German Shepherd Dog Forums - Reply to Topic
Thread: Looking for experiences with epilepsy/seizures Reply to Thread
Send Trackbacks to (Separate multiple URLs with spaces) :
Post Icons
You may choose an icon for your message from the following list:

Register Now

In order to be able to post messages on the German Shepherd Dog Forums forums, you must first register.
Please enter your desired user name, your email address and other required details in the form below.

User Name:
Please enter a password for your user account. Note that passwords are case-sensitive.


Confirm Password:
Email Address
Please enter a valid email address for yourself.

Email Address:


Human Verification

In order to verify that you are a human and not a spam bot, please enter the answer into the following box below based on the instructions contained in the graphic.

  Additional Options
Miscellaneous Options

  Topic Review (Newest First)
07-14-2014 03:33 PM
Magwart We had a senior foster dogs come to us in rescue with a seizure disorder. She seized as you describe, with a cluster of very bad seizures one night. We ruled out metabolic causes. After the e-vet did a loading dose of phenobarb by injection (as Riley described), her seizures were well controlled by twice daily phenobarb pills.

She was old and wobbly to begin with, so I didn't notice side effects (I actually thought she got better, over time). The hardest thing about the medicine for us was making sure there was always someone home in the evening in time to give her the PM pill exactly 12 hours after the AM pill. A few times we had to board at the vet's clinic for the evening to make sure she got medicated on time, as we had evening commitments and didn't have someone who could help us.

We are now going on year knowing this dog. She was adopted and is doing great -- no more seizures. There's regular blood work to check the levels though. She's a very happy geriatric dog who loves life. The meds don't get in the way of that, at least for her.
07-14-2014 01:12 PM
kiya Just saw this thread, how is Keeta?
07-14-2014 11:54 AM
Clare Hi, just doing a search and came across this post.

Wolfgang seized 4 times in June, totally out of the blue at age 6 1/2. We did full blood work and then went to get the MRI, spinal tap... Everything came back negative (thank god) - so pretty much by process of elimination its epilepsy.

He's responding well to the pheno - thankfully he takes his pills like a champ. We're staying on top of the liver levels every 6 months so I'm just hoping our boy will continue responding well!
06-01-2014 01:33 AM
Colie CVT Glucose should be something that is checked in a general bloodwork profile. It is also something that they could spot check when she came in having seizures like that. Insulinomas are a real pain, but if her glucose is normal, that is easily ruled out. Also the ultrasound not showing masses on her pancreas is also a good indicator.

Sadly as others have said, I would expect a brain tumor more than epilepsy at her age. Pheno can help for a time to keep the seizure threshold at bay, but eventually it stops working. They do at times do surgery for brain tumors, but it would depend on the tumor and if it was something that could easily be removed versus something that is deeper within the brain. Radiation or chemo could be an option if it is inoperable, however as you pointed out it needs an MRI with contrast to be diagnosed and at that point if it is that, you are looking at spending a decent amount with everything involved.

Most people opt to treat the seizures like we would if a younger dog suddenly developed them without a metabolic reason behind them. There is nothing wrong with that, it often helps for a period of time before things get too far along. I wish you and your girl the best of luck with this. <3 I am glad to hear that she responded to the anti-seizure medications. Some days when they go into clusters, we can never get past them. Even putting them under general anesthesia for a time to let the brain "reset" does not always have a guarantee. It can be very frustrating.
06-01-2014 01:19 AM
my boy diesel there's also a tumor of the pancreas that causes low blood sugar
did they check her blood sugar?
05-31-2014 10:25 PM
Sarah~ My mix suddenly started having seizures at 7 months old, we ruled out blood sugar and her thyroid and all that stuff so the vet said idiopathic epilepsy. She's been on phenobarbitol for 6 months, her side effects were bad for about 3 weeks. She is also incontinent but she was born with it, so that was pretty awful. It slowed down after the 3 weeks though, and she's been acting normal ever since. No seizures, either
05-31-2014 09:23 PM
onyx'girl Lucia, so sorry about Keeta. At her age I would think it is something more than eplilepsy. I hope this was a one time event. Keep her hydrated/electrolytes up. Sometimes dehydration from exercise or stress trigger episodes of clusters.
05-31-2014 09:19 PM
Jax08 When Banshee had her first seizure, the vet told us the most likely diagnosis was a brain tumor. If it is you'll see signs such as loss of balance, head tilting to one side.

