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Cooper's Mom
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56 Posts
Discussion Starter #1
Our Cooper is 7 y/o now. On 2/17/18, during our child’s birthday party, he suddenly had a grand mal seizure which lasted about 2-3 minutes. It took a few hours for him to “recover.” At the time, we thought maybe it was just overstimulation or he had been hurt by one of the kids and it was a response to pain. We brought him in a few days later, and our vet suggested watching and waiting to see if it happens again.

Three and a half months later, on the evening of 6/5/18, Cooper came upstairs acting strange- as though he was anxious. It had been a quiet day at home, nothing exciting, nothing new. He came up next to me as I sat on my sons bed, and he laid down and started groaning/whining. I started petting him asking “Cooper what’s wrong?” And then realized he was shaking. It was less than a minute of rigidity and shaking, his eyes twitching and he being unresponsive. When he came-to again, he sat dazed and staring at me with the “what just happened, mom?” look.

We brought him in and they did the full work-up on him minus brain imaging (I declined imaging, as we are not interested in brain surgery for him if it is a tumor). Our vet suggested we start him on phenobarbital to prevent further seizures from occurring as these two we’ve witnessed were only 3 months apart (and seeing as I work part time, there’s no knowing if there have been more while we’re not home).

So, we started the phenobarbital last night. We’re worried for our Cooper, as he is an otherwise happy & healthy dog, never has been on medications, exercises regularly, and eats a premium high-quality diet. So this is different for us- having to start him on a medication. We know epilepsy is nowhere near a death sentence, but needing a medication for the rest of his life reminds us of his mortality. We don’t want our puppy to become older.

My question is those who’ve had experience with this. What did you do? Any advice? Any happy stories of dogs who lived a long happy life on phenobarbital? Just looking for encouragement.
 

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Puddles
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4,024 Posts
I had a rescue chihuahua that did quite well on the medication. I only fostered the pup and don't really know how it went but the 6 months I had her there were no more seizures and she did well. They would not have adopted her out if the medication wasn't working.

I'm sorry you have this to deal with. My grandson has seizures and they have done 10 yrs of testing and MRI's and still don't have any idea why. If you read up on it... no one seems to know what causes this, it's just a neurological issue they try to manage.
 

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Premium Member
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7,788 Posts
I'm so sorry to welcome you and Cooper to the seizure community.

This thread has a lot of information about living with a seizure dog and how to manage the condition: https://www.goldenretrieverforum.co...ures-101-basic-information-8.html#post1613899. There are a number of alternatives to phenobarbital that have fewer side effects. While it's a relatively cheap medication that does get seizures under control quickly for most dogs, every dog parent hates the "drunken sailor" walk that seems to come with it. The fact that you have to keep increasing the dose over time is worrisome, too. The main thing to do is to find a good veterinary neurologist who keeps up with the field and can guide you to other solutions.

Best of luck to you and Cooper.
 

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3 goldens
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11,905 Posts
Our sophie had a horrible seizure after getting Bravecto. She always napped by the frotn door waiting for us to return from store, etc (both retired) and we got home that day and when I bumped her ith the door, she didn't move like always. I barely got the door open and actually she had passed away (she as almost 12). She had peed and pooped as dogs do after death. However, she looked at me. I knew then seizure or stroke tho I had never seen either in a dog in my almost 60 years of having had a dog of my own, 70 years of family ownd hunting dogs.

We got her cleaned up and in to see our vet and he sadi it was a seizure. We had not witnessed it, just the aftermath. Her next one, a few weeks later, happened while we were home and it was awful seeing her lay there legs stiff but moving, head jerking, back arched. HOWEVER I had done a little research and found that many times an ice pack applied to just below their waist helps shorten the length of the seizure and recover is faster. It as for her. At least, once she got up she was steady in just minutes. I took her back to the vet, only our vet was at a seminar and the fill in vet put Sophie on the Pheno and it was almost as bad for her as the seizures. She was walking down the sidewalk in the back and fell on the picket fence and broke it, she staggered all over the place, falling down. Our vet returned and he took her off of it nd said that as long as the seizures didn't happen more often and got easier, he didnt' want her on it. She had one more and it didnt' last long (I did use the ice treatment) and sheenver had another. She was just shy of 13 when we lost her to hemangiosarcoma.
 
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