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Hello, I'll try to make this brief and keep my emotions out as much as possible!

Last August, my 10 year old toy poodle starting having horrible episodes. She would turn her head to one side, run around, and scream this horrible scream. I thought it was something with her neck so I took her to her old vet. After a lot of guessing, they said they thought it was neck issues (of course after doing a ton of blood work and inconclusive x-rays they sent off to a specialist). Only one person in the entire office (a vet tech) suggested that these episodes were seizures, and she was quite insistent. The vet told her she didn't believe it to be so. They prescribed her all this medication and ordered strict bed rest. It took about a month for her episodes to stop.

It has been almost a year with nothing. Then, she had two of these episodes on Saturday and has kept having them randomly since. I since switched vets because I disliked how they approached this issue with Frannie last year, and she had an episode at the new vet's office. Since we weren't in the room yet and they were busy, 3 technicians and the actual vet saw this happen. The tech asked me why I didn't put seizures in her medical history to which I responded "No.. this is the neck thing we're bringing her for!" All the technicians and the vet said it looked like a seizure.

To be sure, he examined her neck anyways. He turned it this way... that way... up, down. She didn't show any signs of disturbance at all. He said when they did blood work during her wellness exam in Feb., nothing showed up to indicate seizures, but he also said seizures are very very tricky and differ greatly from dog to dog. So he prescribed phenobarbital to see if this will alleviate the severity/frequency. He did say that on a positive note (although it doesn't seem like much of one to me :/) is that he has seen dogs have much, much more severe seizures and hers are not that bad in his opinion.

I am just an emotional wreck. This dog is my "child" and watching her have these episodes kills me. When she shrieks like that, I feel like she must be in pain (doc said seizures are not usually painful, and that the shrieking is involuntary/a neurological response) but I just can't take it. She is staying with my mothers for the time being because the vet said my stress will do nothing but make her seizures worse. I have never been so scared as when I am when she has these episodes.

Does anyone have advice on this? How did the phenobarbital work for your dog/how long did it take to kick in? I'm just so upset and just needed to get this out somewhere :(
 

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She has also not eaten at all today and only had a little bit of water. The vet said this was normal as she might be frightened. Is this normal? :(
 

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I am so sorry to hear that you are going through this. I completely understand your fear. Shiloh (my hairy child) has been having seizures for about 2 years now (he was 4 when they started). He has been on Phenobarbitol most of that time, starting with taking 1/2 tablet 2 times a day. He has had episodes close together in the past 2 years so they'll up his dosage and he's now on 2 1/2 tablets twice a day. So far, he has a seizure every 2-3 weeks, which for him is pretty good, so I can live with that.

The first seizure I had seen him have terrified me, I had no clue what was happening because I came in the room when the seizing had stopped but he was incoherent and nonresponsive and I had no idea why. I rushed him to the emergency vet. He was diagnosed with idiopathic epilepsy (fancy way of saying they don't know the cause after ruling everything else has been ruled out). The vet reassured me that he isn't aware of what is going on and he isn't in any pain. The two biggest thing I worry about with Shiloh is him hurting himself during the seizure because of something in the environment (I looked around and tried to move or remove anything that could fall on him if he knocked into it, removed door stops, etc). Put a waterproof mattress pad on the bed just in case (he loses bladder control during the seizure). The other thing is when he has so many in a short period of time.

Knowing Shiloh isn't hurting helps me deal with the situation much better. I think the thing that will help you the most is adjusting how you respond and feel about Frannie's seizures. When Shiloh has a seizure it's like I go into nurse mom mode. I keep towels around the house so I can quickly grab them to clean up the urine and another to use to clean his face after he comes out of it. While he's seizing I usually speak softly, keep lights low, and massage his muscles until he's ready to get up (making sure to keep my hands away from his mouth). I've found that instead of babying him after I use a normal voice asking him if he feels better, etc and he seems to settle down much quicker than he used to, although part of that could be that I'm used to it and he doesn't feel the fear I used to have.

Trust in your vet. To you this is terrifying, but he has much more experience, so take comfort in his knowledge. It will be OK. Here's websites you might find helpful http://www.canine-epilepsy.com/ http://www.canine-epilepsy.net/basics/basics_index.html.

