My dog (shepherd/husky mix, 73 pounds, 12 years old) began to have grand mal seizures last week. He had two seizures, one on Sunday and one on Monday, at almost exactly the same time in the evening. After the second seizure, the vet put him on phenobarbital (97 mg/2x per day).
He's been on it for five days now and is still pretty out of it. He is extremely lethargic (sleeps most of the day), has coordination problems, and weakness in his hind end. He walks veeery slowly. He's also extremely hungry and thirsty. I've read that all of these are possible phenobarbital side effects. How long do these usually last before the dog gets used to the medication? I'm hoping that these are not signs that something else is wrong, though I am aware of the possibilities.
Oh, so sorry about the seizure problem. That can be frightening. I personally don't know the answer to that question but, from what you are describing, it sounds like perhaps the dose might be too high. You should contact your Vet with these questions and see if perhaps the dose needs to be adjusted. Maybe the Vet wanted to start at this dose then try decreasing it later?
See if you can possibly find a group (maybe on Yahoo) that discusses dogs with seizures and see what others have experienced.
Obviously there's a load of detail I'm not including because of space issues.
We did contact the vet, who suggested we skip a dose and cut back to 64.8 mg 2x per day. We just did the first 64.8 mg dose. But the dog is still adjust to the meds, and the side effects and the question remain.
If anyone out there has had this issue and does know the answer, I'd appreciate your response. I'm just interested in any anecdotal evidence of how long to expect side effects to last.
In case anyone else has this problem, I want my experience to be available to them. There was very little to read on the DURATION of initial phenobarbital side effects on the web, and I was very frightened by what I saw. So, here's what happened with my dog.
The side effects (which were severe) lasted approximately three weeks. It is possible that they can last this long. Most people say they go away in a day or two, but in very sensitive dogs, it takes much longer. My dog was knocked flat by the loading dose and barely moved for the first couple of days. He bumped into objects, seemed blind, responded to sounds incorrectly (looked in the wrong direction), tripped, stumbled, and fell flat on his stomach a few times when trying to walk. He moved in slow motion and did not make a sound for a couple of weeks (not a single bark). He would also get confused, like when my other dog would nudge him, he'd bark at her, and continue barking at her even after she'd left the room. He also had extreme hind end weakness and started urinating in the house. These side effects abated so slowly it was agonizing, even after we cut back on his dosage. Every day, however, he has been slightly better. Finally, at three weeks, we're putting away the plastic sheeting, and watching him play again with our other dog. He's still not 100%--his reactions are slowed down, he sleeps more than usual, and he's very thirsty and hungry (he's started eating dirt from the potted plants--he is CRAZY hungry!), but he is SO much better.
So, this word of advice to anyone whose dog is on phenobarb, who is terrified by symptoms that mimic an aggressive brain tumor--don't panic. It might be a tumor (heck, my dog still might have a tumor), but it is also possible that it's the phenobarbital. Try to keep a log of what your dog does every day. Does he stop tripping one day? Does he manage to stand all through dinner one day? The progress is very slow. But if it's just drug side effects, it will get better.
Be understanding if your dog begins to soil the house. Get some baby gates and put him some place safe (we blocked our dog in the kitchen). Laminated fabric is also handy to have. And hang in there! It will pass, and you'll get your friend back within a month.
My dog, a Boston Terrier, has just started having seizures and was placed on Phenobarbital 30 mg BID initiated ~ 4 weeks ago. She too experienced similar symptoms (uncoordinated, urinating in the house, trouble walking or standing without swaying or falling, blindness (so it seemed), running into walls, not responding to my voice). It has now been 4 weeks on the medication. Most all has improved except: instead of being fatigued and calm she has gone crazy mad! She is extremely hyper, very jumpy when I try to pet her, barks non-stop (so much so that she becomes hoarse) and is up all hours of the night barking & wanting food or to go outside.
I would like suggestions (if any) on what I can do to help calm her down, or stop the barking. I have tried to hold her collar to hold her still and pet her slowly and gently which seems to help for a few minutes, but when I stop she goes crazy again. HELP! I need some rest and so does she.
Thank you so much for your posting. I am currently at that point (8 days) where I'm questionning how long this lasts. My dog is larger -- Anatolian Shepherd mix, 9 years old -- and he is having one heck of a time with what I'm hoping is the Phenobarbital as well. He has been in perfect health but just out of the blue had a grand mal seizure. I took him to the veterinary hospital as it was in the evening and he had two more there. Within 24 hours they got me in to see a neurologist and now he's being treated for a bad case of Valley Fever.
He drinks a ton and eats more, but my biggest concern is his lethargy and lack of coordination. It takes him so much effort to get up, particularly the hind legs; it's so sad to watch. So I'm hoping that, with time, this behavior changes. I see some sites that say it will change in a few days to maybe two weeks and, if it was absolutely two weeks, I would be stressing out more and more as each day passed so .... Thanks for taking the time to post the outcome as it relates to your dog's behavior. Regards.
Hi I have a Staffy who is on Phenobarbital only been taking it 3 days. I have read all the side effects online and he has all of them like your dog the medication appears to have made him hyper. I am trying to take him walking for longer to try and get rid of some energy. He appears to be sleeping more through the day then gets hyper in the evening also making lots of silly noises that he never made before.
He is also drinking more but I havent given him more to eat as yet any suggestions of how much more to give him to eat.
Hi I have a 3 year Boxer who started Phenobarbital in November. He is pretty much back to his old self. He still has a few seizures a month but the vet told me that might happen. He is not hyper but I would talk to your vet about this. As far as food, the vet told me to keep him on his normal diet cause if he overeats he will then become overweight. He was really hungry for about a month and a half but I think he is pretty much used to the medicine now. I wish you and your doggie all the best.
I have a 10 year old cocker spanial.she got put on phenobabital 3 years ago.she was started on the lowest dosage32.1mg per day,and adjusted up to 96.3 per day.over 3 month period.she didn't show any of those side effects till now.blood work showed her levels were to high.my concern is are other vets starting y'all on too high of a dosage.because those side effects indicate too much is in their system.like I said it took 3 years for her to get those effects and it was because her high levels.her effects are no control of her rear legs.sleeps all the time,and no motivation.hope this helps someone.
Try Bach's Rescue Remedy. Regular human formula. Put a few drops of the top of her head 10 minutes apart until she calms. I have a beagle that has cluster seizures, is on phenobarb and potassium bromide and the Rescue Remedy does help her. Good luck!
My 15 yr old 17 lb poodle had cluster seizures 2 days ago. The vet gave him 2 doses of phenobarb and valium (the last dose at 1pm on March 13th). She thinks that he may have a brain tumor and said that if I did not continue with diagnosis, that I should put him down. I took him home and am letting the medication wear off to see if he has another seizure. Within 12 hours he went from completely sedate to eating drinking, walking and using the bathroom on his own. It has been 36 hours and I would say he is about 80% back to his regular self, but he is still showing side effects from the phenobarb (more than usual hunger, partial loss of coordination and hind end weakness and restlessness). Does anyone know how long it takes for phenobarb to get out of the system? The vet said approximately 12 hrs, but that is obviously not the case. Also, since this morning he is having unusual smelly penile discharge, but he is still urinating fine. Has anyone experienced this? Is this a something to worry about?
Also, I really do not like the effects of phenobarb and am talking to my vet about Zonasimide or possibly Felbamate. Does anyone have experience with these?
My cocker is nine years old. About five years ago, I was told her skin problem was seborea. She gets matting in her fur with a greasy foul smelling excretion. Under her neck, between her toes, and on her rear quarters. She got shaved one time and broke out all over with oozing sores. Then she got fatty tumors on her skin that cannot be "shaved". Now she gets a longer cut to avoid arousing the sores. A vet finally tested her thyroid and said she didn't make any, so he started her, raised the amount, and then she started having seizures. A week ago, he doubled her amount to 32 mcg or whatever twice a day. Last night she poo'd all over the house and back sidewalk. I gave her phenobarb this morning, then she came to me with blood all over her mouth begging for her food. I washed her up, fed her and now she is sleeping. My husband said she wants food each time she takes her meds. I didn't realize this and waited a bit to feed her since she obviously had a stomach issue during the night. She hasn't had any seizures for a few weeks now, but I don't trust anyone who is treating her, now or in the past. I feel like she needs a round of cefelexin and nothing else. Her skin gets better when she took it before (yrs ago). Does anyone know what I can do? I am so sad watching this. She has every side effect from the phenobarb...bad back legs, starting all day.... THANKS
My sweet little pitty girl has been on it for a week. She also makes some goofy wobble like noises that I have never heard before. She is soo stubborn too. She always was a little stubborn but listened perfectly to commands. Now she could care less about what we have to say. She eats my plants, the dirt, and chews everything. She flies through the air like a clumsy dolphin when excited.. which is really odd. She was having seizures multiple times daily which have stopped but why this behavior?? Will it go away??
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All i can say it that i hate the pheno side effects my dog has we are taking him off it all together and trying herb meds.My dog as not living a normal life and it is sad he is only 6 .All i can say is if your pet is on it please try some thing else if he is having bad side effects.Do you know that if your dog is having bad side effects and you take him off phen that them side effect can still be there the rest of his or her life IT IS NOT WORTH IT PLUS GIVES THEM LIVER DAMAGE .
I just read your post. PLEASE email at ***@**** to fill me in on herb meds. I know nothing about them. My 6 yr old 10 lb terrier has seizures & they've started on phenabarbatol (however it's spelled) & after 4 days (& before reading all this) last week, I cut her back b/c she was so lathargic & out of it, upset stomach going to the bathroom everywhere, it was scaring me because she is normally very active. I felt she was possibly over-medicated! But she had 2 seizures this am so I've put her back to the original dose the vet was starting her at. It's only been 1 1/2 weeks but I sure don't want her having lifetime effects!! :( Thanks for the info
my border collie 11 has been on the same drug for 5 days, its awful hes thirsty and hungry all time, the house stinks, hes weeing himself, he can barely walk and has no strength in hind legs. his balance is terrible he can hardly stand. vet put him on lower dose but al he does is sleep. i too dont know how long this will last. its frustrating and upsetting i know.
I too am having issues with the side effects of phenobarbital in my dog. We have an 11 yr old lab and he has had 3 seizures since March and the vet put him on this med. The side effects are terrible. I just finished cleaning up 4 huge piles of diarrhea on the carpet. He has little control over his hind legs, is extremely irritable, not acting as himself. He has only been on it for 3 days, and its 3 days too long. I plan on calling the vet this morning and taking him off.
Hey ducky i would also like some info on the herb meds you tried...i know some plants are very effective but a little scared to try them...i feal next time my dog has a seizure he will die! he had a status epilepticus 3 days ago...convulsion for many hours...he was on potassium bromide before...i would by it and make the meds my self...worked for 3 years....with not much side effect...they just put him on pheno....there is something wrong with this drug! hate it...but so scared i keep giving it to him...i want my dog back...:( ***@****
I'm so thrilled to have found this forum, and thread. I have a 7yo female Boxer 75 lbs. She's been having what I think were tiny seizures (foaming at the mouth) about 1x/week for a few weeks, vet wasn't very concerned. Last Thursday 7/27 at 3pm she had her first major seizure ... scary. She had another on Friday at 3AM and another at 2pm Friday. I took her to 24hr hospital she had another while I was checking her in at 3pm Friday 7/27. Blood work and chest xray are normal, no cancer noted all organs normal. They wanted to do an MRI, but if there is a brain tumor I wouldn't put her through any surgery so I held off on that. We started her with a loading dose of phenobarbital and I brought her home on 90mg x2 daily until she can see the neurologist tomorrow 7/30. She is lethargic, yes, but has good appetite, is thirstry, but no accidents in the house. Keeping her normal routine except for sleeping so much. Have any of you gone the MRI route? I'm hoping there is a more conservative approach, and a titration of the med to a dose that wont keep her zonked. She has NOT had a seizure since Friday. I'm grateful for that. Any thoughts I'd appreciate it.
It's been so long since I've been here. I got this in a private message and I thought I was posting... so here's my response. Maybe there are some nuggets in here that will help someone. The main takeaway is that my dog is doing well!
