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Partial seizures...or canine paroxysmal dyskinesia?


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#1 Mojo

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Posted 28 December 2007 - 04:29 PM

Hello, all. I just did a Board search on "paroxysmal dyskinesia," but didn't come up with any hits, so here goes with a new topic:

As many of you know, my Mojo is a mixed breed rescue, presumed to be about 5 years old now, and an Aussie x Border Collie cross (along with spaniel, and who knows what else). I found him on the street in Dec. 2006, and after a complete blood panel (full chemistry and CBC), urinalysis, and fecal exam at the time, he appeared to be in perfect, prime health. He is also very fit and lean--now 31 lbs, 18" at the shoulder--and very active and very responsive, and quite coordinated--we have been training in dog agility over the last year. His coat is glowing, his eyes are clear, and his digestive system seems to function quite well (firm, regular bowel movements). He will very occasionally have diarrhea, and will very rarely vomit a small amount of yellow froth, but no more so than I think a "normal" dog does if he has gotten into something disgusting at the dog park. He does have an anxious/excitable disposition when we are out and about, but can settle down quite easily when asked, even for long periods of indoor time. He is very leash aggressive/reactive, but it is never "inappropriate"--i.e., he will bark/growl at oncoming dogs and certain people (mostly men), but once introduced as "friends," he is quite friendly with everyone/everything. He does not "act out" aggressively for no reason--there is always an instigating factor. Thus, again, I do not believe that Mojo has inappropriate aggression as related to an organic medical condition--being a stray, I assume that he was very unsocialized as a puppy. He lives happily with my 14 yo Bichon without any issues whatsoever, and actually seems to enjoy her company after having gotten to know her over the last year.

Then, seemingly out of the blue, Mojo began having "episodes" in April, 2007, and has had approximately ten episodes since then. He has never actually "seized" at the vet, and so when I have attempted to describe what I see to both my internal medicine veterinary specialist as well as a regular vet, after a full negative workup (standard complete blood panel, lead levels, thyroid panel, insulin:glucose ratio, x-rays, ultrasound), both vets stated that they thought Mojo was having partial (focal) seizures due to idiopathic epilepsy, and that if the "seizures" became more frequent (i.e., more than once a week), I should consider getting an MRI (to look for possible old head trauma or a brain tumor) and putting him on phenobarbital. When I first found him, I put him on Innova Adult, but then after his first "seizure," I switched him to home-cooked organic. He went from April, 2007 to August, 2007 without having any episodes, but then had one in August, one in September, three this past November, and so far, two in December, including one last night, so I would have to say that the diet has not made much of a difference in regards to this problem, although the lack of seizures between April and August was initially encouraging.

Yet, I have never really been comfortable with the diagnosis of idiopathic epilepsy, as to me, Mojo's "seizures" have a very strange and atypical appearance: he will collapse to the floor with two front feet extended awkwardly forward--like Superman flying, but above the level of his head, so his head is actually between his paws, and his hind legs are curled with hind toes spread wide. He is almost frozen in this posture--he will fall to the ground on his side as if his entire body is being paralyzed/consumed by a total-body muscular cramp, and if you try to roll him upright, his whole body will maintain this strange posture, as if he were a wax doll. Throughout this time, however, he is also having fine, vibrating tremors of his head/neck (i.e., *no* jerky, rhythmic tonic-clonic movements--Mojo's head and neck will look like he is shivering because he is scared, or cold). Mojo does NOT lose consciousness, and if you call his name, or offer him a spoonful of ice cream, he *WILL RESPOND* and try to look at me and/or lick the spoon, all the while continuing to maintain his fixed bodily posture. When he looks at me, he seems, in fact, quite distressed, and keeps trying to get off the floor, but can't, and will stagger back to the ground. There is no facial twitching, no facial wrinkling or grimacing, (again) no repetitive tonic-clonic movements (i.e., "convulsions"), no aggression, no fly-biting, no other aberrant behavioral changes, and no loss of bowel/bladder control. A couple of times, I have seen muscular rippling in the thigh muscles of his hindquarters and across his back, but it is not every time. The very first "seizure" he ever had, he drooled a tiny bit, but there has been no drooling since then. The way Mojo's lips are shaped, however, he does sometimes drool a bit even normally, when he gets excited and has been running around and panting for a while.

I have tried to determine what the triggers for the episodes are, but there is no clear pattern: he has been in the middle of the dog park, running around happily, sleeping at home, and waiting at the door getting ready to go outside, and everything in between. Sometimes he will have one right after a meal, sometimes when his stomach is empty. They have happened both during the day and the night.

I have noticed that if I do not give him ice cream (say, if we are not at home when this happens and ice cream is not available), the episode can last as long as five minutes. If, however, he does get ice cream, the episode is no more than two minutes, and often seems like it is about one minute. Mojo is *completely* normal after these episodes, both cognitively and physically. I have rushed him to the vet in the past, twice, and by the time we get down to the car, Mojo has typically recovered completely, and the only aberration on his bloodwork will be a slightly high alkaline phosphatase (ALP) and a high creatinine kinase (CK)--the latter of which is to be expected, if his muscles have been quivering/tremoring.

While there IS an aura/prodrome--he definitely seems to know at least five to ten seconds beforehand that an episode is imminent, and will pace nervously or will simply lie down and look at me plaintively with ears back and plastered to his head--there is no post-ictal period, as far as I can tell. After the episode is done, Mojo can respond, run, and jump just as usual--I have tried to keep him quiet, and he won't have it--he is completely ready to resume activity. The one time he did not receive ice cream, however, his hind legs did seem a tiny bit weaker than usual for a few extra minutes, but that, too, resolved quickly and completely.

In any case, with no loss of consciousness, if all of this was indeed epilepsy, it could only be one of two types: generalized seizures without a loss of consciousness, or partial/focal seizures...but to me, from all the case descriptions I have read that were posted by owners on the canine epilepsy guardian angel website and other places, I never was able to find an exact match for Mojo's symptoms--the posturing of his legs was the particular sticking point that failed to be mentioned in any descriptions of either generalized or partial seizures.

