Hi. Hopefully you have read this thread, as there are lots of useful info here. It can take a while to find the therapeutic level for phenobarbital, so make sure you have a vet appointment booked to have your best friend's levels checked in about 2 weeks, and then 2 weeks or so after that again. Be prepared for some increasing or decreasing of the dosage, but under strict supervision and advice of the vet - don't alter it yourself. It's worth keeping a diary of daily observations - for example, any seizures, when they occur, how severe, when tablets are given, when food is given and what kind of food or treats. This info will be useful for your vet. Also, read up on side effects and make notes of any that present themselves. Tony
I feel so grateful to have found this thread! My beloved one eyed hound dog Ruby (9 yrs) had her first grand mal seizure yesterday, followed by 2 more less than 24 hrs later. I took her to the vet (immediately after first seizure) where basic blood work showed no abnormalities (bili slightly elevated, all other LFTs normal), xrays normal (first seizure happened when I loaded her up in the car, did her foot get stuck!? Seizure induced by pain/tramuam!?), no clear etiology. The subsequent 2 seizures were so dramatic I thought it was the end. In desparation asked the vet to start phenobarb and prednisone (as we had previously discussed if seizures persisted). Loading dose has been given and now we wait with bated breath to see if our girl improves. Thank you everyone for sharing your stories and to Tony for your knowledge. If she improves and does not decline I plan on getting her levels checked in 2 weeks or sooner. Are there any other recommendations at this time? Love and blessings to all
All of these posts have been a tremendous help and relief and have also given me optimism for my current situation. I have a 3 year old toy rat terrier named Winnie and 3 days ago she had surgery for a ruptured anal gland. After her surgery that night she had 6 grand mal seizures. It was very scary and sad to see her go through that. As soon as the vet opened that morning, we took her in and they performed tests on her. There really was no definitive solution but they suggested she go on phenobarbital to help control the seizures. After they put her on it, she seemed very uncoordinated, was having accidents all over the house, was walking around the house restlessly sniffing everywhere, and maybe most painful of all and hard to comprehend, didn't seem to recognize me at all. That night around 2am she had another seizure for about 2 minutes and it took her about 30 minutes to fully recover. It kills me to watch her go through this and I just want my normal and loving Winnie back. The next day was a better day and she never had a seizure and seemed to be acting a little better but still not herself. Does anyone have any advice? Will she ever be fully back to normal and if so when can we expect her to be back? Also, does anyone think that her surgery might have had something to do with the seizures?
Hi. I can't say whether the surgery could have influenced the seizures or not - I guess that's something your vet is best answering. The first few weeks of being on phenobarbital is the worst, because it does cause temporary amnesia and substantial drowsiness. These are side-effects, which tend to dissipate within 2 to 4 weeks. Hang on in there, it will get better, and yes, you will eventually have your old dog back again. The meds are better for her - so just be strong for her. It would be worth keeping a diary of each day, just so you can record any changes, any seizures or partial seizures, and what she does activity wise. Show this to your vet at your next appointment (presumably in about 2 weeks, as it is essential to take blood after about this time to check the levels). Keep to the dosage and don't miss or reduce it. Tony
Thanks Tony. I really appreciate the quick response. Another question: Will seizures continue with the use of phenobarbital? Also, do you know of any other medication to help the seizures? I've heard herbs might be an option? Thanks again for all your help. I feel a lot better about Winnie and more optimistic!
Hi. The seizures should disappear completely once the therapeutic level of phenobarbital has been found. However, epileptic seizures can re-occur, because the epilepsy progresses as a dog ages, and consequently a slightly higher dose of the medication may be required over time. This is why it is absolutely essential to have regular blood testing done, and although most vets reckon this should be once a year, I would tend to go for once every six months (once the right level has been found).
The question is, are these epileptic seizures, or the result of something else - including the surgery? Diet can also play a part in dogs having seizures, as can sudden trauma and anxiety. It may be a guessing game, but one that your vet should be able to work through by having various tests done. You might ask about this at your next appointment.
Herbs are actually not good for dogs. We have to remember that a dog's anatomy and physiology is not the same as a human being, and things that might be good for humans are rarely good for dogs. Just as one example, have a read about my piece on Rosemary here: http://www.infobarrel.com/Is_Rosemary_Harmful_to_Dogs
You will see that Rosemary can actually cause seizures. So do be careful about what you might read about holistic approaches. It is also worth checking what you have been feeding your dog - look at whatever products you might use and read the ingredient list or look it up on the Internet at: http://www.dogfoodadvisor.com/
There are other medications that can help, but phenobarbital is probably the best of the bunch. If things don't settle down, it is worth asking your vet about combining phenobarbital with Potassium Bromide. Always try to achieve giving your dog the medication at the right intervals, as close to the recommended time as possible. If Winnie needs to stay on the medication for more than 3 months, it is worth looking into a diet change, as it can lead to liver issues over long periods. A simple change of diet can correct any consequential liver impairment - again, another reason for having regular health and blood spectrum checks at the vet.