So, here you go:
Hello! The good news is that my guy is still around. We're continuing to tinker with his pheno levels--it is tricky business, because there is an impact to the liver, and that needs to be balanced with the benefits of the phenobarbital. Also, he's now on anipryl for dementia (he is 13), and that's adding some new stuff to the mix. He still has a grand mal about once every 37 days. We're continuing to try for better control, and we are gradually increasing the time between seizures. Here's a tip for others--pheno is generally given every 12 hours. My dog has a dose at 5 am and 5 pm (32.4 mg tablets @1.5 tablets each dose). We noticed, though, that whenever he had seizures, they tended to happen right around the 5 pm dose. So, we added a mini dose at noon. If he seems to have a lot of little twitchy focal seizures in the morning, we give him a whole tablet at noon. Otherwise, we give him a half tablet. This has worked really well! I can almost always predict when he will have a seizure (probably 80% accuracy) so I think we're heading off a lot of them with this strategy.
My dog never had diarrhea as a result of the pheno but different dogs react differently... You'll probably want to ask your vet about that. It can make your dog thirstier, so maybe that's affecting her GI system... You could try giving her a little pedialyte, which is just good in general for diarrhea. I'm not sure of the dosage for a toy poodle though--I would guess just 2 or 3 ml... But that's just a guess. I would google that before giving her any... We feed a high quality carb-free diet (Flint River Ranch Fish and Chips kibble mixed with Back To Basics organ meat kibble). I don't know if it helps dogs with seizures at all, but carb-free diets are recommended for children with epilepsy. I figure it can't hurt! We don't give him any rice, wheat, corn, etc., not even in his treats.
One more update for us that may help someone else--we also are giving him Denamarin (large dog, one tablet), four capsules of Milk Thistle, and four Liverite LiverAid tablets per day. These have dramatically improved his liver numbers. His vet was delighted with his last round of tests. His enzymes were starting to get into the danger zone--so high that we did an ultrasound looking for other reasons. Thankfully, they found nothing growing in his liver, so we did a lot of research and threw all those supplements at the problem, and it seems to be working. The phenobarbital is very hard on the liver, especially in an older dog whose liver enzyme numbers are likely to be high anyway. But we've actually brought his down to slightly higher than normal, which is GREAT for a dog his age. We buy the milk thistle capsules and LiverAid intended for people. I believe the quality is better. He was actually showing improvement before the Denamarin, so I'm not convinced that's helping as much as everything else. But hey, I'm not going to change anything now that he's heading in the right direction.
Thank you so much for posting your questions and more importantly, following up with the progress of your dog! I am so glad to hear he is doing so well a year later. A few weeks ago, our elderly dog started with the head twitching, loosing feeling in his legs. We talked to our vet and decided to keep an eye on him. Last week he had a grand mal seizure and we were so frightened. We prepared for the worst and it was suggested that he may improve with phenobarbital. He's now been on the medication a few days now and his symptoms are identical to yours with the addition of he is making goofy noises at times. It is a relief to know these are side effects of his medication and he'll improve. This has been a really difficult thing for us (including our dog) to go through and it's comforting to see other pets have made it through. I really appreciate your taking the time to update with your dog's status because it's helped to ease my mind a lot.
my dog, 4 yrs old, had no history of seizures. got his vacines of distemper and rabies, that night started having seizures. 1 the 1st night and 6 the next night. took him to the vet. said it had nothing to do with the vacines. he was on phenobarbital 30mg (2 x's a day) for a month with no sezures. after 30 days he sarted having them again and now he is boosted up to 45mg. he is not the same dog. do i keep boosting his dose and have a zombie that wanders around aimless with the chace of liver damage or chance the seizures? i think 100% that he recieved to high of a dose of vacine and contracted some form of distemper. anyone else with simular exp?
Hi, My 5 year old boxer started having seizures about 5 days ago. It started with focal seizures and we didn't know what they were so we took her to get emergency care where they told us what it was. She stayed overnight and had one of the big ones. She was diagnosed with either an inflammatory disease or an infection. We did both an MRI and a spinal tap. The doctor said he can't definitely rule out cancer, but he sounds pretty confident that it's not. She was put on phenobarb and is having the same symptoms. I think it's been about 3 or 4 days now. It's good to hear people who have seen their dogs get back to normal, but I'm also thinking of getting some natural remedies too. Does anyone know if natural supplements and phenobarb can work well together?
And also to PatD0719 I saw you asked about the MRI. I think it's a good idea to get it done just because you want to be sure of what it is, but it also costs a good amount of money so if you feel like your dog is doing ok maybe you could hold off. I did really like our doctor and he suggested getting it done so they have a better idea of what's causing it. It sounds like she's responding to the meds which is great! Good luck with everything! :)
We have an 8 year old german shep cross,she had 2 fits and was put on phenobarb and they cut her dose for exact same side affects as u
snowey 2 years on still has problems main 1 been weakness in her hind legs
shes not same dog anymore:)wish i could take her off them and get my energetic bouncing dog bck
her dose is quite low 1/60 morning half 60 pm
How is your boxer doing now? Did you ever find out te cause? I have an 8 year old Boxer that had three seizures and has beenon Phenobar for a little over three weeks and was seizure free until this morning. She had one. The only thing I did different was I delayed last night's dose by three hours.
just read your comment..I too am to my wits end with the change in my boxer. He has been on pheno. for approx. 8-10 months. He only had the lethargic side effects when first starting the meds. He was always house broken until now. He pee's and poops in the basement everyday! (I limit his intake for food & water..put him out regularly) and he has been barking incessantly..night and day! HELP!
My chihuahua has been on pb for about a month & has experienced all of these same side effects in varying degrees & has mostly addapted to his new self. However, he has developed a few sore spots on his neck & upon my further investigation it appears that his skin has thinned to the point of the blood being right below the surface. I bathed him to relieve his discomfort & even gently rubbing the area with mild puppy shampoo his fur started to turn pink fron the blood coming thru his pores. I gently dried him & can't see any abrassions. His skin is just very red, almost like a horrible sunburn. Also his hair seems coarser over the last week or so & he has been shedding way more than normal...any advice??? Please, help my baby Tucker!!!
My dog started phenobarbital because of seizures caused by a suspected brain tumor. She exhibited all the symptoms mentioned above for about 2 weeks. It was hard to tell if it was caused by the Meds or if she was still recovering from the seizures,or if it was a side effect of the anesthesia she had during this. time. She was also leaking urine in her sleep. She's been on it about 2 months and she's playing and reduced her accidents. She is still hungry and thirsty but doesn't try to eat abnormal things.
My dog started phenobarbital because of seizures caused by a suspected brain tumor. She exhibited all the symptoms mentioned above for about 2 weeks. It was hard to tell if it was caused by the Meds or if she was still recovering from the seizures,or if it was a side effect of the anesthesia she had during this. time. She was also leaking urine in her sleep. She's been on it about 2 months and she's playing and reduced her accidents. She is still hungry and thirsty but doesn't try to eat abnormal things.
Hi ducky. My dog Otis has been on phenobarbital for 7yrs now. He has always been thirsty but has no other side effects. He recently had his liver levels checked and now after 7 yrs are showing liver damage. The vet wants me to ween him off of the phenobarbital. I was wondering what kinds of herbal remedy do you give your dog? And does it keep your dog from having seizures? All I know is Otis only has a seizure now if he manages to spit out a pill. The phenobarbital has worked great for the last 7 yrs and I am worried with out it all he will do is sieze.
Hi Otismom......I would think your Vet would put him on a Liver Supplement (They ALL sell one) to help filter toxins & replenish the Liver instead of weaning him off a medication that has helped him for all these years.....There has to be more to this story! How high were his Liver enzymes? This really doesn't make sense.....Karla
I have a 12 yo f boxer. Has been on pheno for about a week now. havent seen any major side effect issues with the exception of urinating in the house. All of her blood work was normal and xrays showed nothing on organs. MRI was suggested. However, it is believed she has cranial tumors resulting in her "drunken" state she started to exhibit. We were told that an MRI is simply to say yes or no to tumors. if yes, which it is already believed to be, the treatment is nothing. We opted not to for go the expense of the MRI. We were told that boxers are prone to tumors. She does need time to adjust to having the med in her system. We are keeping her on same feeding. But other than that we dont feel there is much to do but love her and enjoy whatever time we have left with her.
Hi. My Golden Retriever is on pheno for about a month now. She had 4 seizures in a row. She had to stay in emergency hospital for 12 hrs. First week after pheno she couldn't walk properly, was sleepy, thirsty, hungry... Now, she is almost back to herself, exept she likes now to go to the backyard and just stays there. Have anyone had that kind an experience with theire dog? She wouldn't go outsde without us, now-no problem. Hmm..
Thanks. Your article was the closest to my "Oreo's" description. 14, male, appx 33-38lbs., never seizured. Vet sent home on phenobarbital. 11/2grains 2x day & 11/2grains prednizine 1x day. He is so --------up he falls in his poop while doing so. I after 4th day cut back to 1/2 each 1 x day n watching 4 seizures. No dose of phenobarbital this am. Only 1/2 grain prednisone. If I keep him on that much, I fear he will have no quality of life. He is miserable.
Rather sad update... after 22 months of dealing with my elderly dog's seizures, he ended up chaining (having uncontrolled clusters of seizures). He had gone six months without a single seizure, and was on just 3 grains of phenobarbital per day. His liver was in spectacular shape. His regular vet was so proud--we'd gotten his numbers down within normal range, which is phenomenal for a dog his age. We were patting ourselves on the back for controlling his epilepsy when he started having seizures on Dec. 1, 2012, and would not stop. We rushed him to the ER vet who put him on an IV drip of diazepam. After 12 hours, the ER vet had not managed to stop the seizures. We transferred him to a specialist, who gave him a dose of Keppra plus diazepam, which stopped the seizures. However, we ended up doing all the diagnostic work and found out that he has a brain tumor after all. The MRI anesthesia caused him to start chaining again (apparently this is a common reaction in dogs with seizures) and it took several more hours to control this. He's been given 8 weeks to live if we give him steroids. Radiation therapy was offered as another option, which we are choosing to decline. Tomorrow (Dec. 5) we get to take him home. We'll give him the steroids, as I understand they can work wonders, albeit temporary ones. We're going to make him as happy as we can, and as soon as his quality of life begins to decline, we'll make the last trip to the vet. All in all, I'm glad we didn't know he was terminal almost 2 years ago. I think our attitude toward him would've been different, and I don't think he would've lived this long. I will post again about how things progress once he is at home.
My Boxer just had 12 seizures 3 days ago. The side affects were the same.
He is 10 yo, we got him when i was 1 yr old. The most common is dizzyiness and confusion plus hes very uncoordinated. He cant stand up alone my whole family has to help him move around. Thre vet is saying we have to make a choice to put him asleep or not, I dont want to have to that but then again I dont know if hes in pain. We are a littel afraid that it could be a brain tumor. But because of the seizures we put him on phenobarbitol. Hopefully it will work but i guess we will have to wait and see.
Hi I just started my 12 yo golden on phenobarb. Had 3 seizures over 2 mos so vet decided to put her on it. She peed in house twice thirsty otherwise ok. I will go even more slowly getting her to dose of 30 mg twice day. Email me at ***@**** if you want to share and keep in touch,Lisa
Sorry for the last diagnoisis. My son (Bullit) is 15 1/2 yo border collie/chihuahua 31 lbs 3 wks ago tonight (Nov 17th) had his 1 and so far only grand mul seizure. 1st one lasted 10 minutes he came out enough to look at me to say with his big brown eyes Mom what's happening then went into another that lasted 30 minutes until we got to the emg. hospital 25 miles away. With Valium and Phenobarb they brought him out of it. We were able to bring him home that night. They put him on 32mg pheno. twice a day. He sleeps with his eyes open at times normally, with the pheno. he would be canatonic and scare the heck out of us, plus as every one else stated lost control of his hind quarters as well. After 1 wk we cut the am dose to 1/2 and in 10 hrs give the pm dose. So far is moving better, but after he gets his dosage he wimbers like he's hurting. And all day long he barks to go outside but as soon as he goes out, he barks to come back in. Knock on wood the blood work came back with good levels. But you give me hope that we will have him a little longer yet.
My 9 yo, 17 lb Boston Terrier started having seizures for the first time on Friday night. Before this she seemed perfectly healthy. She had 5 seizures in 8 hours. We brought her in in the am. The vet did and did the phenobarb load. We just picked her up this afternoon (Sun.) She is on 16.1mg of phenobarb. When we picked her up we learned that she was completely blind and I think she is deaf too. She is beyond lethargic. I would say more like catatonic. She won't eat and I'm giving her water with a dropper. She will occasionally whine. I think she is scared. I don't know how long I should wait for side effects to wear off. The vet couldn't tell me whether her blindness was permanent or not. I can't watch this but don't want to put her down if there is hope that she will see in a week.