Because of his apparent tremendous and positive response to ice cream, I used to believe that he had hypoglycemia, and his first couple of blood samples seemed to corroborate that theory, as they were actually slightly low in glucose (around 50), but it is commonly known that if the techs do not spin down the sample tubes in a timely fashion, you can get a falsely low reading of glucose, as the live red blood cells continue to utilize glucose in the serum. So, I had proper blood samples sent to the University of Michigan for more accurate evaluations of his blood glucose and insulin:glucose ratio, but they were both found to be normal. My regular vet also told me that he would expect a blood glucose around 30 or 40 if this were true hypoglycemia. So that no longer seemed a valid diagnosis. The only other halfway-real suspicion I had, just based on his symptoms, was tetany due to hypocalcemia (low blood calcium), which can also produce true seizures, but his calcium levels have always been squarely within normal limits, and his albumin is normal, also, so it never seemed necessary to obtain ionized calcium levels, etc. I also have never been able to elicit Chvostek's sign in Mojo (i.e., in humans, when the cheek is tapped at the angle of the jaw, the facial muscles on the same side of the face will twitch due to nerve hyperexcitability), but I do not know if that sign is typically produced in hypocalcemic dogs? If anything, it seemed that epilepsy was more likely than hypocalcemia, but still, epilepsy didn't quite fit the clinical picture I saw in Mojo, and I didn't know what else it could be, and neither of my vets seemed interested in pursuing his diagnosis any further than that.

Last night was really the turning point, however. When Mojo started to have his episode, I called my boyfriend down to come help me administer the ice cream while I carried Mojo to the sofa. Then, my BF did something that neither he nor I had never done before--he held Mojo's head firmly between his hands and told him he was a good boy, and IN DOING SO, Mojo's fine head/neck tremors STOPPED. Completely. As soon as he LET GO, the tremors resumed immediately. I couldn't believe it. Mojo was still "frozen" in his waxy, awkward pose, but the fine tremors had clearly stopped, and then started again. As far as I know, TRUE seizure activity does not just STOP due to touch or change of focus--i.e., you can't just forcibly "hold down" an epileptic human or dog and expect to "snap them out" of their tremors/tonic-clonic movements...but I knew a disease that DID have that feature! Suddenly, it seemed that my dog had PARKINSON'S disease, like in humans! I ran to the Internet, and within minutes, I had found "canine paroxysmal dyskinesia," and also the following website with a video of "Chinook seizures":

http://www.canine-ep...ok/chinook.html

MOJO'S EPISODES LOOK ALMOST EXACTLY LIKE WHAT THE DOG IN THE CHINOOK VIDEO HAS, with the exception that his forelimbs are extended forward a little bit more and above the level of his head, rather than curled in front of his chest. Mojo tries to get up and look at me, but falls back down to the ground, just as the Chinook in the video is watching whoever is filming and whoever is walking by. Again, I couldn't believe it....but the very last thing Mojo is, I would imagine, is part Chinook, and the website seems to indicate that this condition is peculiar to Chinooks.

Then, however, I went onto the Canine Epilepsy Network discussion forum, and I did find two posters who remarked on similar conditions in their dogs, and one is a black lab, and the other is a *Border Collie mix.* Further, it has also been apparently reported in (gasp) Bichons, but thankfully, Godiva has never had anything even remotely resembling this problem in all her years. I also discovered the existence of "idiopathic canine head bobbing" (I know, it sounds ridiculous), but apparently, this is common in bulldogs--but here in this video link of a boxer, only their heads shake back and forth, and their bodies/limbs are unaffected.

Thus, from the descriptions I found, it is now my firm belief that Mojo has canine paroxysmal dyskinesia, and NOT idiopathic epilepsy. IF I am correct, I am quite relieved, because the disease is apparently NOT progressive, as epilepsy (and human Parkinson's) can be, and paroxysmal dyskinesia also does not have the life-threatening consequences that epileptic seizures can have (i.e., status epilepticus, or continuous seizures), although it DOES have discrete episodes, like epilepsy does, rather than being a constant movement disorder, like human Parkinson's. Further, from the very limited information I have found, it appears that paroxysmal dyskinesia does NOT respond to anticonvulsant treatments used for true epilepsy, and thus, I am *so* glad that we chose not to put Mojo on phenobarbital right away and risk the future of his liver (phenobarb is quite toxic to the liver)...

So, why am I posting all this here? Including myself, I have only found three possible cases of canine paroxysmal dyskinesia described on the Internet by individual owners (i.e., not general descriptions of the disease), with two of these three being Border Collie mixes. So, I was wondering if any of you have ever recognized similar episodes in your purebred or mixed Border Collies? If so, were they diagnosed with paroxysmal dyskinesia? If diagnosed as PD, how are you treating it? I am also wondering if anyone knows of studies that have been done with dopamine agonists, such as L-dopa in humans, and if that has any beneficial effect. For those of you with dogs with partial epileptic seizures, have you ever heard or seen anything like what I have described above in Mojo?

I have not yet been able to find any more definitive information, but I will continue to research the topic. From the very small amount of information that I have been able to gather on the Internet between last night and today, it sounds like this is NOT a very common problem in dogs--either that, or the majority of cases are misdiagnosed, like mine, as partial epileptic seizures.

I am planning on calling my vet today to report on this, and of course, I will post anything of interest that I learn. From the very beginning of all of this, I have asked both my vets for neurology consults, precisely because I have never been truly comfortable with a diagnosis of epilepsy, but both of my vets essentially convinced me that Mojo's not having epilepsy was really more wishful thinking on my part, and that a neurology evaluation was not necessary, seeing as they thought it was idiopathic epilepsy....it was hard to argue with that previous to this, since, by all appearances, between episodes, Mojo seems to be 100% neurologically normal--he really does appear to be the picture of health, if you didn't know about his episodes! Then again, even Godiva looks just fine when she is not having a uremic crisis, and she has mid-stage kidney failure!! Now, however, I will find and be making an appointment with a board-certified neurologist shortly. I look forward to reading any responses, as well! Thank you so much in advance for any replies or advice or support!
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#2 BC Wild Child

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Posted 28 December 2007 - 10:50 PM

I would do the neurology consult if you have the time and money. I drove 5 -6 hrs one way to take Tux my BC for a consult at the nearest vet school with a neurologist that my vet really trusted. Yes we thought epilepsy, but that was not the neurologists first guess as Tux has hit his head several times. Everything came out normal, but it was worth the trip. The neurologist also recommended checking some other things as well, which my vet clinic didn't have the capability of doing.

