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Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
Our 1.5 year old Piper has had 4 grand mal seizures that we know of and we think a series of smaller seizures as well. The first was June 14th of this year. At first it seemed to be correlating to fireworks being set off but she had another last night and there hadn’t been any fireworks that we heard. In July we started her on flea and tick chewables and the next morning she couldn’t use her back legs. She had also had vaccines about four days prior to that. She had an allergic reaction to a bordatella vaccine as a puppy, so she gets just what is required and is given Benedryl before the vaccines. Last spring we switched her to the new line of Nutro dog food as well. I’ve read in a few threads that some dogs seem to have a problem with the nutro food so I’m considering switching her to a raw diet. Has anyone tried that and had it work? Also we are hesitant to start her on the drugs as they seem to have some pretty harsh side affects, and are considering CBD oil as an alternative. Has anyone tried the CBD oil, and if so which brand, and how did it work? We had her tested for the mdr1 gene and it came back negative so we are good to go with trying anything. This is so horrible to watch so any advice is appreciated. Thanks!
 

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My Gatsby suffers from seizures. They started at the age of 4 and now he is 5.5.

I didn’t put him on any standard seizure medication as I am afraid of side effects and his seizures are not frequent (about once a month). However, if the seizures increase in frequency or become more severe (my vet witnessed one which I thought was pretty long for Gatsby, but she said it was mild) I am prepared to start him on medication. I would never consider phenobarbital as the side effects are probably as bad as the seizures themselves, but there are other choices on the market. At this moment I keep a few ampules of Valium handy, just in case, but never used it yet.

The timing of his seizures with exception of last couple of episodes coincided with full moon. He also had a massive seizure after annual vaccination last year and application of Bravecto. So this year the vet didn’t vaccinate him and Gatsby is also excused from future vaccinations (including rabies). I also switched him back to old good topicals for flea and tick prevention.

All my goldens are on home cooked diet.

I recently started Gatsby on CBD oil and so far no seizures. It is close to 2 months now so in a way it is already a huge success, but maybe it is just a fluke, or maybe he had a seizure that I didn’t witness. Too early to say, but definitely CBD looks promising.

I am in Canada and at this moment (until this whole industry is legalized in October) it is rather difficult to find a quality, highly concentrated CBD that is also full spectrum and without prescription. And since CBD has not been tested on animals there is no way to get a prescription… If you are in US there is a couple of CBD producers in Colorado, that I would love to buy from, but they wouldn’t ship to Canada. So for the time being, until I find something better, I am using “Natural Remedy” based in British Columbia, but this oil is isolate, not full spectrum and also it is medium concentration 840mg of CBD in 60ml bottle. So my bottles empty fast.

Good Luck with Piper, it is devastating to watch the seizures. I always keep the Valium in one hand thinking should I be using it now?
 

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I'm so sorry you are going through this with Piper. Although I have no experience with seizures I have moved both my boys to a raw diet and they are thriving on it!

I would also suggest that you consider titering Piper when she is due for vaccinations. I titer both my boys for Parvo and Distemper to avoid unnecessary shots. Rabies is still required by law and bordetella and canine flu required by their boarding facility. Just something to think about.

Good luck.
 

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Discussion Starter #4
Ive seen a lot on home cooked diets and raw diets. What do you cook at home? We plan on doing a complete overhaul for piper. New food, new treats, etc.
 

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I buy large amounts of meat in a regular grocery store (pork, chicken, beef, chicken and beef organs) and bake for them in quantities sufficient to last for 4 days. I work full time and don’t have the time to prepare fresh every day.

For the veggies they have a mix of oven baked cauliflower/broccoli/green beans/kale/zucchini and cucumber. I add 2 slices of yams per meal. In the mornings they also get fried egg and a couple of sardines or smelt. In the evening on top of the usual meat and veggies they get a piece of salmon or cod.

As treats they get cheese and spare ribs. Out of supplements all humans and dogs receive 3 capsules of extra strength Omega 3.

I never consulted any doggy cook books and don’t know if this is the best diet for them. Routine blood tests which I do twice a year look good. So far I have been lucky with longevity of my dogs. First passed at 18, second at 13, third at 18. Now my oldest golden is 14 and there is no sign of him slowing down, he can outrun dogs half his age.

Of course I worry every single day that I exhausted my luck and my youngest boys will pay the price.
 

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Hello there!

I have a weirdo seizure dog.

