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Seizures...Brain tumor? Phenobarbitol side effects
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Seizures...Brain tumor? Phenobarbitol side effects

My 15 yr old 17 lb poodle had generalized cluster seizures 2 days ago. The vet gave him 2 doses of phenobarb and valium intervenously (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.

Against her advice, I took him home and am letting the medication wear off to see if he has another seizure (I have valium in case he needs it). Within 12 hours he went from completely sedate to eating drinking, walking and using the bathroom on his own. It has been 40 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?

Lastly, has any one else had a dog in a similar situation (brain tumor and seizures) ? He is doing so much better, I'm surprised the vet wanted me to put him down. I realize there is potential for him to have more seizures, but I dont think that means I should put him down, if I dont continue with diagnostics and treatment. Even if my dog does have a brain tumor, I'm not going to put him through cancer treatment...it's too much to put a 15 yr old through. I think he can continue to live a quality life.

Thanks for any responses!
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2071518_tn?1340386943
I am so sorry you are going through this. Our 14+ dog has Cushings and he has had a couple seizures. We are assuming that's what they are. He just collapsed, was unresponsive for a few minutes, then returned to normal. We have opted not to have him put on meds because of his age, the ugly side effects and the fact that they won't cure him. We did buy a homeopathic formula for $45 online and he seems better. This might be wishful thinking on our part, but we feel we are doing something to help him feel more comfortable. I've read that Cushings can involve brain tumors. I believe poodles are prone to Cushings. Is your dog drinking more than usual? Thinking of you tonight.
Take care,
Em
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Avatar_f_tn
Thanks for your response and glad to hear your pup is improving. I did some quick research on Cushing's and i think it is very possible that he may have it. I'm surprised my vet didnt mention it as a possibility. From my research, I also found that it is somewhat difficult to diagnose as well as treat. And there are the side effects of the meds as you have said. I am interested in a homeopathic treatment. Although perhaps this is unwise without a diagnosis. I have started him on a low dose of phenobarb 25mg 2x a day. I just gave him his second dose and he is sleeping more than he has for the last few days, but he used to sleep a lot before all this started happening. He is eating a bit more, but not really drinking more than usual. When he is not sleeping, he walks around A LOT. It is difficult to tell what are effects of the medicine and what are effects of the tumor. My biggest qualm besides his restlessness, is that he stumbles and falls over sometimes. He gets right back up and seems unaffected, but its a little sad to watch. What is this homeopathic formula you are using? What symptoms does it treat? Are there side effects? How long has your dog shown symptoms of cushings? How long has it been and how is he doing?
Best,
Julia
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2071518_tn?1340386943
Julia, I am so sorry. The reply I typed days ago, did not post! Regarding our dog with Cushing, some of his symptoms began last fall. We thought they were signs of old age--walking stifly, slight back-legged weakness. Took him to the vet who did a senior blood panel that showed nothing serious.They recommended a joint support (glucosamine, msm comb) and an RX of Tramadol. Then in January he started drinking more water. When symptoms of anxiety, needing to go outside frequently, (including midde of night), appearing confused, eating more-we took back to vet. New blood panel showed raised levels (sorry, can't remember what) that indicated Cushings as possibility. Vet suggested test for Cushings, but that would mean, drawing his blood, give him a drug, waiting for several hours, retaking blood, etc. If he tested positive for Cushings, all they could do we be give him meds that wouldn't cure him, but would have side effects, diarhea (diarrhea),etc.
We did not subject him to the test or the treatment.
The homeopathic formula we have given him for about 3 weeks now is "Supraglan" sold online by Petwellbeing.com. He is less anxious, seems more like his old self. He's not waking me up in the night to go out.
I'm impressed with the result of this drug. When he does have anxiety, I give him Alprazalam, prescribed by vet (and filled at drug store.)
When that doesn't work, (which has only happened once since giving him Supraglan), I give him 1/4 of an Acepromazine. The vet had given it to us originally for his anxiet, but when I have given him 1/2 tab, he can no longer walk, so I use it as a last resort. But as I said, his anxiety seems to be lessed by the Supraglan.
Thinking of you. Sorry took so long to get this info to you.
Really interested to know how your pup is doing.
Em
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441382_tn?1329196690
Had your dog had seizure prior to the cluster seizures 2 days ago?  Or was this the first time he showed any seizure activity?  If it was the first time, at the age of 15, I think I would wait to see if the seizures were going to become a problem before putting him on medication.  Once you do that, he'll have to be on it for the rest of his life.  Most vets don't put dogs on seizure medication for one incident, even if it was a cluster.  They will wait and see if it starts to happen more often.  At 15, it could have been anything that caused the seizures.  It could, as your vet seems to think, be a brain tumor.  It could also have been caused by hypoglycemia.  It could have been a minor cerebral accident (mini stroke).  If it's a brain tumor, they will happen again.  If it was hypoglycemia, as long as her blood sugar doesn't crash again, it should remain an isolated incident.  If it was a cerebral accident, it may or may not happen again.  

