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Ataxia Getting Worse

Posted: Wed Dec 20, 2017 9:42 pm
by ReverendBonobo
Hey there. My dog Spartacus is a 13-year-old (best guess) rat terrier who has been on Phenobarbital (64.8mg twice a day) and Potassium Bromide (375mg once a day) for about five years now. He's had occasional ataxia "episodes" lasting ten minutes or so, where his back legs wouldn't work at all, but that's it. Up until a few months ago, when he started having frequent bouts of wobbliness and loss of balance. We decreased his pheno by 1/4, giving him a full dose in the morning and a half dose in the evening, and he got better for a few months.

And then it came back. He's almost always a little wobbly (noticeable when he walks, sometimes takes an extra try to get on the bed), and sometimes it's really bad (he'll just fall over where he's standing, or can't get on the bed at all). Just before I made this post, he couldn't stand at all and was dragging himself by his front legs. After about twenty minutes, he stood up and shook himself off, and was back to just sort-of-wobbly.

I don't know what to do except to take him to get his pheno levels tested again to see if we can lower his dose any further. It may be a little high. The onset of these ataxia episodes seemed to come with a complete absence of seizures. Previously, he was having a seizure once every two to three months, but it's been at least six months since his last one.

Everything I've read about ataxia says it starts when the dog starts the meds and decreases over time. Is this normal for it to start late and get worse? Is it possible he's just metabolizing it more slowly as he ages?

Re: Ataxia Getting Worse

Posted: Thu Dec 21, 2017 6:36 am
by Gentle Jacob's mom
We didn't give Jake Potassium Bromide, but a few local epi dogs that I know of were having problems with ataxia from it. Two were very severe to the point where the owners were within days of putting the dogs down because of it. They reduced the amount and one completely weened off from it and the dogs improved immediately. Have you had his levels checked or tried reducing his Potassium Bromide?

Lynne

Re: Ataxia Getting Worse

Posted: Thu Dec 21, 2017 2:30 pm
by ReverendBonobo
Gentle Jacob's mom wrote:We didn't give Jake Potassium Bromide, but a few local epi dogs that I know of were having problems with ataxia from it. Two were very severe to the point where the owners were within days of putting the dogs down because of it. They reduced the amount and one completely weened off from it and the dogs improved immediately. Have you had his levels checked or tried reducing his Potassium Bromide?

Lynne
That's my next move. We're going to the vet tomorrow. My plan was to get his pheno levels checked, but I'll have them check his bromide too. I think he's almost due for a bromide check anyway. I'm willing to risk the occasional seizure if it means he can walk right again.

I'm hoping he can stay on a lower dose, since he was having seizures every week or two when he was on just the pheno. Adding the bromide knocked them down to every three months.