Riley had a seizure... it was terrifying - Page 3 - German Shepherd Dog Forums
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post #21 of 52 (permalink) Old 12-28-2012, 01:22 AM
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I copied and pasted my response from a different thread about seizures. It is a bit long, but it sums up my experience with dogs with epilepsy. I hope your dog never has another one, but if he does, this might give you some hope.

When Dakota first starting having seizures, they were not as frequent as your dog. However, here is his story, I hope it gives you hope. This is a long story.

Dakota was about 3 years old when he had his first seizure. It was the middle of the night (or early morning) and he woke us up because of the noise. His first seizure lasted at least 10 minutes, if not 15 minutes. It seemed like it would never end. My mom and I were both sure he was dying. It was a full blown, grand mal seizure. Finally, he stopped. We called the vet (he was blocking the door and was 95lbs) and they said "bring him in." We told them we couldn't because he is 95lbs and he cant get up and walk. After the seizure he could do nothing. Knew nothing. Just laid there. He looked through me as if he didn't know who I was. The vet pretty much told us, well call some one to help you lift him and we will see you when you get here. Yeah. Like anyone will come to our house at 5:30 in the morning to lift a a dog who is covered in urine and feces and doesn't know who anyone is. So we tried to get him on a blanket to carry down the steps. We couldn't even get him on the blanket.
Finally, at least an hour later, my cousin came over. I was supposed to bring food to a volleyball tournament, so she was getting the food. My other dog barked and Dakota got up and went down the stairs. We put him in the car immediately and took him to the vet. He had a petite mal seizure while we were there. They put him on phenobarbitol.
Everything was fine for a few months. Then he started having seizures again, about once a month, almost always in the middle of the night. Eventually, they put him on potassium bromide in addition to the phenobarbitol. Again, everything went great for awhile.
Then he started having seizures again. It was about once every month. Then once every two months. Then all of a sudden, there was a big problem. He had a seizure, another in 12 hours, another a few hours later, another 12 hours later. We took him to the emergency vet. They gave him more phenobarbitol (an injection) and everything was great. A few months later it happened again. Only the injection didn't work. So, we took him back to the e-vet and they kept him over night with a drip of phenobarbitol. He spent the next day and part of the next night at the e-vet and his regular vet. When he came home, he could barely walk. I had to follow him with a blanket under his belly. He knew who we were and who he was, he was just weak and uncoordinated. It took about a week for him to be completely normal again. He lost 5-10lbs from the ordeal.
Our normal vet prescribed him a medicine called Kepra. It was very expensive at the time, so she told us to use for a few days ( my memory is foggy on the exact time) in in addition to the other meds after he has a seizure. Her hopes were that he wouldn't cluster. It worked... for awhile. We were "up north" when he had his next problem. We have a vet there, but they don't have an emergency vet. When he had the second seizure within 24 hours, I was nervous. Luckily, he didn't have another one, but we called the vet for the soonest appointment.
The vet there was shocked. Dakota was on the amount of potassium bromide a dog who was 90lbs should have been on, and he was now 145lbs! Apparently, our regular vet just missed the fact that he gained a lot of weight, from being sedated, eating peanut butter (with the liquid meds in the begining) and being part lab. She adjusted his levels of both medications. The vet down state wasn't comfortable with the dose, but agreed to leave it higher. He has not had a seizure in almost 2.5 years!

It is HARD, very hard. It hurts to watch. Sometimes you wonder if you are being fair or if you should put them to sleep. Then other times you think " WOW, if I would have put them to sleep way back when (whenever you were considering it), they would have missed out on a lot of life. With Dakota, he would have missed out on 2.5 years and counting. They will likely adjust the medications a million times. They will want to do blood work. A lot.

Dakota is on an obscenely high amount of phenobarbitol. Most vets would not agree with it. Our vet has agreed to continue it, because it is all that is keeping him alive. Yes, it could destroy his liver. But he will live much longer on a higher dose with a risk of liver failure, than with a lower dose that does nothing for him. Our vet has also been pretty good about blood work. She doesn't make us get it as often as recommended because we cant afford it. She also doesn't have us get both the medicine levels checked and the normal blood panel. We just get the normal panel.

I cant guarantee that the medications will work. I can just offer you hope that it can, even if it seems like it cant. If you want more advice, feel free to PM me.

Ditto GSD- 6 years old
Daisy Alaskan Husky- 4 years old
Weegee Toy Poodle- 2 years old

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post #22 of 52 (permalink) Old 12-28-2012, 08:48 AM
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Sorry your dog had a seizure. Yes it is absolutely terrifiying to witness for the first time. Kiya has been having seizures for about 7years. I had no choice but to put her on meds because she clustered and the vet had a very hard time getting her under control. There are a lot of support groups on line, your definately not alone.
I hope it was a one time thing and your dog never has one again.

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post #23 of 52 (permalink) Old 12-28-2012, 10:15 AM
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I have had two dogs that had seizures. We were really scared when our first one, a pomeranian, started having them. I think she started having them when she was around 16 or so. We rushed her to the vet in the night where she had another one. We put her on phenobarbitol and later, potassium bromide. Neither controlled the seizures entirely though, and the dog was pretty much stoned for the last two years of her life. After a while we just got used to the seizures. We had thought about putting her to sleep at first, but it just becomes your normal after a while and not a big deal.

That said, when my tervuren with cancer started having seizures it was not a big deal. The vet offered to give us valium suppositories that we could give him in the midst of a seizure. My tervuren had about 12 seizures total before he died. His were not of a long duration, whereas the pomeranian would be in them for two-five minutes and then completely out of it afterward for a while.