Hope this is all useful to you. You should make yourself more aware of the effects and side-effects of phenobarbital, which you can do here: http://www.canine-epilepsy.com/Phenobarbital.html
My Golden Retriever Cody is just over 5 years old and is 100lbs and was diagnosed with epilepsy in July 2013. His seizures were coming every 2 months and then every two weeks during the Christmas season. Our vet said that because he is young they would assume epilepsy over a brain tumour. She would assume a brain tumour if he was over 8 years old. When Cody started having a constant twitching we went back to the vet. These twitches were like full body muscle spasms. His front legs would also start to slide out from under him and then he would twitch them back into position. The twitches would be somewhat continuous throughout the day and result in a seizure. The vet prescribed phenobarbital for Cody at 70mg BID. He has been on it for a month now and has not had a single twitch or seizure. He also has not had any of the negative symptoms that everyone else has described. No lethargy, no loss of bladder/bowel in the home, no aggression or hind end coordination loss. I'm currently home on mat leave and he's with me all day long and doesn't sleep any more than he used to. We also have a 9 month old Boston and the two of them play constantly, just like they did before Cody began seizing. Cody does have an increased appetite and thirst, and he'll steal any food left laying around, sometimes even taking the just cooked pizza right off the stove, but I can deal with that symptom. I'm very pleased with how he has responded to the phenol and feel for everyone who is going through all those horrible side effects. I pray for you all to find a solution and peace for your babies, and I pray that my Cody continues to respond well to his meds.
Hi. I am so pleased the phenobarbital has worked so wonderfully well and quickly for Cody and mostly without side effects. Hitting the therapeutic level is sometimes trial and error, but then just occasionally a vet can get the level right first time. It also proves that despite some people's misgivings about the medication, it can be a wonder drug for many dogs with seizures and/or epilepsy. Tony
hi there,just found this site our dog elsa started having fits about 4 months ago ,very distressing for everyone,took her to the vets,he put her on a course of pexion starting with the lowest level she carried on fitting so now through gradually increasing the dose she is on the highest level and still as fits so now she as been put on pheno 30mg,all the symptoms she is suffering are described on this page,very upsetting for everyone,but knowing that we are not alone with this problem is curiously reassuring,maybe its a true saying a problem shared is a problem halved,I to want my old Elsa back thanks to reading q&a i feel more confident,i hope in the future I will be able to make a more positive contribution to this forum
Hello and welcome to the forum. Yes, this is a really good thread for you. Lots of information in it that will prove useful as time goes on. If you have read the thread through, you will realize that it can take a short time to find the right level of phenobarbital for your best friend. The side effects often disappear almost completely within a few weeks, and sometimes sooner, so try not to worry too much about them. Elsa may feel a bit dazed and sometimes lethargic, but in a month's time, there should be a good turnaround with her. If she has just started on the meds, have you got an appointment in about 2 weeks time to get her blood taken again. This is essential, as it's only by checking blood levels that the vet will know whether to increase or decrease the dose, or leave it as it is, to solve the seizure frequency and severity. Tony
Hello again,like I said earlier elsa is on pixion at the present moment, so what we have got to do is ween her of the pixion, and up the pheno slowly until the right level of medication is achieved,the vet wants to see elsa on a regular basis to check her bloods and general well being,I have a lot of faith in our vet
I just hope it is not misplaced only time will tell,But Tony reading these threads as been so helpful in preparing us for what lies ahead,elsa as been on the new medication for 24 hrs now,all the symptoms we have read about are beginning to show but thanks to this thread we were prepared for it.
Hi John. Yes, as with all seizure and epileptic related medicines, they should never be stopped or changed all at once. It is also worth saying that it is good to try and keep to the same times every day when the meds are given, or as close to the same time as possible. And one more thing, keep a diary of when the meds are given, when you feed her and what you feed her, and her general day-to-day behaviour, any seizures or changes in mood, etc., as all this info will be useful for your vet when assessing things. Although obviously playing with Elsa is important, there is evidence to suggest a dog prone to seizures or epileptic seizures is very susceptible to becoming over-excited ... and any over-excitement can in itself bring on a seizure, so just as it's important to play with her - it's also important to know when to stop playing and calm her down a little. Hope this helps. Tony
Hi there,elsa as been on PB now for 72 hrs,beginning to look like her old self again thank god,chasing pigeons and barking at the birds on the bird table which take no notice of her at all,still crazy for food and water, can live with that, once again a big thanks to this forum it was a massive help just knowing what to expect,i will carry on contributing to this forum hoping we can help some other poor souls who were going through the trauma we did thanks Tony.
