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Old 03-05-2012, 04:14 PM
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New to forum-not new to epilepsy (unfortunately)

I am not sure that I should be posting this on this sub-forum, or if I should go on introductions, but unfortunately I seem to know more about epilepsy than Golden retrievers generally!

I have a Golden Retriever, Monty who is 4 1/2 years old. He developed epilepsy when he was 17 months old. The first fit was out of the blue at 5.30am one April morning, and I was terrified. Unfortunately I knew exactly what it was as my husband had 2 fits about 5 years previously. He was put onto epileptic medication which he continues with to this day, but (touch wood, several times over!) he has been fine since being on it. It was never really diagnosed for certain as epilepsy but because he drives for a living it was suggested that he remain permanently on the medication.

However, we have not been so lucky with our Golden retriever. At first he was on Epiphen, followed quite quickly by Epilease. For the last 18 months he has been on Keppra also - originally once a day, then twice and more recently three times a day. We have no set pattern, as is the hallmark of this condition. We have noticed some possible triggers, but nothing for certain as sometimes they occur without any ill effects, but they have shown up on more than one occassion.

Most recently it seems that the meds had been controlling the condition, going about 3 months between fits. Unfortunately this last weekend he has had 2 within three days, and also 2 partial fits. I am hoping and praying that this is just a hiccup, and that we will return to a longer interval.

One thing I have learnt through this unpleasant experience is that when it first happens you feel that you will never cope, but somehow you do. Even so, each time a fit occurs it still upsets me for a few days. it is not always easy to put the fear to the back of your mind, but you also have to enjoy all the happy times with these wonderful dogs.

Fortunately we have been advised from the start by a very good neurologist and have excellent backing from our local vets. These two things are vital to keep your sanity through this problem. I also belong to a support group who have also been invaluable help for the last 3 years. Also it is important to keep a diary of the fits, noting down anything you can think of that might be relevant. I have noticed, as I said earlier certain triggers over a time by doing this, and have learnt to avoid them if at all possible. Dates and times are also important.

I hope this quick precis of Monty's story will be of help to anybody who has just discovered their furry friend has been blighted with this unpredictable condition.
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Old 03-05-2012, 11:37 PM
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Welcome to the forum. Thank you for sharing your story and your experience. Sending healing thoughts and prayers for sweet Monty.
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Old 03-06-2012, 02:09 AM
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Sorry to hear about Monty, I know first hand how scary this all is. Tom had his first fit almost on his 4th birthday. I thought we had solved his seizure problem by eliminating certain foods, treats etc and he went nearly 9 months fit free. This last month has been a nightmare and had to take him to the neurologist at chester gate last week where he will be having MRI scan very soon. Also looks like Tom will be going on Keppra too.
Tom is 6 and half by the way
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Old 03-06-2012, 03:13 AM
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So sorry that you are both going through this
We need to all learn from each other so thank you for bringing your experience to the table.

Best wishes to Monty and I hope that you have seen your last seizure in your household!!!
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Old 03-06-2012, 06:59 PM
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Welcome to the Forum!

Thank you for sharing your story. Many of have found that there is strength in numbers and having a community of people who share what they learn can make a huge difference. I hope you'll stay with us and tell us more about Monty and how you cope with his condition.
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Old 03-07-2012, 07:16 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by davebeech View Post
Sorry to hear about Monty, I know first hand how scary this all is. Tom had his first fit almost on his 4th birthday. I thought we had solved his seizure problem by eliminating certain foods, treats etc and he went nearly 9 months fit free. This last month has been a nightmare and had to take him to the neurologist at chester gate last week where he will be having MRI scan very soon. Also looks like Tom will be going on Keppra too.
Tom is 6 and half by the way

I am sorry to hear your problems with Tom. We have tried the same over the last 3 years, certain foods treats even avoiding certain plants in the garden. He did go 7 months without a fit at one point. There is just no pattern.

We had Monty MRI'd at Chestergates right at the beginning. They have been very helpful during the last 3 years. We have also had one of our other dogs (a Labx) in there for 3 1/2 weeks last year, with a completely different problem, who is currently doing quite well, (touch wood!). The Keppra has made a difference, although now after about 18 months on it, we have had to double the dose. However, we have also dropped his Potassium Bromide by 250mg a day, as he was above the suggested range. So we will have to wait and see how it goes. At least the Keppra has never had any side effects like the other 2 drugs, but it only lasts in their system for such a short time.

I belong to a support group as I mentioned in my first post, and some of the members there have found Keppra to only help for a short while, but every dog is different. It is all a matter of trial and error, as I am sure you are well aware!