#1: There are a variety of safer medications for seizure dogs these days! Our kiddo was on Zonisamide for awhile and it was great. No side effects, good kidney and liver enzymes, and most importantly, good seizure control. Some of these newer medications are a little pricier but if you have a local low cost pharmacy or a Costco membership, they are manageable. For example, our 3 month supply of Zonisamide at Costco was $90-100, whereas a one month supply at any other pharmacy was $160. I would strongly recommend seeing a board certified neurologist for the best and most up to date advice on medication, especially with an average of 2 grand mals a month. I know folks tend to be worried that a specialist will be outrageously expensive but in my experience, it is only about double your normal vet's office fee.

#2: I mean this with noooo offense to Joro because we all have our dogs best interest in mind, and I know their dogs must be doing great! But I wouldn't jump to a raw or home cooked diet quite yet, especially in a young dog. Tufts Veterinary Nutrition recommends avoiding these diets without advice from a board certified veterinary nutritionist and I tend to agree in the case of seizure dogs. They can be exceedingly sensitive to nutrition deficiencies and blood sugar changes. Given that you are seeing such frequent seizure activity and grand mals, I would be cautious with this route.

#3: Seizure dog neurology hates change. It hates overstimulation. It hates anxiety. It hates physical stress. I'm not surprised at all that you're seeing a spike around the 4th, especially if you tack on vaccines and flea medication. It doesn't necessarily mean that any one of these things is inherently harmful to your dog, but you do need to be cautious of stress stacking with seizure dogs. I guess the key concept here is that you want space. Don't do flea medicine if you're doing vaccines. Don't do vaccines if they've had an extra physically exhausting week. Don't go to their least favorite place after fireworks and spike that anxiety even higher. Does that make sense? Staggering is sort of the way of life with seizure dogs. A board certified neurologist comes in handy here for determining what is and is not worth avoiding -- for example, we do core vaccines but we don't do optional vaccines. We avoided flea and tick medication until he started hiking deep wooded deer trails. We stopped doing daycare because it was too much overstimulation.

#4: CBD has been great for many dogs. The main thing to note is that CBD is processed through the P450 enzyme, which also processes a great deal of synthetic medications and can increase blood levels of either CBD or the medication depending on which substrate the medication is on. For example, our dog is on Clomipramine. We have to be very cautious with CBD because CBD can increase the blood levels of Clomipramine, potentially increasing the risk of harm to the liver. Other medications can interact in such a way that the effects of CBD are amplified, the effects of the medications are dangerously reduced, or any combination of strange interactions. It's a great tool. It just needs to be used cautiously, and sometimes it's not worth the risk.

#5: General things to keep in mind -- space out physical and emotional stresses, keep blood sugar very stable, keep a log, log extensively any time you are introducing something new but understand sometimes correlation does not equal causation (our world got very very small until we realized this), and be there for her during the very scary pre and post seizure changes. It's not just the seizure that's hard on them, but preceeding aura and exhaustion afterwards really take a toll.

#6: Extra note, I'm not sure that favoring a leg is super common? Possibly discuss tick born illnesses with your vet? They can definitely trigger episodes for seizure dogs.
 
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Hello there!

#1: There are a variety of safer medications for seizure dogs these days! Our kiddo was on Zonisamide for awhile and it was great. No side effects, good kidney and liver enzymes, and most importantly, good seizure control. Some of these newer medications are a little pricier but if you have a local low cost pharmacy or a Costco membership, they are manageable. For example, our 3 month supply of Zonisamide at Costco was $90-100, whereas a one month supply at any other pharmacy was $160. I would strongly recommend seeing a board certified neurologist for the best and most up to date advice on medication, especially with an average of 2 grand mals a month. I know folks tend to be worried that a specialist will be outrageously expensive but in my experience, it is only about double your normal vet's office fee.
Zonisamide has worked great for our golden with focal seizures. He is 13.5 years old and has not had any seizures since 2014. I highly recommend Costco for pet medications.

Jim
 

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How is your dog doing? I would definitely take her off the Nutro dog food. That is what was causing my dog, Helo's, seizures. He is gone now but he was 4 years seizure free after I threw out that food. He was also on potassium bromide for many years and had no side effects from it. I did not try CBD oil on him. I hope Piper is doing well.
 

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Update on Piper. We had been treating her with CBD oil and slowly increasing the dose. She seems to struggle with meds so we introduce things slowly. She continued to have seizures about every three weeks even with the CBD. Two weeks ago she had a cluster of four seizures, three here at home and one at the vet when my daughter rushed her in. We started her on phenobarbital that night. She had another seizure the next morning, and then not again until three days ago. We took her to the vet again yesterday to have her drug levels checked and will get that back on Monday. We still have her on a low dose of CBD oil and the vet has suggested we back her off of that so we know how the phenobarbital is working on it’s own. I had made a correction earlier. She is on nutrisource high plains dog food not nutro dog food. We are considering a switch to royal canin golden retriever food, based on the fact that it’s formulated just for Golden’s. The breeder that piper came from has started using that and recommended it. I haven’t decided yet, as she’s not ever had a dog food with wheat in it. I would love to hear more from everyone on what works and doesn’t work for them. Piper seems to struggle with the phenobarbital, and it makes me sad.
 

