Seizures starting at 12 years old - Golden Retrievers : Golden Retriever Dog Forums
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post #1 of 868 (permalink) Old 09-25-2010, 09:44 AM Thread Starter
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Seizures starting at 12 years old

I would like to hear from other members who have senior Goldens who have seizures, especially if they began having them late in life.

At 12 years old, Charlie began having seizures about two months ago. He has been on thyroid medication for about three years and the levels are checked at least once a year, including a test about three months before his first seizure. From everything I have read, the seizures are classic "grand mal." He had a second seizure about a week after the first and our vet put him on Phenobarbital, with gradual increases in the dosage. He now takes 1.5 Pheno tablets in the morning and two at night.

When a seizure begins, he falls on his side and gets the facial distortions and rigid legs, then goes into vigorous paddling. I usually sit on the floor behind him and stroke him gently, talking softly and just loving him. I find the seizures are shorter (about 2 minutes) if I do this. After a seizure, we follow recommendations we found on one of the canine seizure sites, Canine Epilepsy and Dog Seizures Table of Contents - Canine Epilepsy Guardian Angels. We give him a couple of tablespoons of melted vanilla Hagen Daz (no chemical additives) ice cream and follow that with a full portion of his kibble, which he gobbles down. He is invariably thirsty, drinking lots of water and needing to go outside frequently. Like many epileptic dogs, Charlie is a bit clumsy and disoriented immediately after a seizure, and he is anxious and over-active for an hour or so after a seizure. During this time, we try to let him work through it and help him calm down. So far, he has not had any "cluster" seizures.

We are learning more than I ever wanted to know about epilepsy in dogs. For others going through this and needing information, Canine Epilepsy Network and TOBY'S FOUNDATION - PROVIDING CANINE EPILEPSY INFORMATION, INCREASING AWARENESS, ANSWERING YOUR QUESTIONS, SUPPORTING THE RESEARCH FOR AUSTRALIAN SHEPHERDS are useful sites, along with the Guardian Angel site I mentioned above.

Our vet has suggested an MRI, but I'm not sure that makes sense. My beautiful boy has already had three major surgeries in his life and I will not put him through another, nor will we go through heroic treatment for the cancer that I suspect. As winter approaches, I am concerned about how we will keep Charlie comfortable, since he needs meds for arthritis. Last year he was on Rimadyl, which worked well, but our vet is worried about interaction with Pheno and stress on his liver. Charlie also needs dental work, but I am worried about anesthesia.

What am I missing? Is this just a "normal" part of aging for my boy? It isn't possible for someone to be with Charlie all the time, and I worry about seizures when his only companions are our other dogs. Do we need to be concerned about his interactions with our other Goldens, nine-year old Joker and 15-week old Sunny? Joker is a sweetheart who tries to take care of Charlie, and Sunny is an energetic and joyful puppy whose high-voltage attention sometimes irritates Charlie.

Are there enough of us coping with seizures in our Goldens to make a support thread a good idea? Or does one already exist?

Thanks in advance for support and suggestions.
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post #2 of 868 (permalink) Old 09-25-2010, 10:15 AM
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Originally Posted by GoldensGirl View Post
What am I missing? Is this just a "normal" part of aging for my boy?
I am not an expert and I don't have a seizure dog but if I had an older dog that just started having seizures I would suspect some other process going on in the brain, such as tumor, stroke, infection or some other brain injury. If those were ruled out then I might consider this as a late onset epilepsy. I would not consider this a "normal" part of aging.
I am so sorry you are having to go through this with your senior pal. I hope you are able to find a balance of medication that controls the seizures and keeps your dog comfortable.



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post #3 of 868 (permalink) Old 09-25-2010, 10:28 AM
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I just went to search on here and typed in seizures and came up with all of these posts:

http://www.goldenretrieverforum.com/...archid=1438884

I googled Seizures in a Senior Dog and found lots of information. So sorry your boy is going through this. My Golden Ret. will be 12 in Feb. 2011.

http://www.ehow.com/how-does_5516492...nior-dogs.html

http://www.google.com/search?sourcei...n+a+Senior+Dog

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post #4 of 868 (permalink) Old 09-25-2010, 10:37 AM
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Not all seizures are caused by "brain" issues. Sometimes they can caused by some toxicity in the system. My Keeper had one around 12 years of age. Due to her also having liver issues we chose not to run any tests for them and watched her liver values even more closely. She never had another and we are sure the seizure was caused by toxicity. If you have not run full a senior blood panel on your dog recently it might be worth while to do so.

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Black walnuts cause seizures

I just learned that eating black walnuts, especially moldy hulls from them, can cause seizures in dogs. And we have multiple huge black walnut trees in the yard, with hulls and nuts in abundance. I don't know whether Charlie has been eating them, but it would be like my boy to do that.

I don't know if it's possible to clean up all of them, but we will do what we can. And we will increase our watchfulness with baby Sunny is outside.

Thanks for all comments and pointers!

Lucy
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post #6 of 868 (permalink) Old 09-25-2010, 10:52 AM
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I'm sorry that Charlie is having seizures. I've placed him on our Prayer List. I too had a Golden with seizures, but his started at age 6 and no cause was found. He was put on phenobarbital which controlled them. Starting at age 12, I too think there may be an underlying medical condition that needs to be addressed.
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post #7 of 868 (permalink) Old 09-25-2010, 10:54 AM
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I just realized you're in Maryland also. I too have Black Walnut trees on my property, though neither of my boys ever bothered with them but they do make walking through our yard painful on the feet.

I hope it's the nuts, but you should have him checked by your Vet to rule out something else.
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post #8 of 868 (permalink) Old 09-25-2010, 10:57 AM
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post #9 of 868 (permalink) Old 09-25-2010, 11:19 AM Thread Starter
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Specialists?

Thanks again for all suggestions (and prayers).

We are working the medical issues. Charlie has had a thorough blood work-up and he will see our vet again this week. We are still trying to come to terms with this, initially with meds to limit the seizures and now trying to find the underlying cause. So far, we don't have a clue about the cause of the seizures, except for my recent post about black walnuts. Since this began suddenly and at a relatively advanced age, toxicity of some kind make sense.

Another factor is that Charlie had his spleen removed about 5 years ago. There was no sign of cancer then, but the surgeon warned me that it could be hiding. My boy has lots of fatty tumors, as well as cysts in his eyes.

We are in Maryland near Columbia, about half way between Baltimore and D.C. Does anyone know if there are specialists near here that we should consult for Charlie? When Sabrina was diagnosed with kidney disease we lived in the state of Washington and I took her to specialists at the vet med school at WSU, which was about 70 miles from us, where I got excellent advice. I know there is a vet med school at Virginia Tech, but I don't know about one any closer.

Thanks again,
Lucy
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post #10 of 868 (permalink) Old 09-25-2010, 11:41 AM
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Here are a few links to specialists in Maryland:
Chesapeake Veterinary Surgical Specialists - Annapolis and Towson MD - Home

Veterinary Specialists
this second link has a further link to specialists Directory for MD & VA

And a teaching Hospital in Virginia, covering Maryland as well.http://www.vetmed.vt.edu/VTH/
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