Feel free to private message me if you'd like.
 

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I am so sorry to hear that you are going through this. I completely understand your fear. Shiloh (my hairy child) has been having seizures for about 2 years now (he was 4 when they started). He has been on Phenobarbitol most of that time, starting with taking 1/2 tablet 2 times a day. He has had episodes close together in the past 2 years so they'll up his dosage and he's now on 2 1/2 tablets twice a day. So far, he has a seizure every 2-3 weeks, which for him is pretty good, so I can live with that.

The first seizure I had seen him have terrified me, I had no clue what was happening because I came in the room when the seizing had stopped but he was incoherent and nonresponsive and I had no idea why. I rushed him to the emergency vet. He was diagnosed with idiopathic epilepsy (fancy way of saying they don't know the cause after ruling everything else has been ruled out). The vet reassured me that he isn't aware of what is going on and he isn't in any pain. The two biggest thing I worry about with Shiloh is him hurting himself during the seizure because of something in the environment (I looked around and tried to move or remove anything that could fall on him if he knocked into it, removed door stops, etc). Put a waterproof mattress pad on the bed just in case (he loses bladder control during the seizure). The other thing is when he has so many in a short period of time.

Knowing Shiloh isn't hurting helps me deal with the situation much better. I think the thing that will help you the most is adjusting how you respond and feel about Frannie's seizures. When Shiloh has a seizure it's like I go into nurse mom mode. I keep towels around the house so I can quickly grab them to clean up the urine and another to use to clean his face after he comes out of it. While he's seizing I usually speak softly, keep lights low, and massage his muscles until he's ready to get up (making sure to keep my hands away from his mouth). I've found that instead of babying him after I use a normal voice asking him if he feels better, etc and he seems to settle down much quicker than he used to, although part of that could be that I'm used to it and he doesn't feel the fear I used to have.

Trust in your vet. To you this is terrifying, but he has much more experience, so take comfort in his knowledge. It will be OK. Here's websites you might find helpful http://www.canine-epilepsy.com/ http://www.canine-epilepsy.net/basics/basics_index.html.

Feel free to private message me if you'd like.
Thank you so much for your reply. I'm just growing more and more concerned as she isn't eating and hasn't gone potty since yesterday. She has only had a little water and is now refusing it.

We started the phenobarbital yesterday morning around 11 or so. She had two yesterday. I got to my mothers house this morning and she started having another. She wanted to be on my lap but it seemed like it would start them back up again. she has been in her bed since just looking around... I can't help but feel she is in some kind of pain... And the fact she is acting so scared and won't eat is scaring me more :(
 

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Having a skin child who has seizures, I can understand your fear and frustration. Your dog is more than likely NOT having any pain during these seizures. Instead, think of it as a severe interruption of a signal, like when the radio starts getting really staticy. The best you can do is to make sure that nothing is in the way to possibly hurt your pup. Don't try to hold her still - that can cause damage (strained muscles).

Sometimes it can take awhile for a medicine to "load" into the dog's system and be at a theraputic dose. I hope the medicine helps your pup soon! If not, there should be other medicines to try.
 

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I don't have any experience with dogs and seizures. But I do have a cat that has them and is on the phenobarb. It works great for the most part in her case. She was having them about once a week or so before getting on the phenobarb. Now she has about one every month or two. Sometimes she goes for longer stretches than that. The phenobarb does make my cat slightly more lethargic than usual. But I'd rather have a lethargic cat than one that is having multiple seizures each month.

Yes the first time, or several times, you see the seizures it's scary and unsettling. And this might not help ease your mind much at this moment, but all I can say is you get used to it and learn to handle them better. As others have said, I have also been assured that she is in no pain during the seizures. The thing I have to watch for with the cat, is that she likes to stay up high on the couch or her cat tree. And most of the time if she is up there when she has the seizure she ends up convulsing and falling off onto the hard floor (we have no carpets). I'm really worried that one day she is going to hit her head badly, or break something. But there's not a whole lot I can really do about that. Just have to watch her the best I can and hope for the best.
 

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Anyone that I've known or read about that has seizures says they aren't painful, so I feel confident that they don't have any pain.

