancer. It is unknown if this finding holds for other species.

Finally he is on 1000mg Epilease a day. Epilease is also a brand name for potassium bromide. Because it has no effect on the liver, potassium bromide is often chosen for dogs with liver damage. Unlike Phenobarbital, which is processed by the liver, bromide works by replacing chloride throughout the body, is stored in body fluids and eliminated unchanged by the kidneys. However, where Phenobarbital is effective almost immediately, Kbr can take up to three or four months to reach its full effect. A loading dose may be necessary for dogs with frequent seizures or when Phenobarbital must be withdrawn rapidly because of liver disease. Apparently the most common side effects of bromide therapy are sedation, ataxia (hind end weakness and loss of coordination), increased urination and skin disorders. Again Jay certainly has some hind end weakness and at least initially he had some increased urination. Occasionally, abnormal behavior, such as irritability or restlessness can occur but we've not seen an sign of this.

Thanks again for the replies
Mark.

ShilohsMom
Posts: 818
Joined: Tue Nov 12, 2013 1:42 pm
Location: Oklahoma

Re: Jay Our German Sheperd

Post by ShilohsMom » Tue Jun 10, 2014 8:32 am

So glad to hear that things have been going fairly well for you all. It's so hard to watch our babies having these types of issues. Hopefully he'll adjust to all his meds and they will get him under control and his balance and cognitive issues restored.

With the possibility of Epiphen causing liver damage do you also give Jay Milk Thistle?
Colleen, Rylie, Sophie & angels Izzie & Shiloh
DOB: 11/11/05
First seizure: 07/28//10
Last seizure: 06/27/16

Wellsaline
Posts: 7
Joined: Mon Jun 02, 2014 2:45 pm

Re: Jay Our German Sheperd

Post by Wellsaline » Wed Jun 11, 2014 2:08 am

Hello thanks for the reply.

I've not heard of milk thistle before. What is it and what does it do?

The vet hasn't mentioned anything yet about liver damage is just something I've read. I guess at the moment the immediate priority is to control the seizures; which hopefully the drugs are doing. We have a 3 week check up next week where I guess they will do a blood test and talk about long term meds. I'd be reluctant to do anything that increases another chance of status seizure, we came so close to losing him last time.

Thanks Mark

ShilohsMom
Posts: 818
Joined: Tue Nov 12, 2013 1:42 pm
Location: Oklahoma

Re: Jay Our German Sheperd

Post by ShilohsMom » Wed Jun 11, 2014 10:17 am

Mark,

Milk Thistle helps protect the liver and you can get it online or a health food store. From what I read you wouldn't use it unless Jay was on a medication that can compromise the liver or had liver issues. Shiloh was on it and I believe it helped him recover from his liver failure issue when we had to take him off of PB.

Here's a little blurb I got from the web that gives more info:

Many pet owners do not realize that dogs often have liver related health problems and milk thistle for dogs is something you should consider. A healthy liver handles the cleaning and filtering of toxins from the body. Additionally, it also processes food, iron, and sugars in the blood, as well as produce bile for the ducts. There are a number factors that can cause liver imbalances, and many pet owners have turned to milk thistle to help their beloved dogs. Milk thistle dosage for dogs is based on the weight of your dog and we cover general dosage information in more detail below.

Reasons to Give Dogs Milk Thistle

Although there are other supplements out on the market to clean and detoxify the liver, milk thistle for dogs has been found to be quite effective. At the same time, this all natural herb has little apparent side effects, providing you use the correct milk thistle dosage.

Dogs have been administered milk thistle for many reasons, including for the following ailments:
•Hepatitis
•Cholangitis
•Fatty liver
•Pericholangitis
•Hepatic lipidosis

Milk thistle works to help these problems by increasing the intracellular levels of glutathione. Of course, these benefits occur when you give your pet the appropriate milk thistle dosage for dogs, and not some random amount.
Colleen, Rylie, Sophie & angels Izzie & Shiloh
DOB: 11/11/05
First seizure: 07/28//10
Last seizure: 06/27/16

Wellsaline
Posts: 7
Joined: Mon Jun 02, 2014 2:45 pm

Re: Jay Our German Sheperd

Post by Wellsaline » Sun Jun 15, 2014 2:23 pm

Hello

I'm not sure which forum top post this in so I have also posted in 'Treatment & Maintenance Issues for Epileptic Dogs'.

Jay has just regurgitated his dinner, about 50 mins after eating it. I'm not too worried by that in itself, it's just that he has his meds with his food so I am concerned that he has just vomited them up with his dinner. I know with human meds they recommend that if you vomit within 2 hours of taking them you should retake the dose.

Any advise should we give him the dose again?

Jay is on 300mg Epiphen a day. (Epiphen is brand name for a kind of phenobarbital), he is also on 400mg Gabapentin a day, (also know by the brand name Neurontin) is apparently a human drug he is also on 1000mg Epilease a day. (Epilease is a brand name for potassium bromide).

Many Thanks
Mark

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

Re: Jay Our German Sheperd

Post by cesullivan » Tue Jun 17, 2014 4:28 pm

That's a hard one...might want to just call the vet and ask. They absorb meds much faster than we do.
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

Wellsaline
Posts: 7
Joined: Mon Jun 02, 2014 2:45 pm

Re: Jay Our German Sheperd

Post by Wellsaline » Fri Jun 20, 2014 2:03 am

Hello,

Thanks for the reply. We called the vet and they suggested we give him a half dose.

Cheers
Mark

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