Glad I found this thread. My 14 yr old lab mix starting having seizures Christmas night. She has been on Phenobarbital for 10 days now. Seeing all the side effects as stated in earlier comments: thirst, hunger, weakness in hind legs, weaving, losing control of bladder at times. Overall, not herself at all. I'm a bit concerned though because her prescription is for 1 gram pb 2x a day. She weighs 68lbs. Compared to the other doses in other comments this seems like a crazy amount? It's late now and will call vet tomorrow but thought someone might see this beforehand. My heart breaks seeing her like this. The vet didn't even advise me to get blood levels checked after a certain time frame either. I wouldn't have known if I didn't see this in previous comments. Any feedback welcome.
This is addendum to my above comment. I researched further the dosing of my dogs PB. Apparently i thought 1gr was 1gram but its 1 grain which equals a little more than 64mg. Whew... Feel a little better now.
Hi. Glad you now discovered the phenobarbital is about average as a starting dose and are no doubt reassured by it. The routine blood testing is absolutely essential - and this will be intensive to begin with, then every six months probably for the rest of her life (if she stays on the meds). I am shocked and slightly worried that your vet has not pre-arranged a forward appointment for this to happen. I think you need to ask why he/she hasn't given you another appointment. It is advisable to have bloods taken at the 2 week stage, and then make any adjustment to her meds as required following the results. Then another appointment to have bloods taken 2 weeks later and then monthly for the first 3-6 months. Then every six months thereafter.
Without the blood tests, neither you nor your vet know whether the right dose of phenobarbital is being given - and it is essential she gets a therapeutic level without being overdosed. If she is not receiving enough phenobarbital, she will have seizures, if she has too much she will get severe side-effects.
Thank you so much for your help Tony! I am taking her to a new vet Tuesday. Although I've been taking my dog to the same vet office for her whole life she's never had a serious issue. Now that she has a serious medical issue, I feel I can't trust them now. Too big of an issue for me to let go. How could I have not been told to come back and get blood work. I first went to the vet after her second seizure. He was reluctant to start the pb. He said I could call if they were to continue and then go,on the phenobarbital at that time. I called a month later after a few more seizures. The receptionist said I can come pick up the meds which I did. At that time, nobody advised me of any further treatment necessities. So Thank God I did my own research and thank God for this thread! I just want to do what's best for my dog and take the best care of her I can. She has been such a joy to me and my family.
Hello again. Unfortunately, not all vets are the same - and it often pays to do your own research, just so you are up to speed on things and can ask the questions that need asking. I am pleased you have decided to change your vet - I think that is a good idea. I just hope your new vet proves more efficient and professional. Either way, this site is good for information and I hope you find the support and advice useful and productive in helping your little girl.
Hello again. How did the bloodwork results go? It sounds like she's at or very close to a therapeutic level from what you have said, so hoping there is no need to alter the medication level - but even if the results show an adjustment is needed, it sounds like it would be very minor increase or decrease. Tony
Hi. I have an 11 year old lab named Piper. She started having seizures when she was about 5 years old-having about 2 seisure a year (that I know of)..... Well, last year she started having them every other month and they would last almost 20 -30 minutes before she would totally come out of it. It was horrible to watch and I was so scared she was going to die. We put her on phenobarbital about 3 months ago and no more seizures, but she barks all the time and is constantly wanting food. I will take the bark for sure. Good luck
Hi. It's great to hear the phenobarbital has worked well with Piper. It is not unusual for seizures to increase as a dog gets older, particularly with true epilepsy (which it sounds like Piper has). One of the biggest side-effects of the medication is increased appetite, and with a Labrador, that's something to be very careful with as they are so prone to putting on weight. Most labs I have known are always ready to eat, ha. Anyway, it might be worth giving her something like a Kong with a little peanut butter smeared inside it from time to time, just to satisfy her craving and take her mind off the hunger she is probably experiencing.
The barking is interesting. This could be Piper having very minor seizures or the "fugue" state that often accompanies epilepsy. If you haven't had a recent blood-test done, it would certainly be worth doing, just to be sure the phenobarbital is still within the therapeutic range. If she has only been on phenobarbital for 3 months, you should really be having monthly bloods done anyway up to about 6 months or until such time as the therapeutic range has been found and is stable. And then every 6 months from there on.
