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Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)
My 4 year old Golden girl, Ella, had an episode this afternoon, and I'm not sure what it was. She's had one once before, more than six months ago. Both times, she was standing with her head lowered, eating. The first time it was an ice cube, today it was a treat.

Her back arched, and her upper body (including her head) started quivering. That lasted about 30 seconds. As her back unarched, her back legs started twitching/spasming out to each side. She attempted to take a few steps and had trouble keeping her back legs underneath her; they were jerking out from underneath her and she was walking like she was drunk. Her tail was down but not tucked. She was able to raise and lower her head, follow my voice with her ears, follow my finger with her eyes, and had no trouble using her front legs at all.

She did not seem stressed or scared. She was panting but not overly so, and when I ran my hands all over her she gave no indication of being in pain. The entire episode lasted less than three minutes. She is now calm, alert, and relaxing easily on the floor at my feet.

So was this a seizure? Or something else? Any thoughts or suggestions would be appreciated.
 

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I don't have any thoughts as to whether it was a seizure but I'm hoping you don't have a repeat performance. I would be so worried. Sending good thoughts to you and your pup.
 

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Our Casey's back arched when she was having a seizure. I would definitely see your vet and find out what it could be for sure.
 

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What you describe could be a petite mal seizure. It is not a classic grand mal seizure and is a bit more than a focal seizure. Here is a link to a site that provides a lot of basic information about seizures and their causes: Canine Epilepsy Network. The site has some videos that may help you assess what you saw. Your family vet is a good starting point, but you may have to consult a veterinary neurologist to get a neurological assessment and solid answers.

With all my heart I hope that your Ella does not make you a member of the GRF seizure society. There are too many of us and the condition is too frightening. My Charlie's journey with seizures are described in this thread, which includes a lot of links to reference material: http://www.goldenretrieverforum.com...ard/85243-seizures-starting-12-years-old.html.

The GRF has many others with experience with seizures. I hope more of them weigh in.

Good luck to you and Ella,
Lucy
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 · (Edited)
Thank you for those links, Lucy. I did read most of the information available, but no one type of seizure sounded like what happened with Ella. I then turned to YouTube and searched "golden retriever seizure" and, unfortunately there were numerous results.

I found one (WARNING: DO NOT WATCH THIS VIDEO if you don't think you can handle seeing a Golden having a seizure!!!! YouTube - Tanner the golden retriever having a mild grand maul seizure) where the shaking and leg jerking look exactly like what happened with Ella, except that Ella was standing up during hers. As soon as I watched it, I started sobbing, because I know now that Ella had a seizure. I only watched the first three minutes, because that's all I could take.

What do I do now? Should I take her to the emergency vet, or am I okay to wait until I can get an appointment during the week with our regular vet?
 

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I'm sorry about Ella. I would wait and see your vet during the week as long as nothing else happens. When my Daisy had her first seizure I called the emergency vet and they told me as long as she goes back to normal afterwards and she doesn't have any other symptoms that I could wait until I could see my vet to bring her in ( this happened on the weekend) and her seizure was much much worse than what you say Ella had. Just keep a good eye on her and if she seems okay I would wait and call your vet on Monday.
 

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I then turned to YouTube and searched "golden retriever seizure" and, unfortunately there were numerous results.

I found one where the shaking and leg jerking look exactly like what happened with Ella, except that Ella was standing up during hers. As soon as I watched it, I started sobbing, because I know now that Ella had a seizure. I only watched the first three minutes, because that's all I could take.

What do I do now?!!? Should I take her to the emergency vet, or am I okay to wait until I can get an appointment during the week with our regular vet?
You are most welcome for any help I can provide.

One seizure is certainly not the end of the world. Many dogs have one seizure and never have another, or have them only rarely. Our vet didn't start charlie on seizure meds until after his second grand mal seizure, which was perhaps a month after the first one.

Unless Ella has another seizure today or tomorrow, I would wait and see her regular vet on Monday if possible. But if she has another seizure this weekend - especially tonight - then she needs to go the emergency vet. Multiple seizures - not two, but several - in a short period of time can cause the brain to swell and can be fatal. If you read my thread about Charlie, then you may remember that he had six seizures last Wednesday and went to the emergency clinic, but came home okay. He needed emergency help to stop the seizures and they put him prednisone to reduce swelling in his brain.

There are some things to do when Ella has a seizure. You need to keep your hands away from her mouth but do try to get some cushioning around her if she falls over. A seizure consumes a lot of energy and she needs to eat. A couple of tablespoons of melted Hagen Daz vanilla ice cream is a good start - Hagen Daz because it has no additives, so that's what matters if you can't get Hagen Daz. And then a full meal of whatever she usually eats.

Mostly, you need to stay calm and love your girl. She needs you.

Remember that there is a community of people here who have/had dogs with seizures. Keep us posted and let us know when you and Ella need help.

With hugs and prayers for you and Ella,
Lucy
 

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Seizure log

One more thing: please begin a journal or log about Ella's seizures. Write down the date and time. Describe what she did that looked like a seizure.

Then write down everything you can remember that was in any way different from the norm. Did she eat anything unusual? Did you treat her with a flea and tick product? Or heartworm meds? The goal is to identify possible triggers for Ella's seizures, and the only way to do that is to watch for patterns over time. With luck, she will never have another seizure and this will be a useless exercise, but if she has more seizures, you will have the beginning of a useful tool to help her and to help her vets understand what is happening.

With you in spirit,
Lucy
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 · (Edited)
Thanks, Lucy. I contacted Ella's breeder about 15 minutes ago and got an immediate supportive response and she recommended I do the same thing, so I'm going to start a log now.

I did remember a few minutes ago that Ella got her first Frontline application of the year on Wednesday (3 days ago). Could that have been a factor, even after 3 days?
 

