Earlier in the year I posted that my cat Opie was experiencing seizures. We took him to the vet and blood tests and a physical examination were performed. All tests came back normal except that his liver enzymes were elevated. The vet wasn't worried about it because it wasn't elevated enough to cause much concern and he was healthy otherwise. We put Opie on Phenobarbital and his seizures stopped (at least we didn't witness any for several months) but, now they are back and he is getting them every 5 or 6 days for the past 4 weeks. The seizures are only 30 seconds long and afterwords he is confused for a little bit. Other than the increase of the seizures he is 100% happy and healthy. Very active, eats and drinks well and litter box usage is normal. Heck we wouldn't know anything is wrong if we never witnessed the seizures!
We took him back to the vet and his liver enzymes are being retested and he is also being tested for toxoplasmosis. The vet told us to up the pheno by a half of a pill (2 pills was too much so we gave him 1 pill a day) and see how that goes. He also mentioned that if all tests are normal it is possible that he could have a brain tumor. The only way to detect that is an MRI which would be $1500! I don't have that kind of money. Even if I did and they found a tumor what would be next? Brain surgery on a cat? Also if he had a tumor wouldn't he be showing other signs of ill health?
I'm just so frustrated because Opie is happy and healthy and so full of life (he's 6) and I just don't know what to do anymore.
Wow...I am sorry to hear about Opie's seizures...its very scary for owners when our pets have this kind of issue. Many of our pets do end up living long happy lives with the occasional seizure, but it helps to have medicine on board.
Has your veterinarian rechecked phenobarbital levels in the blood? Many times, as animals are on this medication, we find that the levels of phenobarb in the blood are not enough to help control the seizures. Also, it is sometimes necessary to add a secondary medication, like potassium bromide, in order to bring the seizures under control.
I know the MRI might be hard to justify because of cost, but, on the other hand, without diagnostics like the MRI, we might never know what the true problem is.
You should post your question in the Ask A Vet expert forums....the doctors there might be able to guide you with some more ideas about seizures and their causes. Plus, they can give you some real world advice about long term prognosis, etc. They can also talk to you about potential treatment protocols for idiotpathic epilepsy, brain tumors, or other issues.
We did have Opie's pheno blood levels tested. We first started him out on 2 pills a day and that just turned him from a cat into a throw pillow so to speak. He just slept 95% of the time. When he would get up he walked in a drunken haze and was very antisocial. We cut it down to 1 pill a day (half in the morning and half at night) he did seem to get better as we haven't witnessed any seizures for several months and the pheno blood levels were good.
We are now giving him a pill and a half a day and he is lazier (is that possible in a cat lol) but not nearly as bad as it was when he was on the two a day. His last seizure was on Saturday and we are watching him closely.
I went to ask an expert vet but, it says I have to pay $15 to do so. I take it this is knew as I never had to pay to ask an expert before. At least not in the human medical forums.
It sounds like you and your veterinarian are on the right track to help control Opie's seizures...now it's just a matter of finding the right dosage of medication and seeing if additional meds might help.
It is true that the Ask A Vet Expert forum recently changed over and is charging a $15 fee for the questions. This is similar to the Cardiac forum on the human side as well as several others. Some of the Expert forums don't charge, but there is a limit of how many questions get answered on a daily basis. In the Ask A Vet forum, there is no limit on questions as we have more than 35 DVMs who are available to help answer. I look at it like this: An office call at many veterinary offices runs $20, $25, $30 or more. For half that, you can have access to these veterinarians and I think you will agree after reading through some of the postings, that these folks have been very helpful to previous posters.
In either event, I hope Opie continues to do well and I hope you will post his progress here.
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