Thank you so much for your post. My dog has just started that medication last Thursday and has all the same side effects. I was so upset I though I was going to have to take her in to be put down. After reading your post I feel much better. I am going to call her vet today and see if she just needs her medication dosage adjusted. I feel so much better. Thank you, thank you, thank you. And of course Happy New Year.
We put our sweet little boston down. After the dose of pheno, she was out of it but as the pheno wore off (about 20 mins. before the next dose was due) she cried and cried. She didn't respond to anyone in the family. She didn't even respond to our other dog, who tried to help by giving her kisses. She was clearly in pain. After administering the pheno. (about 30 min.) she began to quiet down again. The bottom line is that over the 2 days our dog became more and more sick despite the meds. Her sight and hearing never returned.
I have a 6 month old Mini Schnauzer. He has been having seizures for 2 months. He was on potassium bromide and doing well but within the past week has began having seizures at least 2 to 3 a day. The doubled his potassium bromide and that did not help. The doctor is wanting to put him on pheno. After reading the posts I am not sure that is the quality of life he deserves. He is so young and little. He has changed a lot from the potassium bromide.
I am very glad I found this community. My dog is going to be 2 years old on January 26 and started having seizures about 6 months ago. He is an 80# chocolate lab. Most amazing, smartest dog I have ever had. At first the seizures were only once in a while, then when they started happening about every ten days, the vet recommended high dose pheno twice a day along with sodium bromide once a day. I was very nervous about the pheno so I decided to just try the sodium bromide alone for a while. While it did make his seizures less intense, he was still having them frequently. So, I reluctantly started him on the pheno about a week ago. The last few days he has been very different. He can't jump up on the bed at night, we have to help him. His back legs just give out on him randomly and he sleeps so so much. He can't seem to get enough to eat or drink. He has terrible, awful gas every night. He broke and chewed up his food dish while we were at work. The goal was to start him on both meds with the intention of weening him off the pheno, or trying to anyways. I am glad to see that these are side effects that most dogs experience and that they may get better. Most of the time he just doesn't seem to feel good and it's heartbreaking. Thank you all for sharing your stories. It really does help me to stay more positive.
I am so sorry for your loss! Dogs are family! I just had to say goodbye to my 13 yr. old shepherd-whippit mix Dec. 27th who had Lou Gerhigs disease. Now my 11 year old is having seizures and we've just started the phenobarbatol meds, but very low dose. Hoping for good results.
But believe with all your heart you showed your dog the ultimate love when you gave her peace. It's very hard and I pray you will find the grief lessening in time!
where do u buy your supplements, we just started the pheno yesterday and I would love to get started on the best foot possible from the very beginning. I have a german shepard, 95 lbs, do you have a recommended dosage.?
I am also glad I found these post. Without them, we would not be aware of what to expect because our vet certainly didn't inform us.
I have a ten year old Standard Male Poodle named Kaos. Right before Thanksgiving 2012, we noticed that the large growth under his skin on his side seemed to be larger. (he has always been in good health except for that bump) So we took him to the vet and was told that we should have it removed. So we did, and he seemed to be doing okay that night when we brought him home. The very next morning he had a seizure which was his first one he ever had. He was foaming at the mouth, shaking uncontrollably, and he looked like he was running while lying down shaking. So of course we took him back to the vet. He started Kaos on one 32.4mg. phenobarbital per day and if he didn't have any more seizures that we could give him 1 every other day until the perscrption was out. Well........He did pretty good for about 4 weeks without any seizures and he was he was off the med for about 2 weeks. THEN...He started having seizures. After about three in a twelve hour period, the vet said to give him 2 tablets twice a day (12 hours apart)
He had a total of 7 seizures in a 36 hour period. It was really awful. The first 3 days of taking the med. he completely lost all control of his muscles. He could not walk, he peed on himself and did "his business" while lying down. He didn't seem to know who we were and didn't even act like he knew us or could even hear us. He still had an appetite and seemed thirsty. Day 4, he managed to stand, walk a short distance and then sleep most of the day. Day 5, he walked twice as far, but still real wobbly and with his back end crooked. Today, Day 6, he is still sleeping a lot, but he walked 3 or 4 times today; when he manages to stand he is walking around in circles. He actually walked up one step by himself, and he barked (howled) for a few seconds. I only hope these small improvements each day means that he will improve enough to have a decent quality of life.
So glad to hear Kaos is beginning to do better. I have an 11 year old cocker mix who started having seizures right before Christmas.(12/8) and theen 1/8 a second, both grand mals. My vet put him on the pill and it was horrible the first 3 days or so - not not near as bad as poor Kaos. the good part is, he's beginning to return to more of a normal life except for sleeping a lot. He was doing more of that anyway - going on 12 in dog life is tough :)
He continues to do strange little things - last night for about 20 minutes he was on my bed (yes, I've spoiled him now) and he went thru the following which he's done 3 other times: he'd put his head back, pointing his nose up and look at me, breath a little faster, rolled on his back with all 4's in the air, a whine at whisper level and kept taking his paw and putting it over his nose/eyes like trying to knock something off He was very restless. I don't know if this was like a mini seizure or what.
I know I am paranoid and watching for everylittle thing, but I see a pattern in that this has happened several times now. I did explain it to his vet the 2nd time I took him in when he was given the pheno. and he said yes, it was a little one but I'm still not sure. IF they are, and this is as bad as they get on the pills, I can say it's a good thing.
He's been on them one week as of yesterday (1/24). At first I was noticing weakness in his back end but that doesn't seem quite as bad now. Although, last night when he wouldn't jump up on my bed I thought "oh no", but then realized it was because I had that bowl of popcorn and he definitely distracted :)
In the beginning he was asking to go out to potty up to 20-25 + times a DAY and getting me up 3x at night to go. That's calmed down to 2x at night and sometimes when I gives me that look, I ask if he can lay down, he does and we're good for another bit of time. He still drinks tons of water and would eat all day if I'd let him.
Sometimes he looks like he's not getting what I'm telling him. Not sure on that one yet.
I had another dog, who he lived with from day one that I had to have put to sleep Dec. 27th due to Lou Gerhig's disease. I don't know if some of this with him is connected or not. He doesn't SEEM to miss her but I sure wish I could get into his head to see what is thinking!
Said all that to say it probably will be better for both you and Kaos but if you have any doubts, call that vet - or another one - and ask questions. Just like OUR doctors - we have to be our own advocate.
I have a 5 year old boxer that had his first seizure at the beginning of November. We took him to the vet and they said that we shouldn't put him on medicine yet but if it happens again we should consider it. At the end of January, he had 3 in a 24 hour time frame. The vet then put him on Phenobarbitol. Right now we hate the side effects...zombie state. He can hardly walk. He shows no sign of affection/emotion, etc and has been on it a week and a half. I see that it can take a few weeks for a dog to get used to the new side effects. Does anyone have any suggestions as to how we can keep him safe during this time? He is an indoor dog and bc of his bathroom issues right now we leave him in the kitchen all the time. But even then, if he pees on the floor he is stepping in it and falling (we have tile floors). We can't use puppy pads right now bc he wouldn't have any clue what they are for. We considered dog diapers....and We have a dog crate that we have considered using but are scared he may find some way to hurt himself while being in there. Does anyone have any suggestions?
I definately understand what you are going through! I don't think a crate would help. My poodle, Kaos, is finally out of the lethargic stage of the effects of phenobarbitol, but he certainly isn't normal. He started pacing a lot, continuously walking around in circles. Now his circles have gotten bigger. He aimlessly walks around like he has some where to go, but never seems to get there. He sits and looks and howls. This is behavior that he has never had. He does not show any emotion at all and doesn't even seen to know us. When he is in the house, he seems to bump into some of the furniture and he won't come to us when we call him and is a little skiddish when we rub and pet him. It is definately hard to watch. We let him stay outside part of the day and stay in the house part of the day, but when he is in, he won't settle down, continuously pacing.
I hope your boxer gets better. I am wondering myself if the issue with them being house trained again will get any better. Kaos before, never messed up in the house. For a while, he was doing all of his business while lying down. Now we try to keep him outside a few hours after he eats so he won't mess up in the house.
I too am glad I found this community, Rambo (30 lb Cockapoo) started PB yesterday (2 X 30 mg per day). Typical side effects. Unsteady, weak hind legs, pees everywhere, lethargic then paces around the room, However, the main thing is to do whatever is needed to stop the terrible seizures. I'm giving him lots of love and attention and hope that the side effects will not get worse and will subside in a few weeks.
Last update--We put our little guy down the first week of December 2012. The tumor was definitely progressing. He was not suffering yet, but he was on the brink... Things were about to get very bad. He was no longer able to stand, and the next stage to come was loss of bowel control. He never came home from the vet. It was a VERY hard decision since we had specialists working on him, and they were happy to offer other options to try. So, I basically had to say that no, we didn't want to keep trying... He'd really suffered enough at that point. The team at Georgia Veterinary Specialists did an awesome job, however! He had great care. He was always clean, and they tried their best to get him walking. They did physical therapy with him several times a day and put a harness on him for support and tried to get him moving at least once a day. Anyway, I hope our journey helps someone else out there! At least there is now this thread, and there wasn't anything like this when I first started looking for information about canine epilepsy. One last note--Keppra seems to be helpful, although expensive. The neurologist was giving it to our guy via IV toward the end, and it did get his seizures under control. So at least he had some peace.
We put an exercise pen in the kitchen to confine the mess and used rubber backed rugs to prevent slipping. Pee pads are useful, too, if your dog doesn't shred or eat them. They make large ones for large dogs. The metal folding x-pens are pretty cheap and easy to fold up and put away when you are home.
We get our supplements through Amazon. For milk thistle and liveraid, we would do two of each supplement with each meal (for a 73-pound dog). The dose for your dog may be different, depending on his size. Awesome stuff for getting the liver values back in line, and SO much cheaper and easier to get than Denamarin.
Hi, Sorry to hear about you boxer. I know all too well what you are going through. Our Border Collie Zoey started having Epileptic seizures a year ago at the age of two. It was scary stuff, but even scarier were the side effects from the Phenobarb she has been on for almost a year . From day one we vowed to find an alternative to Pheno, but wanted to make sure that her seizures were under control before trying anything else. The side effects changed her life. The incontinence was bad, and has never gone away. She would wet herself in her sleep, we would find "accidents" all over the house, it was/is frustrating, and doesn't go away. She has also developed issues control issues with her hind legs. Could be numbness, which would explain the peeing. Her whole personality has changed as well. She is less focused, confused, and seems depressed. I had hoped these symptoms would go away with time, but after almost a year, I think we have all just adjusted to them. We had tried lowering her dose of Pheno, but she seized within two days.
A couple months ago we (with our vet) added a second med, Zonisamide. Zoey was still having cluster seizures, so it was an attempt to stop those, but also to ween her off the Pheno. After success with that (no more clusters!), we added another med, Levetiracetam. Both are anticonvulsants
commonly used to treat Epilepsy in humans, with great success. She has been on 1/4 dose of Pheno for the last week, without a seizure, and we hope to have her completely off within the next couple days.
She has completely changed without the Pheno, she is energetic, focused, happy, bouncing off the walls. I am also confident that the other physical issues will go away, but it is still too soon to tell. And no worries about her liver.
We knew that having a dog with Epilepsy would change our lives, and that is okay, but we wanted to give her the best life we possibly could and knew that there had to be something better out there. Other regiments may not work for all dogs, but if you have a great vet, and the resources (the meds are very expensive compared to Pheno), explore your options. Zoey is young, she is three now, and being doped up for the next ten years didn't sound fun.
Thanks for reading our story, good luck.
Glad you are having success with the combo. The bottom line is to do whatever is necessary to stop the seizures. As far as expense, check out this DVM website. He says you can get Keppra and Zonisamide for much less at Costco. HUGE price differences:
60 tablets (one month for a 30lb dog) of 100mg zonisamide costs at three pharmacies:
1) CVS – $ 226
2) Walgreens – $ 111 cash, or $54.99 with a $20/year Walgreens Savings Club Card
3) Costco – $ 14.88 (!!)
