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Sporadic seizures in 7 yo dog

Our perfectly healthy 7yo lab had a seizure for the 1st time in September. Our vet suggested full bloodwork- all came back fine other than slightly lower white blood cell count (we had it rechecked recently and it's fine).

This morning we awoke to her having another seizure in her crate. Same time of day (5:30-6am). She lost control of bowels and bladder both times.

I'm going to call the vet to let them know, but last time they said other than bloodwork there is really nothing else to do (other than MRI which they said they'd only rec if the seizures were more frequent).

I want to make sure I'm doing the right thing for our girl- anyone have anything similar happen or can offer any advice? thanks

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Re: Sporadic seizures in 7 yo dog

  • Our 13 year old Golden Retriever/Blue Heeler has had grand mal cluster seizures for pretty much the past decade. My parents never medicated her for them. My husband and I took her from my parents in January and after consulting with two separate vets they advised keeping a journal of her seizures (date, time, length, etc.) and said that it would be best not to medicate her as long as the seizures remained more than 6 weeks apart.

    We actually just had to put her on phenobarbital right before Christmas. But we believe she either had a stroke or might possibly have a brain tumor. Either way I came home from work and she had seized in her crate. She did not recover from it like she normally does so I took her to the vet and she had a massive seizure there too. The seizures were definitely not typical for her and the side effects were not what the vet typically sees in epileptic dogs so we chose to medicate her for now.

    I'd definitely keep track of how often they are occurring. Three months is not a bad length between them. Does she have only one seizure at a time or does she seem to come out of one and go back in for another? If they get more frequent I'd definitely take her back or find a different vet to consult with.

    This website is a good source for information on epilepsy and seizures in dogs:

    Best of luck! 

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  • Brady (3yo) was having almost daily seizures, which we thought at first were due to stress (we moved to a new city and DH started traveling a LOT, when he had formerly worked from home).  We medicated him and it seemed to be helping a bit, but he still had them pretty regularly (not as bad as they had been).

    Two weeks ago I traced his seizures back to Advantix.  I will never let that sh*t touch my dog again.

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  • My 4 year old keeshond started having seizures this fall.  It was very scary, and we certainly are still in the middle of figuring things out, but she's doing very well.  Both were around the same time of day, in her crate, around 2 minutes each time.  The first one she emptied her bladder and vomited, the second one she didn't vomit.  Her post-ictal phase was short -- about 3-4 minutes each time, and then she'd have a big spurt of energy, and then she'd be back to normal.  

    After the first seizure, we took her to the vet where all her tests were normal.  At that point, we were just hoping it was a one time occurrence or that it would be a long time before she had another one.  But then she had the second seizure in just over a week, which is definitely not great. 

    Again, all her tests were normal including blood test, liver and kidney function, urine and fecal, etc.  Because we ruled out all other standard causes for a dog her age, her breed is known to carry a gene for epilepsy, the disorder typically sets in when dogs are around 3-4 years old, and she had no other symptoms or issues, we began drug treatment assuming idiopathic epilepsy. 

    Penny takes phenobarbital twice a day.  It's very inexpensive.  She had 3 very small breakthrough (partial) seizures early on which resulted in the vet increasing her phenobarb. dosage.  So far we have been OK on the new dose (knock on wood).  She's due for a new pre and post bile acids test in another week where we will check the phenobarb. level in her blood and verify her liver function is good.

    Penny's initial symptoms on the phenobarb. were hyperexcitabiliy, restlessness, increased appetite, and increased thirst.  She also was very clumsy and uncoordinated at first.  All of that is normal (well -- except the hyperactivity; most dogs get lethargic on the stuff) and goes away with a few weeks of adjustment. 

    A very helpful resource that was recommended to me:

    Good luck to you and your pup!  I was reassured by a very wonderful and knowledgable fellow nestie that most dogs do very well with epilepsy treatment and live long, happy, healthy lives.  So I will pass that along to you, too!

  • That's a good point about Brady -- pay attention to when heartworm and topical flea/tick treatments are given to see if there could be a correlation and bring it up with your vet. 

    We also returned our bag of food for a new bag from a different lot just to be on the safe side after the first seizure...

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