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First seizure in young border collie (4 yo) - help

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I'm a first-time dog owner and I'm pretty freaked out by my dog's seizure, and I could use some expert advice. I know that right now all I can do is wait, but I'd like to have a game plan in place if he has more seizures.

Omak is a four-year-old rescue (from a BC-specific rescue that said he's 100% BC, but I always thought he looked like he had a touch of something else) who woke me up last week in a panic. He had a seizure, then possibly another one 5 minutes later in the car as we went to the emergency vet (vet says it may have been post-ictal shaking, hard to tell). The vet had him under observation for a day and on clorazepate short-term, which made him groggy. He's just come off the clorazepate.

From what the emergency vet told me, I simply have to wait to see if he has more seizures, and if he does we consider putting him on long-term meds. Any advice at all is appreciated, but especially thoughts on:

• Should I be investigating diet changes or CBD products? I live in Seattle, so CBD products are common, but I know nothing about them. He's on Costco dry food, as recommended by the rescue.

• Anything I should know before putting him on epilepsy meds (if he has more seizures, obviously)? I've heard that once you start them you can't ever stop them, so I want to be prepared. Different types to consider?

• Omak is a very active dog, backpacking long distances and backcountry skiing. I'm trying to figure out how we move forward, since he obviously still needs exercise and he loves being outdoors. Any thoughts on taking a dog prone to seizures into the backcountry?

Thanks for any insight you may have. I'm going to take him to my regular vet this afternoon for a chat, and I want to prepare a list of questions in advance—so any online resources would be helpful! What I found when googling "border collie seizures" is making me panic. These forums were super useful when I got Omak and was starting to train him!


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Welcome to the Boards.

I have no experience with seizures, but I've read about CBD being quite helpful in a lot of cases and without the sometimes very problematic side effects of the pharmaceuticals. If it were my dog it's where I'd be looking first.

Now that CBD's legal on  federal level, it's available everywhere. Making sure you choose a good product will be important as a lot of inferior products flood the market. Again, if it were my dog I'd be looking for a good holistic or integrative vet to help with this.


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My dear departed Tillie, (probably a cattle dog or mix there of) had seizures. After talking w/my vet I put her on a daily medication. It's been close to 25 yrs, maybe more, so I don't remember what medication he prescribed.

I do remember it was the lowest dose possible, and that she never had another seizure. After a few days of seeming to be a little low key in energy, she resumed being her sweet and bouncy self.

Have you spoken w/your regular vet about the seizure(s)? My understanding is that most seizures, (not caused by high fevers or physical changes in the brain) are not harmful to the dog. They are really scary to see ~ as well as my dog having one, my dad had one when I was 12 and home alone with him. Very frightening.

Check it out with your vet first. 

Ruth & Gibbs

ETA - just found a website  thesprucepets.com  I think with some good basic info about seizures in dogs. Check it  out.


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Hi Ali, we've had/have 3 BC's over the last 14 years with seizures. All  had seizures attributed to thyroid  problems and with thyroxin the seizures have stopped.

A thyroid  panel blood test is easy to have done.

Some info:    https://www.dogster.com/lifestyle/we-interview-dr-jean-dodds-expert-dog-thyroid-issues

A good source of more info:  http://www.canine-epilepsy-guardian-angels.com/.

Dr Dodds is a savior for our 14 year old. Our vet dismissed the seizures, Dr Dodds, on vacation in Italy, responded imediately and put Pepper on thyroid

meds, 13 years ago and she hasn't had a seizure since.

Good luck. Hope this helps

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My dog has epilepsy.  Don't panic.  

My vet won't put on daily meds ( phenol barbitol) until they have 3 seizures in a month.  But then Joey had 2 seizures  in one morning so we put him on meds.  Cluster seizures are a lot harder to deal with.  Most seizures seem to start about 1 or 2 in the morning when the dog is in deep sleep.  About 6% of dogs have seizures so you are not alone.

The first 2 years he didn't have any more episodes but here lately he has had some very minor break through seizures where his head kind of bobbles up and down for a few seconds and then he snaps out of it.  He has also had 2 grand mal seizures about 6 weeks apart.  We still haven't changed his meds.  Vet said they kind of expect there to be some episodes.  They can't control it 100%.  I used to get really scared by his episodes but now I know to just grab him and hold on until it stops.  He screams which is awful but harmless.  Stiffens up and shakes and froths.  Then he just kind of collapses and is quiet.  And then he snaps out.  At first he is very confused but he comes back around really quickly and then is just fine again.  It is scary but the dog is unconscious and not in any pain.

He has good quality of life.  He is very active.  He is also kind of needy and wants to be with me most of the time.  I don't know if that is from the phenol barbitol or if that is just him.

There are several meds that people use now.  So if one doesn't do the trick then they try another one.  Or they can use more than one.

I made the mistake of going out on some epilepsy support boards on Facebook.  Don't do that.  Some dogs are in really bad shape and that was too depressing for me.  We just take one day at a time.

There are some ongoing trials with CBD oil that look promising.  Giving CBD oil can affect the other daily medicine so you need to be careful.  And it is very expensive.  I am afraid to try it for Joey until I get the ok from my vet.  I think you need to have more bloodwork done to be sure the level of the phenol barbitol stays below the toxic level.I haven't heard about the thyroid thing before so when we do his yearly bloodwork I will have them check that.  Some people have had luck with melatonin (just be sure it doesn't have xylotol in it).  That had no effect on Joey.  Also, some people say that if you put a cold pack on the dogs shoulders it shortens the seizure.  I haven't tried that but I have a bag of frozen peas I can use.  And they get really hungry when they come out and vanilla ice cream seems to help get them cooled off.  Their body temp goes high with a seizure.




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One of my dogs started having seizures about 3-4 years ago. He has cluster seizures and his shortest one so far was 10 minutes. 

So far we have been a year without one!

I did a chem panel, also had his thyroid level checked and he is one healthy border collie. 

He still goes camping, hiking, and biking  with me. We still do basic agility, obedience, scent work, and trick training. 

It depends on the dog as to what you can do. After each seizures my dog seems to be a little more careful/aloof with strange dogs. But it could also be from him becoming an adult. 

Also after his seizures we are back to square one with training. It takes about a month for us to be back to normal.

I have heard some dogs get more aggressive after theirs seizure.

I have been giving my dog keppra(hope I spelled it correctly) and CBD oil my vet felt due to the severity of his he needed it.

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