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Anyone using Keppra (levetiracetam) for epileptic dog?


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#21 Tommy Coyote

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Posted 28 November 2017 - 09:53 PM

Joey just had another seizure but it was completely different. I noticed he was drooling a little. Then his head started to shake just a little. Lasted just a few seconds. Snapped right out of it. We had lowered his meds just a little. We may just need to go back to the original dose. Calling his vet tomorrow.

#22 gcv-border

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Posted 28 November 2017 - 09:56 PM

CptJack,

Thank you so much for your words of experience, and for your honesty. It does help to assuage my feelings of guilt? sadness? anger? frustration? that my dog has to go through this.

 

Two days after Natt had her first cluster of seizures, I took a private lesson with an agility instructor who had travelled down from MD for a couple of workshops and some privates. We talked seizure dogs because she had an agility dog with seizures about 12-15 years ago. She was an ER nurse then, and was able to be very involved in medicating her dog (trying different dosages and combinations). Apparently her dog had major disabling side effects with many of the meds used, and it took tremendous effort and almost a year to find the right combination.  The dog was seizure free for 4 years IIRC, but then started to have seizures again.She said that if she ever had another dog with seizures, that she would put it down because it (the seizures) was unfair to the dog.

 

My thinking about seizures has been colored by that conversation, and it is good to hear another perspective.

 

I also have a cat with seizures. [heck, I don't know what is going on in this household  ;-) ].  She is very well controlled on Phenobarbital. In fact, I have been able to reduce her meds to almost nil, and she will remain seizure-free for a very long time (years maybe) - except when I have to bring her to the vet. The last time I brought her in, she seized in the crate in the waiting room. Stress probably.


Jovi

"Folks will know how large your soul is by the way you treat a dog."  Charles F. Duran


#23 gcv-border

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Posted 28 November 2017 - 10:01 PM

If the Keppra is working, keep up with it.  I think it is about the least toxic of the readily prescribed alternatives and has less side effects. 

 

.

 

If Keppra is working, thank your lucky stars and hope it stays effective for a long time.

I have been thinking about this, and to tell the truth, I have no idea if Keppra is working or not. At the very least, there are no side effects (that I can detect), but since it is too early to really know if there is a pattern to her seizures, and if the Keppra is reducing incidence, I just have to go on faith that it is 'working'. Time will tell, I guess.


Jovi

"Folks will know how large your soul is by the way you treat a dog."  Charles F. Duran


#24 GentleLake

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Posted 28 November 2017 - 10:09 PM

... So, long way around: I have nothing but sympathy for you having to witness it, and am as sure as it's possible to be that the dog didn't suffer at all.

 

Thanks for that. It does make me feel better about the experience. And I think I'll share this info with the owners.

 

Of course a big part of the trauma for me was having to decide what they would have wanted for their dog. Fortunately, I was able to get in touch with them pretty quickly and let them talk to the vet and ultimately make the decision about what to do for him. It would have been worse if I'd had to make the decision on my own for someone else's dog.


"People in your life always come and go all the time; the dogs are always there for me. Always." ~Samantha Valle


#25 Tommy Coyote

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Posted 29 November 2017 - 07:02 AM

I would never have a dog put down just because it had seizures unless it's life was seriously impaired.

I have had 3 dogs with seizures. Joey is by far the most serious. He has good quality of life. So far.

#26 CptJack

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Posted 29 November 2017 - 08:28 AM

I would euthanize an animal for seizures in the case of a seizure that could not be stopped, or where seizures were both so frequent and uncontrollable that the dog had little to no time where it was not either having a seizure or recovering from a seizure.   In general, though? Not something I'd be okay doing.   And I do think it's important for people to realize that the seizure itself isn't causing the dog pain (or fear, though afterward maybe confusion).


BUT

 

I wouldn't judge someone else deciding otherwise.   Owner quality of life matters too, and in a case where medication doesn't work or is taking a long time to work,  seizures are frequent and/or severe and it's making the owner's life miserable because they have to watch/see their dog like that then I have absolutely no issue with that decision.