Since returning, my vet has also been in consultation with the neurologist regarding my Golden who has partical complex seizures, plus what we call GI episodes. Trying to figure out what is wrong with him has been a long process (> 3 years). I was really getting nowhere with regular vets, so the consultation with the neurologist has been helpful. When I recoup the money spent for Tux's evals, then I may take my Golden to her as well. His diagnosis so far - visceral epilepsy.

Just like in humans, vets have specialities for a reason. A general practioner or even an internist may not have the special skills/knowledge to help as a specialist can. In my humble opinion - worth the time and money!

If you can, video some of Mojo's episodes, so that you will have that to take to the neurologist if you choose to do so. That will help. S/he might pick up on something that you might not think to describe or did not notice.

Hmm - I've never thought to try ice cream with my Golden...

Good luck and hang in there! It can get really frustrating when trying to figure out what is going on. I think especially so with a rescue when you may not know all of his history.

Liz
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#3 2 Devils

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Posted 29 December 2007 - 10:30 AM

Mojo - I know this sounds totally off the wall but here goes.

Growing up I had a miniature poodle named Mimi. She was hit by a car when she was young but no damage that could be found. Anyways, as she got older she had these "episodes". They sound similar to Mojo's. Mimi would basically totally freeze up. She would kind of shiver. Nothing in particular seemed to cause these. After some testing the vets decided it was not epilepsy or anything like that.

Mimi had a couple discs in her back the vets believed would move/dislocate and paralyze her for brief moments. The vets think the disc issues could have been from getting hit by a car when she was young but poodles can also have back problems.
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#4 Mojo

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Posted 31 December 2007 - 05:44 PM

I would do the neurology consult if you have the time and money. I drove 5 -6 hrs one way to take Tux my BC for a consult at the nearest vet school with a neurologist that my vet really trusted.


Hi, Liz--thanks for the kind message. Since I made the original post, I have been trying to find a reputable board-certified neurologist; although L.A. is full of both regular veterinarians and veterinary specialists, the problem is, however, finding a *good* one...there isn't a veterinary school down here, unfortunately, so any vets are all in private practice, which makes it hard to know what any particular vet will be like without actually making an appointment--and here, the going rate for a specialist is $110-$150 for an initial evaluation, so of course I am willing and able, but I do need to choose carefully. In any case, so far, I have some names that were recommended to me by other vets and friends, and I have been calling around, but it has been hard getting in touch with anyone at this time of year--hopefully, next week I'll have more luck. That's an amazing drive that you did for Tux...wow. The closest veterinary school to us is also 5-6 hours away (UC Davis), and if it came down to it, I'd drive there for Mojo, as well, but hopefully, we'll be able to find someone trustworthy locally. As long as we can find someone good, I'm planning on taking Mojo!! I will try my best to take a video beforehand--I just think it's going to be hard for me to give up holding/petting Mojo to run for the camera, but perhaps he will happen to have the next episode at home, and then my BF can help with the video. At the very least, I will burn the Chinook video to a CD and bring that in--Mojo's episodes are honestly almost exactly like that Chinook's, with just a very slight difference in the positioning of the front feet! Neither of your dogs' seizures look like that, do they?

Since returning, my vet has also been in consultation with the neurologist regarding my Golden who has partical complex seizures, plus what we call GI episodes. Trying to figure out what is wrong with him has been a long process (> 3 years). I was really getting nowhere with regular vets, so the consultation with the neurologist has been helpful. When I recoup the money spent for Tux's evals, then I may take my Golden to her as well. His diagnosis so far - visceral epilepsy.


Oh, dear, so your Golden has autonomic seizures? Wow, I think those are quite rare. I'm so sorry about the long process--I certainly know what you mean. Between Godiva's and Mojo's issues, I've spent two years and more than $10,000 going in and out of a vet's office every 1-3 weeks for one or both dogs, and have relatively little to show for it...I just wish that I had trusted my own instincts enough to consult with a neurologist earlier, so that Mojo could have possibly gotten appropriate treatment earlier, but at least we have exhausted every internal medicine-based etiology at this point! :rolleyes:

Hmm - I've never thought to try ice cream with my Golden...


The rationale is that sugar can help reverse the hypoglycemia that can occur during seizures, but if simple sugars are administered, the sudden rush of available glucose can cause a subsequent surge in insulin that makes the problem worse; thus, by suspending the sugar molecules in fat (i.e., in ice cream), the sugar is absorbed a little bit more slowly, but is still readily available (not like complex carbohydrates, for example). I hope it works for your Golden--it makes all the difference with Mojo. Thanks again for your reply!!
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#5 Mojo

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Posted 31 December 2007 - 06:04 PM

Mojo - I know this sounds totally off the wall but here goes.
Growing up I had a miniature poodle named Mimi. She was hit by a car when she was young but no damage that could be found. Anyways, as she got older she had these "episodes". They sound similar to Mojo's. Mimi would basically totally freeze up. She would kind of shiver. Nothing in particular seemed to cause these. After some testing the vets decided it was not epilepsy or anything like that.
Mimi had a couple discs in her back the vets believed would move/dislocate and paralyze her for brief moments. The vets think the disc issues could have been from getting hit by a car when she was young but poodles can also have back problems.


