My 3 year old dog has recently experienced her 4th spasm attack, which I was able to record for professional insight.
VIDEO HERE: https://dl.dropboxusercontent.com/u/28402806/Pepper-Spasm-01-23-14.MOV
We have inquired with vets in the area and have run bloodwork, only to come to the conclusion that these episodes are not idiopathic epilepsy (seizures). We also assumed this because she does not lose consciousness during the attacks, but seems very aware and scared of what is happening. Our crude hypothesis was that these spasms were possibly due to chemicals in pesticides sprayed on grass, as each attach happened in some timeframe around being outside in a grassy area. This most recent attack occurred during winter here in New York City, where no grass pesticides would have been sprayed, but perhaps it is a reaction to ingesting residue from sidewalk ice-melt pellets?
Please view the video. Any help or professional insight is greatly appreciated. THANK YOU!
Your hypothesis is certainly possible, if not probable. I wonder about the bloodwork results, which should have shown evidence of toxic substance ingestion, if it was either pesticides or the paving salts. There are of course many reasons why young dogs have seizures, even petit mal seizures (these are where the dogs do not lose consciousness). It could be from trauma (such as a bang to the head), a genetic disorder that has been triggered (still possible, at 3yrs old),
Partial seizures are typical when there is a specific brain lesion, such as a scar, tumor, or abscess - and I would certainly raise these matters with your vet, who can perform tests to check for all these conditions.
I am assuming your dog has not just had puppies ... as seizures can occur due to low calcium levels. Diabetic hypoglycemia can also cause seizures, so I assume the vet did a blood-glucose check.
You did a brilliant job with the video. Please make sure your vet sees it. Just in case it happens again, you might want to have a blanket or cushion or something at hand, just to try and protect your dog's head from the wooden floor. Other than that, you did everything just exactly as you should. One of the biggest problems is immediately after a seizure, dogs become amnesic for a few minutes, so they need lots of reassurance - as they sometimes have no idea who you are or where they are. Although I don't think it would happen with your dog, some do bite their owners, because they think they have been attacked by the stranger in the room.
I assume the vet did a kidney and liver function test? Kidney and liver problems can cause seizures too.
Would you say the spasm seizures have remained identical in ferocity and length over the 4 attacks - or have they increased or decreased in ferocity?
Sorry for the video problems, I know it plays on QuickTime on a Mac.
Tony thanks for taking the time to write the long response. This may have been the longest of her attacks, with its ferocity spaced out I suppose. The other ones she mostly laid on her side or in my or my girlfriends arms and kicked/stretched out her legs in spastic movements. This time, she seemed to be unaffected as she stood still, but as she tried to walk towards me to look for support (as she usually does when the attack begins to come on), her legs seemed unable to do what she wanted them to do, and they would kick out on controllably. You can see when I started recording that she remained still, but then as she tried to move, she lost control.
Hi again. When you have time, perhaps you would respond to some of the questions and thoughts I mentioned above about why this may be happening. For example, do you know if the vet checked for blood-glucose levels? Or has she had puppies recently? Or a bang or trauma to the head that you know about? Also, does she have any other underlying condition that requires treatment? Is she on any medication? What are you feeding her? Did the bloodwork show any sign of toxemia and were there any abnormally high or low results? Did the vet do a kidney and liver function test with the bloodwork?
I'm waiting on the answers to Tony's questions....Along w/them: What is the space of time between these seizures? She's had 4....Are they days apart, weeks apart or months apart? Any certain time of day or night? Also, do you use any flea/tick product on her or in her? Heartworm meds? What about shampoo? Tony covered food...What about any form of treats? Is your water source full of chemicals that you know of? ANy of these things can cause seizures....So, you must play detective! Karla
She has not had puppies recently, nor has she suffered any head trauma to our knowledge. She has no other health conditions, and is not on any medication. We feed her Blue Buffalo Life Protection Formula dry food. We did test for abnormal kidney and liver function and the results were negative. Now a small hiccup.. unfortunately our vet LOST THE BLOODWORK when we first drew it recently after an episode. We had to bring her back a few days later to retake her blood, so the lack of any toxemia in her blood doesn't help too much. Now you understand why I'm resorting to online communities in lieu of our vet!
