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Ok, I hope I'm doing this right. I'm taking the advice of other posters and starting a new thread about my experience with my Golden and her seizures. Hoping for advice and to hear similar situations/stories. I'm a newbie, so I apologize if I'm doing something incorrectly!

My 8 year old otherwise healthy Golden unexpectedly had a grand mal seizure Monday morning. We rushed her to the vet where they did extensive blood work, urinalysis, and Xrays, all which came back "within normal ranges". Our vet said that brain tumors were the primary cause of seizures in dogs over 6 years of age. He said if it were epilepsy, it would have presented sooner? He ruled out metabolic diseases and such, and said that it was either a fluke or a tumor. She then had another seizure later that evening, which was somewhat shorter than the first (about 1 minute). I rushed her to the 24 hour emergency vet that night, who put her on a low dose of phenobarbitol and said it was most likely a brain tumor, but we would have to do an MRI to find out for sure. This would mean taking her a few hours away to the nearest vet school, and a couple thousand dollars to possibly find a cause for the seizures. My husband and I just don't know if we could put her through brain surgery, even if it was a possibility. We just don't know what to do. We love our Bailey SOOO much, and would do anything for her, but I want to do what is best for her. I don't want to put her through the torture of surgery and recovery far away from home, with no guarantee of how much time we would gain and if she would be herself afterward. I guess I'm just hoping for support, ideas, advice.... Luckily she has been seizure free now for nearly 4 days, but I cannot eat or sleep I am so worried about her. Just not knowing when/if the next seizure could come is terrifying.
We had a full blood workup done on Bailey on Monday, an hour or so after the first (and biggest) seizure. Everything came back normal, but the thyroid T4 was at the low end of normal- 1.7 where he said 1.2 was the cutoff. I called back today to talk with her vet, and we decided to put her on some soloxine just in case, although he does not think it played a role in her seizures? I am feeling much more optimistic after reading through several posts on here that it may not definitively be a brain tumor. For those of you with Goldens on Phenobarbitol, can I ask you about how they act on the drug (or shortly after they started the drug at least)? I know they have Bailey on a very low dose (exactly what I'm not sure) and said it would take 3 weeks to build up enough in her bloodstream to actually prevent seizures. But she certainly is exhibiting signs of side effects of the medication already. Are these normal medication side effects, or sign of behavior changes: She is VERY tired and sleeping a lot of the time. She is eating and drinking a ton- way more than usual. Most concerning to me is that she is stumbling around a bit- tripping up and down stairs and when jumping on and off the bed. I'm really hoping this isn't a neurological symptom? Also, she is a little grumpy- which she has never been before. She has always been WONDERFUL around our 3 kids- loves them to pieces. Today she growled a tiny bit at my 1 year old for crawling on her and pulling her fur. We've been trying to keep them away, but with a 4 year old and 1 year old twins they sometimes sneak past me, and they love the dog so much. We will have to be better about putting up all the baby gates… but they never bothered her before. COuld the meds be making her sleepy and a little grumpy? I really wish we could get her checked by a doggie neurologist, but the only one anywhere nearby (3 hours away at UW Madison) said in order for her to be seen it would be a 3 day process where we would need to leave her there, and they would need to do the MRI and CSF test to determine anything. I'm unwilling to put her through that stress at this time. She likes to be close to us, and I'm afraid she would not take the separation very well.
I'm just so worried about her- my stomach is in knots waiting for another seizure. I find myself waking her up in the evenings when she starts to doze off, and I won't let her lay in the spot where she had the 2 seizures. It sounds crazy, but I feel like maybe I can prevent it from happening again (both seizures were when she was dozing in a certain spot by our deck door).
 

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I'm going to repost my previous response to you below, but first let me just say that I empathize deeply with what you're feeling right now. I think I went a solid week without taking my eyes off Ella after her first two seizures, I was so terrified she'd have another.

My previous response:
I have recently been through the same thing with my 4yo girl, Ella. She had a grand mal seizure on April 23rd, and another more severe grand mal on April 28th. Like Bailey, all of Ella's bloodwork came back within normal limits. Although Ella is closer to the "usual" age at which idiopathic epilepsy is diagnosed, it does not mean that Bailey isn't simply showing symptoms at a later age.

Ella has been on phenobarbital since the evening of April 29th. She gets 1/2 of a 97.2mg pill every 12 hours, and she weighs approximately 51 pounds. I'm not sure how that relates to Bailey's weight and dosage, but Ella's vet did tell me it was a very low dose. Ella began experiencing lethargy, and shakiness/unsteadiness in her rear legs approximately 3 days after her first dose of pheno. Those symptoms were barely apparent to friends who rarely see Ella, but since I know Ella to be an extremely high-energy girl, I noticed them right away. Today marks the 2-week period of her being on pheno, and she is no longer exhibiting any symptoms, aside from an increase in her appetite. She has also been seizure free for those 2 weeks.