Hi, Kim--thanks so much for your concern and your interesting thought! I am so sorry to hear about your poodle. I hope that she ended up okay and that you didn't have to do surgery on her--from what I understand, disc problems often resolve spontaneously. I think back problems are common in Bichons, as well. I personally know three Bichons (thankfully unrelated to Godiva) who had to be put down for paralysis as the result of back injuries. :rolleyes:

I do doubt, though, that Mojo's episodes are the result of orthopedic issues, as he has actually already been worked up by an orthopedic veterinary surgeon in the past for limping in a forelimb that occurred earlier this summer, and thus had x-rays taken of all limbs and his spine, and he showed no signs of discomfort when his spine was palpated extensively, as well. The first of his episodes occurred before the limping, and he has had many since the limping, so it is also unlikely that he has sustained a new injury that was not seen on the initial x-rays. Plus, I would imagine that Mojo wouldn't be able to run/jump as athletically as he can in between these episodes if he had a bad back, but I understand that you are saying that Mimi's back only bothered her sporadically.

Of course, anything is possible, and I will be sure to mention the possibility of a slipped disc or other ortho injury to the neurologist when we go for an appointment. I really appreciate your taking the time to relate your story to me on Mojo's behalf!! As Liz mentioned above, the hardest part about all of this is that Mojo is a rescued mixed breed with unknown history, so he really could have *anything*, from a rare genetic disease to traumatic injury, like having been hit by a car, or even being hit on the head--judging from his loathing of yellow brooms (and ONLY yellow brooms; grey, blue, brown, and black brooms are all fine), if any weapon has ever been used on him, five bucks says it was a yellow broom. :D

In any case, like Mimi, Mojo does shiver, but it is only in his head and neck--the rest of his body freezes completely still in an extremely awkward, gargoyle-like posture; however, he doesn't just stop moving and stand still--he will actually fall to the ground on his side because his front legs have gone forward and above his ears, and his hind limbs are curled up under him, with toes spread like eagle's claws. It really is awful to see--imagine a dog leaping off of a high embankment or over a jump, and if he were frozen in time at the exact moment of arcing in the air at the height of the jump, that's what Mojo looks like, except that he has fallen to the ground on his side. So, he is literally no longer able to stand upright because he can't get his feet back underneath his body--they are stuck in the frozen position. Again, it looks very similar to what you see in the Chinook video. By "muscle rippling," I meant that if you peer closely at the skin over his ribs and the thick parts of both thighs, you can sometimes see fasciculations, which is a kind of muscle twitch when the muscles look as if they are waves rolling across the sand when the tide comes in. Although he is essentially frozen, Mojo will still occasionally try to jerk his legs back into position, which doesn't work, and he will try to get up, which doesn't work, and he will try to turn his head to look around at me, but it seems like the effort is too much for him. It actually does not look as if he is in pain, but just that he literally can't move his limbs the way he wants.

Thank you again--I guess I will just hope that I will be able to find a great neurologist for us soon!!! I will definitely update if I learn anything.

I take it that no one else here has heard of paroxysmal dyskinesia, or has dogs with it? Anyone even heard of a Chinook dog with these types of "Chinook seizures?" I had no idea Chinook dogs existed until I found that page on the Canine Epilepsy Network...
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#6 BC Wild Child

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Posted 01 January 2008 - 07:09 PM

Because my Goldie doesn't have grand mal seizures, this nutritionist just didn't think he might also be experiencing low blood glucose during one of his episodes. DUH!!! I have been practicing great restraint and still haven't eaten the container of Breyers Natural vanilla. :rolleyes:

Yes it was a drive for Tux, but well worth it. Even though we were stranded in Ames because of a winter storm and then had to take the longer 'southern' route home because of the weather. I don't want to even contemplate adding up the bills! Tux goes back in a week or so for recheck of KBr and bile acids, plus sample for the behavioral project. Kaching!!

Hey - have you had try to contact Melanie with the Behavorial project? Maybe she might be able to help network to someone in your area.

http://www.bordercol...?showtopic=4940


Ohh - no, neither of my two have experienced seizures like Mojo's, at least as far as I know. I think Tux would go down first in the hind end and then onto his chest for just a bit before the full seizure hit. Then he would be on his side. I never really saw him go completely go into one (saw the start), as I was running for an ice pack or the valium with the last two.
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#7 MrSnappy

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Posted 01 January 2008 - 10:10 PM

I can't really offer anything of substance, but that Boxer with the head tremors? Tweed used to do that. It happened every couple of weeks or so following his vaccinations and they continued until I switched to raw, and never vaccinated him again. He has not had an episode of these in about 5.5-6 years now. IIRC, one of his siblings was euthanized shortly after his first birthday for reoccurring grand mals. The owners vaccinated regularly.

I think seizure activity in dogs is really an inexact science and when looking up Tweed's issues (and Woo's fly snapping) I ran across all sorts of partial and pseudo type seizure activity. I wonder, do they treat these sort of Chinook seizures with meds? Will a neurologist really be able to tell you anything?

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#8 Billsmom

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Posted 04 January 2008 - 02:47 PM

Mojo, I read your posts with interest as I too have a Border Collie that exhibits a very similiar syndrome. My vet (who has never seen the incidents) believes my boy is suffering from epilepsy, but the siezures are not the same. Your discription of your dog's symptoms are nearly exactly what my Bill does, plus I have also found Nutrical to be help in shortening the episodes. Like you, I found the Chinook video, and also saw the similarity. My husband and I have owned Bill since puppyhood and he has had no injuries. He had his first siezure at a year and a half after heavy excersise on a warm day and we worried about heat stroke. Several times it's been when he has been off his feed, so we thought it might be hypoglycemia, especially since the nutrical seems to help, but his bloodwork is always normal. Bill is now nearly nine years old and has seizures two or three times a year. Like you, I keep trying to find a way to videotape an episode, but find myself holding him and comforting him. If I try to leave him, he struggles to follow, and you can see the panic in his eyes. He also seems to know when one of these seizures is about to occur as he will run to my husband or myself and be VERY clingy. It would certainly be a comfort to know what is really happening with him.

