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Discussion Starter #61
Test results!

We have just gotten lots of good news from our vet. First, the ultrasound for Charlie was all clear. No tumors! :jamming:

The specialist said Charlie looks excellent for his age, and mentioned having known one Golden who made it to 22 years old. Twenty two?! Hard to imagine but lovely to contemplate.

Then we learned that the thyroid test from last week came in at 0.7, when normal is between 1 and 4. We will increase his thyrosine by 50% immediately. That might even be the cause of the seizures.:doh:

Charlie is not out of the woods yet, but at least we have a path forward that make sense and should give my boy a better quality of life.

Joker's news is also mostly good. He also has no tumors, but his prostate is slightly enlarged and is "likely to be trouble down the road." The near-term treatment is neutering him in the next month or two.

Lots of good news, in exchange for a vet bill of over $1.1K and another $600 in the near future. Nobody ever told us having a Golden pack would be cheap, did they? :eek:

Thanks for the many suggestions and continued prayers.

Happy New Year!
 

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Discussion Starter #64
I have been at home most of yesterday and today, able to keep watch over my fur people. Charlie is beginning to adapt to the increased Pheno, but still has marked difficulty with strength and coordination in his back legs. It breaks my heart to see him stagger and fall as often as he does. Still, I think I am already seeing some impact from the increased thyrosine, even though I know it can be 4-6 weeks before the full impact is achieved. Maybe it's the Rimadyl kicking in that's making the difference.

He is my demanding cuddle king, giving orders for doors to be opened and insisting on more than his share of strokes and treats. I keep telling him that the increased meds will make a difference soon and he will feel better. It just has to be that way...please.

Thanks again for holding him in your prayers.
 

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Sending even more cuddles to Charlie
 

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Discussion Starter #66
Pre-dawn seizure

Another seizure, this time at 5:30 a.m. Before the seizure, Charlie woke me with demands to go outside. Afterwards, back upstairs, he needed cuddles, though I sorely wanted to go back to sleep. I had barely closed my eyes again when the paddling noises woke me. If I get to him quickly and stroke his head, the seizures end quickly. I followed our usual post-seizure drill, with vanilla Hagen Daz and then kibble. I gave up on going back to sleep, knowing Charlie will be restless and he will need to go out again since he always drinks a lot of water after a seizure.

Getting down the stairs was a sad adventure for my poor boy. The Pheno has made him ataxic at best. With the weakness and further loss of coordination following a seizure, he could barely walk on the level bedroom floor. Once he committed to coming down the stairs with me, all I could do was keep him from tumbling down them. We made it a very slow, painful step or two at a time, with Charlie mostly dragging his back legs. I was able to lift his back end off the stairs at the bottom. He is a big guy, skinny at 82 pounds, and I can't carry him.

Now he wants to go out with the other dogs, who have begun their normal morning outings. But I'm afraid for Charlie to go, knowing the stairs from the deck to ground level will be more than he can handle right now. I am exhausted and heartsick, aching to see my proud, sweet boy struggle so move his body.

This makes three seizures in 5 days and I can only hope he doesn't have another one today, since the two he had on Sunday were only hours apart.
It has been less than 4 days since we increased the Pheno again, which usually gives us at least a month without a seizure. But I think there is a vicious cycle with the Pheno, since it makes him want to drink a lot of water and I suspect the excess water is a factor in triggering more seizures. I am trying to believe that the increased thyrosine will address the underlying cause of the seizures. It will be several weeks before we see the full impact of the new dosage, which is also likely to go up again at least once before he reaches a level healthy for Goldens.

I will call our vet again this morning, but I don't want the answer to be another increase in Pheno for a dog who fights to stay upright. Now, it's time for their breakfast and meds.

Pray for Charlie, please. We need a miracle.
 

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Continuing prayers for Charlie, Joker and you.
 

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Hi, I am brand new on this forum and saw your messages. My 13 year old golden retriever started having seizures on December 6th. We took her to the emergency clinic and they found a mass in her abdomen/spleen. They kept her overnight and we brought her home the next morning not knowing if she would have another seizure or not. She also had started having trouble with her back legs about a year ago. I thought it was arthritis but now I'm thinking it was brain related. I stayed with her for 2 days and then the 3rd night, I held her steady until 1am while she tried to do circles in the house. Her back legs kept giving out on her but she was always a determined girl. She did end up having a bad seizure at 1am and collapsed. We took her again the clinic and decided to send her to heaven. At 13, we couldn't operate and we suspected cancer/brain tumor. This was the hardest thing I ever went through. I started to read through this forum and have found it comforting somehow. I know I am not alone and please know you are not alone.
 

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Charlie

Will be praying hard for Charlie and caseypooh my heart goes out to you.
 

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Discussion Starter #71
Thank you for prayers and support

Thanks for the continued prayers, everyone. We need them.