I honestly thought we were seizure free from here on out, as it has been quite a few months. These seizures have all happened within the last year, however. Most of them were separated by a few months, while two of them fell within a week of each other. I'm now realizing this may have been her 5th seizure, as I recount them. We give her Heartgard and Frontline Plus every month, and don't compulsively bathe her, but when we do we use the same dog shampoo we've had since she we got her at 2 months old. We try to keep any indulgent treats to a bare minimal, and instead give her frozen green beans. Every so often my girlfriend can't help but give her a small bite of something, but she really is in quite good shape. In NYC, our water can be hard with minerals, but she almost exclusively gets water poured from a filtering Brita filter.
As much as I have learned with dog seizures, it unfortunately is a game of ruling things out, and playing detective -- which we are trying our best to do. But the list of possibilities of causes seem to be endless and I feel like we aren't getting anywhere. I thought these episodes were behind us, so this most recent one was even more so troubling. It really pains me to see her go through this. I appreciate your help, and any other suggestions or feedback are highly appreciated.
First, next time you have blood drawn, ask for a copy of the results.....For that matter-go get a copy of the ones you just had done....You need to have these on hand for a number of reasons......To look for abnormalities yourself, compare to previous ones & in case of Emergency room visit.....Is this a small dog?
In your case, I would lean HIGHLY towards the toxic buildup from both the combination of Heartguard AND Frontline monthly! This alone can be deadly to some dogs...Especially little ones! Sometimes, just changing to another product will help, but you really should rule these out......It's the first place I would start!
Another possibility would be over vaccinating....If your Vet vaccinates YEARLY, you need to study up on that & take a stand!! Every 3 years is more than enough and small dogs suffer more from the effects....
Last thought: Make sure you incorporate as many Wet foods in her diet as you can......Fresh cooked veggies, fresh fruits, canned foods, etc. Helps tremendously to flush toxins out of the system and keep the organs hydrated........Karla
P.S. Tony-I didn't mean to take over your thread----Help me out here! :)
Karla. You said exactly what I was thinking - and a little more. Your input on this is invaluable, as always. I'm wondering about the timing of the first seizure a year ago ... it's going to be tough to work this one out, because clearly something probably happened a year or more ago, change of diet, change of ... what ... or like you say, it's a build-up of gradual toxicity. Of course, I would have to mention the dry food wouldn't I, which you know I'm never in favor of.
Although Blue Buffalo Life Protection Formula is one of the better dry foods, it still contains a number of potentially problem ingredients. One is garlic, and the other is chicory root. The first is toxic in larger quantities (controversial amongst vets and others) - but the second is more interesting, as it is linked with insulin, which in turn may be altering the blood-glucose somewhat. THIS is a lead worth following up, because hypoglycemic dogs suffer mild seizures very similar to this.
I'm sure there's more we could both add, but probably best not to overload you guys with too much all at once. I think Karla and I have given you enough to think about for now.
I have been suspicious of the Frontline and Heartgard, and you'll be hard pressed to find any vet that isn't associated with those brands to offer discounts when purchased through them. What are my alternatives to protecting from heart worm and flea/ticks? Would staggering the application and dose of these treatments (or others) help too? We have been giving them together for convenience, which was about 4 days before the recorded video.
I can look into other foods, though I just bought 2 bags of Blue yesterday, naturally. Any suggestions? Or even mixing in a spoon of roasted apples/root vegetables with her food?
Hi. Wow, you just said something that is a huge red-flag for me ... that you had administered the Frontline and Heartgard 4 days prior to the seizure. That cannot be a coincidence. Okay, yes, it could be a coincidence, but it sure raises my suspicions to a much higher level.
I would talk to your vet about both products and my suggestion would be not to give these anymore. Ask about alternatives, preferably herbal remedies. There is also a product called PetAlive EaseSure, which has had some good reports in dealing with nervous system problems and pets that have seizures. You can get it on Amazon and it may be worth trying in your case.
I also meant to ask earlier whether your vet did a thyroid function test. It;s certainly worth doing as thyroid issues are often an underlying cause of seizures, as well as other things we've mentioned.
