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What causes or caused your dog's seizures?

  • Food Allergy - specifically what kind of food(s)

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  • Other Allergy - to what?

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My real name is Mercy
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Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)
It's been so long since I've posted! Life got away from me, I had a major trauma in the death of my fiancé, Pat, and I simply haven't had the heart to visit the forum. Max, you see, was "our" baby boy. Now I fear I may lose him, too. Therefore, dear long-lost friends, please bear with me, should I ramble just a bit.

~ Mercy :--sad:


Yep, here I am tossing my hat into the seizure ring with the rest of you. I'm working on our "Journal" to post here, as well as a couple videos of his seizures in hopes of both gathering your more experienced opinions as well as hoping to assist others who, unfortunately, will certainly find the need to join this section in the future.

My Max began having seizures of unknown origin in June of '12 (4 months ago). Today is his fourth birthday....I never expected to be posting here - and certainly not this soon. His seizures are becoming more frequent as well as more severe with each episode. As I'm sure you can all relate, I'm quite freaked out about this and terribly worried about him.

We've had three vet visits for these seizures; including blood tests and thorough exams. His exams and the blood work were 100% normal. No diabetes or other identifiable illnesses. All organ functions are perfect. To prevent the seizures he's now taking over 250 mg. Phenobarbital per day. (After starting at 75 mg. per day and increasing it in increments after it became clear that the current dosage wasn't doing the job.) Although even the 250 mg. doesn't seem to be controlling them.

Last Wednesday, when I came home from work, he had SEVEN seizures between 5:30 pm and midnight. (I presume I'm correct in using the term "cluster" here.) When I examined the house, I discovered two spots on the carpet leading me to believe he'd had at least two more during the day while I was gone. So, Max spent the entire next day at the vet's office, without a single seizure - they're intermittent, but recurring.

I'm reading through many of the previous seizure threads and learning a lot....thanks SO much to all of you who've posted your experiences and expertise. It means a lot to have friends to turn to who've "been here"!

Will those of you with prior or current seizure experience please post and tell the rest of us (if they were ever diagnosed or strongly suspected to have a specific cause) "What was/is the CAUSE of your Golden's seizures?"

I'm going to post a poll here because; my vet seems to believe that this is likely a food allergy. The allergy test results are pending for another week or so, but I'm nervous that a) the results will be negative b) he's allergic to something they won't test for or even worse, c) it's not an allergy at all.

I truly feel as though I am failing him in a very fundamental way and it's breaking my heart. My vet mentioned the possibility of a brain tumor (if the allergy results are negative) and I'm terrified that I'm going to lose my heart boy.

Any tips, suggestions, questions or advice more than welcome!!!

Thank you all!
Mercy
 

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I'm so very sorry that you and Max are going through this. It's a difficult condition to adjust to, and that on top of losing your fiance must be heartbreaking. I hope you find the support here to help you cope.

Since 250 mg of Pheno isn't controlling his seizures, it's possible that your boy needs a different medication or combination of meds. Some GRF members have dogs taking as many as 3 or 4 meds to control their seizures, having lived many years with the condition.

If Max has not had a full thyroid test panel, you might be wise to arrange for that. There is causal linkage between hypothyroidism, which is common in Goldens, and seizures.

My Charlie was almost 12 when his seizures began, most likely caused by an underlying brain tumor or other brain lesion. I know for certain that Frontline Plus triggered them, but that was not the only factor. I know of at least one dog with seizures caused by foods containing lamb.

Best of luck to Max and to you. I hope you'll keep us posted about his condition.
 

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My real name is Mercy
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455 Posts
Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Thank you, GoldenGirls!, I'm sorry to hear about Charlie as well! Since you mentioned the thyroid panel, do you happen to know if that's included in the standard "complete" blood tests they run? I don't remember the vet mentioning the thyroid.

I will definitely ask our vet about this and whether or not it's already been done.

Thanks again!
Mercy
 

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sorry to read you've joined this section with Max. I lost Tom just over 2 weeks ago to seizures, but don't let that frighten you there are lots of dogs who respond quite well with medication. Tom had all the tests and all came back fine, but we just could never get to the bottom of the cause.

