I am beyond thrilled to hear this!!! Yay, LIZZIE!!!! Give her a huge hug from me and tell her what a good girl she is! It looks like you may be on to something! Keep up the great work!
Lizzie went to the vet today for her annual shots and heartworm. The worked with us, and it went well. We waited in the car, the vet and tech came out and I carried her in the back door straight to a table, and she did great. The vet did give me a RX for valium for traveling and spending the night in a hotel. So hopefully, we have this problem resolved.
It really sounds like stressful situations trigger her seizures. Very few dogs LIKE to go to the vet, and even the ones that seem to take it in stride get nervous inwardly because, well, face it, they know what happens when they get in there. They get things poked into places they'd rather not get things poked into and they get stuck with sharp objects, it's no fun!
I would start to take Lizzie for little, short rides to nowhere, and during these rides, feed her things that she thinks are just the best things in the world! Get her used to the fact that when she gets into the car, GOOD stuff is going to happen. Delicious treats, maybe stopping for a little sample-sized vanilla soft-serve cone for her, things like that. Sometimes just put her in the car and back in and out of your driveway half a dozen times while feeding her some of her favorite foods. She will learn that when she gets into the car it doesn't always mean a big, long ride nor does it mean she's going to the vet. That way, when you travel down to Florida with her, she'll be calm because she'll think she's just going for a "treat ride." Dogs really have no concept of time, so as long as she is enjoying herself, the trip coule be 10 minutes or 10 hours, it wouldn't matter to her.
Also, talk with your vet about using a product on her called Bach's Rescue Remedy before you embark on a long car trip. This is drops that you give her that are all natural, but double check with your vet that it's OK to give them to her with her on the PB. They are made from flowers, but all-natural doesn't always mean "totally safe with other medications" so just make sure before giving them to her. I know many people that SWEAR by them for their dogs, and these are people that show dogs and spend weeks on the road at a time traveling from show to show.
It just seems to me that most of Lizzie's seizures happen when she is going into someplace that she either doesn't know (the hotel), or knows to be stressful (the vet). So if you can maybe start taking her to many different places and giving her treats (and having people give her treats IN different places, too, where dogs are allowed) she will relax enough to travel and go to the vet without having a seizure. A lot of it is a matter of conditioning and getting her to have a "new normal."
Well, Lizzie went to the vet today for her vaccinations and had another seizure the minute we went inside the door. The vets just can't believe the only time she has these is at their office, or in a hotel when we are traveling back and forth from Illinois to Florida. The vet has given me some valium and I am going to give her that before we go to our next appointment and see what happens. My dogs go nowhere in the car except to the vet and when we travel between Florida and Illinois. I would have no problem paying for a mobile vet, but worry about traveling.
Lizzie is starting to act like her old self. It's been 10 days now on the pheno. She looks happier, interested in toys and playing again. I have noticed she is a little wobbly on her back legs sometimes. Hope that goes away too. Thanks for your comments. Her diet is easy. She has food allergies so only gets Blue food, carrots and green beans are her treats.
It sounds just like a case of idiopathic epilepsy. It's extremely common in certain breeds and the first seizures usually occur between 18 months and 24 months, so Lizzie is right in there. This type of epilepsy normally doesn't worsen, but Lizzie will have to be on medication for the rest of her life, more than likely. As long as the seizures are kept down to petite mal, which is the type you describe, it shouldn't have any bad effects on her and she should be able to live a completely normal life. The only time epilepsy usually worsens is when it is the result of a brain injury or if it's being caused by a mass in the brain. From what you describe, Lizzie has the very, very common type of epilepsy which, if she has to have any kind at all, is the easiest kind to deal with.
You might try keeping a journal for Lizzie. Each day, jot down the date, what the weather is like (hot or cold, rainy or sunny) and what Lizzie ate and did that day. Notate how many times she voided her bladder and bowels and what she ate and what TIMES she ate. Be VERY specific about her food. Don't just say "she ate a bowl of dry dog food." Say "she ate a bowl of Pedigree adult food, lamb and rice flavor." The reason for this is that some seizures are triggered by artificial colors used in foods, so if you notice that she has a seizure after she eats a certain type of food, it may be the dye(s) used in that food that precipitated the seizure.
Make a note of how long it had been since her last meal. Be sure to pay careful attention to what her mood was that day and whether or not she was relaxed or stressed or scared or happy or whatever. And, most importantly, write down if she had a seizure that day and what happened immediately before and afterward.
As time goes on, if you read the journal, you should start to see a correlation between the weather, what Lizzie ate, what she did, and whether or not she had a seizure. Eventually you will discover what, if any, her triggers are and you can work to eliminate them from her life. It will become a project that you AND Lizzie work on and hopefully it will give you the power to be able to basically predict and, hopefully, control her seizures with a minimum of medication.
Thanks for the information. It's nice to hear from someone, instead of just reading a web page. Lizzie has been to the vet for the diarrhea and got a RX of Imodium. Vet doesn't believe it has anything to do with the pheno. She's been on the pheno for a week, and when we went to vet this past Tuesday for the diarrhea, she did have a seizure when we hit the door. BUT, it was just like the start of the past seizures, lasted only seconds. No thrashing, or foaming of the mouth. Just a little head shaking. I was glad the vet saw it, he said the pheno is doing it's job.
She won't always be that way. It will take a couple of weeks but her body will adjust to the dosage of medication and she may not be quite as boisterous as she was, but she will pretty much be her old self.
As far as the diarrhea goes, you might want to address that to your veterinarian. It's probably nothing serious but since it isn't a listed side effect of phenobarbital it could mean that she has something else going on in the form of an intestinal bug. If you haven't switched her food or if she hasn't eaten something that she shouldn't have in the last couple of days, then, as I said, it could be a passing bug, but best to let your vet know. Because of the mode of action of this drug, you might want to ask your vet if there a possibility that the diarrhea actually COULD be from the phenobarbital since if excessive urination can result, it stands to reason that it may also affect gut motility.
Speaking of the mode of action of this drug, a quick word about phenobarbital. This drug works by decreasing the activity of the body's neurons. The problem is that it doesn't just work on the neurons that are located in the area where the epilepsy originates from, it works on ALL of the body's neurons. Because of this, your dog can experience lethargy, sedation, excessive urination, a loss of coordination and apparent weakness in the hind end (this is called ataxia), ravenous hunger and thirst, or excitability and restlessness. These symptoms usually disappear or decrease drastically after the dog has been on the medication for a couple of weeks. If they do not, then speak to your vet about decreasing her dosage. Don't try to adjust her dosage by yourself.
Please let us know what the vet says about the diarrhea and let us know how your girl is doing. We have a good community here with really nice folks who hang around to help. You're very welcome to stay and hang out with us even after your girl's issues are corrected. :)