#9 MaryP

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Posted 04 January 2008 - 09:41 PM

I was initially drawn to your post because of the title. I am taking possession of an epileptic dog tomorrow and am trying to learn as much as I can. But, your detective work is what really impressed me. In a previous life, I worked in health care and I appreciated your meticulous approach to rule out possible causes of Mojo's episodes. I think your vets could take some lessons from you. I'll be interested to hear what the neurologist has to say. Though I've only briefly met the dog that I'm getting tomorrow, from what has been described to me by his previous owner and current foster home, his episodes sound like typical epileptic seizure activity. So, I don't think in this case that his epilepsy was misdiagnosed. But, I will still look forward to reading your future posts, as I am now intrigued. I hope you can get some satisfactory answers soon. Good luck.
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#10 borderbob

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Posted 05 January 2008 - 12:24 AM

i am the proud pet of a retired sar golden named shemp. shemp was at ground zero in 01.he was 29 mos old. upon returning home he started to have severe grand mal seizures.he has seen 15 vets .all agree on one thing. he has epilepsy.noe can say what causes this and none can say if his time in ny was a contributing factor. he siezes about every 3-4 wks.when he seizes he has about 10 a day for 2-3 days then is back to "normal" he eats 300 mg of pheno a day.he has regular checkups every 60 days to insure that the pheno levels in his blood are at a therapeutic level.be prepared to have this routine.he is a retired sgt for the chicago pd.his pals (2 borders,a sheltie/coyote mix and a st bernard) will usually let me know a few hrs before when they are coming.your vet will tell you that they dont know what causes epilepsy. its aood idea to log every seizure in a log book.this will also help your vet gauge how and when it is time to increase meds.i log date,time,activity @time of seizure,and length of seizure.
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#11 borderbob

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Posted 05 January 2008 - 12:26 AM

i have posted stuff on this site before so if you search for sar dogs youll find it
"money can buy you a pretty good dog. but, it wont buy the wag in his tail"

#12 Mojo

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Posted 06 January 2008 - 08:58 AM

In a previous life, I worked in health care and I appreciated your meticulous approach to rule out possible causes of Mojo's episodes. I think your vets could take some lessons from you. I'll be interested to hear what the neurologist has to say.


MaryP, thank you so much--I truly appreciate the kind words. I'm in health care currently. :D I try my best to be as methodical and rational as possible when it comes to my dogs; more often than you would expect, though, human medicine and veterinary medicine diverge, so I feel just as lost as anyone else quite a lot of the time. To date, I have felt largely helpless in the face of Mojo's "seizures," but now, it seems as if there might be an actual answer out there for us, if only I could acquire the appropriate information! A veterinary neurologist is supposed to be contacting me this week, and I, too, hope that we will be able to learn something useful. Thank you again! I wish you the best of luck with your new epileptic charge!!

Billsmom, thank you for writing! I am so sorry that your poor boy has similar episodes to Mojo's, but I have to say that I am quite heartened to learn that you have had him since puppyhood, that he hasn't had any known head trauma, and that he is doing well at the age of nine with only 2-3 episodes per year--if I can anticipate that outcome in our case, I would honestly be quite happy with that level of "seizure control" in Mojo. May I please ask, is Bill currently being treated for the presumed epilepsy, or has he been treated in the past? I recently read that certain antiepileptic drugs may have some beneficial effect on the non-kinesogenic type of dyskinesia in humans, which is the type I think Mojo has, if it even exists in dogs. Did Bill ever have episodes more frequently than he does now? I have just become especially concerned recently because Mojo has been having them every week, and even more than once a week, in the months of November and December. Thankfully, we have had no episodes yet in January.

RDM, thanks for relating your experience with Tweed! Poor Tweed's sibling!! :rolleyes: It is encouraging to hear, however, that Tweed's particular problem eventually went away on its own--that boxer's head-bobbing and the head/neck aspect of Mojo's episodes do seem very similar. The main point is that movement disorders (dyskinesias) are an entirely different beast than epilepsy, and apparently have totally different pathogenetic mechanisms--i.e., like Parkinson's, dyskinesias affect the basal ganglia (deep brain structures), while epilepsy affects the brain cortex (brain surface), even though they both manifest with episodic activity. You are right that not much is known about the etiology of either problem, in either humans or dogs, but I am choosing to pursue this with a neurologist precisely because I am hoping that there is an available treatment for paroxysmal dyskinesia in dogs, as there are apparently several available and relatively successful drugs for dyskinesia in humans; I just can't find any reliable references/recommendations regarding drugs used in the canine counterpart of the disease, nor even case reports as to what is being used, since I can hardly find any information about canine paroxysmal dyskinesia at all, and I have looked all over PubMed. Just because there isn't any online info, however, doesn't mean the info is nonexistent (at least, I hope it isn't). The neurologist I chose is heavily into academics, so I am hoping that she will have had some familiarity with dyskinesia, even if it is theoretical or anecdotal, and thus will be able to offer possible avenues of treatment. If, however, she simply confirms that I am right and that no other, more significant, pathology is at work here, and that I can indeed expect no further deterioration of Mojo's mental/physical condition nor progression of the disease in the future, and that treatment is not desirable or necessary, then it will be good news worth paying for! At this point, I am leery of putting all of my faith in my non-veterinary opinion of Mojo's diagnosis without some actual veterinary experience to back it up.