60 tablets of extended-release 500mg levetiracetam (Keppra) costs at three pharmacies:
1) CVS – $ 240
2) Walgreens – $ 245 cash, or $106 with a $20/year Walgreens Savings Club Card
3) Costco – $ 36.76 (!!)
you may need a new vet if she/he isn;t taking this serously, but cockers have a whole slew of skin issues independent of the seizures. I have had cockers for years. I bathe them in Selsun Blue shampoo when they get that greasy, tarry skin issue. Betadine on the surface of skin helps, too. The skin issues can be both bacterial and fungal and you want to take care of those to minimize that stress to their systems. I also fed my cockers lots of pumpkin or sweet potatoes for the beta carotene. It helped. I add flax seed meal to the sweet potatoe. Mush it up all together. Try it.
It's been a week since my 30 lb Cockapoo started PB (2 x 30 mg per day). He hasn't had a seizure and the side effects are almost completely gone.
For the first few days he was wobbly, fell down a few times, and couldn't climb the stairs. He paced around a lot and seemed to be confused and
scared. Now he is back to his usual happy self. He still pees a lot but has mostly regained bowel and bladder control.
Really glad I found this community! Helped me deal with the situation. :-)
Just wanted to update Kaos's condition. He is still taking the phen. twice a day and he has improved tremendously the past two weeks. I can't say that he is completely back to normal, but he has quit walking around in circles and pacing like he doesn't know what is going on. He is coming up to us now like he knows who we are, but somethimes walks into the furniture like his vision is a little off. He will use the bathroom inside the house if we leave him at home inside, which he never did before. That is hard for us to deal with, but I am so glad that he has improved as much as he has and that he has not had any more seizures.
This is so helpful! My dog Toby is a 16 month old Lab/Terrier and just started a week ago with seizures. We took him to vet, he stayed for 12 hours, and was sent home with Phenob. He has been seizure free but is a different dog now. Constantly wants to eat and drink, in trashcan, and just seems like his life resolves around food... :-( We are very sad about the dog he has become. I will talk to our vet about the 2 meds you mentioned. He is on a very high dose of Pheno now (97mg 2x day) and is only 40 lbs. The seizures were 3-4/day and some were very bad and seemed to start after his rabies vacc 2 weeks before (although I'm told they have nothing to do with each other). They just opened a Costo by me. Thanks again. I'll post outcome after our vet visit!
Toby, Yes, this VERY much could be a vaccine reaction.....Your regular Vet will not recognize it as such, but a Holistic Vet would see it immediately.....Here is a link from last year that has information for you.....
We on the forum never did hear any farther from this poster, but I did receive a copy of her email from Dr. Dobbs offering help on how to reverse it.....Please, let me know what you think after you read the link.......Karla
Hi, thank you so much for this thread. I have a shih tuz/lhasa opso mix and he had 6 seizures in a 36 hour period this weekend. Our Vet has put him on PB and he gets 1 pill every 12 hours. He had another seizure about 4 hours after his first pill but has not had one since. This is the third day. He is doing better but seems very sad, lithargic and is having accidents. To say it mildly I am stressed out. We love him so much and are very scared at what we are seeing and what he is going through. This thread has helped ease my stress. The one thing I have noticed is that he seems uneasy, small noises seem to scare him and he stares at me and whines like he wants something. It makes me very sad!!!!
We have a 10 year old (soon to be 11) border collie. She started experiencing seizures about one month ago. The vet put her on phenobarbitol and she had all the side effects. These lasted about three weeks. You just need to be patient with your dog and keep things calm around the household. She definitely has more of an appetite so we have to really watch the food intake. Thankfully starting last week she has become her old self again. Playing and active like a puppy, barks to go outside potty, but is still a little unstable at times.
We're not sure what caused her seizures as her lab test was normal.
We recently switched her food which has made a tremendous amazing difference in her health. I couldn't believe how horrible the food was that we were feeding her. We thought we were giving her the best stuff until reading recent news. Breaks my heart to know we were doing this to our dog.
Like I said, be patient with your dog. Eventually they'll overcome the side effects.
Glad to hear your border collie is doing better! I have a cocker-lab mix (going on 12) and he started having seizures in December and after a second in January we put him on meds (1/15/13).
He had many of the side effects but after two weeks he was better with some, but still has lingering issues with pacing up and down the hardwood floors (click, click, click :)) and has this quiet whine, and sometimes seems confused as to what to do when I put him outside to potty. I have to repeat - also this is true when I call him to come in.
He sleeps an awful lot - he was before, but seems much more so now, which I know is part of the pheno, I had a 13 year old whippit-shepherd mi I had to put to sleep right after Christmas since she had Log Gerhigs disease, so perhaps part of this lethargy is depression on his part -I don't know.
His back legs aren't near what they were in the beginning but he seems to not believe in himself to jump up on my bed even though he does with encouragement. Sometimes his back end hangs over the edge and I'll boost him up, but for the most part, he does it fine. I never allowed him on my bed until after the first grand mal and that was for MY comfort more than his. I had the need to know where he was at night. :)
What food did you change to? I also thought I'd been feeding good stuff but switched over to IAMS only to read there were cases of that brand causes seizures even though they were never "confirmed".
I wish you the best of luck! It's touch to see your pets suffer like this but I do think things will slowly improve for yours as they have for mine and many others. This is a wonderful forum to be involved in. It certainly helped me a lot! My best!
From: Dogfoodscoop.com.... This is only one example, but you will find the same information at other sites, also.....
Bad Dog Food List
Bad Dog Foods 0 Scoops
Here, you will find our Bad Dog Food List. These commercial dog food brands are, in our opinion, the worst dog foods on the market!
We give them a disgusted 0 Scoops!
Our personal recommendation is that you take a good look at these dog food names and memorize them.
Now! Tuck your tail between your legs and run for the hills!
See here for a glimpse of what really goes on behind the commercial dog food industry.
These dog foods contain the worst dog food ingredients you will find! They are comprised mainly of by-products; carcinogenic flavors and preservatives; cheap, unhealthy fillers, and ... Heaven only knows what else!
In addition, we have no respect for the philosophy of these pet food companies. In our opinion, they are clearly dedicated to their bottom line with a total disregard for the health and well-being of our beloved furry companions.
They are truly a far cry from the best dog foods available!
It is highly unlikely that any of these awful supermarket brands on our list of Bad Dog Foods will be carried or recommended by any respectable, independent dog food store.
Worst Dog Food Rating - Zero Scoops!
THE VERY WORST DOG FOODS ON THE MARKET
Abady Dog Food
Alpo Dog Food
Beneful Dog Food
Bil Jac Dog Food
Diamond Dog Food (Plain, Regular Formula)
Good Life Recipe
Iams Dog Food
Kasco Dog Food
Kibbles 'n Bits Dog Food
Ol' Roy Dog Food
Pedigree Dog Food
Purina Pro Plan Dog Food
Purina One Dog Food
Science Diet Dog Food
Tuffy's Dog Food
So so glad that I found this forum! I have a 8 1/2 year old Pomeranian that is 12 pounds and was put on 15mg X2/day pheno 11 days ago. Vet warned me about the side effects, but while Vivian was in the vet for the 12 hour observation, they were giving her canned dog food, which I do not feed her. She came home and was unable to control her bowels. It was awful, I ended up having to keep her outside for two days until after the vets suggestion worked (I live in Houston and it was like 50 degrees outside, don't call PETA on me!). I called the vet after the 4th day of the diarrhea and the vet told me to give Vivi 1 teaspoon of Activia yogurt a day and add a little cooked rice to her food. It worked WONDERS! Within 2 days, the diarrhea was completely gone. We (I!) am still having to clean up puddles of piddle about 6 times a day and my washing machine is constantly running now between the dog beds and towels used to clean up, but I am happy to say that Vivi is about 90% back to her old self. I think that she might have had another seizure today, but they are definitely not as severe as those first few days. I also cannot scare her, at all! She had a mini-seizure when I tried to wake her up last week. Not a pretty picture. Good luck, my fellow dog-lovers. I will pray for your pups to feel better very soon.
Hi our dog Toby (7 year old beagle) was diagnosed with epilepsy nearly two weeks ago. After taking him to a after hours vet he had cluster seizures in the waiting room, we had thought he was choking. He was sent home the next day, with Phenobarbitone. The first day he was pretty out of it, but still managed a walk. I was told by our vet that the first week would be the worst but had no idea. The next day he was pathetic and could only crawl using his front legs. I was seriously thinking that the kindest thing would be to put him down. It was then I did some research and found this site. So I gave it more time. By the third day he managed to sit up, by day 5 he could walk, be it very unsteady. It is now day 12, he is managing a short walk. I now have hope that he may get back to perhaps a relatively normal life. I will ask the vet at our two week check up, about the vitamins. Thanks so much for providing this information and for those just starting out with this process don't give up.
Im so glad i have read these posts. My 5 yr old boxer has been on the pb for 6 wks, and I feel she is declining. She hasnt had a seisure or falling down in almost 2wks, but miss her spirit. She is also losing control of her hind legs today. Vet wants to continue for a couple more wks. She is also on Gabapentin. Her labs came back ok after first 3 to 4 wks.From some of your posts sounds like she may get back to normal soon.
I am so thankful that I found this forum. My precious 12 yr old German Sheppard mix, Jewel ,had a seizure a week ago and was put on PB right away as the Vet did not want to take a chance in her having more seizures, which she most likely would. I started her on PB last thursday (4 days ago) and the next day she was a changed dog. She seems really dizzy and was really unsteady on her back legs. She's been really tired and I've been having a hard time waking her up. She usually gets up right away when she hears a knock or you ask her to go outside but since the meds its taking her forever to wake up and out of bed. She too has been really hungry and thirsty since the meds. Although she seems depressed she still got excited when we took her for a walk yesterday and also when we took her for a car ride which is how she usually gets.
I got really sad Saturday morning when I saw how she was; drowsy, stumbling and barely able to hold herself up while going to the bathroom. I called the vet that morning and we changed her dose from 1.5 pills twice a day to 1 pill twice a day in hopes she'll be less "out of it".
I've been questioning myself if putting her on the meds was really such a good idea but after reading all of these testimonials, I now feel much better and will wait a week of so before doing anything.
Wow! I was so surprised to read these posts. It's like I'm reading out my own journal. I just would like some clarity from those of you who've said that your dog's symptoms finally subsided. Did you have to reduce the dose, or did the symptoms decrease over time? My german shepherd has all that has bern described and has transformed over night from a playful five year old to a stumbling, anxious fellow who only wants to eat and drink and is drowning us in urine. Thank you for your help!
i would LOVE to know some herbal choices.. my Pomeranian mix (3 yrs) had his fist seizure a few weeks ago and had a second seizure 10 days later.. my vet prescribed phenobarbital and i have been SO hesitant to start him on it.. ive filled to prescription but havent started the meds yet. would you mind emailing me the herbal remedies youve tried!? ***@**** thanks..
I have an 8 year old King Charles he had seizures recently. He was presribed phenobarbital but I have not started him on it yet as he still seems like he is lethargic. do I have to worry about him taking it when he is already lethargic?