Here's the problem with diagnosing thru an MRI. First, they are extremely expensive. Second, if there is a tumor then what is the treatment for a senior dog.

I'm very sorry you and Keeta are going thru this. We treated the symptoms. Curcumin for anti-tumor properties and inflammation. There were a couple other things we were giving her but I can't remember. She went several months seizure free and then went into clusters in the middle of the night. If you search for the thread I created about Banshee and seizures Ugavet had given several suggestions for meds that were better than pheno.
05-31-2014 09:05 PM
gsdsar Look for t4. On her bloodwork. That's the most common thyroid value. Although if suspected I would get a full thyroid panel done, it gives lots of values for lots if the cascade.

Toxins can sometimes be ruled out with basic chemistries, but if it's suspected, then Special tests need to be done.

Yes. There is brain surgery on dogs. But is not done often.

I think you are on the right track with keeping her comfortable, getting her used to the meds and giving her a good quality if life. Phenobarbital can be tough to get used to, but must dogs do.

Keep some vanilla ice cream on hand for post seizure periods(old wives tail, but people swear by it),

Good lyck

Sent from Free App
05-31-2014 08:53 PM
Originally Posted by gsdsar View Post
It's is nearly unheard of for a 10 year old dog to have epilepsy. At that age seizures are generally caused by something else. Toxin, tumor, endocrine disirder(thyroid). Not sure what bloodwork they did, but if they did not check her thyroid, I would at least have that done.

The most likely cause is a tumor. The phenobarbital will control the seizures, until it doesn't. If it is a tumor, eventually it will grow to a size that even phenobarbital can't control.
I didn't know that epilepsy is dogs does not just spontaneously develop later in life. Can it develop like this for no reason in humans?

I'm not quite conversant in medical/blood work protocol, but the blood work did look for kidney and liver failure, red and white blood cell count (and types of white blood cells). I did ask for copies of the results, so I can refer to them with some guidance as to what I'm looking at. A few people on message boards have mentioned the thyroid levels, so this does seem something to check into.

Brain tumor - possibility of this was discussed. We'd need an MRI which as mentioned won't be easy to get. At this point if the medication keeps her seizures under control, we'll just go by quality of life before deciding on the next step. I just can't see brain surgery done on a dog - is it done? Not sure if I would consider it, especially at her age.

Originally Posted by LifeofRiley View Post
Hi Castlemaid,

My dog is on phenobarbital. For the most part, we have had really good seizure control on it. We had to adjust the dosage once as his levels had fallen below the recommended therapeutic range. In terms of side effects, when we first started with the phenobarbital, I noticed some increase in appetite and thirst as well as very slight ataxia for the first week or so… since then, nothing really.

Given the severity of Keeta’s seizure event - and that fact that the valium shot did not work - I suspect the vet gave Keeta a loading dose of phenobarbital. Loading doses are designed to quickly bring the pheno level up to the therapeutic range. Dogs who are given the loading dose often have much more pronounced side effects as the initial dosage level is higher than what the dog would need once the pheno level is within the therapeutic range. I think that the side effects you are seeing now will significantly diminish, if not disappear, once the dosage is adjusted to maintenance levels and the dog adapts to the medication.

Wishing you and Keeta all the best.
Thank you for this! Just getting this kind of feedback really helps.
This thread has more than 10 replies. Click here to review the whole thread.

Posting Rules  
You may post new threads
You may post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off

For the best viewing experience please update your browser to Google Chrome