Has Tom been on the Phenobarb and potassium bromide for the last couple of years or so?


Here is hoping that Tom will benefit from Keppra, and that all goes well with the MRI.
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Old 03-07-2012, 08:33 AM
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Tom has been on phenobarbitone for the last 2 n half years and potassium bromide about a year. MRI scan was done yesterday and clear but still waiting for results from the spinal tap.Tom is back at chester gates today and they will keep him in overnight for observation. He keeps waking up startled and wants to charge around looking for a corner to crawl in to. I just hope they can witness first hand, although I'd rather him never have another fit ever again
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Old 03-07-2012, 03:49 PM
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Quote:
One thing I have learnt through this unpleasant experience is that when it first happens you feel that you will never cope, but somehow you do. Even so, each time a fit occurs it still upsets me for a few days. it is not always easy to put the fear to the back of your mind, but you also have to enjoy all the happy times with these wonderful dogs.
Once again, thank you for your post. I wish I could have read it when my Rosie was first diagnosed last month. It is an absolutely horrendous condition and I was terrified about how I was going to cope with it all. I think it is made even worse when they start the fits at such a young age as well - you go from thinking you have this wonderful healthy dog to remembering to give her medication twice a day and carrying Rectal Diazepam tubes where-ever you go. I think it's the initial shock that gets you the most and the fear of the unknown and what it might develop into. I cried for days after the first fit and for even longer after the second. But eventually you have to accept it and do your very best for them and remember you might be fretting about when the next fit will be but they aren't. Ignorance is bliss as they say.

I am just praying that the Phenobarb will do it's magic for as long as possible with Rosie. How long did it help Monty for till you had to introduce the Bromide?
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Old 03-07-2012, 04:56 PM
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Lucy Moosey- Yes it is absolutely terrifying to start with. You will always have it in the back of your mind as to when the next fit may happen but eventually you realise that you must live your life and let your dog live normally also.

Apart from the rectal Diazapam ( which incidentally are a lot better than the separate phial and syringe which we originally had, which in an emergency were not easy to deal with!) I always try to remember when we are away from home with Monty, that I make a note of the telephone number of the nearest vets. That way it does give you the freedom to travel about a bit if you are prepared. We went away for a few days last year and I made sure that there was a 24 hours vets locally, and even registered with them on a temporary basis. Monty's notes were sent to them by our own vet, so they were in the know of his condition and medication in advance. As it happens I must have had a sixth sense - but it was not for Monty that we needed the help - It was for our other dog, but that is another story.

I have checked my notes but for some reason ( I write everything down normally!) I cannot find when Monty started on the Potassium Bromide but I think it was only about 2/3 months after he started having fits.

Davebeech- Monty had one incident like you describe about 3 months ago. We woke to him banging into the corners of the room, and looking as if he wanted somewhere to hide. I was worried that he was about to have a fit. We got him back to his bed and he went back to sleep, but next day he did a similar thing again. This time though he started to look vacant and shook a bit. This time I gave him an oral Diazapam. This passed off very quickly, and he was back to normal. These incidents happened about 2 weeks after he had had a Grand Mal. After that we had no sign of anything until this last weekend. It really is a very unpredictable condition.

Hope Tom's spinal tap results are through soon and are OK. He really is in the best place. I too hope that he does not have another fit for your sake, and his, but it would be best if they saw it first hand. It is not always easy to explain to a third party how it happens.
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Old 03-28-2012, 05:29 AM
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I am a bit concerned today, Monty had a Grand Mal at 6.00am this morning. This time it is only 24 days since the last one. Although the last time he had 2 Grand Mals in the space of 3 days, and a couple of mini fits, he had gone 3 months without one. The previous time it had also been 3 months, so they are getting closer again!

I am now worried if there is a connection with the the Lepto jab he had 6 days ago. As last year, I had titres done to check on his levels for parvo, distemper etc and they were OK so he only had the lepto jab, which our vet says has to be done every 12 months. (Living in the country there are probably more vermin around, and we have a large garden in which the dogs roam freely) I am not blaming her by the way, as we have great faith in her, but obviously she goes on proven evidence. Looking back quickly it looks like that for the last 3 years the fits are more frequent in the 6 months following the time of his jabs. I know I have read a great deal about the effect of jabs on epileptic dogs, but also know the seriousness of leptospirosis. But now I am thinking coincidence or is it something else from March to August/September?

Here we go again looking for triggers and sitting on a knife edge, with diazapam in hand, for the next 72 hours or so!
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