Don't give up. We have a 70lb 7 year old while lab named Sam that just started having seizures 4 months ago. They started out as foaming at the mouth and running wide open thru the house. I had no idea what was wrong with him, he had never been sick, was always active, and was up to date on his shots. After about an hour that turned into full blown cluster seizures which consisted of 7 seizures back to back when we took him to the vet for the first time for seizures. The vet put him on 64m phenol twice a day and he stayed in the hospital for 3 days due to a high fever from the cluster seizures. After the third day we picked him up from the vet and he could hardly walk, eat, we had to help hold him up to pee or poo so he would not fall down in it. We made him walk, with help several times a day for exercise. He would not even bark anymore, all he wanted to do was sleep. He loved to go for rides before the seizure and now he is terrified to get close to the car. He improved little by little everyday. Around the fifth day he was wide open we must have walked 3 miles that day. Exactly 2 weeks later he had another seizure, but he came right out of it, it lasted about 2 minutes, so we called the vet and they suggested we give him an extra dose of phenol. We did, and after that extra dose it was right back to the same way he was when he came home from the animal hospital for about 5 days, then back to normal again. Phenol made him extremely hungry and thirsty after the 5 days. Two week later the vet checked his phenol level in his blood and it was on the low end of the scale, the vet told us to watch him closely. Two week later Sam had another seizure and had a very hard time coming out of it , so we went back to the vet were they now up his dose to 2 64mg twice a day, and suggested it may be a brain tumor, and wanted to send him to a neurologist for a cat scan, which would have cost 1500.00. We said we were not going to do that and just wanted to give it a little more time, he then stayed another 2 days in the hospital. Then it was right back to the same way he was after his first seizure and the extra dose for about 5 days. After this time I did a lot of research on seizures in dogs and found that along with phenol people were using a vitamin supplement that helps control seizures called Nuvet Plus which is all organic. I was at my last resort and was willing to try any thing. It has now been 3 months since Sam's last seizure, I really don't know if it the vitamins helping him or the increased dose of phenol, but all I know is that he went from having seizures every 2 week to the exact day and time to now over 3 months and praying longer. He acts like a puppy again running, playing, barking, and howling..Sam is also back to loving his rides in the car. I am now giving the supplement to all my dogs and cats. So long story short, don't give up to soon, I know it is hard because I almost did. Just give it time, and then make a decision on what to do.
dmz8952, same here - so glad to have found these posts! There is so much common ground here it is comforting, even though the process is hard to go through. We are at the two-week mark using Pb. So far we seem to be right down the middle of the experiences so many have posted; seizures have stopped, most side effects occurring, and noticeable BUT SLOW acclimatization to the drug. I feel we have just started the process and a lot of observing and meds tinkering lays ahead.
• 6yr old, F, Boxer
• sporadic seizures over 6 wks leading to cluster of grand mal episodes in one weekend (none directly witnessed until one Sunday).
• after ER weekend with Valium, Pb prescribed (97mg 2x day).
• lethargic, sleeps a lot (more), clumsy, drinks a lot of water, has peed in house several times - seems to have "unlearned" the signals to tell us she needs to go out.
• coordination down; hind leg support wobbly when peeing.
• at 2 wks with Pb, is beginning to show signs of the old mischief, but at very low levels and short lived.
• During the second week, started having "head-twitching" but only in the mornings and quiets down before noon. Seems less severe as days go by.
Boxers are prone to a long list of possible maladies, including tumors, so all of this is upsetting (esp. head twitching) but we are trying to be patient.
So glad to find the posts about alternative meds, vitamin and liver supplements, and dog food ratings.
Special thanks to "trosen" for sharing so much of their journey.
This has all been very helpful. Just because hearing others experiences has been helpful in keeping my sanity I will share mine in hopes someone else gets some respite.
My 14 year, 7 month old 22lb miniature schnauzer Buff had basically been a picture of health his entire life. Besides the usual stiffness an old dog will get he never so much as had diarrhea. So you can imagine my surprise/fear when after waking up one morning at 7 he followed me to the kitchen and suddenly dropped into a 2-3 minute violent grand mal seizure. 4 more followed that day (all came right as he was waking up) and he received a loading dose of Pb that night at the ERVet.
After 2 days of a near comatose dog urinating on himself and looking lost and not even trying to stand, I phoned the vet to have the talk. I couldnt stand to see him like this anymore. She convinced me to come see him before I made any decision and I of course planned to, just wanted her to know my intentions were not to let him suffer. His head was up when I got there and we both agreed to give it the weekend. Today is sunday and the improvement is noticable but slow like many have said. He struggles on wood and tile still, but manages small circular walks on carpet and grass. He is eating as ravenously as usual and drinking when I help hold him up. He is still very much lethargic and definitely more weak than usual in the hind legs, but thanks to his small gains and the experiences Ive read on here I have hope. Quick note on dosage after the heavy loading dose that knocked him down...for the first few days after he was on 1.5 tabs every 12 hours but the vet gave me permission to reduce to 1 tab/12 hours Friday night in hopes of him coming to a little sooner. He hasnt had a seizure since the first day.
Even after that lengthy post (sorry) I feel like I left out some details so if you have any questions feel free to ask. And please if you have any advice...throw it my way.
Thank you all for sharing, it really helps to learn that other people (and dogs) are going through the same things that we are.
My dog is a 9 months old mutt, blind since birth and epileptic. We started treating him with phenobarbital about 1.5 weeks ago and started experiencing the side effects just now.
He is sleepy most of the day, walking slowly where he used to run, started drinking and urinating excessively, and even started urinating in his sleep, inside the house, etc.
We're really hoping for those phenomena to disappear soon, and reading about your similar experiences is really easing our minds.
So thanks again.
My dog had her first 3 seizures and a huge mass appear at the vaccination spot 10 days after her vaccines as well. Then less than a month later she had 4 in one day so we just started penobarbital today. She's a 4 pound papillon and I cried as I gave her her first dose in her food tonight. I'm so scared to have her on it and just as scared not to
Thankyou for starting this thread and updating as you did. I have a 10 year old Australian Shepherd who had a single grand mal seizure in Jan 2013, then what appeared to be mild focal seizures for a few months (not daily, but often enough). Another witnessed grand mal event in June, and our vet thought that the five month interval makes a brain tumor less likely. (and he tested for metabolic and infective diseases too.) Our Aussie started on phenobarb four days ago (30 mg twice a day), and seems zoned- out and weak in his hindquarters. So far, no incontinence in the house, though.
Your story makes me think that brain tumor is still the most likely cause. Until I read it, I had no idea that intracranial tumors in a dog could grow so slowly--two years is a long time. That gives me a bit of hope that our boy can still have some quality of life once he adjusts to this medication.
This post has helped me so much, my dog is 13 1/2 and I feel I wrote your help" post. Your words and description are exactly what I was seeking. I am pleasantly shocked by the results you wrote of in June. My girl is on day 3 of the drug and its hard not to think this is it for her. Thank you nonetheless for taking the time to post.
First I want to say how much these posts have helped me so much. I have been a nervous wreck ever since my 16.5 year old poodle, (Jake) had his first grand mal seizure a few days ago. You see.. Jake is now completely blind due to a cataracts that progressed very rapidly last year. It was very difficult to see him bang into things constantly and for weeks went into a depression watching him in this state. So time went by and I started adapting to his blindness and so did he. We also put him on baby diapers as he was no longer able to ask for the door.... Going on.. in May of this year, Jake came home from a short walk and once inside the house... yelped in such a way I could not understand... I immediately put him on the floor and he then began stumbling, deffacating and vomiting.. His tongue which hangs out a bit because we had his teeth removes d/t severe gingivitis.. turned blue and I he lad labored breathing. I immediately though.. a heart attck or stroke. We rushed him to our vet...After numerous tests and hundreds of $$ later, the vets ruled out a heart attack but could not figure out what had happened. He was in a coma for a few hrs as well.. but later that night, awoke from it and returned to normal the next day.. Then... a few weeks later, something strange happened... Jake seemed to have a partial seizure... eg: stumbling and head twiching to the side for about 20 sec... About a week later, another episode but this time worse... All in all, it happened about 4 times in a span of a month or so. I kind of brushed it off because the vet had spoke to me about a probable brain tumor once I mentioned to him taht I thought Jake could have had a seizure back in May. I figured these mini seizures would be the worst of it. Then a few days ago at 4AM, I was awoken to rapid banging sounds.. I thought someone was breaking in my house. my husband and I ran down the stairs to see Jake near his bed, rigid... and having a massive tonic clonic seizure.. I made sure he was safe and put a protector under his head. The seizure was long.. about 7-8 min and I was so terrified.. We rushed him to the ER dog hospital and the vet did a blood test to see if it was metabolic.. it turns out the labs were pretty normal except for a mild anemia. She told me about an MRI to rule out a tumor but at $1000 and having to sedate Jake, I refused. I figured.. at 16.5 years of age.. what good will it be for me to know that the dog that I have loved all these years now has a tumor that could be cancerous... So they put him on pheno twice daily which is so hard because my whole schedule has to revolve around these "every twelve hours". Jake resists so badly and I am often left in tears because I feel so horrible drugging him up like this. ( dose is 0.6 ml twice daily at a concentration of 10mg/ml.. he is 5 LBS) He has been on it for 4 days now..I feel depressed all the time because I see Jake in such a comatosed state, horrible coordination, loss of gait, falling all the time, bumps into everything and walks about in circles. Jake no longer responds to my voice and has terrible weakness in his hind legs. The ER vet said that in 3 weeks I will have to go see my regular vet to get a phenobard blood test done to see if the serum levels are okay. I am just a mess right now and could really use some encouragement. My husband is very supportive but doesnt feel the sadness I feel day after day. I have thought about putting Jake down.. but i would never be able to live with myself seeing as he is not in pain.. He still eats, drinks, loves his banana in the morning and enjoys finding the sun when it shines in our house.. he seems to have a willingness to live but right now he is unrecognizable... Its for certain Jakes health has drastically changed over the last 2 years.. from blindness, to a heart murmer to now.. possible tumor... Should I remove Jake off pheno and let nature take its course or do I wait it out and see if teh side effects diminish??? Do I consider putting Jake to sleep or let him live the rest of his life as he is.. unless things turn really bad... Iknow this post has been extremely long but I need to talk about is because my heart is breaking inside and I am so tired from this every 12 hr phenobarb schedule. Please offer your advice. Thanks xoxo
Please don't give up on Jake. Our girl Sasha, age 15, has been going through the same thing. She had cluster seizures on Thursday, less than a week ago. It has been very hard and scary to see her this way. She spent that night in the Vet Emergency Hospital, then Friday all day at her regular Vet. The pheno has really played hell with her, unstabily, lethargic, messed up vision, frequent urination (this is due to the pills having a salt base, which makes them drink more), increased hunger (right now she can have anything she wants), The first 2 nights she was home we spent the night on the floor with her, just keeping her calm as she was very scared of what was happening.
She sleeps in the bedroom with us at night and have found that keeping a light on has also helped. One of us has to get up every few hours to take her outside on a leash to pee, but then it is back to bed.
This year alone we have lost two other senior dogs, Charlie, Age 15 - over time he developed gall bladder problems, then bladder cancer, then diabites. He lived a full year past when it was expected for him to go. And up until the last few days he was great. We just lost our other girl Maya, Age 16 2 months ago. She had a major stroke in January 2012, she had many challenges afterward, but kept on going. When they both felt it was time to move on, they let us know and Jake will tell you the same.
One thing we have found out by observing Sasha is not to have a ceiling fan with lights on. The blades turning with the lights on causes a strobe effect, and for someone with seizures not a good thing for them to see.
12 yr old std poodle just had first seizure end of May and a second mid-July. Started on PBS two days ago. All same side effects. I'm on a hunt though to find out if seizures were brought on byif a change in heartworm meds. She was taking interceptor until mid may when vet sold me sentinal (interceptor off market now). Sentinal is same except has lufenuron which kills fleas. She also gets frontline+ monthly. I'm now wondering if sentinal is the trigger for the seizures. Also interesting to see different PBS doses. Rosie is 55lbs. Vet started her on 60mg and then upped it to 90mg. She can't function. We're going to cut her back to 60 slowly. Will post as things progress.
I have a 7 year old lab that started having seizures on Feb, he is on 125 pheno, twice a day and 750 keppra three times a day, he is doing ok with seizures, but is sleeping and tippy, I really think his dose is too high, I am calling the vet and taking him in this week, is anyone else on this combination? He is80 lbs
I'm so glad I stumbled upon this conversation. My 5-year old Black & Tan Coonhound/Great Dane had a few seizures throughout the year. After the first one I brought him to the vet and the vet wasn't too worried, but wanted me to keep an eye on him. He'd have a seizure once every few months and they seemed fairly mild. He was alert but had very little control of himself. They would last only a few seconds and he would recover (stopped panting) in about 20 minutes. Then, on the one-year anniversary of the day I rescued him (actually, he rescued me) he had a seizure and didn't seem to recover. His panting got worse and worse and he was really hot. I was able to get him to the car (he's a 90-pounder) and took him to the vet. On the way there he had 4 more. My vet is 3 miles away. He had 4 more at the vet (so, at least 9 seizures in an hour) before they were able to break the cycle with diazepam. They loaded him with phenobarbital and had me bring him to a 24-hour facility for observation. No more seizures! So he got to go home with me in the morning with 97.2mg phenobarbital twice a day.