I guess if I had to pick a stance on vaccinations, I am in favor of minimal vaccinations; yet, I am also hesitant to declare that vaccinosis is the cause of all or most autoimmune problems. For example, Godiva was regularly vaccinated through the age of twelve, and she never developed evidence of autoimmune disease (her renal failure is not of autoimmune origin, by all accounts). The last DHPP shot Godiva received was in 2004; she got a 3-yr rabies booster and an intranasal bordatella in 2006 in order to come on the plane to Los Angeles, but I have not vaccinated her since, and have no plans of vaccinating her again. I had no choice but to vaccinate Mojo when I first found him because of his unknown history, as unfortunately, LA County does not accept titers in lieu of a vaccination certificate in order to obtain licensing, and I do not want my dogs to be unlicensed in an urban area. I have also heard that titers are not always completely reliable in veterinary situations, but I have no confirmation of that. In any case, I was pretty loath to allow the shots, since he may well have had a booster the week prior to my having found him, and we would never have known it, but again, there was little I could do, and my first priority was to protect Godiva. I did insist, however, that his rabies and DHPP shots be spaced five weeks apart to avoid overstressing his immune system. Nevertheless, Mojo vomited rather uncharacteristically for two days after the rabies shot, but that was the only ill effect he had. Of course, his episodes appeared three months later, but there is really no way of conclusively proving that the vaccinations were the cause--he could have been having episodes since he was 1.5 years old, like Bill, above, long before I entered the picture. In any case, Mojo will be due for the 3-year rabies booster this month, as well as his license renewal, and I am in the process of trying to figure out a way to avoid giving it to him, like having my vet write a letter to LA Animal Services. Similarly, I am going to do everything I can to submit titers in lieu of giving Godiva a rabies booster in 2009. I was quite glad to hear about the new study that will be examining the true duration of immunity from a single booster...though, of course, it is more than likely that the results will become available far too late to be of any help with my dogs. Regardless, thank you for your suggestions!!

Again, thank you to everyone for your interest and concern. I hope to be able to get back to everyone soon with some sort of concrete information!!
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#13 Mojo

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Posted 07 January 2008 - 06:55 PM

Update: the board-certified neurologist for whom I had been waiting called me this morning and said she had no experience with paroxysmal dyskinesia, and could not help me. :D That was really, really disappointing.

I have since called another board-certified neurologist this afternoon, but only could get a message relayed to the intern, who said that paroxysmal dyskinesia "is a familiar term, but has not really been documented in dogs," and that it probably was just partial epileptic seizures. :rolleyes: Obviously, a veterinary neurologist at the University of Missouri is pursuing the study of Chinook seizures, per the website--or, at least, he was, as it was updated several years back--so I have not made this up...anyway, the receptionist was kind enough and interested enough in our case, however, to want to hold out for the senior neurologist, who is supposed to get back to me within the next day or two, AND she is going to watch the Chinook video online, so I still have some hope that I may get some more satisfactory answers soon. If she tells me that those Chinook seizures look like partial epileptic seizures to her, perhaps I will just have to accept epilepsy as a diagnosis (okay, okay, so I still plan to contact both UC Davis and U Missouri, too, so after THAT), but until then, I am not going to give up until I am definitively told that there is no treatment.

Nevertheless, I still can't quite get over the fact that odds were certainly against my finding a stray dog with a super-rare neurological disorder...Ockham's Razor says that the simplest explanation is usually the right one, but I just cannot ignore the fact that my instinct really tells me that I am not dealing with epilepsy in Mojo, and I feel bound to do my best to exhaust all theoretical possibilities on his behalf. Forget me, though--poor Mojo. When it comes down to it, I just want him to be well. He's so young, and strong, and athletic--he shouldn't have to have problems like this, but life is often unfair. :D I will update again when I hear anything.
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#14 Mojo

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Posted 07 January 2008 - 08:29 PM

I am so sorry to be flooding the Board with Mojo's problem, but I have just received a new update that was worth posting. I know it was only an hour or so since I spoke with the veterinary receptionist, but apparently, the neurologist was already able to watch the Chinook video online, and she was very excited to get back to me because she HAS CONCURRED that indeed, what that Chinook is demonstrating is *not* partial epileptic seizures. She even knows the vet who is running the study in Missouri, and wants to send Mojo's blood sample. :rolleyes: She is now especially intrigued by Mojo's case, considering that he is not a Chinook, and so the current plan is for me to try my best to obtain a video of one of his episodes, and to send it to her, and then to bring Mojo in.

Of course, the bad news is that it does sound as if there IS no current treatment in dogs, as the evolution of the veterinary understanding of this particular disease seems to be just unfolding, but at least I will then be helping to delineate the course of the disorder--and, eventually, a possible treatment--by contributing Mojo's case to the study. Sigh. So, it's far from the information for which I was hoping, but at least it's a start--I do have to admit that I feel quite a bit vindicated that I have pursued this at least this long, and that I was right about this not being epilepsy, and that I did not believe those who told me it was and thereby put Mojo on the wrong treatment. Again, from what I know of this in humans, if nothing else is learned from this, it seems that the long-term prognosis for Mojo should be significantly better now that it is paroxysmal dyskinesia and not epilepsy.

Thank you all for having read this thread and for your concern about us; considering what now needs to be done, I think we are likely going to be struggling with this over the next few years, so I doubt I will have any updated, concrete information for some time, if ever. Nevertheless, I do remain hopeful that at least there is a vet out there who agrees with my own diagnosis, and I, too, am eager to begin working with her and my little white-and-black paroxysmal-dyskinesia guinea pig. :D Thank you again.
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#15 Kyrasmom

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Posted 12 January 2008 - 02:44 PM

I have nothing truly relevant to add but while sometimes it seems unfair that good dog owners have to suffer the emotional upheaval of a special needs dog, it's hard to know what to say or do when we worry about our pets, but there's something so very important to be said in that special needs pets NEED good dog owners. And while the deck may have been stacked against Mojo once, and it was only chance that brought him into your life, Mojo has a grand owner in his corner now! As do so many of the dogs on this board.

Best of luck.
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#16 Billsmom

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Posted 13 January 2008 - 06:22 PM

Mojo, In response to your questions, Bill has had episodes over the years where he has had a number of "seizures" in a several day period. They appear to be related to stress, such as a female in heat. These are also times when he is off his feed, so we don't know if diet is a factor as well. He has never been put on medication as the seizures are mostly infrequent, and I have been hesitant to treat him for epilepsy when I have my doubts about this being epilepsy. It is frustrating to have the experts insist my boy is epilectic when they have never seen one of his seizures. I used to work in a veterinary clinic, and have been around a number of true epileptic dogs. I have also groomed a few dogs that had hypoglycemic episodes, and what Bill does is very different. Some of Bill's early episodes seemed to be exercise related, so I started to give him a hot dog prior to working stock, and that appeared to help. He is a very sensitive and intellegent dog, with a lot of noise sensitivity. He hates gun fire, even at a great distance, and thunder is very hard on him. He will not panic at these sounds, but he will take the sheep back to the pen, if he's out with them, and will ignore any commands until they are "safe". He will also push against my husband and I, and will try to herd us into the house. His actions when there is thunder or gun fire is very similiar to how he acts prior to a seizure. There have been a number of times when we think we may have prevented a seizure with a high calorie snack, but of course have no way of knowing for sure. If somebody is interested in studying this kind of seizure activity, I would be very interested in donating blood and in trying to videotape one of his "spells".