I will tell you that this forum has been invaluable in helping me through this process, and I don't know where I'd be without their support and advice. If you're interested, you can read about Ella's initial seizures and diagnosis in this thread here:
http://www.goldenretrieverforum.com/...nswer-yes.html (Was this a seizure? [Answer: Yes, it was.])
 

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Thanks, Elizabeth (from another Elisabeth). I'm sorry you are having to deal with seizures in your Ella. We have been terrified to leave Bailey home alone, afraid she will have another seizure and we won't be here :(. Luckily my husband was able to be home with her this week, but I don't know what we will do next week when we both go back to work. One of us has been watching her constantly the past few days.
 

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Wagster

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Bumping up for more helpful suggestions from others who have dealt with seizures.
 

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Tom had his first seizure almost on his 4th birthday and straight out of the blue, rushed him to the emergency vet and greeted with the same response " could be a brain tumour " and I couldn't believe it either. almost 2 years now and Tom seems to have a cluster every 2 months, he's on pheno and potasium bromide ( much higher dose of pheno than your girl ) and I have reviewed and changed his food and am still doing that even now. One of the best web sites is a guardian angels, can't give you the link as my laptop is kanckered but if you google canine epilepsy you'll see it. There is lots of info out there and lots of junk too. I would be asking, what had she done different, change of food, access to the garage, were the carpets shampoo'd, absolutely anything, and maybe and only maybe you might find what upset her. I wish you and your girl all the best !!
 

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Dave- it's funny you mentioned access to the garage... we were setting up for a garage sale all last week and she would come out and lay on the cool cement floor with us every night. I know she didn't get into chemicals, etc.... why the garage?
 

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Last June our 11 !/2 year old Logan had a huge grand mal seizure. We, also, went to the E-Vet. Nothing in all the tests showed anything. They said he was in very good shape for 11 years old. Heard the same thing, could be a brain tumor, could be a short-circuit going on. Less than 30 days later he had a 2nd one - but much less severe this time. Went to see our regular Vet again and the decision was to put him on Pheno. He started out with 75mg(2& 1/2, 30 mg pills) in the am/pm. It took him about 2 weeks to stablize and then within another few weeks if you did not know he was on Pheno, you would not know. Of course since we know him so well, we could tell the subtle differences. Yes, he did sleep more initially, and necessarily did not want to be messed with. But once things settled down for him he was almost 90% of his usual self. Yes, more drinking, and would eat more if we gave it to him. Around this last January we noticed him having more twitches of his head (small focal seizures). The Vet ran another blood test and it showed he was at the low end of the Pheno scale. The body does get use to the level. We upped his Pheno to 3 full pills. The focal seizures did decrease, but they still there. Something we will just live with unless they start getting worse. This last increase in dosage did slow him down more than the previous dosage, and I wish i could decrease it. But don't want to take a chance of a seizure breaking through. I do have to realize he is 12 1/2 so some of the things I notice could just be age related. We lost our other 2 Goldens at young ages, so I really have never had a senior golden. Many people with seizure dogs, along with a good Vet friend of mine, said to not spend the money for an MRI. Even if you know what it is, the treatment with drugs will pretty much be the same. The brain is not something you operate on, so save your money for care. If you are not doing so already, check out the prices of Pheno at either Walmart, Target, Costco, Sam's club. If you are getting it from the Vet, you can definitely save some money. 180, 30mg pills costs me $25.00 at Target. Which is a 1 month supply. Also, try to give the pills as close to 12 hours apart as you can. Our schedules are such that we can do 6 am and 6 pm, give or take 30 minutes one way or the other pretty easily. I did make the mistake over the Christmas holiday when we had vacation for almost 2 weeks. The first week we were sleeeping in and Logan was not getting his pills until about 1 1/2 hours later. Then we were giving at the same time in the evening. This caused him to have an imbalance in his system and I noticed increased head twitches. Once I realized this, I would get up, give him his am pills with a spoonful of cottage cheese, and we would all go back to bed. This corrected the problem. There will be times that you just can't give it to them at the correct interval. Don't worry, once in a while will not hurt. Just try to stay as regulated as you can. We also just put his meds in with his food. This way we do not forget - which we will very likely do if we try to give it before or after meals. Better to be consistent then possibly forget. Good luck to you and Bailey.
 