#27 GentleLake

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Posted 29 November 2017 - 11:10 AM

I would never have a dog put down just because it had seizures unless it's life was seriously impaired.

 

In this case the dog wasn't coming out of the seizure at all. I don't know how long he'd been seizing before I found him, but it was constant for at least half an hour till I got him to the vet and assessed. His brain was fried; he would never recover. The decision was not made lightly.


"People in your life always come and go all the time; the dogs are always there for me. Always." ~Samantha Valle


#28 gcv-border

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Posted 29 November 2017 - 12:30 PM

I would euthanize an animal for seizures in the case of a seizure that could not be stopped, or where seizures were both so frequent and uncontrollable that the dog had little to no time where it was not either having a seizure or recovering from a seizure.   In general, though? Not something I'd be okay doing.   And I do think it's important for people to realize that the seizure itself isn't causing the dog pain (or fear, though afterward maybe confusion).


BUT

 

I wouldn't judge someone else deciding otherwise.   Owner quality of life matters too, and in a case where medication doesn't work or is taking a long time to work,  seizures are frequent and/or severe and it's making the owner's life miserable because they have to watch/see their dog like that then I have absolutely no issue with that decision.

I agree with you. I found her thinking quite one-dimensional. And I obviously didn't follow her advice, because my dog is still with me.


Jovi

"Folks will know how large your soul is by the way you treat a dog."  Charles F. Duran


#29 juliepoudrier

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Posted 29 November 2017 - 12:36 PM

Just to add to info for folks dealing with epilepsy: I had a dog who had grand mal seizures, diagnosed idiopathic epilepsy at age 4. Was put on phenobarbital at ~4.5. Never had another seizure that I know of. Bloodwork came back good every year until she was 10 or so, and then just a slight increase in one liver enzyme, nothing the vet was concerned about. She had to be PTS this summer at age 11 for an unrelated issue, but I had no reason to believe she wouldn't have led a full life to age 15+ like all my others, despite the epilepsy and being on Pb for years. There are better options now than just Pb, but epilepsy need not be a death sentence or even change quality of life (I still worked her and used her to set sheep trials). That said, age of onset (younger = worse) and type of seizure (clusters = worse) will certainly have an effect on outcome. I was lucky that Phoebe led a pretty normal life. Her littermate brother wasn't so lucky and had be PTS before he was 4.

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#30 CptJack

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Posted 29 November 2017 - 12:38 PM

I agree with you. I found her thinking quite one-dimensional. And I obviously didn't follow her advice, because my dog is still with me.

 

I was trying very hard not to address that directly because, yeah.  Um.  I find that thinking quite one dimensional and extremely limited, too.  I am EXCEPTIONALLY glad you didn't follow the advice.

 

I just didn't want people who may have made a different choice to feel they'd been 'bad'. 



#31 cwb3

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Posted 29 November 2017 - 01:11 PM

Yeah having gone thru this now with Cowboy, who developed it at age 4, and 1 year and 8 months into it, I am conflicted about how I might respond now if another dog of mine has it in the future.  History of epilespy / seizures is something I will research heavily and ask very hard questions to a breeder going forward.  (No more random farm dog bred puppies, whose parents might be good sheepdogs but whose owners have no clue about pedegree.)  Only after the fact I learned that one of Cowboy's litter mates. . .we called him Nero because he was all black. . .found out he had to be put down for seizures before he turned one.

 

 

If I had a dog and it developed seizures at less than 1 year of age, and I can rule out any environmental toxin, I would most likely put that pup down.  This has been hard on Cowboy and the rest of us, is barely in any form of control, once every 14 -16 days is more often than I like.  The meds have not altered the frequency and has had bad side effects.



#32 Tommy Coyote

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Posted 29 November 2017 - 02:44 PM

Gentle Lake:  I was not addressing your  comment about having to have the dog put down.  I have witnessed a dog with nonstop seizures and I would have them put down, too.  The vet said that it was the very worst thing they have to deal with.  It was awful.  We took the dog to the vet hospital in Columbia, Mo and he was there for several days but they couldn't stop the seizures.  They would bring him up out his drugged state and he would be ok for about 20 minutes and then he would start seizing again.  