I wish you and Max luck and hope I don't see you posting here very often
 

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I am sorry you have had to join this group, especially after losing someone so close to you recently as well. Epilepsy is a very difficult condition to ascertain the cause, I have learnt. I have voted in your poll, and have put cause unknown as that is what it would appear, although certain factors appear to trigger an episode, but they are different every time. You keep thinking you have maybe sussed out the trigger but then something else different happens.

If your pup has been on the pheno for four months, I would agree with Lucy that maybe another drug should be added, especially as Max is having clusters. Monty is on 240mg pheno, 750mg Kbr(potassium bromide) and 1500mg Keppra daily. His fits started 3 1/2 years ago. Sometimes he will go 3 or 4 months (has been a maximum of 7 months at one point) and then, as recently, he has been having them every 2/3 weeks. They are very frightening for anybody dealing with them although it is understood that they do not feel any pain themselves. My husband had a couple of fits 10 years ago, which were never firmly classed as epilepsy but he has been on medication for it ever since to try to avoid any further episodes. He did not remember anything about them afterwards, but I certainly do!

The one thing is certain with epilepsy is the uncertainty! The trouble is a diagnosis of idiopathic epilepsy is only arrived at by elimination of other issues.

I do hope that an additional drug might lessen the frequency and severity of the seizures. Please also try and look after yourself. I am sure you will find help and support from this group. We all understand your fears as we have all been/are there.
 

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Thank you, GoldenGirls!, I'm sorry to hear about Charlie as well! Since you mentioned the thyroid panel, do you happen to know if that's included in the standard "complete" blood tests they run? I don't remember the vet mentioning the thyroid.

I will definitely ask our vet about this and whether or not it's already been done.

Thanks again!
Mercy
You are most welcome for any help that I can give. I have been where you are and many, many GRF members helped me get through that with my beloved Charlie.

The thyroid tests are a completely different order that is NOT included in the "complete" blood tests. Many veterinarians will order just a T4 test, which is not sufficient. The "full thyroid panel" includes 4 or 5 different tests, all of which are needed to assess whether the thyroid gland is functioning normally.

Feel free to ask any questions that come to you. Someone here is certain to have dealt with any issue or problem that you face.

Alone, we are lost and often frightened, but together we can handle almost anything.

Hugs and prayers,
Lucy
 

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My real name is Mercy
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455 Posts
Discussion Starter · #7 ·
Thanks Dave! I just read a few of the most recent posts of Tom's story, but I'll be reading the rest as soon as I can. I'm so sorry that you had to experience the seizure saga too. You losing Tom does frighten me, I just can't help it! ; ) Once I read through the rest of your thread, I'll have a better understanding of your experience.

Everyone: I'm really trying to get seizure educated ASAP, so any suggestions or info you think might be pertinent, PLEASE share. Thank you!
 

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My real name is Mercy
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455 Posts
Discussion Starter · #8 ·
Thank you, Lucy! I emailed the vet today about the Thyroid tests, but haven't gotten a reply yet. Now that I know to ask about it, maybe I'll get one step closer to an answer. I really appreciate the tip. Every tidbit of info I can gather may get me one step closer to an answer and an effective treatment plan for my boy.

I'll be posting our "Journal" as soon as I can get organized! :D Geez!

Thanks to you all!
Mercy
 

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My real name is Mercy
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455 Posts
Discussion Starter · #10 ·
• Max Update

Hi All,

Thanks so much for checking on us, Lucy!

I've been meaning to post for days, but have been too busy to do so. :doh: Until now, I haven't really had any news except for a couple isolated seizures, thankfully he hasn't had any more clusters (yet).

His vet doesn't want to increase the phenobarbital or begin the potassium bromide just yet. He wants to stay the course on the current dose and see if he stabilizes before making any more changes.

We finally got the results from Max's allergy tests Friday evening. Unfortunately, (or possibly fortunately - I'm not sure yet), he had 19 "hard positives" in the items they tested him for. Several trees, grasses & weeds, a couple fungis - including some molds and possibly worst of all; pork, lamb, kelp, potatoes and CORN (among others)! Can't say I was surprised at most of those, I'm just very grateful that chicken and beef weren't on the list.