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Dave- it's funny you mentioned access to the garage... we were setting up for a garage sale all last week and she would come out and lay on the cool cement floor with us every night. I know she didn't get into chemicals, etc.... why the garage?
purely because she might have digested something she shouldn't have, and I'm only saying this because anything is worth consideration, and hope it's something as simple as that
 

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My bridge boy started having seizures when he was six. He was thoroughly checked and no cause or reason was found. He started having seizures pretty regularly and was put on pheno. This cut the incidents greatly, maybe 1 or 2 a year. It did not effect the quality of his life at all. He lived a long, happy, and healthy life.
 

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Dave- it's funny you mentioned access to the garage... we were setting up for a garage sale all last week and she would come out and lay on the cool cement floor with us every night. I know she didn't get into chemicals, etc.... why the garage?
Elisabeth, if there were unknown oil spills/antifreeze spills, or even cleaner/weed killer type residue on the floor of the garage and she got into it without your knowledge, it could have caused seizures; that's most likely why Dave mentioned that. But there would almost certainly be other severe symptoms in addition to the seizures, and if Bailey's bloodwork was normal, it's not likely that the seizures were caused by toxicity (this is what the vet told me about Ella).
 

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I know you stated in that the other thread that her thyroid came back low normal. In goldens low normal is low and they should be on thyroid meds which is good that he put her on meds.
This site has some information about thyroid about aggression and low thyroid
http://www.itsfortheanimals.com/Adobe/Dr-Dodds-Thyroiditis-2006.pdf

Canine Epilepsy Resources

The symptoms of being put on pheno can be stumbling, tiredness, hunger, drinking but they will stablize as they are on the meds. But if they persist you do need to discuss it with your vet. What dose of each of the meds did they put her on?
 

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Sorry for the late reply- I don't get on the computer much on the weekends as I'm constantly chasing around 3 little kids and a crazy dog :)

OUr3dogs- thanks for sharing about your Logan- it is nice to hear that the seizures can be controlled and they can live much longer. When the vet said Bailey could have a brain tumor, I was so afraid her end was near.

Dave- we've been trying to think of anything she could have ingested, but she definitely didn't get into anything in the garage (everything is in locked cabinets) and nothing in the house- with 3 very young children we have everything pretty childproofed. the only thing she could have possibly eaten was a bud or 2 off of a Lily bouquet that I received for Mother's Day- I noticed the day after she had her seizures that a couple of buds had fallen onto the floor. I don't think she ate any though, and I don't think in a dog her size that would be toxic enough to cause seizures? I'm been wracking my brain to think of anything she could have gotten into, and that's all I can think of.... but given the blood work coming back normal, could toxicity still be a possibility?

Paula- It's nice to hear another case where dogs can live happy normal lives with seizures and on Pheno. Thanks!

So.... it has been 6 days since Bailey's seizures, and thankfully no more since then. We have decided to not take her to Madison for the MRI right now... we are going to see how she does on the Phenobarbitol and think it over for a couple weeks. She is adjusting to the meds, I think, and doesn't seem nearly as clumsy the past few days. She is STARVING all the time though- she just can't get enough food. I've been mixing in green beans and carrots and such, and made her some eggs for breakfast this morning. She is on 97.2mg of pheno twice a day, and weighs 78 pounds. I'm not sure what that means, but the vet said it was a really low dose.

I've been thinking a lot lately about the dog food she is eating... we have always tried to feed her a high quality food- she has skin troubles so we have gone through several types trying to find a good one for her allergies. She was on Solid Gold for awhile, then Avoderm, Natural Balance, Blue Buffalo, and a couple others. All were quite pricy.... but when my husband lost his job a couple months ago we started buying Science Diet light as it was much cheaper, and we thought it was still a high quality food. Perhaps this was a big mistake? Could the food change have possibly brought on her seizures? I will be switching back to another food (not sure what?) jst in case.

Bailey is pretty much being her normal, happy, itchy self. She even got her favorite caterpiller toy out to play with the kids the other night. I find myself trying to keep her calm, not get too riled up, etc. But maybe I'm being too overprotective... AS each day goes by I'm starting to feel a little calmer... starting to realize that even if she continues to have seizures she could still be with us for much longer.

Thanks for all the support and advice!
 

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Poor Bailey can barely get up when she lays down :( I know the vet said "hind limb ataxia" is a normal side effect of the phenobaribitol, but I'm really hoping this doesn't last forever. She looks so miserable trying to get up off the floor, and trips and loses her footing a lot :(. I wish there were something I could do to help her.
 

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It's so hard to see, isn't it? I was in tears at least once a day watching Ella stumbling around while adjusting to the pheno. But she was only like that for four or five days, and is now back to her bratty, athletic self. Bailey's dose is a bit higher that what Ella is on, but I don't imagine her side effects will last much more than a week, if that.

I know that it was recommended to me to be really vigilant to make sure that Ella had someone near her (especially when going up/down stairs) in case of a stumble.
 
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