They did say it could be a brain tumor but that it was more likely idiopathic epilepsy. So, as I watch him walk around like he's had a few too many beers and eating and drinking like he hasn't eaten or drank in a month I wondered how long the adjusting to load would last. It is good to know that his symptoms are common and that I should not expect him to adjust overnight. This conversation has put my worried mother mind a bit at ease.
Rosie is now 8 days on Pheno and has steadily improved. Much more alert and not "drunk". She has some hind leg coordination problems especially in the morning. She does zonk out within 3-4 hours of taking the Pheno. No personality change. She does lose control of her bladder if she goes more than 2 hours although that only happens in deep sleep. Unqwenchable thirst. I asked get about milk thistle to ward off potential liver problems. He advised against it at this time, suggesting that we wait to see how her liver handles Pheno for the first month. He doesn't want to add anything else into her system. He also doubts that Sentinal was the trigger for the seizures. Only way to know would be to go off Sentinal and Pheno but who would want to do that and risk seizures. There has been no sign of seizure - including focal - since her grand mal 11 days ago.
i have a 12 year old cocker spaniel who is on pheno for 4 days now, thankfully she has had no more seizues but is urinating and defacating all over the floor, her hind end trembles to the point where she cant walk and she has no idea where she is or who we are at times...i know she has no control of this but i really dont know how long i can deal with this situation ... good luck to you!
I am at day 3 and you all have inspired me that things will get better, I am almost ready to put him to sleep but I want to give the meds time to work and by reading these posts there still may be a light at the end of my tunnel.
Hi, I know yr post was sometime back but if you ck in at all I would appreciate knowing answer to this. How much Milk Thistle did you give your dog and Liverite. My poodle is only 5 pounds so I'm not sure. I think she has too much pheno in her at one time and needs breaking up to have a small dose half way through day before full evening dose. Tho I'm beginning to think there is too much pheno in her system and liver. Seems like she perks up about 2 hours before 2nd dose and then she gets it, and back to lethargic, hardly functional. I actually thought she would die the other night after 3 seizures. I think pheno needs to be broken down to smaller dose 3 x day instead of 2 big doses but cleansing liver is good idea with this med. She has taken this dosage for approx. 2 months and recent week been acting like she had brain damage or tumor. BUT perked up 2 hrs prior to each dose. I'm thinking liver cleansing good idea before something significant happens there if not already. I thank you!
Yes, I also have a 9 year old lab mix who had cluster seizures for one day and now she is on Phenobarbital too. The doctor reduced it this weekend but she has all the same horrible side effects as these other dogs. I would love to get her on a natural herbal seizure remedy. What do you use? Please can you help me?
Thanks for all the info. I have a 10 yr old Schnauzer, Louise (16 lbs), Thelma is her sister. Louise had 4 seizures within 24 hours (3 mos.ago). They gave her IV pheno and now Louise is on 16.2 mg pheno twice daily and Hepagen C in a.m. and her problem is piddling & pooping. When she remembers to use the doggy door she's fine but sometimes the meds cloud her thinking.. Her bowel movements look more like dirt which is odd. Her demeanor has not changed that much, we all still kayak and I feel her sister, Thelma, is keeping her going. I'm thankful for the meds, but would like to find an alternative solution. Any ideas would be helpful. .
First of all, I am so sorry about your pup. I know how hard that must have been and hope you are dealing with it ok.
I just wanted to post a comment about my 5 year old lab Koda. He just started Phenobarbital yesterday. He had his 1st seizure in February of this year and was 4 years and 7 months old. He then didn't have one until earlier this month and had 3 in total this month alone. We just started him on the meds yesterday and I am so scared of the side effects he and we might have to face. He is such a happy, go-lucky, always hyper kind of dog so I know it will be hard to see him any other way. But it is better than him having seizures all the time. Just hoping it works. Thanks for posting updates and side effects your dog went through and I will post back soon.
My miniature dot had 4 seizures in about 36 hours. She has been at animal hospital for 2 days so far. Each seizure latest 20 min. It manly effected front legs, neck and head. She did not twitch,convulse or foam at the mouth. She just could not move these parts. Her eyes were open and she looked at me and knew I was there. She was down on her chest or side front legs, I could fill the muscles twitching or shaking, only effecting that front part of body for 20 minutes. Has anyone experienced that type of seizure with their pet?
My Golden Retriever started having seizures after we were at a local park, she was 1 month shy of her 5th birthday. The vet put her on Phenobarb which I was not happy about since I am familiar with the side effects (I'm an RN), this vet acted as though it was the ONLY drug and could not answer any of my questions about it...after a few days of our dog dragging her hind legs and wetting on herself we decided to cut her dosage in half from 64.8mg twice per day to 32.4mg twice per day with better results. She had an occaisional seizure after that, we were also told to give her a valium suppository during/after the sezure which calmed her down. Recently she started having them again over a period of a week, the vet had my husband put her dose back up to 64.8mg x2 daily - she lost vision in her right eye (its temporary), started wetting in the house again and dragging her hind legs. After a few days of this we cut her dosage in half again BUT after speaking to my sister I ordered a product from www.allergicpet.com to help control her allergies called VSF Nuroplex Formula (2 pills at breakfast and dinner) and the Nuroplex Formula spray to give her when she's having the seizure. We just got it and have not tried it yet - I'm going to cut the Phenobarb after a few weeks of being on this supplement and slowly get her off of it! Go to the website and read the reviews - I can't watch my dog suffer anymore, and I'm totally against giving her a drug that has horrible side effects and causes Liver damage. I'll update in a few months, hopefully with great results!
My 8 yr old chihuahua/pug mix started having grand mal seizures about two weeks ago. The vet put him on phenobarbital 8mg 2x daily. He did NOT become lethargic at all. He became hyper-manic. I couldn't tell if it was the phenobarbital or effects from the seizures. The vet said that this was a rare side effect, but hyperactivity does happen in a small percentage of cases. After a couple days, he calmed down some, but still became manic at times. He was seizure free for a few days, then had another grand mal followed by several smaller ones (cluster) later than night. Since it was the weekend (Sat pm), I rushed him to an overnight clinic. The vet at this clinic doubled his dosage to 16mg 2x daily and gave him valium to calm him down. After almost 24 hours, I was told he had had no more seizures and had been "resting peacefully" so I picked him up thinking he could rest much more peacefully at home. This was about 10:30pm on Sun. My poor baby was hyper manic the rest of the evening on into the wee hours of the morning. After about an hour of this hyper behavior, I called the clinic and they said he was just re-acclimating to home and to give it a little bit of time. I was afraid to put him back in the car for the 30 minute ride back to the clinic because it would only stress him even more. Finally at about 3:00am, he settled a bit, but was up every until our regular vet opened at 7:30am. He was prescribed Xanax .25mg to be given as needed every 6 hours to help calm him. And our vet agreed with doubling the Phenobarbital to 16mg 2x daily. This seemed to help for a couple of days, but now he's becoming restless again -- can't get comfortable, paces, barks at nothing. I am at my wit's end and it absolutely breaks my heart to see him this way. Has anyone else experienced this type of hyper-activity? I hate giving this awful drug (Phenobarbital) to him, but I don't know what else to do to keep him from having seizures. I've read everyone's comments and I am stricken with fear that this could go on for 3 or 4 weeks.
My "Schnoodle", Ernie, is a pretty old dog but, since he showed up at my door 3+ years ago (with serious heartworms, Cushing's Disease and more) his age is unknown. He had several "petit mal" siezures every year..then a "gran mal" (scary) 6+ weeks ago. He weighs about 18 lbs. dosage 16.2 mg/2x daily. (He is on other meds like Temeril-P and Enalpril) He has done OK in many ways, although does have loose stools once in a while. He did start this barking routine...just stands in the room, looking at me or away, barks for maybe 3 or 4 minutes, about every 20 or 30 seconds. In his case, it can be stopped with a few little treats--like the little dog bones "Mini's"---one of the side effects of phenobarbital is increased appetite in many dogs. See if offering some little treat helps diminish this. BTW---the more you try to learn about the drug, the more confused you can get. I was especially concerned with the dosage of "every 12 hours"---I could not find any good informationon how much of a margin could be used. I just decided this week to try the best Vet university in the world, Cornell. Their program is amazing--even a "pet loss hotline"--and they referred me to the pharmacy connected with their Small Animal Hospital. I was told that it is always best to stay as close to 12 hours apart as possible but a one hour difference should not be a problem and even up to two hours usually will not create an issue...this was comforting, since I found sites that inferred even small differences in timing could be trouble. I will try to be in a 15 minute window but it helps to know there is a little "wiggle room" if something unexpected occurs.Finally, I learned on my own that Xanax does work pretty well if a siezure happens...my 18 lb. or so dog does fine with about .4 mg (that's point 4 mg) which is a little hard to snap off from a 1 mg tablet but it works in 2 steps--it is fast acting. Hope this helps at least a little.
Thank you so much for sharing! We're on day 4 and my baby has ALL the things you described. I shudder to think we may have to go through this for 3 weeks, but I'm relieved that your dog DID get better, so there is hope for mine! Until I read about your experience, I was CONVINCED that her two seizures caused this and not the medication. When I looked up side effects of the medication online, all I saw was that my dog could become lethargic. Are you kidding! She is so wiped out, it's FAR from just lethargic! So thank you again!!!! :)
Thanks all for your responses. It's been an interesting read. My 5 year old mongrel (GSD mix) is 5 years old with no history of any sickness and then four days ago, 2 seizures ... Went to the vet who told us to monitor the situation and over the past 3 days he had 12 more seizures. We started the Phenobarbitone (30mg x 2 daily) yesterday and he's been very confused since.
Commands that used to light him up "walk walk" or "snack" etc ... Now he just seems to barely recognise. Luckily, after reading from here it seems that this will improve over time. Thanks for putting my mind at rest.
Im so sad reading all of these posts. I have a 12 year old toy poodle, Pebbles.. who is and has always been a sweet sweet Girl. I brought her and Rosie home together in 2001, Rosie was 4 days older. We lost Rosie to Lymphoma 8/19/2012... she put up a great fight, was actually never sick and handled the chemo great, until her last 3 days. I was crushed... but 16 months, and $15K was worth every moment. Pebbles was lost.. she followed Rosie everywhere.. she is a Diabetic on 4 units 2x day of insulin N. Being diabetic, it's very important that they eat.. so i literally sat on the floor every day, breakfast and dinner spoon feeding Pebbles so she'd have food for her insulin shot. It took months.. and she came back to being herself.. and i wanted some company for her, since she always had a companion.. and we now have 3 new puppies.. (I got carried away, but i just LOVE dogs) Pebbles resisted at first, but has come around and all is a doggie place to live... but.. in January Pebbles had her first Grand Mal Seizure. $3000 later.. test after test, they determine no tumor, she wasn't hypoglycemic at the time, so it's epilepsy. Seizures came about every other month- that we saw. Then the dr decided to put her on this dreadful, wretched drug Phenobarbital. Lowest dose, half pill knocked her out.. so i cut that down to a quarter pill once a day before bed.
About 3 weeks ago, she was walking towards me and I literally saw her back legs go out from under her. I thought, mistakenly thought, that it was a seizure that she was coming out of, and I INCREASED the dosage and gave her 1/4 pill in the AM and 1/2 pill in the PM. What a dummy... i'm resourceful, i'm a reader, i research everything.. and i didn't research this damn dreadful drug. Pebbles went from jumping, playing and being as energetic as a 12 year old could be.. to now having the tremors, shakes, unstable legs, inablity to hold herself up.. and overall a different dog.. she is very slow, drinking like crazy.. nothing compared to diabetic drinking.
I'm weaning her off those damn meds.. even though she is on a dose that is 'barely theraputic' the small does over time has caused her to lose coordination and stable legs...
I'm sad and in tears as i write this..
Hi all, my 10 month old puppy started having seizures last month post neutering. On the 3rd day after he was neutered he had his first grand mal seizure which he quickly recovered. My vet at that time said it could be a one time thing. He then had another seizure on the first of October. Just a couple days ago, he had a bunch of cluster seizures about 15 grand mal seizures in a 12 hour period. We had taken him to the vet and given him diazepam. It required 2 consequent doses of diazepam to keep him seizure free for about 5 - 6hours. We had to start phenobarb since his clusters were getting closer together. The first day he was on phenobarb, he was very drowsy. But the next day he was super hyperactive to a point where I couldn't get any sleep at night because of all his pacing and making weird noises (howling/babbling?). He urinates almost everywhere and anywhere he walks to. He drinks excessively and eats like crazy (he's never been a big eater). He chomps his food and even his food bowl at times. It's been horrible. I really hate how he's got this seizure. I wish he can just go back to before.
