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scary head nodding
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scary head nodding

My 5 year old fox terrier has been diagnosed as epileptic and was on pb for about a year and a half.  Then recenetly he started having seizures again.  We took him to the vet and was prescribed KBr.  About a month into the KBr treatment he started doing this weird thing.

Right before he is about to fall asleep he starts nodding his head in a yes motion.  This lasts for about 15-30 seconds.  He usually does this three of four times or until we wake him up by playing or something like that.  We took him back to the vet and was told to reduce the doasge of pb and to watch him.  We have done that and this is still happening.  

My wife thinks it could be a brain tumor or possibly from a fall that he had a couple of weeks ago.  I am not real sure what it is from but am worried about both of those situaions.  Does any body have any advise?
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Avatar_f_tn
My Sugar is 4 Months old and has seziures.  She is not on permenant medicine yet, they want to wait until she is at least 6 months old,but when she has seziures we have to give her medicine to treat her and the same thing happens to her, her head bobs the whole next day.  The vet told us that it is the side effects of the medicine.  Let me know if you find anything else out.  I will be praying for your dog.
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82861_tn?1333457511
It's time for your vet to do some more investigative work.  It was reasonable to suspect a drug interaction, but that apparently isn't the problem.  It's time to do some imaging studies like x-ray or an MRI to see what, if anything, is happening in the brain.  This is particularly important given your information about his recent fall.

Your vet may want to look into possible problems in other areas of the body as well, so expect some blood and urine work.  If he shrugs it off and tells you he can't think of anything else to investigate, then find a different vet.  Epilepsy can be very difficult to regulate in both humans and animals, and the symptoms can change one way or the other over time.  It's frustrating, but just part of owning an epilectic dog.
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641243_tn?1235755684
My dog was diagnosed this past fall and we have had a hard time controlling his seizures with medicine; he has approx 1 seizure every 8 days, on pb AND KBr, so I have panicked that maybe he has a brain tumor, or something worse, also.  However, with no other symptoms other than the seizures, and because of his age (1yr), my vets assure me it is likely a very stubborn form of epilepsy and that spending the money on MRI's, etc.. is not necessary at this point.  NOTHING has been consistent about his seizures, except for the frequency of which they occur.

I've spent so much time researching it and many things I have read say that the dog likely will become resistant to the drugs the longer they take them and that dosages must be adjusted when this happens (obviously).  When the seizures begin occurring again, it's probably likely that they have changed in form, also, so the nodding MAY just be the evolution of the seizures and resistance to the meds.  It is interesting that the nodding occurs before he falls asleep, when his brain is slowing down and the neurons should be less stimulated.  The fall is definitely an added component to look into.  Also, interesting that the vet would lower his pb dosage when this started after beginning the KBr, maybe there is a drug interaction there, rather, since he has a normal history with the pb.  I would consider a second opinion on that.

Good luck, keep us posted!
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441382_tn?1329196690
Seizure activity comes in many forms.  Most epileptic dogs suffer grand mal seizures, where they drop to the floor and convulse, paddling with their legs as though they are running, for about 30 seconds (although for the anguished owner watching the seizure, it seems like an hour).  Petite mal seizures, however, come in all shapes and sizes, and can be anything from the dog simply zoning out and staring blankly for a time, to the head nodding that you describe.  While it could be from the fall you said your dog took a couple of weeks ago, I wouldn't rule out simple petite mal seizures connected to the epilepsy he was diagnoseod with a year ago.  A brain tumor is not out of the question, however epilepsy is an amazingly common affliction of many breeds, so don't think the worst until you have proof that that's it.  The only thing that will rule out a brain tumor is to have MRI done.  

Ghilly
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441382_tn?1329196690
I agree with your vet that medication should not yet be given.  Most of the cases of puppy epilepsy that came into our clinics were due to hypoglycemia, and once the puppy was grown and his digestive tract was working sufficiently well post-weaning, and the quantities of food that were consumed at each meal were sufficient to sustain him for a few hours, the seizures stopped.  

Genetically transmitted epilepsy usually does not present until after two years of age, and often later, but puppy epilepsy other than seizures due to hypoglycemia is actually pretty unusual.  It's best to wait rather than mess up his system with drugs that he really doesn't need to be taking.

Ghilly
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Avatar_n_tn
My vet is calling around to neurologists at Purdue University and he has been researching why this is happening.  We are starting to think it is more of a drug interaction.  The vet said that it takes about a month for the levels of KBr in his blodd stream to even out because of the long half life of the drug.  It is like this head nodding didn't start until about a month into the KBr dosage.  

The vet told us to stop the KBr treatment until he hears back from the Purdue specialist.  He has metioned that we should do an MRI or CAT scan to see what is going on inside of his head.  We watched for it last evening when the nodding happens the most and he only did it twice but both times it only lasted like four or five nods instead of 20-30 seconds.  He did do it one time in the middle of the night that lasted a little longer but it was only once as compared to the four, five, or six times that it used to.  

Being a fox terrier he is a very hyper dog, which is why it is weird that it is happening when he is falling asleep.  We don't think it is his epilepsy because it s totally different from his normal seizures.  

Thanks to all of you that responded.  I will keep you all posted on what happens
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Avatar_m_tn
My girl was diagnosed with late onset idiopathic epilespy when she was about 6 yrs. I have had every test possible run, and luckly all her scans and blood work have come back fine. She was also put on KBr and started having episodes of zoning out and falling, so she was taken off  of the KBr, as it was thought it was possibly becoming toxic. Her neurologist put her on zonisamide, and I have been very happy with the results. She has also been on pheno the entire time as well. I still notice some head "ticking" and am not quite sure why it is happening, but she snaps right out of it quickly if you say her name. All in all, the zonisamide and pheno combo has worked wonders!
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