#17 Billsmom

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Posted 13 January 2008 - 06:22 PM

Mojo, In response to your questions, Bill has had episodes over the years where he has had a number of "seizures" in a several day period. They appear to be related to stress, such as a female in heat. These are also times when he is off his feed, so we don't know if diet is a factor as well. He has never been put on medication as the seizures are mostly infrequent, and I have been hesitant to treat him for epilepsy when I have my doubts about this being epilepsy. It is frustrating to have the experts insist my boy is epilectic when they have never seen one of his seizures. I used to work in a veterinary clinic, and have been around a number of true epileptic dogs. I have also groomed a few dogs that had hypoglycemic episodes, and what Bill does is very different. Some of Bill's early episodes seemed to be exercise related, so I started to give him a hot dog prior to working stock, and that appeared to help. He is a very sensitive and intellegent dog, with a lot of noise sensitivity. He hates gun fire, even at a great distance, and thunder is very hard on him. He will not panic at these sounds, but he will take the sheep back to the pen, if he's out with them, and will ignore any commands until they are "safe". He will also push against my husband and I, and will try to herd us into the house. His actions when there is thunder or gun fire is very similiar to how he acts prior to a seizure. There have been a number of times when we think we may have prevented a seizure with a high calorie snack, but of course have no way of knowing for sure. If somebody is interested in studying this kind of seizure activity, I would be very interested in donating blood and in trying to videotape one of his "spells".

#18 Kris L. Christine

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Posted 16 February 2008 - 06:35 AM

One of the potential adverse reactions to vaccinations is seizures -- has your dog recently been vaccinated?

Significant calcium deficiency can cause seizure-like episodes, have you had a blood test to check calcium and phosphorous levels? High phosphorous foods (meat, eggs, nuts) bind with calcium, as do high oxalate foods (oatmeal) and may deplete your dog's levels to a point where it will cause problems. Poison will also cause seizures.

You might want to do an online search for "canine hypocalcemia" or just "hypocalcemia". This link http://www.lowchensa...g/eclampsia.htm will take you to an article on this subject in which it states that the signs of low calcium levels (hyocalcemia) are: "Muscle tremors, restlessness, panting, incoordination, grand mal seizures and fever as high as 106."

Further, the above articles thats a one of the possible causes: Poor Nutrition - "Home brewed" diets usually are at fault. The owner innocently may be adding too much unbalanced meat to the bitch's diet, thinking the extra protein is beneficial. What's really happening is the calcium to phosphorus ratio is out of balance because the amount of useful calcium in the food is actually reduced! The ideal contains a ratio of calcium to phosphorus of 1.2 to 1. (Many organ meats such as liver have a ratio of calcium to phosphorus of 1 to 15!! Liver is great for dogs but if it comprises a large part of the diet, the calcium/phosphorus ratio of the diet will be improper.)

If you have chickens, you should be aware that their droppings are extremely high in phosphorous and can cause a problem if your dog eats too many of them. If the droppings are charging your dog's blood with phosphorous, it's going to drain him/her of calcium in order to maintain proper pH balance and cause muscle twitching, etc...

Check this link HPA | Phosphorous | FAQs on phosphorous from the Health Protection Agency, especially this quote: "It has been used as a rat and rodent poison.."

Check this site Eclampsia (Puerperal Tetany, Milk Fever, Hypocalcemia) in Dogs "Eclampsia, also called milk fever or puerperal tetany, is an acute, life-threatening disease caused by low blood calcium levels (hypocalcemia) in dogs ...."

One of our dogs developed severe seizures after the second of his puppy rabies shots -- his head shook so hard we thought his eyes would pop out, it was terrifying. After this seizure activity triggered by the vaccine, he became prone to them from other triggers. Whenever he ate too many high phosphorous foods (or chicken droppings), he would seize. Giving him 1/2 a quart of plain organic yogurt would calm his seizures within 15 minutes, when they were food-related.

Personally, I would have a complete blood count done to check for mineral levels if you don't think vaccines or something your dog is eating is causing the seizures. PLUS, I would consult a Homeopathic/Holistic veterinarian for an alternative treatment.

Kris L. Christine
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PERMISSION GRANTED TO CROSS-POST THIS MESSAGE.

Duration of Immunity to Canine Vaccines: What We Know and Don't Know, Dr. Ronald Schultz http://www.cedarbayv...of_immunity.htm

The 2003 American Animal Hospital Association's Canine Vaccine Guidelines are accessible online at http://www.leerburg....cial_report.htm .

The 2006 American Animal Hospital Association's Canine Vaccine Guidelines are downloadable in PDF format at http://www.aahanet.o....s06Revised.pdf .

Veterinarian, Dr. Robert Rogers,has an excellent presentation on veterinary vaccines at http://www.newvaccin...nprotocols.com/.
Kris L. Christine
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www.RabiesChallengeFund.org

#19 ShoresDog

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Posted 16 February 2008 - 10:45 AM

Mojo -- I pm'd you with information about the Veterinary Specialty Hospital near me in San Diego. They have two neurologists on staff.

Jan & Daisy & Juno & Star
LJ Shores, San Diego CA

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#20 Mojo

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Posted 17 February 2008 - 12:22 AM

Hello again, everyone, and thanks again for your concern and kind wishes. The short story is that Mojo went from the end of December until this past Monday with no episodes, but I WAS able to videotape Monday's event from almost its beginning all the way to its end. I already dropped off a CD of the file at my regular vet's yesterday, and a second copy is in the mail to the neurologist. As soon as I have any definitive answers, I'll be happy to post them here. Here's hoping for the best!!