All dogs are different, however, I can tell you that my almost 13 year old standard poodle is doing very well on Pheno Barbital. Full acclimation took about two weeks. Now, no more stumbling and sleep pattern is "normal". Best news is that her liver enzymes are okay and in the therapeutic range (after 3 months of being on Pheno). She does drink a lot and that, along with being an elder female spayed dog, brought on an incontinence problem especially at night during sleep. Two weeks on PROIN has done the trick for the most part. We put a diaper on her at night and when we go out and after about 2-3 weeks on PROIN, the diaper is always dry. I've read all sorts of horror stories about Pheno and PROIN, however, both drugs have made a big improvement in the quality of life of our dog. She has not had a seizure since being on Pheno and thankfully so far so good with her liver.
Yes, it's definitely worth staying with Phenobarb and waiting for bloods to settle down. The side effects can remain for up to 8 weeks, but 4 weeks is more common, and if there are still side effects (thirst, etc) after 6 weeks, it would be worth talking to your vet and seeing if a reduction in the dose is needed. Phenobarb will almost certainly maintain a certain level of drowsiness, even after 8 weeks, but this is a small price to pay for the good the drug actually does. The important thing is to achieve a therapeutic level in the blood, which can take time to get to, sometimes with minor up and downward movements in the dosage. If in doubt, ask your vet to assess your dog and to do bloodwork to see how things are going. Tony
My 14 year old chiuacha just started pheno 3 days ago. She is all the symptoms most are describing as side affect. However she is circling only to her right. Just small circles constantly. Any advice from anyone.
Tell your vet ... in a tiny dog of that age the phenobarb level needs to be quite small, so she may be on too much. It's better to start small and increase to a therapeutic level, rather than the other way around. Tony
My 6 year old black lab has been on this medication since May and the urinating in the house does not dissapear after 2/3weeks so beware! he's on 60 mg every 12 hours! the hyperactivity is throughout the whole day and he barks at anything and everything! The vet done brain scans and an ECG but could find nothing so put him on the meds as a precaution! Does anyone no how long it takes to leave there system?
Phenobarbitone is a powerful drug. There may be traces in the system long after the medication has been stopped, but the effects of it will still be in the system for at least 15 days. It is essential the drug is not stopped immediately. It must be stopped slowly and in decreasing amounts and frequency, because otherwise the dog will suffer severe withdrawal symptoms - just like an alcoholic. Tony
Do you happen to know if the symptoms or side effects of the pheno, when given too much, or even it too little, can resemble mini seizures? My 12 year old toy poodle started having grand mal seizures, 3 that I saw over 4-5 months, and we started the pheno in Sept., first signs were sleeping heavy, so we reduced the 1/2 pill once a day to 1/4 pill at night.
i noticed her back legs would tremble while she was eating, but i thought she was nervous because my other 3 puppies (all under 1 year) were fighting over their food or something.... then one day she was walking towards me and her back legs just gave out from under her. I thought it was end of a seizure, not realizing it was side effects of the pheno, and i added 1/4 pill in the morning.
The leg weakness got worse, so I started to decrease the pheno, and she started having twitching, head jerking and was shivering...she also fusses with any pillows scratching at them and then falls sideways.. losing her balance..
dr said the dose wasn't enough and it could be mini seizures, but I just have a strange feeling that it's all the pheno effects.. have you heard of that? back in January she did have all sorts of tests to see if it was tumor etc, and all was ok.. foot note- she is diabetic and on 4 units of insulin 2x day...
i'm sick over this... and hate that it's up to me to try to regulate the pheno by noting the symptoms..
If you notice any side effects, this will normally be in the first few weeks of starting PB therapy and also when the PB dosage is increased. These side effects will normally diminish in time. These are sedation, ataxia (loss of coordination), and the 3 P's: polydipsia (excessive thirst), polyuria (excessive urination) and polyphagia (excessive eating). Gaining weight is a common problem for many dogs on PB and this is one side effect that might not diminish. Therefore it is important to use as little as possible 'extra'food in giving medication. After long term usage, another problem is that the dog's system becomes use to the drug and will usually need a greater dosage to maintain control.
Phenobarbitone should treat seizures, not cause them, so it may be you have yet to find the therapeutic level. Do you think the seizures occur about the time or close to the time the next dose of phenobarb is due? If yes, then speak to your vet about adding an additional AED, namely Potassium Bromide (KBr). Not all vets will prescribe this, as it is not FDA approved when treating dogs with seizures, but it is nonetheless considered the most effective treatment of seizures in dogs that are diabetic. I would suggest doing a bit of research on this yourself via the internet, then speaking with your own vet, then deciding whether or not to find a vet who will prescribe it if yours won't (assuming that's your conclusion).
There is no direct problem between diabetes and giving phenobarbitone, as far as I am aware, but phenobarbitol does have an affect on the liver, and the liver plays a minor role in the regulation of blood glucose levels. Again this is something worth raising with your vet, just to be safe.
I am assuming your vet is undertaking bi-weekly bloods to check the levels? If not, they should be, as this is the only way of identifying the "therapeutic window" that is needed with phenobarb.
Thanks so much for your response. The vet (who i love) did do a blood check and it wasnt quite at a thereputic level, but the 1/4 pill 2xday was knocking her out... so I had reduced it to 1/4 pill once a day... which doesn't seem to be right either.
i did notice that the 'event's happen at the same time.. between 8:30-10 AM and the same time at night.. so it appears to me it has to do with when the meds are needed.
It's just odd.. or strangely coincidental that this has only happened since being on the PB. I am not a fan of it.. but would rather that then grand mal seizures... I am now trying 1/4 at night, 1/8 in the morning.. shes only just 11 pounds and seems quite sensitive to the meds..
I'm going to try to stay on the dose just mentioned and then get another blood check. I feel so helpless. it's heart wrenching. Thanks again for taking time to respond.
Hi Janet. Sounds what you are doing is good to me, though I'm not an expert by any means. I think it's worth turning a blind eye to side effects as much as you can, as these are only likely to be evident in the early stages and while you are trying to find that therapeutic window. Once established, the side effects should diminish if not disappear, though some minor changes will be unavoidable, but they are certainly much more preferred than the seizures. I really would mention Pot Bromide to your vet, as this has proved very useful with diabetic dogs that are also epileptic. I empathize with you, I know it must be a dreadful thing to see your best friend suffer with this, but she is getting so much help from you and your vet and I'm sure things will improve over the next couple of weeks or so. Do let me know how you get on. Tony x
Our Golden Retriever, Baxter, 8 years old started having seizures in April. The first one, he was sleeping in his favorite chair, and fell off. We thought he just fell out and hit his head. He had the typical seizure, all legs running, frothing at the mouth and non-responsive to us. We were so frightened, we thought he was dying. I did some research and then we knew he had seized. Then about every 9-10 days he'd have them again. We took him to our small town vet. She put him on the Pheno, 1 pill a day, 64 mil. He didn't have a seizure for 4 weeks. Then he got another one. This one seemed worse. He peed, and when he came out of it, he was panting and hyper. Took about an hour to calm him down. He started having them once a week after that, so she doubled his pills. That was 128 mil.He went 3 weeks, and then had 4 seizures in a 15 hour period. None of his seizures lasted more than 2 minutes, and the last ones he seemed to come out of fast, and was himself. Took him to a different vet (ours only was in town 1 day a week), she did blood work on him and weighed him. He weighs 110lbs. She doubled the dose he had been taking and it was then that the wobbling and sleeping and not being able to keep his back legs under him to get up started. We were so broken hearted. He's been on the double meds, 250mil, for 6 days now, and last night I cried myself to sleep thinking I'd never see the loving, wonderful friend that we've raised from 6 weeks old be himself again. I was thinking, what good is it if the pet you love has lost himself, his heart and brain and will never enjoy chasing the rabbits out of our yard, or roll in the grass and look at us with loving eyes again. I actually prayed for my dog last night, not only to help him but also us get through this if we had to wait weeks to see how he would adjust. This morning my husband took him out at 6am like he always does, and when they came back into the house, Baxter ran into the bedroom like he use to do every morning to get me up. This consists of him wagging his tail so it hits the wall (to warn me he's there) and then the soft nose rub to say Good Morning. He has been himself all day today. He's getting up easier, he was perky and wagging his tail. I'm so amazed and grateful. Thank you Lord. I think my Baxter may have had it better than some because he started out with small doses which got increased, and then when it was doubled it seemed bad. But it was 6 days to get to normal for him, and it's possible that since he didn't have to start with zero Pheno in his system to a full dose for his weight, that he got accustomed a little easier than some of your pups. Hang in there, my fellow dog lovers, as I hope your best friend has the same result. Give it time and by the way, a sincere prayer might help you as much as your loving pet.
I hope everything is under control now. I just found this forum. You are correct not to use a crate. My poor dog ended up pulling a tooth out when she got her mouth wrapped around the bars during a seizure.
We have a little rescue Chihuahua/Papillion mix who began having grand mal seizures out of the blue about 5 years ago. They were intense and he would lose all continence. After the seizure he would be blind and paralyzed for about an hour, and often vomit repeatedly. One thing our vet told us that helped me a lot was that dogs do fairly well with epilepsy--and doggie parents don't. She assured me that Simcha would do fine while we worked to find the right therapy for him, that it was an art--not a science. Because it takes awhile for PB to reach therapeutic levels, I think it's extremely important to stick to a single regimen for at least 2 weeks. Continually changing the dosing and/or scheduling will only extend the amount of time it takes to find the optimal remedy for your Pebbles. Sometimes more than one drug is required to control seizures. baxterlover had very good advice--be patient, hang in there, and work follow the instructions of your vet so any changes can be made based on concrete evidence (not just feelings). It was very difficult for me to not project my feelings on to Simcha--and I sometimes thought the vet should drug me too--but when I was sane it was clear that Simcha was handling it better than me! Good luck on your journey.
To follow up on Pebbles dosage- I had increased the dosage of PB to ¼ pill at night and a little less than 1/4 pill in the morning.. more toward between an 1/8 and ¼.
The PB made her sick and throw up in the beginning and thats why i had reduced it.. She has thrown up a little the past 2 mornings, But, the shivering stopped. Although, like clockwork between 8-10:00 am/pm she would get the jerking/twitching symptoms.. some nights better than others, or none, but it still happens.
I questioned whether the jerking was a reaction to the meds as it would happen within minutes after the dose, but also happen before the dose, so I feel like it’s a coincidence and possibly a withdrawal… ? or maybe symptoms of a seizure which the meds stopped from going into full seizure?
Last night, I gave her just under a ¼ pill at 8:40 pm (the pills do not cut evenly and I can never get a correct split on the pill) and about 10pm she still had the jerking movements…her eyes twitch, and she makes sounds with her mouth like she’s chewing gum.. it seemed to subside within about 5-7 min, however about 11:45 the jerking started again which led into a full seizure.
It’s the first one I’ve seen since approx 1-1.5 months ago? It’s also the first one I’ve seen her foam a little, not horribly, but it was there and she was also snarling/growling for the first few seconds before she went into the full blown seizure. she panted… stiffened and it did pass within 5 min or so. She went to sleep and about 15 min later she started jerking again… so in fear of another seizure happening, I gave her another 1/8 pill.
She slept good, woke up almost a little peppy walking around the house and such. I gave her a ¼ pill this morning.
i've asked the vet if i should stick with the ¼ pill at night and in the AM? Do we need to add the bromide or see how she does with the increased dose?
Thanks for your words about trying to let go of what I’m seeing and follow vet instruction and not just my feelings watching her go through this. It’s very difficult ..I’ve read they lose personality because they are so drugged, but I don’t want her to have seizures.. I’m hoping to soon find that fine line.
Hi again. Keep with the same dosage, under vet's advice, otherwise you are not going to know whether it's a too high dose, too low dose, that is seeing good results. Consistency is needed for analysis. Also, while it's fresh in your memory, keep a good record of what was given, when, and when any seizures occurred, the severity of the seizure too, as this will be invaluable for your vet.