She may not be eating or drinking because she feels weird and not sure what's going on. After a seizure Shiloh is confused and has to go through the house over and over. It's like he knows something has happened, he's just not sure what. It's possible that Fannie feels the same way and that's why she's not eating or drinking. Does she have a food that's irresistible to her? If you feed her dry food, add some low sodium beef or chicken broth to her meal or maybe add some canned food. That will help get some liquids into her.

Just a thought, but if she seizes every time she gets on your lap is it possible that you are wearing something that could cause them? New perfume, deodorant, laundry soap, etc?

I think the best thing you can do for her is put aside your fear (I know it's not easy), but I think being strong for her is what can help her the most. I know that when my attitude about the seizures changed and Shiloh knew I wasn't scared anymore, his recovery most of the time is much shorter and he's able to settle down quicker. At first I'd follow him through the house and sweet talk him and it'd take 30-45 minutes before he'd lay back down again (his seizures almost always happen when he's sleeping), now it's about 10-15 minutes. I let him roam then when he comes back to me I have a regular conversation asking if he's feeling better. Not sure if it's a coincidence or not.

Did your vet say anything about how long it would take for the PB to get into her system or at what point you should bring her back in? I'm assuming they'll check her bloodwork in a week to see how her system is handling the medication.

Hang in there, it does get better.
 

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Thanks so much for yalls replies. After having a few brief episodes this morning, I decided to take Frannie back in today because I was so freaked out.
The vet said not much has changed. He said he definitely noticed more of a delay neurologically, and she isn't walking as well. He said this can result from her still being disoriented from the seizures as well as the meds. He basically said we have to give it more time... it can take up to 48-72 hours for them to really get in her system and up to a week for them to really take effect. If she isn't having fewer episodes later in the week he's going to look at some other options... but he said I really should see some kind of improvement by tomorrow evening. The only thing he said that troubled me was that he said her seizures are a little bit unusual in that they are a little more frequent but extremely short.... he is pretty sure this is what it is though, so I guess I will just have to be patient.

On the bright side, when we got back from the vet she ate almost 1/4 can of alpo and drank some water, so at least she isn't running on a completely empty stomach! She was also outside for about 10 minutes and I'm hoping she went potty at some point, but we didn't see if she did.

I still am having a hard time holding it together, and my stepdad actually made me leave my mother's house about an hour ago because he said I wasn't anymore relaxed than I was before and he could tell it was stressing Frannie out. I need to figure out how to handle this, it's just very hard.
 

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My fiance's aunt has a golden that was diagnosed with epilepsy when he was 10 months old or so (he's 10yo now). He's on phenobarb; unfortunately his hind legs don't work so well anymore, but he was also having more seizures than you describe (several a day, several times a week) and has been on PB nearly his entire life. After he has a seizure, he drinks tons of water and sometimes won't eat his next meal (even though he normally LOVES food). The first time I dog-sat him I was terrified for the whole two weeks I had him that he'd have a seizure. Even though they'd explained very well to me what it would look like and what to do, I'd wake up anytime he made a sound when he was out of my view, in the middle of the night, I made sure he got his meds precisely on the minute, that he didn't eat any meat prodocts (he's veg, which helps with his epilepsy), etc. It was very stressful, but I've since learned to relax a little bit more. Meds 15 minutes early or late is fine, he makes huffing noises when he lays down, he's allowed meat and meat-flavoured treats as rewards.

Seizures are scary - they can be a symptom of another health problem or illness, but I'm sure the vet that recognized the seizures will have checked for the major causes. If you're not sure if he did, I would ask and discuss it with him further. Other than potentially indicating another problem, the most dangerous part of the seizure itself is the chance of Frannie hitting something and injuring herself, which can be limited by making sure the area around her is clear. You might also want to ask your mom to record every time Frannie has a seizure, and what was happening just before the episode started, in case the seizures are triggered by something specific. Seizures can be triggered by stress - in a study in humans, 30-60% of participants listed emotional stress as a factor prior to having a seizure. Dogs aren't humans, but the basic brain biochemistry is very smiliar (which is why phenobarbitol, which is a human seizure med, also works for dogs). I know its nearly impossible (and not any easier with people constantly saying it) but really the best thing you can do for Frannie is to be calm around her, especially if the seizures are triggered by stress.
 
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