Hello. Kujo, my 13 yr old Jack Russell, started having seizures 10 months ago. The first one was horrific to watch, never having seen a seizure before this. Kujo lost control of his bladder and waste during the seizure and I thought he was dying or having a heart attack. After my vet explained what a seizure is and does, I started keeping a log of the subsequent seizures which occurred at two month intervals, e.g. time of day, activity before seizure, length of seizure, recovery time, etc. The pattern was that Kujo would go into seizure during sleep and most frequently in early morning. The single seizure episodes then progressed to cluster seizures, up to 3 consecutive, about an half hour apart. Devastating. The vet suggested to change diet to organic, grain free, made in USA. I did immediately however, the seizures continued. My other dog, a dachshund mix, would run around yapping excitedly, clearly nervous and confused at her buddy's condition. During the seizures and directly afterward, I would take Kujo into another room, lower the lights, and just try to comfort him quietly. The vet put him on pb, 1 pill twice a day, at same times each day. Two weeks later, on vet instructions, the dosage was increased to 1.5 pills twice a day. In one week he is due for another blood test, and vet will continue to test until he is satisfied with levels. Kujo experienced the wobbly stance, clumsiness, increased appetite, and an insatiable thirst. After gaining a few pounds, I have now put him on measured amounts to keep his weight down. After initial dose and last week after the increased dosage, the drugged side effects were apparent, but several days later, both times, he seems to have adjusted. He still plays, runs, jumps up on couch and bed, but has a bit more trouble in doing so. He has not had a seizure since his first dose over three weeks ago. I am going to continue with vet's instructions and monitor/log his condition. Blood tests will continue as much as necessary. Kujo is my buddy boy and I am so grateful that there is something to keep him enjoying life without the frightening seizures. The effects of the drug is FAR less than the body jolting seizures. Thank you for your info and know that it is comforting to read of all of your experiences. The best to all of your dogs and you who love and care for them. Alicia, Kujo and Helen
Hello. I am pleased you have found the forum on this subject useful and informative. I read your post with great interest, because you have done exactly what all dog owners should do regarding monitoring, recording, having blood tests undertaken at regular intervals, starting at a low dose of Pb and rising gradually until the therapeutic level is found and then regular blood tests at longer intervals to maintain this. You have also started a weight control feeding regime, which is perfect, and have changed to better quality food. I commend everything you have done - and the proof of the pudding, as they say, is in the eating. You have achieved good results for Kujo by doing ll the right things. Congratulations. Tony
I have a 6 yr. old female Jack that very recently became withdrawn, inactive, and developed a spasm or tic that can be felt by placing a hand under her neck. The vet asked if she had access to rat poison. The only poison is used in the garage for spiders and she certainly does not have access to that but I am now wondering if walking on the spray could be absorbed through the feet as she occasionally comes into the garage if the door is left open.
The vet gave her prednisone 1 tab twice a day for 1 week and then 1 a day for a week but we did not get through the second week when he decided to give her phenobarbital twice a day 16.2mg because she was not getting any better. Have had several Jacks and know what she was and what they are and she is no longer the bundle of energy typical of this breed. We thought when we took her to the vet that our larger heeler jumped or fell on her and were very surprised to hear that he thought she had been poisoned. Right now, she has ups and downs but squeaks if touched. Am wondering what it could be as it seem the vet is unsure exactly what is wrong with her. It seems that the phenol is prescribed for seizures and she has not had one.
Hi. I have absolutely no idea why your vet has prescribed phenobarbital for your Russell. Even if she had been having minor seizures (as a result of poisoning), phenobarbital is a medication I would have thought was inappropriate. It is possible your dog has licked her feet, if she had walked through poisons, and this could have caused the problem. I would certainly question your vet and ask why phenobarbital ... and if he thinks it is seizures/epilepsy, why does he think this?
As you had suspected one dog may have fallen on your six year old - and given that she squeals when touched - has she had an x-ray? Has the vet examined her for torn tendons or pulled muscles?
Look at the poison you have been using. Check the ingredients and list them in a post here. Make sure neither dog is allowed anywhere near the floor or wall or other areas where the spray has been used. My next advice would be not to use that or any other spray containing poisonous elements. Look for organic remedies that are dog-friendly.
I strongly suspect the problem is actually a trapped or aggravated nerve or something very similar. The vet needs to test her reflexes - as well as take an Xray to ensure no other injury of the neck area has occurred. She will then need an anti-inflammatory and muscle-relaxant to help her feel more comfortable for a few days, until things calm down. Did the prednisolone have any effect at all? This is a steroid and anti-inflammatory, so it should have eased things a little.
