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We have a border collie who has been having seizures since he was 9 months old. After a couple cluster episodes, he seemed to even out with just having one a month. He was put on Phenobarbital. It didn't seem to help much, so the vet recently increased the dosage, and he just keeps getting worse (having more seizures, more often). We (and the vet) thought perhaps his thyroid was low. We had it checked, and the vet said it wasn't too low, but just a bit. They put him on thyroid meds a couple weeks ago, and he keeps getting worse. He had 4 seizures this past weekend, and today he had three more (just two clear days in between). We are starting him on Potassium Bromide tomorrow, and we are just praying this does the trick. Lately, he seems to have seizures every time it storms. He is such a happy, healthy dog in between...this is just breaking our heart. We don't want to give up on him. Does anyone have any suggestions?

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so sry to hear that! i've seen couple seizures before and they seem to be very frightening and every1 around just doesn't know what to do!


if this is any consolation ...in people seizures in themselves are not very harmful as long as the subject is kept in a safe surroundings. but if the seizures are continuous, ie another seizure will follow before the individual has had time to rest, then it could be potentially fatal.


there are many kinds of seizures and not all drugs will work for each case. many have complex kinetics and metabolisms that vary by individuals and require careful free drug monitoring to see if whether the drug has actually reached a therapeutic level in the blood.


this is probably as far of advice i can give since dogs are different.


[edit] yea nvm that site its doesn't provide an overview

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Very sorry to hear about your young dog. He seems to be having a hard go of it lately.


When my dog started having seizures, I found the folks on the epil-K9 list to be extremely helpful. You can sign on by going to www.canine-epilepsy.com. That site is also packed with useful information on every topic that relates to canine epilepsy. I tried many approaches to treatment and was able to settle upon a remedy that worked for me and my dog.


I must say, though, that seizures that develop in a dog at a young age tend to be the hardest to control. Using a combination of Pb (phenobarbital) and KBR (pottasium bromide) seems very reasonable. KBR can take a long time to reach theraputic levels in the blood, so perhaps a loading dose regimen is called for. Talk to your vet about it.


Another consideration is finding a canine neurologist to coordinate treatment. Your case sounds like it is going to be very complex and sometimes a generall vet doesn't have great experience in dealing with the difficult cases. Also, a canine neurologist can respond better to emergencies. When you have a dog that reguarly clusters, status epileptus (a seizure that doesn't stop) is always a grave concern.


On a personal note, and a caveat that every dog is different, when I increased the dosage of thyroid supplement in my dog, it triggered a seizure due to increased metabolism, meaning the Pb didn't last as long as it had before the thyroid increase.



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about the loading doses the wendy mentioned...it will take days to weeks for some of these slower metabolized anticonvulsants to reach a steady state concentration. gotta be patient and not be frantic in adjusting doses because the drug may not have reached it peak effectiveness

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sharkie is absolutely right. Patience is key. Start a seizure log if you haven't already. Record everything applicable to your dog. Establish a post-seizure regimen, particularly methods to reduce cluster seizures. Do much research and keep a open mind as to improvements in diet (my dogs went raw), reducing or eliminating vaccinations, minimizing flea/tick, and heartworm treaments, etc. There is much you can do to minimize the immulogical stress upon your epi-dog.


Keep us posted,


Wendy V,

Ellie, 12 yo sF, 3 1/2 years seizure-free, raw fed, no grains, no vax, no meds for past 6 months

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Thank you everyone for the messages. Wendy, that is interesting that the thyroid meds triggered a seizure in your dog--we actually wondered about that because he has gotten worse since he has started those meds. Also, we are getting his Kbr today, and it is a loading dose, so hopefully that will help. We do need to remember to be patient...just with this day and age, it seems there should be an instant cure for everything, but this is certainly not the case.


We have kept a seizure log, and feed him homemade food (since the dog food scare). I guess we just have to keep plugging along and trying different things.


Does anyone know a good canine neurologist in western Pennsylvania?


Thanks again everyone...I really appreciate your messages.

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Regarding loading doses... I went 5-6 days of massive dosing with neurologist instructions, then leveled out to the daily recommended dosage. Don't expect anything instantly with KBr. I was pretty aggressive with testing, and usually got KBr levels done every two to four months. All dogs react differently to KBr. I could usually tell, after a while, if Lena's levels were low or high by her actions and 'spacieness'. That said, she was very high function on all her meds for a seizure dog.


The thyroid thing is the increase in metabolism. Also by adding KBr, the Phenobarb will wack out too, so that will also need adjusting and monitoring. Anytime KBr (or any drug in their system) is adjusted, introduced, or removed, it affects the others. My epi dog, Lena, is no longer here. She was killed by a ram... but towards the end I could get a year seizure free at a time. I too changed her diet, reducing chemicals, but personally couldn't handle raw feeding.


Keep a seizure and meds diary. Write down everything, even though now it might not make sense. Contact a vet school and ask about neurologist in your area. Beyond the expert advice issue, one of my reasons was that when I traveled with my epi dog, if I had trouble in backwoods nowhere'sville, I could have the vet contact the neurologist and get good information specific to my dog. Never had to do it, but had the security of having that resource available. Good luck

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Hello All...thanks again for the info...it is extremely helpful. It is also good to know there are others out there who have gone through this...sometimes we feel so alone. Laddie (our BC) is still having some mild seizures on and off today. We took him to our vet, but she is off this week. Another vet at the office took a look at him, and pretty much said that Kbr is our last hope. That was quite depressing. However, we got in contact with a vet in CA who is doing research on thyroid problems in dogs. We explained the situation, and gave her Laddie's thyroid levels. She said that his levels are low, and was fairly sure that was the reason for his seizures to begin with. She told us to continue with the thyroids meds, as he needs them. We are thinking now that the reason for his recent cluster is because the thyroid meds made his Pheno level out of whack. We picked up the loading doses of Kbr today, and hopefully (with some patience) after those meds get in his system, he will even out.


I am trying to stay positive--it can be tough sometimes. Oh, and I checked--the closest neurologists near us are about 5 hours away. :rolleyes: If anyone knows of a good vet, with an open mind in regards to this situation (in Western PA or eastern Ohio) please let me know.


Thanks again all! I will keep you posted.

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