At 15, though, I wouldn't start her on serious meds like anti-seizure meds unless the seizures were happening on a daily or even weekly basis.  Even with idiopathic epilepsy in young dogs, the first seizures can happen 6 months or a year apart.  Most vets won't start medication until at least the second seizure and possibly longer depending on how far apart they are.  I might even decide to go for a second opinion if the vet insists on medication right from the get go.  

I think the most I would do right now is some bloodwork to check and make sure her major organs (in particular the liver and kidneys) are up to snuff.  If everything turns out OK, I would adopt a "wait and see" attitude.  If the seizure activity continues, then naturally everything I have said above is negated and medication needs to be on board to control the seizures.  But if he seems fine and does well without the meds, I'd wait.  Of course, this is all up to you as he's your dog and you are the one who has to be comfortable with your decision.  Please keep us up to date on how your dog is doing and how things are progressing.

Ghilly  
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Avatar_f_tn
Thanks for your responses. My dog is doing ok. Still showing hind end weakness and he falls over from time to time and he's restless and a bit anxious. When I first brought him home from the hospital, I left him off the medication for about 48 hours to see him in his natural state. He exhibits all of the above mentioned behaviours on or off the medicine, so it seems that these are neurological side effects from the tumor or the seizures and not the medicine. Last week was the first time he showed any seizure activity. He has not shown any more generalized seizures, but still shows partial siezures (facial twitching) from time to time. He will go days without any and then have multiple in one day. He is still on the phenobarb (37 mg 2x a day) which is a pretty low dose and I think he is doing ok on it. I found out other medicines are not as well studied, more expensive and have the same or other side effects.

The vets said it wasnt a stroke because strokes are usually one really big seizure and they stop. He had 8 within 24 hours. 5 within 1/2 hour and 2 more 12 hours later. He also had the partial seizures in between.

I havent done any blood work. It's $300 dollars. I think they are ripping me off. I had his blood work done about a year ago (everything was fine) at another vet and it was closer to $100. I may do it if he gets any worse.

I just bought him a thunder jacket. It's supposed to calm anxiety like swaddling a baby. I'll let you know if it works. If not, I might try a homeopathic remedy for anxiety.

Thanks for caring guys! Take care. How are your pooches?
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441382_tn?1329196690
That's a LOT of seizure activity in a short while, I didn't realize that it was so severe!  Under these circumstances I agree that he should be maintained on phenobarbital at this point.

All you can do is keep him on his meds and keep him comfortable.  I am wondering how the Thunder Shirt is going to work for him.  I was thinking of getting one of those for my puppy, he has severe anxiety issues when he's outside.  Indoors he's perfectly normal, outside he's a bundle of nerves and can't think about anything other than getting back inside and he;ll look for the first doorway that will get him there.  I am waiting for a call back from my vet on some homeopathic remedies and thought that if I combined them with the Thunder Shirt they may help.  Please keep us posted on how your baby is.

Ghilly
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Avatar_f_tn
I have a German Shorthaired Pointer,will be 3 in may.About 3 months ago,end of December she was sleeping and woke up shaking putting herself in my lap.the shaking was as if she was scared.that happened about 3 nights/early morning in a row.Then nothing til this past week.she had what seemed to be seizures but she was fully aware!one lasted about a minute and the following day in afternoon she went bobbing back n forth while sitting up on the couch like a person.lasted about 3minutes.right before this she was sniffing the air,which she did three months ago too.IM A VET TECH and cant figure this out.her bloods were off each time.this time her BUN was at 50 and creatine at .3. sodium 129 and i believe potassium was ok but dont remember the number.I really need help here.My boss and vet asys he wants a cat scan to rule out brain tumor or other neurological things but i dont have 3000! i love this baby like shes my child.i dont know what she could have gotten into in the garage because my father tends to leave it open where she gets in and there is car batteries,gas,oil, other things this dog can get.and she EATS EVERYTHING!!!we had daffodils in the yard i just ripped out too but they werent up in December! can anyone please help me?im going CRAZY juggling number in labs and i can't even sleep because im afrais she will go into an episode and need me! : (   please help my angelface
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Avatar_f_tn
In case anyone was wondering how my dog was doing...

I took him off the phenobarb about a week after I started him on it. The side effects were disabling his quality of life. He has made a full recovery and has not had any seizures in over a month!! I know there is potential for him to have seizures again, but that is a possibility even on anticonvulsant medication. He is happy and enjoying life. What I learned from this experience is that vets do not know everything and can only give us advice and opinions. Take them with a grain of salt. As pet owners, WE have the responsibility of deciding what is best for our pets. I was feeling a lot of pressure from my vet to put my dog to sleep and am so happy I decided against it- at least for now. Thanks for the support. Hope all is well with your dogs. Take care