I know it is scary at first and you really worry about your dog, but it is something that you can learn to live with if it continues.
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post #24 of 52 (permalink) Old 12-28-2012, 11:16 AM
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More info on dogs having seizures ...

#1 most important thing - TIME THE SEIZURE. If a dog is actively seizing for more than 5 minutes you need to get to a vet IMMEDIATELY. Brain damage can occur if a dog seizes for a long period of time.

During a seizure your dog most likely won't recognize you. Some dogs become very aggressive - lashing out and trying to bite everything (and everyone). Be very careful around a seizing dog.

Seizing dogs can release their bladder, bowels and anal glands. It will be messy. Worry about cleaning the dog up WAAAAY after the seizure has stopped and the dog has recovered.

My dog Tazers seizures happened like this. He would start acting agitated, like he couldn't settle down. He would eventually lay down and then roll on his side when the seizure started. His legs would stretch out and go stiff. He would start shaking - violently.

I would get next to him, gently stroke his head and talk to him CALMLY.

NOTE - I KNEW Tazer's seizures and knew he wouldn't lash out so I felt ok being next to him and touching him during them. Every dog can be different and it's something you have to judge for yourself.

When the seizure ended I was still next to him so I kept him laying down until he was totally back to himself. I didn't want him hurting himself either trying to get up or walking into things.

From start to finish, the pre-seizure behavior, actual seizure and post-seizure recovery took anywhere from 10 - 20 minutes.

Again - if the actual seizure lasts for more than 5 minutes, GET TO A VET.

Another very IMPORTANT NOTE - if you own multiple dogs, some dogs may react to the seizing dog by attacking it. Be sure to block other dogs from coming near the seizing dog (for their safety, the seizing dog's safety and your safety).
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post #25 of 52 (permalink) Old 12-28-2012, 11:23 AM
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So very sorry you had to experience that. My parents had a golden retriever when I was growing up. He had a seizure one Sunday morning after breakfast. It was one of the most terrifying experience of my life. Hopefully this was an isolated instance for your pup!
Sending healing thoughts and prayers your way.

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post #26 of 52 (permalink) Old 12-29-2012, 11:53 AM
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I know how hard it is to witness a seizure-my beautiful Lila had one last year on Thanksgiving when she was 8 months old. Unfortunately one of my other dogs attacked her while she was seizing so that is something to watch out for if you have other dogs. The good news is that she has never had another one-I was so worried those first few months after the seizure. I really hope that it is just a one time deal for your dog as well.
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post #27 of 52 (permalink) Old 12-29-2012, 12:04 PM
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op, sorry you are going through this. was wondering what the new "treatment" being studied is, meds, surgery? did the vet know anything about the study ?
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post #28 of 52 (permalink) Old 12-29-2012, 01:45 PM
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Originally Posted by LifeofRiley View Post

I would love to know more about your dog. How often did he have seizures.. once a year, twice a year? How severe... i.e. were you able to time them? What advice were you given from your vet?

I want to do what is best for my dog. To do so, it is helpful for me to understand other people's experiences with and without medication.

Thank you in advance for your response,
Sorry, I haven't had much free time lately. Our beagle started having them at 3-4 yrs of age. The first 6 month or so was the worse, She had about 1-2 a month after the initial one. She could be walking and then suddenly stiffen up and tip over. The seizures varied in length from 3 min to a few bad ones lasting about 10 min. She loved to hunt birds and mice and would put herself in some precarious spots while doing so. We were concerned she would have one during her "hunt", but luckily it never happened. Lauri & the gang mentioned switching to RAW helping and I think that for us too, switching to a much better kibble MIGHT have helped in our situation. I can't pin point the exact reason her seizures tapering off, but Laurie's post reminded me that we did make a switch back then. I'm not against using meds if I feel that is the best option, but in her case our vet advised against it unless her seizures worsened.
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post #29 of 52 (permalink) Old 12-29-2012, 06:54 PM Thread Starter
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Hi everyone,

Thank you for sharing your experiences and all the additional information. So far, Riley has not had another seizure... yeah! His story sounds similar to a few shared so far, in that, it happened while he was sleeping (or shortly after waking), it lasted about 2ish minutes and when he came out of the active seizure he was completely disoriented - and I think blind. As I mentioned earlier, it took about an hour before he was completely back to normal.

I am a lot wiser now in terms of how to handle something like this. For the benefit of future readers, I will list some of the mistakes I now know we made:

1. We tried to move him while he was having the seizure, we thought we had to get him to the vet ASAP. Of course, moving him proved impossible.
2. We were frantic and not creating a calm environment immediately afterward
3. We did not remove the cat from the room

I believe these mistakes made the event seem more traumatic to the dog.
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post #30 of 52 (permalink) Old 12-29-2012, 07:02 PM Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by huntergreen View Post
op, sorry you are going through this. was wondering what the new "treatment" being studied is, meds, surgery? did the vet know anything about the study ?
My vet called the neurologist that is one of the Lead Investigators for the clinical trial. As Riley fit the criteria to undergo screening for the trial, an appt. was made with the neurologist for a thorough workup.

During the "screening phase" I keep a daily log basically indicating if it was normal day or not. If he has another seizure, there is a hotline I call. To qualify for the "treatment phase" Riley must have 2 more seizures over the course of the next 60 days. If he doesn't, we will be screened out and not participate in the treatment phase of the study.

The clinical trial is to get FDA approval for a new drug that is apparently better tolerated by dogs with fewer side effects. It has been tested in Europe and is being developed by a German pharmaceutical company. I hope they have success because it does not seem that the current drug therapies are ideal.
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