Begging for help/advice...unusual problems. - German Shepherd Dog Forums
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post #1 of 11 (permalink) Old 03-18-2012, 11:04 PM Thread Starter
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Unhappy Begging for help/advice...unusual problems.

Hi forum peeps,

I have never posted here but I have an odd situation that I am hoping somebody will have some answers or insight into.

I have a 1yr old female who is my first sport dog. Everything was going well as could be hoped until the last month. My dog unfortunately begin to have seizures. She has had 3 total in less than 4 weeks. She has seen her regular vet numerous times, a neurologist, and has had every test possible run on her. Long, sad story short...Primary Epilepsy. Because she has had them in a relatively short period of time, changes need to be made for sure.

My 2 big questions are in regards to her still participating in sport with her condition. The neurologist wants her on meds right away and also said she will need to be spayed immediately as the surge of hormones during cycles makes seizures hard to control. So I guess the questions are

1. I have always been told that sport dogs need to be intact in order not to change their behaviour/drive. Do any of you compete or train with a spayed female? Did the dog's performance change after spaying?

2. Does anybody else out there have an epileptic dog that is still able to train and compete even on meds? The neuro suggested a drug called Zonisamide instead of phenobarbital or potassium bromide as it apparently does not cause as severe side effects as the traditional drugs. He says he has used it on working dogs before and they have continued to work (however I got the impression these were males and also did not have to be neutered as well so they did get to stay intact and my girl needs to be spayed as I guess that there is no marked difference in epileptic intact male dogs vs. epileptic neutered males like there is in females.)

I love my dog and she is my pet first so leaving her intact and off meds just to compete is not an option as I understand the more seizures she has, the worse it will get as the brain "learns" to fall into the seizure pattern easier and easier.

I just cannot find any info anywhere on sport dogs with epilepsy (can't blame people I guess for not wanting that info out and about) and am wondering if her sport career is dead before it even really began.

Any and all advice would be appreciated and welcomed.

Twitchy
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post #2 of 11 (permalink) Old 03-18-2012, 11:25 PM
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I don't have a dog w/ epilepsy . I know a briard with possible traumatic reasons for his. He has clusters and personally I believe they sometimes are triggered because of dehydration/lack of electrolytes, sometimes stress brings them on.
If I were working a sportdog, I'd give green tripe as a staple daily along with the vets suggested meds, and feed raw, grain free, fish based diet. I'd also keep an eye on hydration and talk w/ my vet for options when training(gatorade?) If you can consult a holistic vet for this, that may be helpful(or a teaching vet hospital).
Make sure vaccinations haven't played a part in her medical history and that you have waivers done to prevent more unnecessary vax. Don't do any spot-on heartworm/flea treatments...unless the vet is sure that it won't harm or cause problems with her metabolism.
Did these seizures happen after any of the vax or meds?
I hope you stick around, this forum is busy and non confrontational. I'd like to read about your progress and achievements with your girl!!!

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Last edited by onyx'girl; 03-18-2012 at 11:27 PM.
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post #3 of 11 (permalink) Old 03-18-2012, 11:37 PM
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I don't think spaying your girl will make a significant difference in her working potential.

As far as working her.... I read a very good article online a while back about a dog with epilepsy who was competing in agility--the owner felt very strongly that the outlet of doing agility significantly reduced the dog's seizure episodes--I'll see if I can find a link.

ETA:
Quote:
I just cannot find any info anywhere on sport dogs with epilepsy (can't blame people I guess for not wanting that info out and about) and am wondering if her sport career is dead before it even really began.
There seems to be a fair amount of info on agility dogs and epilepsy--try a google search. I've never seen anything about schutzhund and epilepsy, but this is the first I've heard in 20+ years of a GSD with epilepsy--every GSD I've known who had seizures was either having a toxic shock reaction or had some other condition (e.g., suspected brain tumor) that caused the seizures.

Christine

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post #4 of 11 (permalink) Old 03-18-2012, 11:44 PM
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This is the article I was thinking of:

Agility is good for the dogs I

Here are some other links I found:
Doping in Agility
Competing with an epileptic dog

Christine

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post #5 of 11 (permalink) Old 03-18-2012, 11:45 PM
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I have a friend who had to have her SchH1 girl spayed at about age 2 1/2 due to a tumor. Anyway, she went on to get her SchH2 with no problems and didn't seem to be drastically different than prior to the health issue. She could have easily gotten her 3 as well but by then my friend had gotten another young dog and decided to retire the first one since she wouldn't be breeding her again.
I have no input regarding the seizure meds, sorry, but if you can get things under control and the dog enjoys the sport then I'd try to keep it up for sure.
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post #6 of 11 (permalink) Old 03-18-2012, 11:49 PM
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I have, from two reliable sources, heard that it is easier to trial a spayed female in Schutzhund over an intact one. The harmone level is more consistent & therefore, so is her behavior.

Don't know about epilepsy and sports dog. I had a shep/x cross that had one seizure & was put on ph.b. (years and years ago). He did fine on it & I have to ask What side effects? Because I never noticed any. He died at 16.
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post #7 of 11 (permalink) Old 03-19-2012, 12:16 AM Thread Starter
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Thanks for the quick responses...you have no idea how appreciative I am!

I'll try to answer everybody but I'm not sure how to quote multiples so I'll just cut and paste and use a different color to reply. Hope that is appropriate etiquette. I'll write in red.

