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Idiopathic epilepsy

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Anyone out there who's dog has been diagnosed with idiopathic epilepsy, or who knows about it (first hand)...have your dogs ever had mini seizures? Twice now Rheas looked as if she was starting a seizure but then we could break her out of it by calling her name or touching her. I am just curious. She's not on pheno yet, they have been far enough apart (she went a year and a half without any seizures until this spring :rolleyes: ). Thanks for the info.

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I don't have the info you're looking for; however, if your dog is diagnosed with epilepsy we (ABCA Health & Genetics Committee) would really appreciated it if you'd be willing to add your dog to an ongoing study looking for the genetic markers of this disease. Please contact me for further details on enrolling your dog.

 

Mark

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I don't have the info you're looking for; however, if your dog is diagnosed with epilepsy we (ABCA Health & Genetics Committee) would really appreciated it if you'd be willing to add your dog to an ongoing study looking for the genetic markers of this disease. Please contact me for further details on enrolling your dog.

 

Mark

 

Please forgive the thread hijack but, what are the symptoms? Three times we have seen Cerb (7 m/o) do a "large wavelength" shake for maybe 3 seconds tops and then it's back to normal. The bouts seem to happen during "scratch sessions" so thus far we have written them off to itch/relief.

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My border collie Dolly had "idiopathic epilepsy". I attempted several times when I noticed the first physical manifestations of an on-coming seizure, to get a hold of her, call her name loudly. It had some effect maybe two or three times, but for the most part, I'd say any attempt to head off one of her seizures, had no effect. She was severely epileptic, cluster-seizured. I never noticed "mini" seizures with Dolly. One thing I would do, at the end of a seizure episode, when her jaws relaxed, I'd put a tad of vanilla ice cream on her tongue.

 

Every dog is different though. If I should ever have another epi dog, I'd try the same, hopefully with better results.

 

It's a difficult thing to live with. Wish you the best.

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Anyone out there who's dog has been diagnosed with idiopathic epilepsy, or who knows about it (first hand)...have your dogs ever had mini seizures? Twice now Rheas looked as if she was starting a seizure but then we could break her out of it by calling her name or touching her. I am just curious. She's not on pheno yet, they have been far enough apart (she went a year and a half without any seizures until this spring :rolleyes: ). Thanks for the info.

Two of my dogs had seizure problems. I never actually saw Kep have a seizure but I would see the after affects. He would kind of stagger around. I would just grab ahold of him and make him be quiet for a while and then he would be fine - they were very mild and didn't happen very often. He never was on medication.

 

My other dog had something but we were never sure what it was. Every once in a while her front leg would just quit working. She didn't seem to notice and would try to walk and her leg would just crumple up under her. After just a little while her leg would start working again. But she died at the age of about 13 or 14 after having a grand mal seizure. I think was probably a blood clot that caused the seizure. I don't know if the two were even connected.

 

I think there was a long discussion on ideopathic epilepsy over on the Kensmuir Working Stockdog board not too long ago. It would under the health section. It was very interesting.

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I have a dog with idiopathic epilepsy. She started have grand mal seizures shortly after her 5th birthday (she just turned 7), but it wasn't until fairly recently that she started to have partial seizures as well. Sometimes they take the form of her just standing still with her head turned to the side, and it does seem like if I talk to her she comes out of them. They could just be very short duration events that she would come out of on her own, though. She also occasionally has seizures that just affect her head.

My dog is heavily medicated, and still has frequent breakthrough seizures (typically she clusters about every 14 days). My feeling is that the partial seizures just don't go all the way into grand mal seizures because of the medication. That said, having owned two epileptic border collies, and knowing too many others, the disease doesn't seem to follow the same course in any of them, no matter what treatment is followed.

 

Angelique

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Anyone out there who's dog has been diagnosed with idiopathic epilepsy, or who knows about it (first hand)...have your dogs ever had mini seizures? Twice now Rheas looked as if she was starting a seizure but then we could break her out of it by calling her name or touching her. I am just curious. She's not on pheno yet, they have been far enough apart (she went a year and a half without any seizures until this spring :rolleyes: ). Thanks for the info.

 

 

Hi. My Border Collie, Fever, has been diagnosed with idiopathic epilepsy. She is under a neurologists care, my holistic vet referred me to him after her third seizure and he is fantastic. The neurolgist appointment was reasonable in cost and she now has an expert in charge of her care. From what I understand about epilepsy, Border Collies can be tricky and in all dogs, often seizure activity worsens over time without the intervention of medication. Every dog is different though and there are things you can try before medication, if the seizure activity does not increase in severity or frequency. Have you had her thyroid checked? Have you had blood work done to check to make sure all of her levels are normal? Those would be my first steps. I would also rule out tick born diseases. We also checked for toxoplasmosis and lead poisoning for Fever and had my well water tested. You can try some supplements and diet changes to see if that helps. I know several people who have had success controlling their dog's seizure activity with the use of Chinese Herbs under the care of a veterinarian certified to administer them.

 

Personally, Pheno would not be my first choice of drugs. It is one of the most commonly used drugs, but there are other drug options out there that have less risk of causing liver problems. There are also many, many dogs with epilepsy currently on pheno who are not having any problems, so it's a personal choice. One I would recommend you discuss with a neurologist before making a decision. This site, sponsored by the University of Missouri, has a lot of useful information on epilepsy. http://www.canine-epilepsy.net/

 

Best of luck with Rheas.