Hi, I am brand new on this forum and saw your messages. My 13 year old golden retriever started having seizures on December 6th. We took her to the emergency clinic and they found a mass in her abdomen/spleen. They kept her overnight and we brought her home the next morning not knowing if she would have another seizure or not. She also had started having trouble with her back legs about a year ago. I thought it was arthritis but now I'm thinking it was brain related. I stayed with her for 2 days and then the 3rd night, I held her steady until 1am while she tried to do circles in the house. Her back legs kept giving out on her but she was always a determined girl. She did end up having a bad seizure at 1am and collapsed. We took her again the clinic and decided to send her to heaven. At 13, we couldn't operate and we suspected cancer/brain tumor. This was the hardest thing I ever went through. I started to read through this forum and have found it comforting somehow. I know I am not alone and please know you are not alone.
I'm so sorry you had to go through this. Charlie's spleen was removed about 5 years ago with a benign mass on it, weeks after I lost my Sabrina to kidney disease and cancer, and I feared that Monday's ultrasound would show that he had developed new tumors. I was prepared to let him go if that had been the case.

It is possible that he has brain tumors, but we don't see evidence of that. My best guess now is that the very low thyroxine level is causing his seizures. If so, we will get that under control soon. And then we'll see.

My big sweetheart continues to tell me that he enjoys life, which is the reason I am willing to keep fighting for him. He eats with enthusiasm (as he always has) and loves watching wildlife from the back deck. He tries to play with our young pup and he is still interested in tennis balls, though we just roll them for him. And he is insatiable when it comes to cuddles. ;)

So we take things one day at a time and I try to manage my emotions around Charlie, releasing them through writing here.

Many thanks for all the words of support. It makes a huge difference.
 

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I will keep Charlie and you in my prayers. My heart goes out to you in everything you are going thru, I know the pain.

Caseypooh my heart goes out to you for your pain. It is always hard losing them especially suddenly like that.
 

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Better today

Today was much better than yesterday for Charlie. He is moving a little better and certainly wants his chow! I guess a day that starts with a pre-dawn seizure just doesn't go so well. Or maybe this is just another part of the rollercoaster ride that several of us are on right now.

Next week I'm going to have a heart-to-heart with our vet about finding another med for my boy. Some of the kind GRF members who have posted here have suggested other meds and we just need to try some of the others. Maybe one of them will help to control the seizures and not cause ataxia, or at least not to the same degree.

We went out for a while this afternoon and Charlie was waiting for us with tail wagging. His sweet face and those beautiful trusting eyes tell me he still loves this life, and that he deserves to be in full control of his body.

Thanks again for all the prayers and words of support.

Happy New Year! :wavey:
 

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I am so glad that Charlie had a good day and that he is smiling and wagging his tail.

He obviously loves his life.... that is coz you are in it.

Sending all good things for you and Charlie.

Lucy and her Mum
 

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I am so happy to hear about Charlie!!! Everything is happy when they wag their tails.

Wishing you all a very Happy New Year, especially Charlie.
 

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Discussion Starter #76
Charlie has had a better day today, demanding more than his usual due of door service and cuddles. His energy has been better, which makes me think he is feeling the increase in his thyroxine. And he wants to be with me, dogging my footsteps and asking for non-stop attention. He's such a sweetie.

The more I learn about seizures and the meds to treat them, the crazier this gets. Today I learned that Pheno can aggravate hypothyroidism, which in turn can cause seizures, causing us to increase the Pheno. That might explain why Charlie's thyroid test results plummeted over the months when we were increasing the Pheno. Sometimes I think we are taking two steps forward and one step backward.

My boy has a new symptom that worries me. He pauses and blinks rapidly, with a funny expression on his face and an odd jaw movement, sometimes just falling backwards into a sit. This can happen several times in an hour. I'm not sure if it's just tremors from age, or another kind of seizure. It sure looks a lot like videos I have seen of dogs having a focal seizure. If so, where does that take us? I'm afraid to think about that.

I am determined to get a change in his meds, perhaps adding gabapentin since it seems to work for both pain and seizures. Maybe he will have less trouble with ataxia.

Thank you again for all suggestions and prayers.
 

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My Beau had the focal seizures too. He would do the gazing off into space sometimes and just not being able to hear anything being said to him. His face would twitch. It would last a couple of minutes. And he would be normal after that, as normal as a seizure dog could be.
 

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Discussion Starter #78
Seizure on stairs

Last night Charlie was heading upstairs to go to our bedroom and had made it up several steps when he had what I think is a focal seizure, causing him to fall backwards. Luckily my BF was behind him and able to catch Charlie, who soon recovered and made it upstairs. But now I'm really worried about my boy having seizures on stairs, realizing the serious injury that could so easily result. We have to devise a plan to keep him safe! Alas, this house is almost impossible for a dog who can't handle at least a few stairs, since there is no way for him to get outside that doesn't involve at least 4-6 steps, if not more.

I spoke with our vet this morning and he is going to chat with the neurologist about a change in Charlie's meds. I am pushing hard for that.
 

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Those are focal seizures, Morgan needed KBr to control hers. My understanding is that Pheno will eat up Soloxine (or whatever Thyroid med you are using) and so you need to use more. I have never heard that Pheno causes Hypothyroidism. Be very careful that you checK Charlie's kidney values before you start Gabapentin, it is what caused Morgan's kidney failure and ultimate death.
 

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I hope you are able to sort out the best meds to help your dear pup. It is such a balancing act trying to get the best benefit of a med without the inevitable side effects becoming a factor.
Wishing you the best.
 
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