Julia
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Avatar_f_tn
And regarding the thunder jacket/ thundershirt. It did not work for my dog. When he was on the phenobarb he would walk around the house constantly and sometimes tremble in the car or sometimes when I take him to work with me. He still did this while wearing the thundershirt. Since I've taken him off the the phenobarb he is much more relaxed, though still a little anxious in the car. The thundershirt people offer a 45 day money back guarantee. I'd give it a shot even though it didnt work for my dog.
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Avatar_f_tn
my 11 or 12 yr old rescue was diagnosed with a brain tumor -from ear to brain and has envaded the bone.  Had horners first skin overlaping the eye, took her to opthlomist, then vet and specialist, had mri, and diag..I didn't get radiation, decision based on outcome and what it would do to her...but in the past few months she has had seizures, they have gotten worse..she was on predisone and a booster...she has had cluster seizures ...the worst this week and she is not bouncing back , we have now added phenobarbutol,  she is impaired and not bouncing back, although she still drinks water and and will eat food, but not getting her bearing back...verdict still out we are hoping...diag to now was 9 months....if you have any questions, i will try and answer...
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4409960_tn?1354150120
Glad to hear that! My dog is black lab/beagle mix. (Size of a beagle looks like lab) age 14 & male. 11-25-12 he had 4 seizures in an hour &1/2. Vet sent him home next day on prednizone& phenobarbital. He is pathetic. 1& 1/2grains 2xdaily & prednizone(to keep brain tumor @ bay). Cannot hold himself up falls, really wabbly, falls in water bowl, & walks into walls.he does have cataracts but this is worse than he was. He is just not himself! & he looks at me like,"help me" his legs slide out from under him.I puck him up

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4409960_tn?1354150120
Glad to hear that! My dog is black lab/beagle mix. (Size of a beagle looks like lab) age 14 & male. 11-25-12 he had 4 seizures in an hour &1/2. Vet sent him home next day on prednizone& phenobarbital. He is pathetic. 1& 1/2grains 2xdaily & prednizone(to keep brain tumor @ bay). Cannot hold himself up falls, really wabbly, falls in water bowl, & walks into walls.he does have cataracts but this is worse than he was. He is just not himself! & he looks at me like,"help me" his legs slide out from under him.I puck him up

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4409960_tn?1354150120
Glad to hear that! My dog is black lab/beagle mix. (Size of a beagle looks like lab) age 14 & male. 11-25-12 he had 4 seizures in an hour &1/2. Vet sent him home next day on prednizone& phenobarbital. He is pathetic. 1& 1/2grains 2xdaily & prednizone(to keep brain tumor @ bay). Cannot hold himself up falls, really wabbly, falls in water bowl, & walks into walls.he does have cataracts but this is worse than he was. He is just not himself! & he looks at me like,"help me" his legs slide out from under him.I pick him up
& carry him. Never had a seizure. Always healthy. I don't like seeing him on phenobarbitol but m afraid he will have a seizure. They were violent.

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Avatar_m_tn
Hi there,
Thank you for your post, I just went through seizures, hospitalization and finally a visit with my vet who put CoCo on phenobarbital 1 16.2mg. once a day, first day she did have the facial twitch, but now a full 3 days no seizure activity, thank god. really scarry.. Yes she might have a brain tumor but like you said cost are prohibitive.
Where can I get that jacket (thunder?) I would love to ease her anxiety, especially when we have to leave her alone.
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Avatar_f_tn
Hi,
My dog has just recently started having seizures, she had one a week about lasting about 2 mins then last night had cluster seizures two of them about two hours apart and each lasting about 2 mins. I am faced with the decision of do i put my 12 year old dog on seizure meds (she also has other health issues such as incontinence)  or do i humanely put her down peacefully? She is my baby and i just dont know if i can face watching her go through another seizure. The vet said that the chances of it being a brain tumor are high. Any feedback on how your dog made out would be really helpful. Looking forward to hearing back from you, my dog is currently at a 24 hour emergency facility and im trying to decide what to do.
Thanks,
Pam
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6764392_tn?1384559931
My lab Stan is 10 and one very healthy. I came home 3 weeks ago and noticed that he went to drink water from toilet and thought how odd since he has never done that. In the morning I noticed he missed a few steps coming down the staircase....again odd. This is a dog that runs up and down staircase. As he was eating his breakfast he started shaking and passed out cold. I was so scared . I then called his name really loud and he jumped up. Since then he cannot see, falls over. he has had two more seizures but none since he has been taking phenobarb and is on steroids. He was gradually improving by Week 2 even getting up and down staircase on his own and then my Husband 9 who works abroad) came home to visit him. They are very attached. My Husband got very emotional seeing the dog not wagging his tail and recognizing him and in the 2 days he was home Stan has regressed to back where he was immediately before seizure ( hand feeding, have to carry him up and down stairs etc.). I am so torn and in my mind I am saying I will give him another 2 months or so and see if he can get back to some level of stability. I travel for my job and have cancelled all my work thru the end of January to ensure I am there for him. I am ok with this decision but then I have to travel and have a dog sitter who looks after my dogs when I travel ...I also have a younger lab. I have gotten brain tumor, seizure, stroke from various vets. We have no MRI for animals on my island so impossible to really know. So torn also.
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