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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hello everyone,
So glad I found this forum. I hope this is going to help me find some answers.
I am a proud owner of a beautiful German Shepherd - his name is Argo, he will be 2 years old on October 14. My husband and I consider him our first son!
I have looked through the forum and I can't seem to find information about seizures. My husband and I are a little ‘desperate’ and do not know where to find a solution to this issue or what to do.
We were wondering if anyone in this group had experience with treating epileptic german shepherds.
Three months ago (06/22/2018) Argo had his first seizure. When talking to the animal ER immediately after the seizure, they asked if he might have been in contact with chemical products that could have triggered the seizure. We were painting earlier in another room in the house, so he told us on the phone that he could have been ‘poisoned’ by the paint odor and to not worry, but be careful and ventilate.
A month later, a second seizure happened. That day, we had just been out playing with the dog at the neighborhood park and later in the evening, he had a second episode. We visited the vet, he said he could have been in touch with something poisoned at the park (a flower or poisoned treats). We did blood and urine tests, we found that his glucose level was very low, so we run another glucose test, but it came back normal the second time. He diagnosed him for idiopathic (no cause, inherited) epilepsy. However he said he owns an epileptic dog with the same diagnosis and he didn't put him on medication because it could stop convulsions but damage other organs. Not convinced of this confused response, we visited a second vet for another opinion, which gave us this response “if he was my dog I wouldn’t put him on medication”.
One thing to note is what happens during the seizure: Argo is totally normal until 30 seconds before the seizure, at one moment he starts gagging without vomiting, then falls on his side, he has convulsions for 45-60 second (he peed the first time, but not the second during convulsions), lays for another 30 seconds, then wakes up confused (he barked aggressively for a moment the first time) then he went back to being the normal Argo he always was. I would say the whole seizure doesn't last more than 3 minutes.
I did some research online and read a few papers and it would be possible that because he is gagging, these seizures are related to poisoning or heat stroke, however both vets neither confirmed nor denied, they just said "It's possible but there is no way of knowing". Argo is not yet neutered and he is not a hungry dog. He is 2 years old and weights 64 pounds.
We aren’t really happy with the doctors’ confused responses, and do not know what is the best direction we should take. I hope I can find some answers on this forum since it appears to be an issue that has different responses based on this breed. Any information is greatly appreciated.

Thank you very much for all you do!

Fab
 

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My mom's springer spaniel developed seizures at a young age. He was on medication nearly his WHOLE LIFE, and live to be 13. He had only one seizure the whole time he was on the meds, and that was because she'd let him gain too much weight, and the medication was no longer enough for his increased body weight.

I'd go for the medication, if it were my dog. Seizures can be dangerous to the dog. It can bite its tongue or aspirate saliva or vomit into its lungs. They also put a lot of stress on the heart.
 

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I would go with trying meds. Could he be having more seizures that go unnoticed? Or is there someone with him 24/7 to know this? My mother in law's lab had seizures and was on phenobarbital 2x a day for most of her 12 years of life. If I remember correctly, untreated seizures have the potential to increase in number and frequency over time and risk causing irreparable damage to the brain. Not worth the gamble imop.
 

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I've had a few foster dogs that had to be on phenobarbital for seizures. It was work to get the levels right (testing frequently to be sure we had exactly the right doseage to stay in a therapeutic range), but once we did, they controlled the seizures well. Not controlling the seizures can be dangerous.



In addition to meds, look into diet. This diet makes a claim that it helps with seizures (I'm feeding it currently to a dog that had a cancerous tumor removed last summer -- it's expensive, but very easy to use, and it feeds out well).
https://www.drharveys.com/products/dogs/450-paradigm-a-green-superfood-pre-mix
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
My mom's springer spaniel developed seizures at a young age. He was on medication nearly his WHOLE LIFE, and live to be 13. He had only one seizure the whole time he was on the meds, and that was because she'd let him gain too much weight, and the medication was no longer enough for his increased body weight.

