Late onset epilepsy?

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Across10725
Posts: 6
Joined: Fri May 26, 2017 10:11 am

Late onset epilepsy?

Post by Across10725 » Wed May 31, 2017 9:38 am

Hi everybody,
I am so happy to have found this forum. Our 6.5 year old Valley/American bull started having seizures about 2 weeks ago. At first she would just zone out and get really foamy at her mouth and we didn't know what was happening. Then on Thursday night last week she had a grand mal seizure, convulsing on her side, flipping over and foaming at the mouth. It lasted about two minutes and then she laid on her side panting and seemed to not recognize us (or maybe not see at all?). We took her to the emerge vet because we were absolutely terrified. She had another grand mal seizure while at the vet. They hooked her up to an IV of Valium and she was sent home the next day after going 12 hours with no seizure activity. They tested her thyroid, liver, kidneys and did a blood cell count. All came back normal. She is now on 75mg twice a day of phenobarbital. She hasn't had any seizures since we have been home, but has been doing a bit of weird twitching/head shaking off and on and is having the usual side effects of phenobarbital that we were warned about (but honestly now we are over analyzing everything she does so much it's hard to even separate what is normal and what is new behaviour). After that huge explanation here is my question: has anybody had a dog 6+ years of age that started having seizures and it resulted in epilepsy? Several vets have pointed out to us that because of her age it unfortunately could indicate a brain tumour. I know there is no way of knowing for sure unless we have an MRI done, but I'm curious to hear of others experiences.
I have found a lot of comfort in reading posts on this forum in knowing that we are not alone in our fear of these seizures... so thank you to all!
-Amanda

Gentle Jacob's mom
Posts: 927
Joined: Thu Mar 04, 2010 10:52 am

Re: Late onset epilepsy?

Post by Gentle Jacob's mom » Wed May 31, 2017 10:15 am

Hi Amanda,
I'm sorry this has started happening. It is very possible that there's a brain tumor, but there's also a good chance there isn't. There have been many dogs here that start seizing later and it's not a tumor, but unfortunately without an MRI you won't know for sure. We've never gotten an MRI because we couldn't really afford it, but there have been a few times over the years when Jake went through rough times, and we wondered. He had Vestibular Disease two years ago and a few weeks later had what we think was a mini stroke of some kind. Our vet basically told us that if he didn't improve over the course of 3 months it was most likely a tumor. Jake must have overheard us even though he was a zombie because he improved and recovered completely. It was very hard to wait for 3 months, but that's what we thought was best all around. We were like you, looking at every thing he did. I wish I could give you a better answer.
The head twitching/shaking could be a focal seizure, but your vet would be able to pinpoint that. Jake gets those every once in awhile. Sometimes they can be a precursor to a grand mal. It's also normal for them not to be able to see or hear for awhile after a seizure.
I hope everything settles down and you get control of the seizures.
Let us know how you're doing.

Lynne

Across10725
Posts: 6
Joined: Fri May 26, 2017 10:11 am

Re: Late onset epilepsy?

Post by Across10725 » Wed May 31, 2017 10:43 am

Thanks for your reply Lynne!
It is reassuring to hear that other senior dogs have had seizures with out the cause being a tumor. I am so glad your dog recovered well- that must have been a long three months for your family.
At this point we are very much on a "wait to see what happens" plan, which is not an easy thing to do. On the bright side I am off work now on early maternity leave, so I don't have to worry about her being home alone.
We are going to keep an eye on her head twitches and I will update on any changes in Dallas!
Amanda

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