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a new understanding of epilepsy

Posted: Sun Nov 16, 2014 7:46 pm
by SpencerBhumi
I recently had the good fortune of an informal chat with a neurologist (to people) about epilepsy. He was most intrigued with my experience with canine-epilepsy and those drugs we are using on our dogs.

I asked a few questions about prolonged post ictal behaviour (on a thought along the lines of post fit trauma/concussion). He quickly allayed that theory (short of actual trauma from falling/head banging etc) but led me into another aspect of the disease…
Non Convulsive Status Epilepticus (NCSE).

Having briefly discussed this component of the disease with the neurologist and reading up a bit more I have come to a crossroad in thoughts: Share it or not?
1) This is a real component of epilepsy being treated in humans (and researched on canines) but it requires time, money & equipment to diagnose it for treatment.
2) Most of our dogs are already so heavily treated with barbiturates and benzodiazepines – these being the primary drugs to correct NCSE…*

Sometimes when I watch Spencer’s behaviour I wonder just what is going on in his mind.
Recently Colleen posted an article about the brain stethoscope with a link to the brainwave noises that occurr before, during and after the fit. Listening to the post ictal brainwave noises all I could imagine was Triffids wandering destructively around inside Spencer’s brain. Some days Spencer is so bright, alert, coordinated and smart, it is like there is nothing wrong with him. Other days (days on end) he is absent, vague dreamy, has lost his social skills, can’t eat & drink properly, and is clearly not himself – even to the unfamiliar observer...* (not enough drugs? Too much of the drugs?)

NCSE has been recognised in case studies from the late 1800’s but was notably diagnosed by an astute physician who was called to assess a couple of people who had been admitted to hospital with ‘severe depression’ and ‘acute psychotic behaviour’ which had led to their complete failure to function in society. After several months of failed conventional treatment they were ‘diagnosed’ and treated with barbiturates and benzo's, and within days were recovering to normal social functioning. Other case studies include the use of alternative anti-epileptic medication to what was already being used, - but aren’t many of us there now?!

This definition of NCSE is very inclusive: “[It] is practically diagnosed as an enduring epileptic condition in which continuous or recurrent electrographic seizure activity is responsible for diverse clinical symptoms including altered metal state, behavioural and perception abnormalities like auras, vegetative disturbances or reduced or altered consciousness, but without major convulsive movements”.
( ... ast=Murthy)

Spencer has shown much of the above behaviour on many occasions so I wonder if his convulsions had ceased but his brain was still invaded by Triffids causing him so much dysfunction. I don’t think I will ever know.

NCSE diagnosis is confirmed by electroencephalography (EEG). Treatment is administration of barbiturates and benzo’s (or alternative anti-epileptic medicines).

So.., there are some brief facts for a new understanding on epilepsy. I cannot recommend or advise anything but bring this information to you in the hope that you might better consider your dogs when they are ‘not quite right’. If you have the resources to have your dogs investigated, I encourage you to do so (and envy you). At the least, discussion with your vet might help with an improved outcome.

I don’t have the money or access to EEG. And Spencer is already on the full gamut of medicine - we just top it all up after a grand mal. I do however look upon him more favourably when he is not right and pray it is not Triffids wandering through his brain.

Good health to your dogs. My prayers go out to all of you.


Trevor & Spencer.

Grateful for the good days, weeks (months).

Re: a new understanding of epilepsy

Posted: Mon Jan 12, 2015 12:20 am
by Liamriffith
The information here shared about the new way of understanding of epilepsy is very useful,and this will particularly helps all the patients to recover from the early stage of disease in a perfect and easy manner,and some of the best multi speciality hospital in kerala also provides this kind of understanding of epilepsy in a perfect manner.

Re: a new understanding of epilepsy

Posted: Mon Jan 12, 2015 9:46 am
by ShilohsMom
That sure gives me something to think about. I've noticed that Shiloh seems to be having more of these types of episodes where he just seems off to me or he doesn't seem to be fully present in the moment. His recent post ictal phase was pretty long considering he didn't have near the amount of seizures he would normally have for that length of post ictal. Shiloh's occipital bone is also pretty prominent and I've begun to wonder if that could have something to do with his seizures. He goes in for blood work and an examine next month and will ask the vet what he thinks. It's so hard to want answers on a disease that seems to be so difficult to figure out.

Re: a new understanding of epilepsy

Posted: Mon Jan 12, 2015 11:18 am
by wvridges
Thanks so much, Trevor, for this information.