Try to keep her calm. She needs lots of rest. Do not walk her with a collar on (no walks for a few days is best), as pulling could worsen the condition. Also, don't allow her to jump up or down on furniture or other things, beds, chairs, etc.
I'm finding it quite difficult to appreciate why the vet has used phenobarbital in this situation, unless there's something he has found under examination that he didn't tell you about at the time. I would be very interested to be informed about what his thinking is, just to satisfy my own curiosity.
I will call the vet tomorrow to ask the questions. I can only think that he thought she had been injured because of what I told him. My dogs go berserk when the doorbell rings or we open the garage door and they all pile on the back door. The IGH was injured in this way but recovered. I found it strange that an injury and poisoning would have the same symptoms. I fully expected 3 weeks ago that the vet would advise me to put her down because she was dying and that was how bad she looked. That is not an easy drive to the vet to make. Some days now better than others, still wagging tail, eating, sleeping, just not the same happy active little dog. The vet told me that the phenol would be absorbed into the fat at first so it would take some time for effect. Patty seems to be bloated and I am wondering if that is why. I asked about the x-ray and he said that it would be pointless for soft tissue injury as it would only show bone injury. I did not mention Thank you for answering so quickly.
oops! Sent before completing. I did not mention to the vet because I forgot but she holds out one leg at an angle when she comes up to me when I am on the computer. She is quite an actress and has many antics but now I think that mannerism is part of her illness.
One last comment and then I will shut up until I talk to the vet. Patty has an incontinence issue that the vet prescribed a medication for which I cannot remember the name of. I went back for a refill and he said it was no longer available and prescribed Proin which was a hit and miss. I did not feel comfortable with it and ordered Kemen off the internet which is a hit and miss also but is supposed to be natural and not a drug and had pretty much the same result. Some days good and some days not. My dogs sleep in my bed which also is an issue with her incontinence problem. I am hoping that Kemen does not play a part in her problem. I stopped the Kemen when she got sick and the incontinence is out of control now. Maybe I should get another vet opinion? He came highly recommended by many of my friends.
Talked to the vet today. Bottom line, he is puzzled. I told him I do not want to put down Patty if I do not even know what is wrong with her. I am going to see him within a week, sooner if I can work out my schedule with my job. I told him that I read that phenol is for seizures and epileptic fits and he said he prescribed it for the spasm in her neck and because the prednisone was not working. He still does not think an x-ray is necessary.
The poison in the garage which I do not think is the issue and he does not think so also because it would have worn off or killed her by now is
Ortho Home Defense.
Small amounts of Bifenthrin
cis isomers 97%
label reads that people and pets may re-enter treated areas after spray has dried- one hour.
Patty goes in the garage to greet us coming home. My husband sprays around the entrance from the garage to the house but also puts down a mat over the spray.
Hi. Thanks for the additional info. I really don't think the spray is the issue, although some of the ingredients are contra-indicated. Bifenthrin is of particular concern. Exposed pets may experience single-episode vomiting or diarrhea, reduced activity, twitching of the ear, paw flicking and increased drooling. Other signs can include hyperactivity followed by incoordination with diarrhea, depression, and dilated pupils. Some veterinarians have reported additional signs such as chewing, head bobbing, partial paralysis, and tremors.
There is absolutely no need to consider euthanizing Patty. Please put this thought out of your head. I am assuming this consideration did not come from your vet? If it did, swap your vet.
I think it is probably time to get a second opinion anyway, as your regular vet is out of ideas and - in my opinion - is misusing phenobarbital in the absence of any other ideas.
You need a diagnosis, and your regular vet seems unable to give one.
If the tremor was caused by the spray, it should dissipate within 48 hours of first contact with it (assuming you have kept her out of that area since the first event). I think therefore, by tomorrow Patty should be much improved - and if not, the cause of these symptoms is something else.
I have asked a friend of mine on this site to examine your post, just to give her very informed opinion on it. Hopefully she will remark on it within the next day or so.
"Exposed pets may experience single-episode vomiting or diarrhea, reduced activity, twitching of the ear, paw flicking and increased drooling. Other signs can include hyperactivity followed by incoordination with diarrhea, depression, and dilated pupils. Some veterinarians have reported additional signs such as chewing, head bobbing, partial paralysis, and tremors."