 

 

That said,  several of the old dogs I have taken care of had seizures right before they died.  Those dogs didn't have epilepsy.  It was something fatal that caused the seizures right at the end of their lives.  I think that happens pretty often.

 

I was simply talking about dogs like my Joey.  He has grand mal seizures but they are under control and his quality of life really isn't any different than any dog.  I had a really hard time trying to deal with his seizures before he went on meds.  He would have them early, early in the morning.  I got so that I couldn't sleep because I was so afraid he would have another seizure.  I was constantly listening for the sound of him banging his head on the floor.  And toward the end of the seizure he would scream.  It is terrible to watch even though the dog is unconscious and not suffering.

 

All I was saying is that I wouldn't put a dog down simply because it had seizures.  But I most certainly would if the seizures couldn't be controlled and were happening often.  Or like in your case where the dog was old and was seizing.

 

I have had a couple of instances where people were out of reach and something catastrophic happened.  The worst was a sheltie.  The whole right side of his heart went out.  He really needed to be put down.  He was in a lot of distress.  I did not want to have to make that decision.  In that case the vet was able to keep him comfortable for a couple of days until the owner came home.  She got to see him.  But I really don't want to have to make that decision again.  It was agonizing.  



#33 GentleLake

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Posted 29 November 2017 - 03:50 PM

No worries, TC. I realized later that those comments were referring to the trainer who'd suggested it.


"People in your life always come and go all the time; the dogs are always there for me. Always." ~Samantha Valle


#34 gcv-border

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Posted 29 November 2017 - 05:19 PM

Yeah having gone thru this now with Cowboy, who developed it at age 4, and 1 year and 8 months into it, I am conflicted about how I might respond now if another dog of mine has it in the future.  History of epilespy / seizures is something I will research heavily and ask very hard questions to a breeder going forward.  (No more random farm dog bred puppies, whose parents might be good sheepdogs but whose owners have no clue about pedegree.)  Only after the fact I learned that one of Cowboy's litter mates. . .we called him Nero because he was all black. . .found out he had to be put down for seizures before he turned one.

 

 

If I had a dog and it developed seizures at less than 1 year of age, and I can rule out any environmental toxin, I would most likely put that pup down.  This has been hard on Cowboy and the rest of us, is barely in any form of control, once every 14 -16 days is more often than I like.  The meds have not altered the frequency and has had bad side effects.

I can understand your point of view, and it is certainly valid.  Such a scenario - young dog (<1 year), clusters and bad side effects with no diminishing of seizures -  would certainly require careful consideration about quality of life. Hopefully you (or anyone) will not face that in the future.


Jovi

"Folks will know how large your soul is by the way you treat a dog."  Charles F. Duran


#35 gcv-border

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Posted 29 November 2017 - 05:22 PM

No worries, TC. I realized later that those comments were referring to the trainer who'd suggested it.

 Perhaps I wasn't clear. She didn't suggest it to me. She said everyone had to make their own decision, but that she, herself, would likely take that course of action.


Jovi

"Folks will know how large your soul is by the way you treat a dog."  Charles F. Duran


#36 GentleLake

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Posted 29 November 2017 - 05:30 PM

OK, "said", not "suggested." :D


"People in your life always come and go all the time; the dogs are always there for me. Always." ~Samantha Valle


#37 CptJack

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Posted 29 November 2017 - 07:09 PM

I spent a bit vaguely pondering why my response was so much stronger to what the trainer said than if it was something simply said by another forum member or, in truth, friend or person.

 

I've decided that the reason for that is the same reason that vet's tend not to offer such opinions about what they would do very often.  Because as a trainer she has a bit of a position of authority.  Now, that doesn't mean she can make anyone do anything or even that a given individual will respond to those words/view her as one.  It certainly doesn't mean she views herself as one

 

But she's seen as a knowledgable professional and the words have more weight as a result.   Or, at least, have the potential to have more weight.



#38 cwb3

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Posted 29 November 2017 - 09:41 PM

Very true. We all will naturally hang more strongly on the words of our vet or our trainer. They all must struggle between their opinions verses what we may hear as professional advice. Tough needle to thread.


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