I'd go for the medication, if it were my dog. Seizures can be dangerous to the dog. It can bite its tongue or aspirate saliva or vomit into its lungs. They also put a lot of stress on the heart.
Sunsilver, thank you very much for your comment! I am glad to know that medications work well throughout the dog's life. Did your mom put the dog on medication immediately after the first seizure, or did she wait to see if there was a pattern?
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
I would go with trying meds. Could he be having more seizures that go unnoticed? Or is there someone with him 24/7 to know this? My mother in law's lab had seizures and was on phenobarbital 2x a day for most of her 12 years of life. If I remember correctly, untreated seizures have the potential to increase in number and frequency over time and risk causing irreparable damage to the brain. Not worth the gamble imop.
Nigel, thank you for your comment and questions. He is actually monitored 24/7, since my husband works from home, and if he has to get out of the house for a meeting, we have a camera into the living room where he stays and I monitor him from my desk. Was the lab put on medications immediately after the first seizure or did you wait and see if there was a pattern? Was he ever throwing up/gagging before the seizure?
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
I've had a few foster dogs that had to be on phenobarbital for seizures. It was work to get the levels right (testing frequently to be sure we had exactly the right doseage to stay in a therapeutic range), but once we did, they controlled the seizures well. Not controlling the seizures can be dangerous.



In addition to meds, look into diet. This diet makes a claim that it helps with seizures (I'm feeding it currently to a dog that had a cancerous tumor removed last summer -- it's expensive, but very easy to use, and it feeds out well).

Thank you for your comment on your experience with foster dogs. Were they GSDs or another breeds? Were they ever gagging before the seizure? Interesting information about the diet. I am convinced it has to do with his eating behavior since he doesn't seem to ever crave food, especially if dry.
 

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Both Nexguard and Braveco can cause seizures. Are you using one of them for fleas? The cheaper topspots have been known to cause major problems, as well.
 

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Thank you for your comment on your experience with foster dogs. Were they GSDs or another breeds?

I foster for breed rescue, so only GSDs! (Once every few years I might take on a mal or mal/GSD, or a dutchie...but not often. All the seizures I've experienced have been in adult GSDs.) As for the gagging thing, no -- I we were experiencing grand mal classic seizures with post-ictal confusion (gran mal seizures are honestly terrifying to watch the first few times you see them -- I thought the dog was dying).


Gagging tends to get me asking the vet to investigate mega-esophagus -- most vets don't know much about it, so it sometimes takes some work to find one who knows about it. It's diagnosed via xrays of the esophagus, usually. I've never seen it cause a seizure though.
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
Did he have any vaccinations prior to his seizure?
Has his thyroid been checked?

The following article by Dr. Jean Dodds may be helpful.
*Also note the precautions for using certain flea/tick products, avoiding certain dietary ingredients, and including certain dietary ingredients.
https://drjeandoddspethealthresource.tumblr.com/post/132332401041/seizures-epilepsy-dog#.W5zgE7gnY2w

Consult with Dr. Dodds: Online Consultation with Dr. Jean Dodds

Moms
He did not have vaccinations and we are not using flea products at this time. We never checked for thyroid and neither vet mentioned it. What could be the connection? Thanks for the read!
 

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Sorry. Late to the party on this one.

My GSD has refractory epilepsy.

He had his first seizure around 15 mos (he will be 4 next spring) has been hospitalized several times requiring diazepam drips as he suffers from cluster seizures, we've tried multiple medications and multi-drug therapy plans.

At the height he had dozens of seizures in one week. We have him fairly well controlled now where he generally is only having 1-2 episodes per month. He is on a lot of supplements, have had changes to his diet, and some lifestyle changes for him.

I know how frustrating it is not getting answers from the vets. Epilepsy is one of those strange diseases. Each dog that has it is going to experience it in a different way, they all have their unique triggers. IME there is a lot of trial and error in figuring out treatment.

Here is a link to my thread I started here when his seizures first started
https://www.germanshepherds.com/forum/health-issues/675474-grand-mal-seizures-11.html

And an update that highlighted some of the things we were doing for him
https://www.germanshepherds.com/forum/health-issues/690441-update-makos-epilepsy-3.html

(Note I am no longer GARD diet, I switched him back to raw and the seizure threshold seems to remain the same)

I don't want to throw a lot at you at once, feel free to ask if you want more info on anything i wrote in other threads either on this post or in PM
 
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