new comers, but not to epilepsy

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new comers, but not to epilepsy

Post by Jim1155 » Thu Nov 04, 2010 6:53 pm

We are new to this wonder forum but not to epilepsy. We have a very sweet english springer spaniel who will be 4 yrs old in May. Her name is Olivia. On Febuary 4, 2008, just before her 1st birthday she had her first seizure. A few
days later she had another, this time a grand mal. After a through examination
the vets could not find anything physically wrong with her and put her on Phenobarbital. We have since then had to up her to 120 mg every 12 hrs. The
seizures have stopped except when she comes into heat which seems to bring
one on. Back in January of this year our vet suggested that we consider slowly
swicthing her over to zonisamide over a period of 6 months over concerns of her
liver function from the high Pheno levels she was on now.We gave it a try started
the slow switch in April. At first all went well until the 4th of july when she was down to just 30 mg of Phenobarb twice a day when she had the worst grand mal
seizures with clusters, this time everyday for 5 days straight. WHAT A NIGHTMARE ! I had to give her valium to stop them each day and we decided to
go back and put her on her full dose of Pheno. The seizures stopped right away.
It is obvious to us that the zonisamide doesn't work anymore. We have done some reading about that drug and have found that there can be a "honey moon"
effect for some dogs where it loses it's effectiveness. We believe that is what happened with Olivia. Our vet just did a blood test and didn't like the numbers she got back and is urging us to put her on keppra. We are not rich people. I would rather try potassium bromide and then try lowering the phenobarbital . Is that combination working for anyone ?

MK's mom
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Location: Michigan

Re: new comers, but not to epilepsy

Post by MK's mom » Fri Nov 05, 2010 6:31 am

I'm so sorry you're having trouble with your girl.

My neurologist told me that bitches who go thru estrus tend to seize at that time (as you know) due to the hormone fluctuations in the body. Is there a reason you won't spay her? I know you don't want that coat ruined, but if she's seizing when she's in season and you know what's causing it, spaying might help.

My boy was on Pb, KBr and the last year of his life zonisamide. Zonisamide is also processed thru the liver, so I'm wondering why your vet would choose that drug if Olivia's liver values were high? Why don't they want to try KBr? I hate the bromides, it can be hard on their bodies, but it seems to give many dogs good seizure control. I was using the generic form of Keppra (leviteracetam) and it's great because it doesn't cause side effects, but it also has a honeymoon period for many dogs and my boy's seizures actually became more frequent while on it, so I took him off without any increase in seizure activity at all!

Is your vet a regular vet or a neurologist? I have found that the primary vets know a little about everything and a lot about nothing. I don't trust them with epilepsy, but that's just me :)
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

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Location: London, UK

Re: new comers, but not to epilepsy

Post by Mandypop » Fri Nov 05, 2010 9:38 am


Sorry you are having a rough time with Olivia. I had my dog on Pb for 2 years with no problems, seizures started again, we upped the Pb, that didn't work so have added potassium bromide. That seems to be working (touch wood) We aren't going to lower the Pb as it is in the therapeutic range, but we have recently lowered the potassium bromide.

I too am curious to know if you have considered spaying Olivia if not what are your reasons? If her seizing is a result of hormones, would you not consider this?

Good luck
Poppy - 9 year old whippet/greyhound (20 kg)

First seizure- 17th Oct 2006
Last seizure - 17th Nov 2009

90mg Pb twice daily
320mg KBr daily

Posts: 252
Joined: Fri Dec 07, 2007 5:21 am
Location: Morristown, NJ

Re: new comers, but not to epilepsy

Post by richmauer » Fri Nov 05, 2010 1:59 pm

Peanut was on both and tolerated both fairly well. She did have bouts of weakness in the limbs and malaise. We checked her levels every 6 months and they were always within limits. The combination of the drugs never stopped her seizing. She would seize roughly every three weeks from 3 years old til her death this year. Peanut was spayed.
Unless you have a reason, I would spray her.
Precious Peanut in doggie heaven 6/25/10 - 10 years old
English Cocker female 10 y/o "Sundae"
Shiatzu Male 10 y/o "Casey"

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Re: new comers, but not to epilepsy

Post by Jim1155 » Fri Nov 05, 2010 6:23 pm

Thanks to you all for your shared experiences. I don't know
what our vet has against the kbr. She is a good vet but is no
neurologist. We have just found one that is about an hour away
who we will be contacting. As for your question about having
Olivia spayed, Yes we definately what to get that done for her.
We have been through a really bad year this year finacially, so
that is why that hasn't been done yet. As you all know all too
well, having a family member with this condition makes it really
hard at times to keep up. Olivia has been doing really well ever
since we put her back on the full prescription back in July, so
you can see why we just hate to have to make a change in her
meds now. Thanks again to you all.

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