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Anyone using Keppra (levetiracetam) for epileptic dog?

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

 

J.

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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'.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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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