None of this is happening except for the reduced activity and of course the spasm in the neck. The vet did not recommend euthanizing Patty at any point. That was my thought when I saw how miserable she was and when I had to take her in that way- she looked like she was on her death bed. I do not want to lose my dog. My heeler was recently diagnosed as diabetic and I am getting up at 5 in the morning & dosing at 5 every nite. I have one dog left that isn't sick but she needs a dental cleaning and at 8 yrs. and a IGH, I am afraid I will lose her too after reading a post on this site about a Chi and a dental procedure fatal mishap.
Again, I appreciate the information and replies that you have given me so much!
I've read through this and have a few questions that I'm missing......
Why did your Vet think poisoning? Is there any ataxia going on?
What leg is being help up?
Was blood work done?
Most often phenobarbital is used to suppress epileptic seizures (i.e., seizures for which a cause has not been identified) but phenobarbital can also be used against seizures due to brain tumors, poisonings, or infection as well. That's why your Vet tried it...
I personally don't think your dog has been poisoned....A simple thing to do would be a complete blood panel.....Was one done originally? There would be plenty of elevations (Such as Liver & Kidney enzymes) that would indicate Poisoning. Too high of levels of phenobarbital is also easy to detect in the blood.....If not already, I'd have one done to CLEARLY rule out either kind of poisoning!!!!
Next, he's right, a soft tissue injury will not show on an xray. He could have nailed you for that & didn't, so that's one plus for him! :)
In a high energy terrier at the age of 6, is the ideal age for a herniated disk. I'd be leaning more towards a disc/disk of the neck..Therefore, I'm assuming the bad leg is a front leg. Right? These injuries are extremely painful, but given time and proper treatment, can heal on their own!
An xray will rarely show a disk injury....It's called IVDD..Intervertarbal Disk/Disc Disease if you want to google it...
Some Vets still use steroids to treat, but 1-2 weeks is not enough.....Normally, a medication for pain is used also...You must be careful here as the steroids cannot be mixed with an anti-inflammatory! ONLY a med strictly for pain.
Treatment normally lasts at least 4 weeks and sometimes 6.
Your dog's behavior is classic for pain.......
I personally have had better luck in these cases, using a Holistic Vet for Acupuncture.....I have seen these kind of injuries hear in half the time w/regular acupuncture treatments.....
If you are interested in finding a Holistic Vet in your area, please let me know...I will pass that info. along...
Last question: Was your girl recently vaccinated in the shoulder area by chance?
Karla. Thanks for responding to this one. I was running out of ideas but somehow knew you would have a whole batch of new good ideas on it. I am very grateful to you for helping giapattyjoey - and I hope they use your advice, insight and knowledge to help their fur baby. Tony x
No recent vaccinations. No blood work done.You are right pretty much on all counts. Front leg is right. Vet thinks it is a disc injury also. At this point he says the poisoning (which neither of us believe now) effects would be gone. Ataxia? -slow and careful movement but no lack of muscle coordination. She knows she is hurt and is moving slow.
We did not ask why he thought poisoning we were so blown away by his comment. We are very careful with the Ortho spray and never spray in the back yard or where the dogs will have contact. We will see him next week or sooner and try to get some more info. At this point I am wondering if we should have just left her on the prednisone. Neither one was having much effect but maybe not taken long enough to help. Thank you Tony and Karla!
Our dog Cookie, a rather large (12 pound) 13 year old Maltese, had a few seizures in the past four months and suddenly had 4 in less than 24 hours. We took her to the vet, who checked her out and actually saw a seizure. Since she did not seem to have any liver issues, he put her on phenobarbital (twice a day) which really seemed to control the seizures without any visible side effects. At the same time, we changed her diet because she had tooth issues and are giving her Mighty dog instead or the dry dog food we used to give her. She loves Mighty Dog and seems very happy now. So 3 weeks passed and we went to the vet to have bloodwork done - PB level and liver assessment. Now the bad part: Apparently, when we had her blood checked after the 3 wks on PB, it turned out that it has affected her liver. At the same time, it turns out that the PB level is too low and should be increased, but her liver would be devastated. He also now suspects that she has a brain tumor since one of her eyes seems to be bulging somewhat.
We are in a rather difficult position and are being asked by our vet to make a choice about her medication/seizures.
1) Stop the PB and deal with the seizures as they come;
2) Continue with the PB but understand that this will lead to liver damage and eventual...; 3) Try half dosage and see if she remains seizure free and then check liver enzyme levels again.
How about other meds or something to counter the effect of PB on the liver? Any thoughts?
I don't like any of the options suggested ... but have a new one for you to consider.
The clear option is to withdraw the phenobarbital - this must be undertaken slowly, at the rate of about 25% reduction in dosage a week. My rationale for this is, if you leave things as they are, the liver will become irreversibly damaged. Even if there is some liver damage now, you can potentially reverse the damage by swapping to a suitable alternative diet (one specific for liver damage).