With regard to alternative flea control (changing from Frontline), have a read of this from PETA: http://www.peta.org/issues/companion-animal-issues/companion-animals-factsheets/flea-control-safe-solutions/
Alternatives to Heartgard are slightly more complicated. Have a read of this: http://dogaware.com/articles/wdjheartwormprevention.html
Then, I would suggest having a more informed discussion with your vet about the safe but effective alternatives he might suggest.
Both Frontline and Heartgard are good products for many dogs and are certainly effective - BUT, they are toxic (it's why they are stopping the flea and heartworm problem) - so if you have a dog that is susceptible to bad reactions or has an immune system that is impaired or has an underlying condition that is just below the symptom stage, these products can cause chaos and illness.
Again, I may be overloading you with stuff to think about - but your mention of the products being administered so close to the seizure could not be ignored.
Boy, Tony and I think along the same lines......I haven't had a chance to look at the food, but I was curious to see if it had Rosemary in it. Been reading many articles about Rosemary (Included in MANY fine foods) & seizures......
I ALready know of one (Top of the line, very responsible) company that has completely changed their line of foods to take Rosemary out, for this very reason...
No reason to change your Blue food right now.....Please, don't waste it! Too many animals starving-- to waste any kind of food!!!! Add some fresh foods for moisture!!
That said...I think you already have found your answer!! It's the toxic combo of chemicals!!!! Very common (Also, DEADLY!)......Karla
P.S. What does your dog weigh? I'm still curious....Thanks
Again, thank you. I will have a read of those links, and check out the EaseSure, Tony.
Karla, Blue Life Protection formula food does contain Oil of Rosemary.
I'm going to have to stop by the vet after the weekend to thoroughly go through her results and meticulously go over everything. You have both spent more time on this issue than either of our two vets we reached out to in the past, and it is certainly not without appreciation. You have both provided me with wonderful points of conversation to bring up, and I will share all that I discover.
Hi. You are very welcome. If the end result is a happy and healthy dog, the time given in commenting is immaterial. Hopefully you'll have a complete dossier to take with you to the vet - just make sure you get the answers from your vet and don't be shrugged off by them, even if the vet seems to have a busy caseload - these are really important issues to you and your best friend.
Karla ... thanks for the comment about Rosemary. It's not something I've really heard much about, but I'll sure be doing some research on it. Tony x
1-Your Vet should have immediately thought about ANY toxins in or on your dog when evaluating a seizure. Including the ones that he/she are selling you!
2-New York City Area ONLY has a 3-4 month Mosquito Season- That means Heart Worm season....It is ludicrous for anyone to recommend year round treatment (Other than for income) of toxic chemicals for pets in this area. The first dose should be used in July & last dose should be used in Oct. or November. That's it----Period! Retest at Vet every Oct. & start over.....
3-Same goes for flea & tick products....When's the last time you saw a flea or tick on your dog? Think about it.....If you occasionally see one or two fleas, get a flea comb....Look for flea eggs (Tiny white specks that look like a grain of salt) or Flea poop (Looks like a grain of pepper). You do not have to dose your dog w/chemicals for a few fleas...Dawn dishwashing liquid (Blue one) will kill all fleas instantly...Bathe your dog w/it and your good to go.....It's SAFE to use.....Now of course, if you have a flea infestation problem, then prescription products are the way to go...IMO, Frontline is still very effective and is the least dangerous of all out there.....
Use a spray repellant: My Favorite is called: "Critter Oil". I have used it for years....Buy it online.....
A healthy immune system is your dogs best line of defense against parasites......All these purchased chemicals also damage the immune system.....
3-ALL HW preventatives LAST 6 WEEKS, NOT 4 WEEKS! Your not being told that, but this information is very easy to find......Your double dosing the first two weeks of every month because the last months dose has not run out.....Could this again be profits in pockets and not what's really best for your pet? Of course it is!
4-Yes, these treatments Can/Must be separated by at least two weeks; if you must use them together.....
5-I know there was something else, but I forgot...Darn! :(
Good luck and let us know what happens......Your Welcome, Karla
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