I've been doing a lot of dog food ingredient research, attempting to find an appropriate, healthy food for him, doing my best to eliminate as many allergens from his diet and environment as I can.

Max has been extremely demanding for my attention and affection for the last week or so. He always wants attention & love, of course, but he's been much more "mushy" than usual. He's also been a bit lethargic. I wonder if he's not feeling well.

:--detektive:The vet is recommending that I begin a "desensitizing treatment" plan involving repeated, ongoing injections to increase his tolerance to the allergens. That plan is expensive and I still have no idea IF the allergies are even the culprit causing his seizures! I have no idea how to find that out, other than just waiting and seeing if they lessen with the new food.

Again, I welcome any tips or suggestions the GRF can offer! I'm so grateful to all of you for caring and posting your suggestions! I'm still quite worried and although we've done the allergy tests, somehow I still don't feel reassured or that we're making much progress. I realize that this is a long term effort and I'm willing to do all I can for him, but I'm SO out of my depth here!

Thanks again to all of you, I do appreciate all your support!
Mercy (& Max!)
 

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Glad to hear from you!

The food allergies can be seizure triggers. I know of one sweet Golden for whom consuming lamb guarantees seizures. Since she has been on a lamb-free diet, she has gone from constant seizures to almost none.

I have had dogs with sensitivity to corn and now just routinely look for corn-free dog food. There are several good ones out there.

It makes sense to me that seizure dogs become more clingy. Charlie was very nervous after a seizure, at least until he realized that we were not angry with him for the spilled urine and that he hadn't somehow done something wrong. In time, with lots of cuddles and work to make him feel secure, he came to be more at ease. But dogs that have seizures do have a somewhat limited life, at least if you try to protect them from the consequences of having a seizure when you aren't around.

If 250 mg of Pheno won't control the seizures, it may well be time to try another med. Some of our dogs are on as many as three to control their seizures.

Holding Max and you in my thoughts and prayers,
Lucy
 

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My real name is Mercy
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455 Posts
Discussion Starter · #12 ·
• Seizures by allergy

Thank you, Lucy!

I've never had any experience with seizures in dogs, so it's a bit surprising to learn that allergies can trigger seizures at all. I've been a bit skeptical about allergies being the root of all this. I'm relieved to hear that it's possible and pray that's the case with Max. I'm also very relieved to hear about the dog that improved with the change in diet! I sincerely appreciate you telling me about her, it helps! Allergies are a blessing compared to a tumor or lesion in his brain.

One mistake I made since the seizures began was changing food. I've been very careful with dog food ingredients & have checked them religiously since we brought him home (actually paying better attention to their diet than my own :D). I've had them on a quality food with little or no corn all along, but his vet kept insisting that an allergen in his diet was likely the culprit. The food was chicken based but I changed to a lamb based food because of the vet's recommendation. Now, it turns out that lamb is one of Max's "hard positives"! :doh: :doh: Needless to say, I switched back to the chicken, now knowing that he's not allergic to it. Finding a food that didn't have ANY of his positives was a bit of a challenge. I can only hope it helps.

Max is a love-sponge! He's always been that way, but these days he's extra clingy. I don't mind the affection at all, I'm just concerned about the cause. I understand him feeling frightened and wanting more attention after a seizure, but it seems almost constant now, even in between. I'm giving him all the reassurance I can without going overboard and making him feel that there's something "wrong". After a seizure he's very disoriented, off-balance and seems dazed. I try to keep him calm and lying down without success. He insists on getting up and will walk into walls, doors, furniture for many minutes and then continue to walk in circles for 30-40 minutes after the seizure ends! In some ways, the aftermath is almost as disturbing as the seizures themselves!

I'm all for adding the potassium bromide if he continues to seize. The vet seems more reluctant than I am. I suppose I have to trust his judgment...to a point. I'll continue my research and make my own decision once I feel knowledgeable enough. I figure I'm Max's only advocate & will do the best I can to help him.

Thanks again Lucy, I really appreciate your concern and input. Besides, you give me a chance to "talk" it through. I can only mention the seizures so many times before my "non-animal-lover" friends start rolling their eyes! :D

I'm off to read some more GRF seizure histories. Hope to talk again soon...

Mercy
 
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