Incidentally, it's good you swapped from dry food - I hate that stuff and know it can cause severe problems with both kidneys and liver, not that I can prove it, but it makes sense that dehydrated food encourages dehydrated dogs - and subsequent problems of this scenario. You can have a read of my article on dry dog food here: http://www.infobarrel.com/Why_Dry_Dog_Food_Is_Bad_For_Dogs
Exchange the phenobarbital for bromide. This should help deal with the seizures in much the same way, though there is little research on it, and some say it is not nearly as good at doing the job as phenobarbital. However, one of the reasons vets prefer to use phenobarbital is it is relatively inexpensive by comparison. More info on bromide here: http://www.vspn.org/VSPNSearch/VINLibrary/lv980606.htm
Now a word about your newly chosen food ... Mighty Dog. This is rubbish dog food and I would stop using it as soon as you can. It scores a meagre two stars on DogAdvisor. Read more about it here: http://www.dogfoodadvisor.com/dog-food-reviews/mighty-dog-canned/
For home cooked foods for liver diseased dogs, see this link: http://www.dog-health-guide.org/canineliverdiseasediet.html
As a starting point, see if you can get hold of Hill’s Prescription Diet L/D Canine (Canned). This has all the right ingredients for liver damaged dogs - and more importantly it will help restore your dog's liver - and at the very least, it won't cause any further damage.
Hope these suggestions are useful to you. Things aren't as bad as they might have first seemed. The priority is to see your vet, withdraw the phenobarbital, start bromide as a replacement to it, keep a diary of events and plan to change your dog's diet as quickly as you can - replacing the Mighty Dog food for more appropriate foods by about 25% each day until she is completely on the new diet.
Hello again ... sorry, I meant to add something about the diagnosis of a brain tumor. This is a more difficult problem, because although brain tumors are treatable, they are not curable. There are treatment options that may extend the life of your dog, but given her age, I would tend to resist putting her through some of the traumas of such treatments. The brain tumor is going to shorten her life, sadly, and there may be very little you can do to prevent the inevitable happening. When it will happen is another difficult question and not something I can answer. Dogs with untreated brain tumors tend not to live very long - I think the best you can do is talk over the options with your vet, when you are able, and go from there. If Cookie is still relatively contented, enjoys her walks, and seems otherwise able to cope with her other difficulties - then that's good. Once things start deteriorating (there are usually some warnings with a brain tumor), then maybe that is the time you need to have a real think about things. My guess is the seizures are directly linked to the brain tumor, which also might mean things are already on a downward spiral. I think this is a situation you just have to take day-by-day and hope for more good days than bad ones for as long as possible.
1st let me thank you for everyone who has posted a question in here.
Okay my 10 year old Black Lab Max (big guy,115lbs) started having seizures. 1st 1 Thanksgiving morning. Took him to the emergency vet. Long story short they started him on Zonisamide 100 mg 2x2 a day. He would go a good 3 weeks with out a seizure. I day he had about 4 in 1 day but than went on a good month and a half run of no seizures.So in these last 2 months he had two big ones were he pooped himself. So his vet who is a straight shooter has prescribed him on Phenobartal 1 gr. So the following day he had the worst side affects (this weekend) mentioned here. My heart just aches for him. His age has really been showing since he has had these seizures. His arthritis really started bothering him too which we have started meds on to see how he will react to lessen his discomfort which might be the reason he had his last seizure. So my question is which med would you recommend the Zonisamide or the Phenobartal. FYI my vet does so blood work and has with Max
Hello. The side effects for Zonisamide are much milder than Phenobarbital, which is probably why your vet chose it as a 1st choice. But clearly it wasn't doing the job. Phenobarbital has worse side effects, but it deals with more wide ranging seizures. No one here can really make this choice - only you and your vet. I would try to keep going with the phenobarbital. Side effects normally disperse (mostly) within a few weeks and then the good effect of the medication kicks in. Regular blood checking is essential (at least every 2 weeks), to find the therapeutic level. Make sure you give the medication at the same time every day and never miss a dosage. It is worth keeping a diary about seizures, behavior and any other observable symptoms and side effects, so you can refer to it with your vet.
If the phenobarbital doesn't stop the seizures, even at the right dose (the therapeutic level), then your vet can add the Zonisamide too - or potassium bromide, which strengthens the effect. So, there are options open to him and eventually the seizures and the side effects will be largely brought under control.
Thanks to Tony and everyone else who has posted their comments on here regarding canine epilepsy/ seizures and the medication used to treat them. It has really helped me understand my dogs health issues.
