Yorkie on Keppra with seizures occurring more frequently

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Yorkie on Keppra with seizures occurring more frequently

Post by Loliz » Fri Oct 06, 2017 6:54 pm

Hi All:
My yorkie Bailey is 20 months old.
She had her first seizure at four months in June 2016. Since then she has had 10 seizures, the last one was today. The first seizure completely freaked me out! I rushed her to the regional vet hospital and she has had all of the tests - all negative. The only test I haven't done is an MRI and I don't think I'm going to do it because I don't have the money to pay for any surgery if there actually is a tumor or something. So I'm trying to do the best I can and manage the seizures.
She has been seen by a Neurologist who said they were likely idiopathic seizures anyway.
She was started on Keppra 90 mg twice daily but this has been increased to 120 mg twice daily. It costs $85 a month for this medication because it has to be compounded since she is only 6 pounds.
I have Ativan to give intranasally on top of the Keppra when she has the seizures which seems to have worked. She has only clustered once (two seizures within 5 minutes) and that was before I had the Ativan to give her.
My concern is that lately her seizures are occurring more frequently. I keep a log of when she has them and originally they were several months apart but now they are happening in two-three week intervals. I worry that she may have to go up on the medication which I really don't want to do for two reasons:
1. I don't want her to be obtunded and lose her little personality.
2. Since the medication has to be compounded I would have to pay even more for the medication than I'm already paying.

I'm going to have her see the Neurologist again. I read that sometimes they add an additional/different medication and maybe she has become tolerant to the Keppra. I really don't want her to have to do phenobarbital because of the liver issues and having to repeatedly get her liver checked.
I don't know. I actually stay up at night worried about my little girl.
Does anyone have any thoughts or suggestions or stories about your experiences in a similar situation?
Thanks alot in advance.

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Joined: Sun Mar 13, 2016 11:46 pm

Re: Yorkie on Keppra with seizures occurring more frequently

Post by Lovelight » Tue Oct 31, 2017 6:25 pm

Hi, Loliz,

I apologize for this being long. The only advice I can give regarding her treatment is to keep talking with Bailey's neurologist about everything- don't hold back on any questions or concerns you have. Maybe save up for a MRI, if you can do one eventually- a dog so young at under two years, a tumor is unlikely. It could very well be idiopathic, but it may be due to something else, like intracranial or structural. Sometimes knowing the reason helps the doctors treat better, as in specialize/individualize treatment better for Bailey drug-wise. But if it is idiopathic epilepsy, a MRI may help nothing. You can try to look up veterinary schools who may do things like that for a discounted price. Or look up research vet hospitals/clinics/specialists who may be doing studies on seizures and they could offer MRI at either discount or free, depending on the study.

Maybe Keppra isn't at the right dose, or the right med for your dog, however, treatment is trial and error. There are many they use: phenobarbital, zonisamide, potassium bromide to name a few. Mine did well on Zonisamide and phenobarbital for a while. Some meds work better for others. Just so you know, many dogs are on more than one medication, even with idiopathic epilepsy. However, you describe her as having seizures total of 10 seizures in 16 months (from onset)? I believe based on standard protocol, that if a dog/pet is seizure free for I think 10-12 weeks consecutively, then that is considered 'controlled', which may be why Bailey's medicine has only been adjusted once. Like I said, don't be afraid to ask her neurologist ANYTHING.

My dog had secondary epilepsy due to a disease and her seizures were very very different from many here and before she passed, she was on a cocktail of different meds (two emergency medicines, three anticonvulsants, prilosec, denamarin, prednisone...) but again, her diagnosis was terminal and her medicines were adjusted many times in 18 months of her illness. She started on phenobarbital which 'controlled' her seizures to every 8-12 weeks the first 9 months into her illness. Then we added zonisamide, and she went 4 months seizure free. Because her illness was progressive and aggressive, she declined slowly, after a year into her illness, but more rapidly three weeks before she passed. My dog had Pug Dog Encephalitis, the mild form, which in any form is incurable and all dogs who have it usually pass away from it anywhere from a few days to 3 weeks to 22 months. Rarely, a few had endured it 7 years to 9 years at best. But those dogs had chemotherapy too. I wasn't going to put my dog through chemo. In no way am I suggesting your dog has something worse than idiopathic epilepsy. I'm just saying my experience with my dog's seizures wasn't with idiopathic epilepsy.

I can help you with cost though. You can try goodrx.com (which is only a drug discount coupon thing, they do not compound drugs as they are not a pharmacy) but you can still look up the price and dose there. You can try allivet.com (not sure if they have keppra) but they do some compounding and diamondbackdrugs.com (who does compounding) and they probably would have keppra. I also found petpharmacy.com who also does compounding but again, you'd have to look up what they have. You would have to know the dose of her medicine, at least to look up the price, but Bailey's neurologist can call it in to allivet, diamondback or petpharmacy in order to get the delivery of medicine to you and shipping for any of them is around 5-8 dollars. All of them deliver within a week from ordering, some faster like in 2-3 days and their prices are better than at your vet most of the time, I found. Goodrx is good for discount on a med that isn't compounded: I got my dog's phenobarbital at CVS for under 20 dollars a month. We got her zonisamide at Wallmart for 20 a month. It can cost a bit if you get the drugs directly from your vet, but usually if you ask if they can help with pricing, they will help you find the best price. All my dog's doctors helped me get the best price for her meds, all gladly so.

Anyway, good luck with your Bailey. I pray you can get her seizures under control and her quality in her life. ;) Continue to love and embrace her, am sure she is scared with her seizures. Let us know how she is doing.

Buttercup, a beautiful pug in all her delight
endured Pug Dog Encephalitis for 17.5 months
rainbow bridge...7.11.2017

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