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Thanks, Lucy. I contacted Ella's breeder about 15 minutes ago and got an IMMEDIATE supportive response and she recommended I do the same thing, so I'm going to do that now.

I did remember a few minutes ago that Ella got her first Frontline application of the year on Wednesday (3 days ago). Could that have been a factor, even after 3 days?
I'm so glad that Ella's breeder is there for you. That speaks very well of her and the integrity of her breeding program.

I believe that Frontline Plus causes Charlie to have seizures. It is not by any means his only trigger and it took me a long time to recognize the connection. The last time I put Frontline Plus on him, he had a seizure about 3-4 hours later. It could well be that 3 days is not too long for there to be a connection, but I don't know. You might see if she has a seizure with 2-3 days after her next application of Frontline. Or - and I'm now in this camp - never put Frontline Plus on her again. Google can help you find other reports of dogs having seizures associated with Frontline. This is a topic to discuss with your vet.

Most products that kill fleas and ticks have a neurotoxin in them, so it stands to reason that sensitive dogs could be affected, too. The EPA is conducting a study of these "spot-on" flea and tick products now.

I'm glad to help in any way that I can. I know all too well how terrifying it is to watch a beloved dog have a first seizure.

Now breathe. Enjoy Ella. She is still with you and there is every reason to believe that she will live a normal life.

Lucy
 

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I totally agree with GoldensGirl. Keeping the journal is the best thing to do to see if there are any triggers that might set it off. Hopefully she will have that one seizure and never have another one again. So far I have been lucky and my Pawley has only had one seizure but that first one was the worst one I have ever seen in my life. And I have lived with seizures for years ( as my heart dog Beau had them before he passed away) My foster dog CoCo has them but so far hasnt had any for over 6 months. The biggest trigger I found for my Beau was heartguard. It has ivermectin in it and would set off a seizure in Beau. SO I switched to Interceptor and it would be one less seizure.
 
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I have had a flat coat with seizures for hte past 8 years... he has not been easy to control....

it does sound like a seizure to me...

petites and partials are different and I would honestly characterize what you saw as a grand mal....

keep a log
and the next time this happens off to the vet... blood work must be done within 12 hours to show any changes that could cause the seizure... someone else here decided to wait until the next morning that is just not a good idea.... and by the next morning it is a waste of money to do bloodwork... so bloodwork within 12 hours...

yes the frontline could have caused the seizure and I woiuld not use it again...

check the food for rosemary as rosemary is known for lowering a seizure threshold....

and log... I don't recall how old your dog is but idiopathic epilepsy is known to start generally between the ages of 2 and 4

we do have a facebook group called epi-pets if you would like to join us there
I would be happy to help in any way that I can unfortunately I have quite a bit of experience with this

S and epi FCR Cuinn (150 PB 2x/day, 750 Keppra 2x/day and 375 KBr 2x/day)
 

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Good thoughts to you and Ella. Seizures are really scary when you see them. I've had one foster who had a seizure within 10 minutes of coming to our home and he was our very first foster. Fortunately (or unfortunately) my husband is an epileptic so I had seen plenty of seizures before his anti-seizure meds were finally calibrated properly, so I wasn't as scared, but it still stressed me out. We did take him to the vet right away and were glad we did because his temperature was extremely high (it was in May and it gets pretty warm here in May). I will be looking for an update tomorrow, until then, hang in there!
 

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I hae never had to face a seizure, tho once i thought my golden girl kaycee wa having one. She went down forward, head jerking, mouth working, couldn't get up, and when she did she staggered, aways to the left, ran into wall, etc. I rushed her to vet and turn out to be what he called a vertigo episode due to a deep inner ear infection.

I know how bad that scared me. So i know you had to be scared as well. However, i understand several dogs on her do have this problme and do wonderfl with treatment. Am sending good thoughts and big hug to you, a kiss on the nose for you "fur kid"/
 

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My Abby had her first seizure at the age of 4 a year ago January. Hers was very mild and lasted about 20-25 seconds. Looked like she was sleeping on the floor and was pedaling away, wasnt violent. i called the vet and he said wait to see what happen, that day Abbie had gotten a few glazed donuts. She had her second one 2 weeks later, same thing and hers always happen between 5-5:30 am. We started her on Phenobarb. The lowest dose and 2 weeks later the 3rd seizures, we doubled the dose and she hasnt had another one in a year. She is on Interceptor and Frontine, which I dont think that is causing it, since the seizures were not anytime I had given them to her.keeping the journal is a good idea.
 

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Discussion Starter · #19 · (Edited)
Unfortunately, Ella had another seizure this afternoon. I just happened to be home 45 minutes earlier than usual and celebrated by playing Frisbee with Ella. She was returning the Frisbee after the second throw when she locked up and began seizing. There was no rear-leg jerking with this one, but her back arched up so hard that it lifted her back feet off the ground. This one lasted about a minute longer than the one on Saturday, and it took about five more minutes for her to come completely out of it. I stupidly don't have any ice cream on hand, even though I was just at the grocery store this afternoon and thought about getting some. I did give her a full meal and made sure she has access to water. She'll be getting another round of blood tests and will most likely have to start on medication.

I'm reeling right now...I had myself utterly convinced that she'd never have another seizure. Are there any questions I should be sure to ask the vet when she goes in for her bloodwork? If she's started on medication, what will it most likely be and how high of a dose? So many questions, worries and fears are running through my mind.
 

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Elizabeth

Elizabeth

I am so sorry to hear about Ella having a seizure. I don't have any experience with them, but think that most dogs are put on phenobarbitol, and I know many dogs live a long time with seizures.

There are so many people on here that can help.

Have you made a vet appt. for her. One lady said to get her to the vet after the next one because they have to do a blood test within 12 hours.
 
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