Lucille, diagnosed with idiopathic epilepsy in early December (most likely caused by brain tumor, but don't have the resources for MRI right now) has been acting just as you describe these last 2 days. She had a small 15 second seizure 3 nights ago (none since) and has been very lethargic, spacey, slow up & down stairs, wondering around... just off. I'm not sure if this is part of the post seizure condition or if the tumor is growing/spreading.

Shiloh's Mom... funny you should mention the occipital bone because I have noticed that Lucille's seems to be more prominent lately - even compared to our other Boxers. I'm wondering if she's losing muscle mass? I'll also ask the vets on our Friday apt.

Unless she starts to snap back in the next few days, I fear she is back sliding from the tumor - it's so hard...

Re: a new understanding of epilepsy

Posted: Mon Jan 12, 2015 1:24 pm
by ShilohsMom

Let me know what your vet says. I know mine has noticed it even remarked to the tech but he didn't really say anything to me about it. Shiloh's been losing muscle but assumed it was age related (he just turned 9), but it's something I plan on asking the vet about. See if we need to add more protein to his diet.

Re: a new understanding of epilepsy

Posted: Mon Jan 12, 2015 1:41 pm
by wvridges
I'll let you know Colleen...

Re: a new understanding of epilepsy

Posted: Wed Jan 14, 2015 10:09 am
by wvridges
Hi Colleen,
Took Lucille to vets yesterday because she just wasn't snapping back from a 15 second seizure. Naturally she was pretty responsive during her visit. Mentioned the boney head, but with her it's so hard to tell because she was always a little pointy! I went back and looked at a bunch of pictures, but just decided I'm being overly concerned and adding to my stress. Lucille's leg muscle tone has deteriorated since we are not letting her get too playful with the other dogs. Having said that... she had a really good afternoon yesterday and she did run around by herself just for the sheer joy of it - it was really nice to see her do this. Again, we didn't want her to overdue it, so brought her in.

Today is a much different Lucille. Very lethargic, wobbly, and spacey. I did not witness a seizure, so I'm at a loss as to why she is so out of it this morning. No medication changes either.

Has anyone experienced these kind of days: Really good day followed by a down day?

Re: a new understanding of epilepsy

Posted: Wed Jan 14, 2015 10:33 am
by ShilohsMom
Hi Shelly,

I take it your vet wasn't concerned about the occipital bone? I'll mention it to mine next month when I take Shiloh in.

If I'm remembering correctly, Lucille was diagnosed with a brain tumor? If so, that could impact her behavior/alertness. What does your vet say about the progression or other symptoms she might show?

It sure can bring a smile to your face when you get to see them just enjoying life and being a dog!

Re: a new understanding of epilepsy

Posted: Wed Jan 14, 2015 10:57 am
by wvridges

We have not had an MRI done - just don't have the resources for it right now. But, based on the symptoms that I showed the vet (videos and pictures), he said most likely that she has a tumor. If she is still with us in 6 months time - we will then take her in to see exactly what type of tumor. For now, we are treating her for seizures and keeping the swelling at bay with 20 mg prednisone every other day. He also sent me home with some dexamethasone (sp?) to inject in case she does have a more severe seizure to stave off any potential brain swelling.

As far as progression.... I guess without a definite tumor prognosis such as type, location, size, etc., it would be very difficult to predict just how she will progress. For now, she's comfortably sleeping on the cushion with a blanket over her. We'll just take it hour by hour, day by day and hopefully she'll recuperate some in the next day or so. And, yes.... it was so wonderful to see her stretching her legs! When Lucille was well, she can run like the wind. I always call her my Greyhound in Boxer clothing... she's that fast!

Thanks for the extra support...

Re: a new understanding of epilepsy

Posted: Wed Jan 14, 2015 11:16 am
by ShilohsMom
I certainly understand about the resources. About a year and 1/2 ago Shiloh had 2 MRI's, the vet thought he might have a brain tumor because his back legs weren't working right. Turned out to be a damaged disc. To say my credit cards have been stretched would be putting it mildly (I think I can actually see through them now they're so thin :D Epilepsy on it's own can be very expensive with all the meds and tests. But in spite of it, I think it's safe to say we wouldn't trade them for the world. Plus I'd probably just spend the money on stupid stuff like another life size zombie or something for Halloween! :D

Re: a new understanding of epilepsy

Posted: Wed Apr 15, 2015 12:45 am
by Awenthomas
Hi, The information you provided very helpful for me about understanding of epileplsy. Epilepsy is a neurological condition that affects the nervous system. Epilepsy usually is diagnosed after a person has had two or more seizures that are not caused by a specific medical illness. When epilepsy is present, a person is said to have a tendency to recurring seizures. Seizures can be caused by injury to the brain or family tendencies. Thanks for sharing such great information. Keep it up!!!!