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Discussion Starter #1
... but with his walking, not his seizures.

So, a couple of things right off the bat: I definitely understand the forum rules about health questions and veterinary advice, and my goal is not to even ask what can't be answered here but if I do, please just ignore it. I think most of what I'm looking for is above-board, and we are actually bringing Sebastian both to his regular vet and specialist in the next couple of weeks.

Sorry this will be long.

As some of you already know, Sebastian has epilepsy and was previously getting absolutely terrible clusters. We finally got them under control by adding zonisamide/Zonegran on top of the Keppra and Phenobarb he was already on. He's still on all three which, as of now, seems to be what's required to keep him as seizure-free as possible. He had some minor side effects from the Phenobarb and Keppra when first going on, but nothing like when we started the zonegran six months ago. He was SO sedated, so stumbly, out of it, just really in a bad way. He barely moved that first week. His neurologist (who we love and really do feel like has been generally wonderful) was really confident that he'd adjust to the medicine, and many of the side effects did get markedly better after a couple of months. The biggest problem has been the walking and stumbling, which improved VERY slowly through the summer and early fall. It was two steps forward, one step back; good days, and bad days. He never came close to regaining his full pre-zonegran walking ability, but he has always been a lower energy dog and until recently it was not greatly impacting his quality of life.

His ability to walk and stand has suddenly gotten much worse, though. At first we thought it was just a couple of bad days, but the problem has persisted. There are admittedly a number of factors going on-- he needs a grooming, we have hardwood and linoleum floors and his nails and paw fur are not helping, but we also have runners all around for him and they only partially help. He's able to hold himself up to go to the bathroom but still falls outside, and yesterday my partner asked him if he needed to go out, he either didn't or couldn't get up, and he had a huge pee accident. This is completely unlike him. (This morning, though, he was able to get up and rang his bell to go outside as usual). We can see the problem as he tries to walk, his back legs are doing all sorts of weird things, turning inwards or just not landing correctly. We are very concerned he cannot feel them properly. Today was slightly better.

Long story short, we are worried sick. I think I came on mostly looking for some emotional support, but I'm also just wondering if anyone else has pets on zonegran and if any of this sounds familiar. Or if any of this sounds familiar, what happened with your dog? Not knowing what's happening and how to help keep him as comfortable and least-distressed as possible is driving us crazy. Sebastian hates the sling we used when he was in a cluster and needed support; he doesn't really seem at all out-of-it so the indgnity of the sling is just too much for him right now.

Maybe I just needed to vent, it's been a lot. I know his neuro will probably want comprehensive bloodwork done, so mostly I think we're just bringing him to his regular vet to get a second set of eyes. The two vets typically work well together. We also can't bring him to the neuro until the end of the month and might drive ourselves insane without any sort of workup before then. His seizures HAVE been extremely well controlled and we have reason to believe he's around a threshold dose, and that dropping them much will lead to at least more seizures than he's been having. But if his walking trouble has anything to do with the medication then I think we'd both rather handle the occasional seizure than subject him to this day in and day out. On the one hand, it seems weird that things would get worse so suddenly as a result of the medicine when his dose did not change. On the other, starting the zonegran was clearly the dividing point between "no real walking issues" and "near daily walking issues..." that just still doesn't really explain the recent shift in severity.

I guess really any words of wisdom that fall within the rules of the forum would be appreciated. I think I mostly need a hug. The dogs have really had us on an emotional roller coaster lately.

So I think that's it. Wish us luck. :/ I'll keep the thread updated. Thank you.
 

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Sending you a cyber-hug! Hope things have improved for Sebastian!

I don't have any info on the seizures or medication for them, but I know what it's like to watch your dog struggle to get around.
I think it was harder on me than it was on Bella. After I went to the doctor and got help for myself, Bella seemed to get a lot better...LOL

Hang in there. It may just be a side effect from the meds making his legs weak. And he might not like the sling, but I think it will help so he doesn't hurt himself. Bella HATED the vest I got to help her up the stairs, but it was necessary to keep her from hurting herself (she had already pulled a groin muscle.) She got used to it, though...lots of treats helped! But she still tries to sneak up the stairs before I have time to turn around.

Keep us posted. Sending positive thoughts your way!
 

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Thank you, Bella.

He has improved somewhat, actually, but he's still stumbly and weak, just a big improvement from a few days ago when he could barely walk.

We took him to the general-not-neuro vet who basically agreed we should take him to the neuro but gave him a work over to make sure he didn't have a fracture or something physical. She didn't feel anything but said it does seem like he can't really feel his left side very well, and he's got some loss of muscle tone in his hind limbs. Evidently this can be caused by the phenobarb partially but it's also a vicious cycle right now... he can't walk very well so we're trying to be careful but still get him moving, though he's limited, which means he does spend a lot of time not moving which I'm sure makes that issue worse. The meds seem to make him so tired on walks, too.

The vet here gave him some non-opioid, non-contraindicated pain medicine to see if that might help at all since we're all a little unsure whether he's having pain or not. It seemed to perk him up just a tad anyway, but we all (vet included) suspect the real issue is neurological.

Definitely we are keeping a close eye on him to make sure he doesn't get hurt. Sometimes he will use the sling but when he won't, we just give him support with our arms. The other day I had to carry the poor guy up the stairs-- he weighs 75 lbs :/

But again he is doing a lot better in the meantime even if it's not great. We'll be taking him to the neuro in less than a week.

Thank you again.
 

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Took Sebastian to the neurologist today. The news wasn't so good.

He is only 5.5 years old but probably had a stroke. Somehow, the other options are even worse. He most likely had a stroke, he may have a brain tumor, or he may have an auto-immune disease. Based on some speedy bloodwork results and a number of blood pressure tests that were CRAZY high, it's looking like a stroke more and more, due to high blood pressure. Why he has high BP we don't know, might be idiopathic.

The "good news" is that at first it was kind of like, well he probably had a stroke but we may need an MRI to rule out tumor (if we decided to do that), but once we saw how high his BP was the vet was more confident about that possibility and decided it was worth doing a steroid course for the inflammation. If he gets better with that and continues to improve, that points very strongly to a stroke. If he gets better and then immediately backslides after the course, that speaks more to a possible tumor.

So.... please send good vibes. For now we have two weeks to start his blood pressure medicine and starting the steroids on Friday (he was on NSAIDs he has to stop for 3 days) so right now it's just going to be wait and see.

I'll continue to update.
 
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