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She just lays and cries, and she paces and gets agitated. It’s a weird combination of tired and edgy. She also drags her hind paws a bit after she takes it. When it gets close to her second dose of the day that seems to go away. We are slowly backing her off the CBD so we know if it is just the phenobarbital that’s doing it or the combo because she didn’t have any of these behaviors when she was on just the CBD alone.
 

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Update again on seizure meds. Piper continues to have seizures about every two weeks. It’s like a magma buildup in a volcano! She has a seizure then it slowly builds and releases two weeks later, then starts again! She is now on 90 mg of phenobarbital, 2x per day and just had another seizure this previous Monday. In addition to the phenobarbital we also give her Pet Releaf hemp oil 700, about .65 ml twice per day. The vet now wants to add in 500 mg of Keppra 2x a day as well. Has anyone used Keppra for their dogs? And if so, were there any side affects. Also, the cost for one month of this at Walgreens was 240.00 with a good rx coupon that brought it down to 96.00. Right now we are spending approximately $140.00/mo on the CBD and phenobarbital and if we add in the Keppra it will bump it to about $240.00. That doesn’t include the cost of the liver enzyme tests or phenobarbital level tests which run about 140.00 every month right now while we are figuring it out. The cost is starting to be a factor (with all the vet bills and medications) as I have three kids in college! I’m concerned about adding in the Keppra as some of the side affects look kind of nasty. Is there some other drug I should be asking the vet about? I’m looking for any and all suggestions! ?. This stuff gets confusing!
 

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Piper's a pretty girl.

I can't even imagine having 3 kids in College at the same time, I had one and that was hard enough.......

Have you contacted a Vet School in your area to see if they have any clinical trials right now for seizures?

Are you buying her meds through your Vet Clinic? There are several Vet pharmacies online-I order meds from Drs. Foster and Smith. You can check the prices of the meds, if they are less expensive, you Vet may consider price matching and if not, give you a script so you can order them online.

Also, check with regular pharmacies to see if any of the meds Piper is taking can be purchased through them such as Walmart. There's Good RX too that offers coupons for meds that can be used at different regular Pharamacies-not Vet pharmacies.

Here's a good thread if you haven't seen this-

https://www.goldenretrieverforum.co...es/108429-seizures-101-basic-information.html
 

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Update, Christmas Eve. Piper had another seizure today just one week after the previous one. Today’s lasted almost four minutes and she had a hard time coming out of it. She appeared to be potentially having a second seizure, so I gave her an extra 60 mg phenobarbital as the vet said that for second seizures that will last longer than the Valium. I really feel that the phenobarbital isn’t working. Does anyone ever switch drugs completely and not give the phenobarbital or are they always kept on that and others just added? We really need to get a handle on these. Not only for her but for me who has a hard time leaving her home alone. It’s getting harder and harder to make sure someone is always with her. I’m fine putting her on the Keppra but I’m not sure she still needs the phenobarbital then. So confusing!
 

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We are currently getting her phenobarbital from Walgreens and a good rx coupon brings the Keppra from 240 down to 98. Do the good rx coupons ever stop working? Or go away? We haven’t started the Keppra yet, and are considering taking her to the vet neurologist at the University of Minnesota vet school. They are closed today because it’s Christmas Eve, but I will call again on Wednesday to get their pricing.
 

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Good RX has been around a long time, I don't think it's going away but sometimes the prices changes.

Check out this website:https://easydrugcard.com

Ask the vet if you can use the generic for Keppra - LEVETIRACETAM
I looked up Keppra on that website and it's 400 for the Keppra and like $30 for the generic.
 

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We are currently getting her phenobarbital from Walgreens and a good rx coupon brings the Keppra from 240 down to 98. Do the good rx coupons ever stop working? Or go away? We haven’t started the Keppra yet, and are considering taking her to the vet neurologist at the University of Minnesota vet school. They are closed today because it’s Christmas Eve, but I will call again on Wednesday to get their pricing.
GoodRX also has a price checker/comparison where you can check the prices of the medication your buying at different retail pharmacies.

I buy my prescriptions at a NC Based pharmacy co., Walgreens is one of the most expensive if not the most expensive in my area.
 
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