Also, just worth pointing out, personality shouldn't alter, but it's worth realizing that with all epileptic seizures there is a period afterward when dogs can have some level of amnesia, not knowing who you are or where they are. This should only last a few minutes, if it happens, so lots of reassurance is useful when they come out of a seizure. Tony
I just recently had my dog Chance diagnosed with Canine Epilepsy. She has been on meds now for about 3 weeks. She had to stay over in ER to be dosed the first night because she had 2 major seizures within 4-5 hrs. One thing I have noticed though with her is that she is biting at her hind legs a lot now. like she has fleas or something but its limited to ONLY her hind area. she does not scratch or bite at herself anywhere else this way. Does phenobarbital cause itching as well? I have been trying to research it but have not found anything. She does see the vet soon as well so if nothing else of course I will mention this to them. Just figured I would start here.
Hi. Although the side-effects of Phenobarb do not suggest any itching or hypersensitivity in dogs, I have read numerous forum threads where this has occurred. I think it is probably more like you have a sensitive dog regardless of the phenobarb - did she ever have allergies to other things? I would certainly raise this with your vet at the next appointment, but try not to alter the meds before then. You could try a soothing cream like Calamine on the itchy hind quarters in the meantime. Tony
We've decided to incrase the PB to 3/8 of a pill 2x a day. For her weight, the theraputic level was 15-22 i believe and her last blood check she was at a 6... so i have been clearly underdosing. I hated the side effects and would reduce it immediately as I couldn't believe that I was doing good while making her have these reactions.
I have decided to let the dr be the dr and follow instruction. She had a peaceful good day yesterday, which was peaceful for all in the house. today, she woke up with a little twitching.. wobbling... but i stuck to the plan and gave the 3/8 dose.
First, I'd like to thank everyone here for sharing their stories. I feel so bad for our babies that struggle with seizures. Of course, every dog - just like people - are different, but I have to say, I never remembered dogs having seizures when I grew up and suddenly it's prevelent. I work in a very well known animal feed store and hear everything, plus I have a 9 year old chihuahua who's had seizures for 3 years now. This is what I've learned, generally speaking. First - diet is key. There is so much crap in even the "natural" foods these days, don't be fooled by labels or even price. Just because it says organic or natural doesn't necessarily mean it is. Do your homework. Also, although hard to find, look for food that has taurine and NO rosemary. It's out there, but I don't want to sound like I'm plugging anything, I'm not. Next, no treats, no people foods, as carb free as you can get. Don't waiver or cheat, your pups health is at risk. Next, please DO NOT USE ANY of the flea remedies out there or shots. These are huge factors in canine seizures and difficult to recover from. That started the whole nightmare with my chi. I put on a dose of a very popular flea control product and she went right into cluster seizures for 2 days. Of course I took her to the vet right away, but when the valium would start to wear off, she'd go right back into a seizure. Foaming at the mouth, shaking, it was horrific. She has never recovered - she now has seizures without her right diet and medicine. I have her on phenobarbital. It's 10.00 every few months through CVS. Very affordable. I also add milk thistle to her food each night to protect her liver. Amazon.com sells a vitamin called Newtricks that helps so much as it seems to affect her neurologically. I try to keep it as simple as possible. She's tiny and a senior. I don't think she'll ever be the joyful little pup we brought home almost a decade ago, but she's much better than she was when all this started. Good luck to everyone.
Hi. Dog nutrition is something I have been researching for some years, so I was very interested in your post. Chi's can be tricky dogs, just because they are so delicate and of course have several genetic problems, so despite the odds, I think you've done well. I will certainly be looking up some of the things you have mentioned to see how they perform. I am curious about one thing though, you say 'DO NOT USE ANY of the flea remedies out there or shots' ... in the event of a dog getting fleas, tics, etc., ... what would you advise? Flea allergic dermatitis is a very common problem, so dog owners must deal with fleas to prevent it. Tony
Hi. Have you checked the ingredients of the food you have/are using and more importantly, are the seizures due to food allergy or to epilepsy? I have an article you might be interested in about dog food allergies. http://www.infobarrel.com/Is_Your_Dog_Allergic_To_Its_Food
How is little Pebbles doing? I'm glad to hear you are being consistent with the dosing in order to determine the proper therapeutic level. I was at our vet earlier in the week for something related to our other dog (who has terrible allergies) and we started discussing PB. She said being inconsistent with the dosing can actually lower the seizure threshold--and actually cause seizures.
BTW, we have a pill timer to remind us to give him his PB at 8AM and 8PM. It beeps and if we don't open the container within a certain amount of time (less than a minute), a red light blinks until the container is opened. It's been helpful--even though we rarely forget because Simcha loves getting his pill (we wrap it in a little wet dog food). He comes to get us about 15 minutes before the alarm goes off. We call him "The Pill Before the Pill."
I don't know if this will help, but when Simcha was first diagnosed the Vet Neurologist explained canine epilepsy in a way I really understood (although with passing years, my memory is waning). This was in response to a question I asked about why his seizures were nearly always in the middle of the night (I didn't sleep for months, even after the seizures were controlled). He said electrolytes are charged particles that, when released from the brain, allow us to move and the discharge with the movement. Normally, there are doors that let out the electrolytes when the body needs to move. In epilepsy, the hinges on the doors are broken, therefore letting out the electrolytes randomly--and when there is not enough movement to use them up, the electrolytes need to discharge somehow and a seizure occurs (and there is little movement when sleeping). I may not be remembering this entirely accurately.
A funny story: After the Neurologist determined that Simcha's seizures were often enough to warrant medication (he prescribes medication if seizures occur more often than about once every 3 months), he wanted Simcha to get an MRI to make sure there were no structural issues in the brain. It required keeping Simcha overnight. When I asked why, the neurologist said that Simcha would be going to a clinic for humans! Who knew? He wouldn't tell me where it was though.
Anyway, hang in there.
I adopted two 3 year old yellow labs in 2010. After about 4 months, one of them had a seizure; her previous "owner" had never witnessed this when he had them. I took her right to my vet who advised me to keep watch but didn't advise any medication with this first event. I didn't witness another seizure until 11 months later then the next six months later, then 4 months. I was worried that this could be happening while I was at work and could actually be more frequent than what I was seeing. At this point, my vet agreed that it was time to put her on meds and I chose phenobarbital.
We began the regimen, and she had weakness in her hind legs and a couple of incidents of urinary incontinence and she was very thirsty and hungrier than normal. Other than the thirst and hunger, the symptoms were gone in less than 2 weeks. She developed a chewing problem, which she didn't seem to have before the medication, but I give her more things to chew so it's not a problem any more.
I have not seen a seizure since she has been on the PB, which is now almost 16 months. I am now retired and home almost all of the time so I am confident that it is not happening out of my sight. As long as things are going well and no adjustments are necessary, I will need to have lab tests annually to monitor her and assure no organ damage.
I guess we are the lucky ones because the PB treatment works for my baby. I give her one pill of 64.8 mg twice a day. She weighs approx 57 pounds. We had some lab work after she had been on the meds for a couple of months and the vet said that this dosage has her at the therapeutic levels.
well I'm very saddened to say that I lost my Pebbles last Tuesday. Last Monday evening she had 2 back to back seizures and I took her to the animal hosp in the new town we moved to. State of the art facility... who advised me that she was grossly overdosed on insulin.. which was causing the seizures, so PhenoB may not have even been needed. Aside from this terrible fact, she had Stage 3 kidney disease, which had not been diagnosed by our prior vet, whom I had been telling for MONTHS that something is wrong. I had a diary of her seizures and what her days were, and he just kept increasing the PB. He hadn't done blood work or a glucose check since January of this year, even with all of my countless calls and faxes of the diary of her days with the seizures. I am sickened.
I just lost my Rosie last August to Lymphoma... she fought so hard.. they had said 9 months to a year and she made it to 16 months.. $15K later, she never acted sick.. you wouldn't have known she had cancer... it wasn't until the last 2 days that she declined and we knew there was nothing we can do for her.
I have monitored Pebbles closely, for months.. and unfortuantely the vet who i thought was great... neglected her.
I have three puppies at home.. and I love them all. I have deeply loved all of my dogs, but Pebbles held a special place in my heart.. she was a momma's girl, everywhere I went, Pebbles was with me. I am truly broken hearted.
I suppose the moral here is just as we are our own advocate for our own health, we are also the ONLY advocate our beloved pets have. I should have taken her for a second opinion sooner. We moved 5 months ago and i drove 45 min to take her back to the Vet I thought was CARING for her. Had I gotten another opinion sooner, perhaps I'd still have my Pebbles.
Hello. I am very sorry for your loss. Pebbles sounded like a wonderful dog and I know she was so special to you. I also realize you feel guilt, which you have absolutely no reason to. You went further than most dog owners and did more than what many dog owners would have done. You did everything and more to help your little girl - and put your trust in your vet, like we all do. Sometimes vets make mistakes - or they aren't as thorough as they should be - but that is certainly not your fault. In fact, as you said yourself, you went to him because you believed he was the best vet for Pebbles - so again, you did everything for the right reasons.
If Pebbles could say it, she would tell you she understands you did your absolute best - but it just wasn't meant to be. She would thank you for caring for her so much - and for loving her - and for giving her a wonderful life.
My thoughts are with you. Look after your other babies, they need you.
Oh dear Janet,
I am so sorry and am teary eyed as I write this. It sounds like Pebbles was a special little girl who loved you as much as you loved her. She was so lucky to have such a caring Mom. You did everything you could to help her--and much more than many pet owners. And Pebbles knew it. Because she contributed so much to the person you have become, she will always be alive in you. May your memories of Pebbles and all that was beautiful about her be a source of comfort and blessing now (and always). Tony is right, look after your other babies because they need you--and you need them. My thoughts and prayers are with you and your human and canine family.
Hi Nancy. Thank you for your kind comments ... and for helping support others here. It's often a sad place on this forum - but to be amongst such nice people is reward enough. Have a lovely day. Tony x
Thank you Tony and Nancy for your responses and kind words.
My heart is lost, but somehow someway there's comfort from this page..just knowing there are others who actually care.. human kindness isn't always shown as often as it should be. That's the beauty of our pets, they love us, they're kind to us, they care for us... all the time.
Tony- your last statement- to Pebbles -allowed me to see her in my mind prancing around again waiting for me at the door.....
Hi Janet. This may be too early - or not something you will want to read - but some time ago I wrote a piece about the loss of our best friends. Most have said it helps, even through tears, to read it. You can find it on my PinIt page. In the meantime, you are in my thoughts. Tony x http://www.pinterest.com/tonybooth71/dog-articles/
Please take care and post when you need someone. (I think I have my notifications set correctly now.) If Tony and/or I aren't able to answer, there are many kind people here who can. When our beloved Harmony passed in 2005, it took me a really long time to find peace. Eventually I got help from an animal communicator. My husband thought I was a complete wackadoodle, but it helped. My point is, do whatever you need to help you through this trauma--even if you or someone else thinks you're a wackadoodle.
Our Rosie, 13yr old std poodle is now 5 months on PB and Proin and she's doing great. Running, playing and yes, drinking all the time, so she needs to go out more often than ever before. Tony, youve implied that excessive thirst and urination eventually go away? We're due for a check on her blood to see if PB is still at therapeutic level. Hope so. Also hope she doesn't start to need higher dose given how acclimated she is to current dosage (1grain 2x day). Anyone have a sense how long before dosage needs to go up, if at all? Thankfully she's seizure free. Occasional OC behavior like circling to find that perfect spot to lie down.
Have noticed that she has a brownish eye discharge that she never has before. Related to drugs? Proin is an antihistamine, so I wonder if that's the cause.
There is nothing like coming home to that excited, loving stare with tail wagging and pawing at me. Makes me grateful to care for her.
Hi. Usually the excessive thirst and consequential frequent urination do go - but only when the phenobarb is at a therapeutic level, so it may need adjusting slightly by your vet (after blood levels are known). Alternatively, it could be something else that's causing the excessive thirst. Proin can cause excessive thirst - so it may just be a side effect of that, and possibly something you just have to live with. Obviously there are also a wide variety of illnesses that can also cause it, such as diabetes, but the blood results will show any major problem - or hopefully, confirm there are no other major problems.
I'm not aware of anything she is taking that could cause the brown eye discharge you mention. However, there is a common ailment in dogs called Pink Eye, which could possibly be what you are describing. The cause is usually conjunctivitis ... treatment consists of a topical solution applied to the eye to get rid of bacteria. I would explain the problem to your vet and see what his diagnosis and treatment advice consists of.
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