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This isn't about my shepherd but I'm hoping it's alright to post here...

My 6.5 year old dachshund, Sadie, has epilepsy. She was diagnosed at about 5 months when she had a petit mal seizure at the dog park and a lady recognized it as a seizure and told me. It had happened a few times before, I thought she had just picked up something that she shouldn't have - she'd froth at the mouth and chomp her jaws. We took her to the vet and, eventually, decided to put her on phenobarbital after about a month. She was on it for about a year before her bloodtests showed some weird liver results and we decided to wean her off it (he liver levels have been fine ever since, so it may have been something else). Anyways, her seizure frequency seemed to decreased slightly (compared to the time when she wasn't on pheno) but her seizures were more severe - sometimes cluster petit mals or a grand mal. I was speaking to a friend that mentioned a study in humans where they consumed a diet that was comprised of 5% sugar or less, we decided to try it with Sadie and used the highest quality low sugar diet we could find (that was a lot of math!). It work(s) pretty well, however the seizures are pretty severe - she'll have a cluster grand mal once every 1-1.5 years.

However, we also noticed that she seemed to be slower mentally that she had been before. She never really developed past late puppyhood and her memory seemed to be getting worse (she would forget things that she had known all her life - tricks, potty training sometimes, etc). This all started in the last year or so. Her bloodwork and everything is normal, checks out pretty well healthwise, with the exception of always being slightly dehydrated.

I was speaking to a vet at work today, picking her brain. I had previously been told that she should have an MRI, but due to cost I have been putting it off. Anyways, she thought she should have a neuro consult first because some of the things Sadie seems to do sound like "mini seizures". She suggested video taping her going about her business and bring it with me for the consult. She also suggested looking into Kappra, which sounded interesting, but I'm a bit put off with the 3x/day part. I know that I won't be able to do that most days and it would add the cost of having someone come in to medicate her onto an already expensive drug.

Does anyone have any experience with Kappra? I like that you don't have to do titres with it. In any case, I'm hoping to get into do the neuro consult in June, so I would like to be as prepared as possible.
 

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Jazz, our 2.5yo GSD, has idopathic epilepsy. Her seizure episodes are very severe. Multiple grand mal seizures in a short period of time (last week it was 3 in 20 minutes) and the occasional petite mal every now and then. She started out having those clusters every 2-3 weeks. With Pheno only we were only able to extend that to every 4 weeks or so. Her neurologist put her on Keppra and things have improved. We've had some stretches of as many as 10-12 weeks with no seizures, though in the past month she's regressed to every 2-3 weeks so we recently drew blood to test levels. Her Keppra was fine but her Pheno was low so we increased the Pheno dose and are waiting to see if that buys us more time between clusters.

I don't know how much of the improvement was the Keppra alone, or if it was due to the 2 meds working together, but it definitely is better for her than just the Pheno. Of course every dog is different and will react differently and respond to different meds. And as we've seen with Jazz, sometimes a med or combo of meds will work for a while, but then there will be regression and doses have to be increased or another drug needs to be added. Her neurologist plans to add Zonisimide if we can't get back to good seizure control with adjusting the Pheno and Keppra dosages. The 3 times a day medication schedule IS tough. If I didn't have an understanding employer who lets me leave early to make her afternoon Keppra appointment on days when Tim can't be home in time (most days he can but some days he's held up at work) I'm not sure what we'd do since we definitely do have better seizure control with the Keppra than without. But if you can't make that 8 hour schedule pretty much every day, and would be more than a half hour or so late on days when you couldn't make it, I would consult with the vet about trying something else.
 

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Wanted to add, as time has gone on since her condition manifested, we've also noticed that Jazz is mentally slow compared to the way she used to be. Not sure how much of that is the medications (I know some is) or how much is brain damage from the seizures. I don't think that is uncommon with epileptic dogs so I'm not surprised you've seen some of that with yours.
 

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My girl Kiya has had seizures since she was 18 months old. She clustered really bad and almost went into status. She was put on pb & kbr (potassium bromide) right then. I have no experience with keppra but I know the kbr is inexpensive and not processed thru the liver, maybe discuss that option with your vet.
After that day she clustered she never was 100% the same.
 
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