About 4 weeks ago my healthy 5yr old Pomeranin RIO had 3 seizures within a few hours, which was one of the scariest things we'd ever witnessed! Rio spent 3 nights at the animal emergency hospital where he underwent a whole range of tests including a CT Scan and Spinal tap, unfortunately whilst under anaesthetic, Rio had another seizure which required the vet to give him a massive loading dose of Phenobarbitol. The dog I picked up from the Vet was definitely not the dog I dropped there a few days before and the best way I could describe him was... DRUNK! Rio was prescribed a quarter (2.5mg) tablet of Phenobarbitol x2 daily. It took him a good week to fully recover from his hospital visit and the massive amounts of drugs he was given but is now doing quite well on the Phenobarbitol and has not suffered any seizures at all since he got out of hospital. His initial blood tests since being on the meds were also quite good.
Rio, is pretty much back to his usual self...He has picked up a few weird behaviours though and is a bit more lethargic than I am used too ( not that this is a bad thing). He is hungrier, but I'm not over feeding him and since all this begun have gone back to feeding him the B.A.R.F ( biologically appropriate raw food) organic diet as well as some dry food which is specifically for his teeth as Rio has some teeth Issues. I have spoken to heaps of people since and it surprises me how much epilepsy/ seizures effects many many dogs (and cats). And how mostly it is manageable!
Just wanted to share my experience and to thank u for all your posts which have helped me understand a few things a bit better! Happy Easter x
Hi. Your post is really good, because it proves how effective the medication can be, given time. This is reassuring for those right at the start of a phenobarbital regime, who often see some bad side effects.
I am curious why you think dry food is good for a dog's teeth? There is really no evidence for this. My opinion about dry food is not good. You might want to have a read of this: http://www.infobarrel.com/Why_Dry_Dog_Food_Is_Bad_For_Dogs
The best way of maintaining good dental health is to brush twice a week using a canine toothpaste. There are foods and treats that can help, such as dental stix, but the best are actually chewable toys that rid any plaque build-up.
Rio was given the biscuits as he has had to have some teeth removed as they have basically ground away... It doesn't worry me too much as he may eat 3 or 4 single biscuits a day they're more of a play thing for him! Interestingly though, they have put his teeth problem down to his love of tennis balls as the glue holding the felt down is quite abrasive... Have you heard of this? It does make sense to me. Needless to say he only gets a tennis ball when we are at the beach now. I also use dentist is which I find have helped. Toothbrushing is definitely a no go, especially now I have to get him to swallow 2 tablets a day.
Hello. Why is tooth brushing a no go? Does Rio object? Some dogs are more difficult, but most dogs can gradually learn to accept it. You just need to be very consistent, undertaking it in very small degrees each day, building up the time spent and the process. For example, during the first week, you may do nothing other than get Rio to accept the toothbrush close to his mouth; then then next week, touching his jawline; etc., etc.
Yes, I have heard of tennis balls causing teeth problems. There is some controversy about whether it's the glue itself (which can stick to the teeth), or the abrasive nature of the felt. Either way, you're right, it's best to give tennis balls under strict supervision and remove them once play is finished.
Hello, just thought I'd share with you as my beagle also used to get mild seizures so Freckles is on Pheno also...and his liver was getting affected and the vet was going to give me really expensive medicine to help the liver but I could not afford that price...so I researched online and found that MILK THISTLE repairs the liver in humans so I asked my vet if I could use it for Freckles and he said it won't hurt him but he wasn't guaranteeing it would help...so he told me to try 175 mg of milk thistle capsules....and I give him one every time I give his phenob....and his liver improved alot and it is now normal lab work ever since...and he's been on milk thistle for over 2 years now and his liver is still fine ! so just thought I'd share this with you all :) take care !
Hi. That's interesting ... and something else for me to read up on. The liver is one of the few organs of the canine (and human) body that can repair completely, as long as an illness affecting it is caught early enough. Tony
Just found this university of maryland quote, which may point me in several directions ... 'Milk thistle (Silybum marianum) has been used for 2,000 years as an herbal remedy for a variety of ailments, particularly liver, kidney, and gall bladder problems. Several scientific studies suggest that substances in milk thistle (especially a flavonoid called silymarin) protect the liver from toxins, including certain drugs such as acetaminophen (Tylenol), which can cause liver damage in high doses. Silymarin has antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties, and it may help the liver repair itself by growing new cells.'
Source: Milk thistle | University of Maryland Medical Center http://umm.edu/health/medical/altmed/herb/milk-thistle#ixzz2zEOL0hlW
University of Maryland Medical Center
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