Billsmom, thank you for detailing additional information about Bill's seizures. In response to your specific notes above, I honestly have no idea what triggers Mojo's episodes. I have tried extremely hard to find a pattern, but there really doesn't seem to be one. The most Mojo has had in one day has been two episodes. In general, the episodes do not appear to be related in regard to the time of day--he has had them in the mornings, afternoons, and evenings while he is awake, and once he had one that woke him up from sleeping. Sometimes, as you have said, I also thought the episodes might be related to hunger--once he was shaking in the car, and I gave him a handful of treats, and he stopped shaking, but about twenty minutes after that, he had a full-blown episode; however, I think he also can sense when the episodes are about to occur, and the shaking may have been a premonition of that. Regardless, for the above reason, I try to feed Mojo very small meals frequently throughout the day (between 4-6 meals) to try and minimize the chance that he may be having hypoglycemia, even though we never had proof of hypoglycemia in the first place. I have already had his insulin levels checked specifically, and they are normal, as is his insulin:glucose ratio. Plus, the last two episodes occurred about a half-hour after eating. I am quite sure that giving him ice cream in the midst of an episode will shorten both its severity and duration, but that is the only relatively definitive food-related thought I have on all of this.

In response to your (Billsmom's) notes about stress and noise, Mojo had one episode early on that did appear to be stress-related, as well as noise-related--there was a window with a faulty latch that was blowing open and slamming shut in the wind, and Mojo seemed to be getting very excited at the noise and had started to pace back and forth, and had an episode shortly thereafter--but that was the only time an episode has occurred in that particular way, as that window has slammed before and after without an episode occurring, although Mojo does routinely get upset at the noise (we have since fixed the window). Usually, when an episode does occur, we are not doing much of anything, or anything of significance--he is lying down and awake waiting for me to do something, or we are out walking, etc. Mojo is also highly sensitive and intelligent and easily overstimulated, but I would not say he is particularly noise-sensitive--he certainly reacts to certain loud noises, and will leap out of the way if necessary (like a pot falling to the floor--he is long gone before the pot makes contact), but general outdoor loud noises like thunder and helicopters don't bother him at all--he either ignores them or goes to see what is possibly making the noise, like when a rock falls off the cliff above us and rolls down our roof--he is eager to help me investigate and locate the source and make himself useful.

Also, I don't know if this is what you (Billsmom) mean by "push" against you, but Mojo has occasionally leaned against me and become very "needy," trying to climb into my lap, etc., prior to an episode, when ordinarily he never does so. Of late, however, he will just stop everything he is doing and lie down in the middle of the floor or ground, and will have this weird look on his face--and then I know an episode is imminent. Again, if I find out anything definitive and we do end up giving a blood sample to the U Missouri study, I will be sure to post it here and let you know, and see if the neurologist is interested in receiving a video about Bill, as well!!

Kris, thank you for your thoughts--I truly appreciate your concerned suggestions, as well. Mojo had a 1-year rabies booster done in January, 2007, and a distemper-combo given more than a month later, but he had had his first seizure-like episode in April, 2007, and then intermittently throughout 2007 and now in 2008, without having been additionally vaccinated throughout that period, so it is hard to conclude that his episodes are vaccine-related. I found him in December, 2006, so there is no way of truly knowing for how long his "episodes" have been occurring, or what his vaccination history was prior to his coming into my care. I am very sorry to hear what happened to your puppy, but I do believe in vaccinating as minimally as necessary, meaning that now that I know that he has been fully vaccinated at least once, I plan to administer only what is legally required (rabies) in the future per city licensing regulations. In fact, I just had a 3-year rabies booster done yesterday, but I also had him pre-medicated with prednisolone acetate (steroids) and Benadryl before the vaccine was given in order to minimize the risk of a possible vaccine reaction. I have been monitoring him carefully, but he has been completely fine thus far (i.e., happy, active, hungry). As you may also see in my original post, Mojo has had numerous complete blood panels done, and while hypocalcemia was one of my original possible suspect causes of his "seizures," his calcium and phosphorus levels have always been normal, and further, his "seizures" are not really characteristic of hypocalcemic tetany. Mojo IS on a completely organic home-cooked diet of high-quality meats, grains, dairy, vegetables, and fruit, and gets all-natural or organic treats, as well, but I am well aware of the need to balance for optimal calcium:phosphorus ratio, and so he receives adequate (i.e., carefully calculated) supplemental calcium and dairy products with his meals to balance the high phosphorus content of his food, in addition to other supplemental vitamins. Further, he was actually on solely Innova (commercially prepared, holistic food) from December, 2006-April, 2007, and he had his first episode while on Innova; I only switched to home-cooked BECAUSE of his first seizure-like episode. He has had no known exposure to poison, nor does he have any other symptoms of being poisoned, nor anything on his bloodwork that would suggest a toxin was the cause, in addition to the fact that this has been going on for almost a year (i.e., too long for acute exposure to poison). I did obtain a lead level, just in case, as it seemed the only toxin with which he could be in chronic contact (we live in an old house with old paint), but it came back well within normal limits. He is not currently receiving medication for his "seizures," but this is, again, because even if I believed that he had true epilepsy, his "seizures" are too infrequent to warrant daily phenobarbital....and I don't believe he has true epilepsy, nor do I think he is having "seizures" of metabolic origin (i.e., thyroid or liver issues, mineral or carbohydrate metabolism issues, toxin-related issues, anemia), nor of infectious origin (tick disease, etc.), but at the moment, the most suspected diagnosis is pseudo-seizures related to basal ganglia dysfunction akin to human Parkinson's disease, for which there is, as yet, no treatment...but we should have some more definitive news, soon. I have been very focused on finding out the true organic cause of Mojo's episodes to date, but once we have a solid diagnosis, I do plan on consulting a holistic practitioner to see what can be done to treat the episodes, if anything.

Thank you again for everyone's thoughts!!!!!! I hope to have some additional news soon.
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