I'd give green tripe as a staple daily along with the vets suggested meds, and feed raw, grain free, fish based diet. I'd also keep an eye on hydration and talk w/ my vet for options when training(gatorade?) If you can consult a holistic vet for this, that may be helpful(or a teaching vet hospital).
Make sure vaccinations haven't played a part in her medical history and that you have waivers done to prevent more unnecessary vax. Don't do any spot-on heartworm/flea treatments...unless the vet is sure that it won't harm or cause problems with her metabolism.
Did these seizures happen after any of the vax or meds?
I hope you stick around, this forum is busy and non confrontational.
She currently eats Orijen Large Breed Puppy and I was going to transition her to Regional Red or the Fish one but although I have not done a RAW diet before I am open to change as I have read that the less processed the better. Do you have a suggestion for a typical menu...like tripe for am and ??? for pm....where would I buy the fish? Would you not include chicken at all (sorry to bug but I thought that chicken is usually the backbone of a raw diet). She had all of her puppy shots but has not had any recently. I am hesitant to give her anymore as I have been reading that they can aggravate her condition.
I'd also keep an eye on hydration and talk w/ my vet for options when training(gatorade?) If you can consult a holistic vet for this, that may be helpful(or a teaching vet hospital).
Will ask for sure as I have read anecdotal evidence on the internet about Zonisamide causing the dogs to be less heat tolerant.
Make sure vaccinations haven't played a part in her medical history and that you have waivers done to prevent more unnecessary vax. Don't do any spot-on heartworm/flea treatments...unless the vet is sure that it won't harm or cause problems with her metabolism.
Did these seizures happen after any of the vax or meds?
She does not take any meds although she has had antibiotics in the past for a skin itchy staph thing. She has never had fleas or the treatments for them. The seizures have only happened while she is asleep or resting which I understand is typical of primary epilepsy.
I hope you stick around, this forum is busy and non confrontational. I'd like to read about your progress and achievements with your girl"
Thank you OnyxGirl, I hope like mad that there will be progress and achievements to brag about! Right now I'm just overwhelmed and sad.

"There seems to be a fair amount of info on agility dogs and epilepsy--try a google search.
I did find a few of those but I was hoping for a success story in protection sports as I wasn't sure if the physical pounding would be too much.
I've never seen anything about schutzhund and epilepsy, but this is the first I've heard in 20+ years of a GSD with epilepsy--every GSD I've known who had seizures was either having a toxic shock reaction or had some other condition (e.g., suspected brain tumor) that caused the seizures."
My neuro told me that gsd's are one of the breeds most suspected to have a recessive heraditary multi-gene problem with epilepsy. Her problem could have been caused by dogs 10 generations back and she just got the right (or wrong) combo of genes. I wish she had some cause because than I would have had a chance to treat something and make them go away. We tested for everything, even a liver shunt although it seemed unlikely. Thank you for the links, I will read them tonite.


"SchH1 girl spayed at about age 2 1/2 due to a tumor. Anyway, she went on to get her SchH2 with no problems and didn't seem to be drastically different than prior to the health issue. She could have easily gotten her 3 as well but by then my friend had gotten another young dog and decided to retire the first one since she wouldn't be breeding her again.
I have no input regarding the seizure meds, sorry, but if you can get things under control and the dog enjoys the sport then I'd try to keep it up for sure. "
I hope that this is the case with my dog. I really enjoy her and we have fun learning together. I have to talk with the training director and make sure they are onboard with her still participating.

"What side effects? Because I never noticed any. He died at 16. "
The regular vet and neuro told me that meds never come without a price and that p.b. can lead to liver damage and coordination issues. That is what I was really concerned about since she is so young and energetic that the p.b. would damage her liver over time and shorten her lifespan and if she was uncoordinated that she could harm herself when she goes on her zippy "crazies" sometimes.


Thank you all, you have given me some things to think about, some reading material and some hope. It means a lot.

Twitchy
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post #8 of 11 (permalink) Old 03-19-2012, 12:33 AM Thread Starter
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Forgot to add her supplements...don't know if it matters but she also takes 500mg Vitamin C in am and pm and 1000mg fish oil capsule 3 x a day to help with a dry, itchy coat (maybe caused by heater???)

Thanks,
Twitchy
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post #9 of 11 (permalink) Old 03-19-2012, 08:23 AM
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Hi Twitchy

My intact male suffers with complex partial seizures/psychomotor seizures, and is on 180mg of phenobarbital daily.

The first week on his meds, he was a little uncoordinated, but that soon settled. He still has loads of energy but perhaps not quite so much as before - just as well really - he was very hyperactive.

Has she had the full Thyroid panel tests, especially as she has a skin disorder as well?

Can't offer any help concerning the sport work, but as Blackthorn says, I'm fairly sure I've read there is no reason why they shouldn't compete.

There's loads of info here:

epilepsyOURS

HEMOPET.HTM

http://www.itsfortheanimals.com/Adob...ditis-2006.pdf

Sue
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post #10 of 11 (permalink) Old 03-21-2012, 08:51 AM
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Hi Twitchy,

I've looked at this site briefly before - but now I've discovered just how much info it has. You can even contact them for help if you're worried about anything that isn't covered by the FAQ.

Hope it's useful to you.

Sue
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