 

Jen Shipley

Flute AAD, AX, OAJ, OAC, OGC, NAJ - retired

ADCH Enna TM - Silver, SACH, GCH, SCH, JCH, RCH, MX, MXJ - rescued champion

Rising Sun's Hot to the Touch - aka: Fever - retired due to epilepsy

Ignited's Molten Rush, aka: Lava - BC puppy in training

Kasi EAC,EGC,EJC, OA,OAJ - (1992-2007)

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I have a border collie, Megan, with idiopathic epilepsy. She first began having seizures at about 2 years. They were very light seizures, a stumble, twitching and she would fight going down. They were very short duration. She would cluster having 3-5 over a period of several hours. She'd be very tired afterward and want to sleep. The seizures were fairly infrequent....say once a week or two weeks.

 

My general vet immediately prescribed Pheno, however I began to get worried as I read about the effects of Pheno. I heard about a Neurologist that people from all over the SF Bay area would flock to see....he had a huge following with people traveling many hours to see him.

 

For $75 consultation, I got the best advice that I'm forever grateful.

 

He told me that because my dogs seizures were very mild and infrequent, the Pheno was probably doing more harm to the dog than the seizures.....in fact, due to the low intensity of her seizures, they really weren't hurting her much at all. He said that I needed to "calm down". Then he said something that I'd never heard before...."If you medicate her now, then you'll never know if she will grow out of them."......what????? I had never heard someone say that they sometimes grow out of seizures.

 

He advised me to take her off of Pheno and keep a journal of her seizures. If they worsened in intensity and or frequency then perhaps he'd recommend meds......first potassium bromide which isn't so hard on the dog. Then, if that doesn't work, maybe go to Pheno.

 

 

The reality is that Meg's seizures remained low intensity and in frequent.......and eventually less frequent. By 4 years old, she stopped having them (as far as I could tell).....I think she had one light seizure at 10 yrs (maybe more, but I didn't notice). She is now 12 years and very fit and healthy and looks prepared to live well into very old age (she still goes on runs with the young dogs and keeps up just fine).

 

My Meg's case is very specific in that her seizures were always low intensity and infrequent. I am very grateful that my vet "calmed me down" and took Meg off meds. She did grow out of the seizures. It is no wonder that this vet had very passionate fans for the care he gave to thousands of epileptic dogs in the SF Bay area. Serious epilepsy is tragic and a horrible thing for dog and owner...many cases definitely need intervention of meds which he wasn't against when warranted.

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Wow, ELizabeth, that's interesting. My Pheoebe started having seizures a year ago and has maybe one a month, though she had a 3-month seizure-free period (as far as I can tell--I didn't observe any). The seizures would be considered grand mal, but they are very short duration and her post-ictal period is extremely short. My vet has been pushing me to medicate because "once a month would be considered too often for most people," but I have been resisting and instead would like to consider alternative treatments like acupuncture and Chinese herbs.

 

I've never heard they could outgrow them, but I just couldn't see medicating her for something that lasts such a short time periods. Maybe my instincts were correct....

 

J.

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They can have focal seizures. I had a dog once who had these focal seizures which would account to facial twitches and things like that, but not full seizures.

 

Kathy

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I remember the Neuro vet talking about the human component of managing epilepsy.....people panic and extremely distraught. General vets often get caught up being quick to medicate in order to managed panicked pet owners. I went to that consult a bundle of tension and stress.....and left calm and ok with everything. I knew several other people that were taking their dogs to him for epilepsy and other neuro problems (far more serious than my Meg) and they all agreed that he definitely had a calming effect on people.

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Any links to seizures starting and new meds? or vaccinations?

 

Also, a friends dog (knock on wood) has been seizure free for just over a year now. He had seizured once per month for years (5.5) and since having a series of chiropractic adjustments including some maintenance has been remarkably seizure free. Figured it was worth a mention here in case the information helped someone.

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Thanks Amanda. That's one of the reasons I was also considering acupuncture--it just seems there should be a way to manage without going straight to meds.

 

Elizabeth,

When my vet told me most people wouldn't stand for a seizure a month, I didn't know what to say. The first one was a bit scary because it came as a surprise, but now it's just one of those things. I don't know if not controlling the seizures will do more harm in the long run, but I figure it can't really hurt to put the "big gun" meds off as long as possible, as long as I don't think Phoebe is suffering and I can deal with what's happening to her....

 

J.

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My vets have always seemed to use the standard of less than a seizure a month, to reduce the possibility of kindling. Although, truth be told, I haven't seen much evidence of that with my dog. She can have 8 seizures one month, and none the following month.

 

People seem to vary a lot in their tolerance level for seizures, I've known people who euthanized their dog after only two seizures because they were convinced the dog would have a poor quality of life, whether medicated or not. I've also known people who had dogs that seizured (grand mal) on an almost daily basis and were still convinced that if they kept trying different things, something would work, and never considered euthanasia for their dog.

 

There are several anti-seizure drugs available that have less side effects than Pheno or Potassium Bromide. My dog is currently on 3 drugs, is able to work sheep every day, and has a blood panel and urinalysis done every 4 mos. that always comes back completely normal.

 

Angelique

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Thanks Amanda. That's one of the reasons I was also considering acupuncture--it just seems there should be a way to manage without going straight to meds.

 

A few friends too have also given melatonin and it has increased time between seizures by a fair amount too. Thankfully I've never had to deal with seizures (knock on wood) but have many close friends who have.

 

The male who seizured for 5.5 years had a number of place out of whack in his spine and neck and now he's doing better than ever. We cannot believe it's just over a year and no seizures. Absolutely remarkable. Definitely worth a try.

 

I use acupuncture for my lab who is hip dysplastic and what a difference it makes with her!

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