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Avatar universal

'spasms' not seizures? my pet is on pheno

Hi folks.
My 9 pound yorkie has been on pheno from June 8 to now June 27. At her 15 year old age, the vet is thinking she has a brain tumor... and that it is just a matter of time.  I can't even think about that..
as for the pheno,
Her amount was adjusted from zombie level to a lower dose ..it will be two weeks this coming tues, and I will go for re evaluation . In the meantime, she has exhibited this behavior, and ..... I don't know what to do with this info.

Her head jerks up slightly bopping up and down ..six ? times? She doesn't seem to lose any kind of consciousness.  once she lost her footing, regained it immed.  I don't know how often this happens. I saw it twice today... 4 hours after her meds. "
If I call the vet, I am concerned vet will increase the meds which robs her of mobility and life..  if these little episodes are ok,  I mean, what are they doing to her? She doesn't show distress.. I would let them be...... I'm confused what to do or think
someone said does she lose eye focus ? But her eyes have changed, it is hard to tell, I think she is still looking at me when this happened..
any body ?
31 Responses
Avatar universal
I wanted to add something to the above questions she did this behavior again today and I noticed that when I touch her during this little head bobbing episode she snaps night out of it.
Avatar universal
My beagle was like a zombie as well when she first started PB.  It has felt like a LONG month this month with her sudden illness.  A little over a week ago, the Vet reduced her dose and she was still in a drunken state.  This weekend he reduced it again & I have seen some improvement in her alertness & eating from her bowl.  Things she had not been doing.  I also notice a little "twitching" with her head at times & am hoping & praying it does not get any worse than this.  I do not know what it is but hoping to keep away the seizures & be able to give her this small dose she is on now. Sorry I don't really have an answer for you but wanted to let you know I can relate to what you are going through.  Hope your sweet dog does well.

Avatar universal
Hi Daisysmama..
I am so sorry for you too.  This is an absolutely dreadful situation. I feel as though we are in hospice  Last week, one of our cats.. the sweetest most adorable young boy was killed by a car the day before the new adoptive parents were coming.  Life with these pets is challenging and life without them is unthinkable.

well I didn't post an update..but here it is.  She went on reduced pheno and I got my little girl back ! but.. these episodes didn't stop. completely.  After  much research, I decided this was not a real seizure..  maybe a form of a petit mal.. 'focal seizure"  ?.  It is an episode and since she doesn't lose touch.. of course they were right about a neuorological prob but what? Iresearched and came up with GME. I called vet. He asked me to describe the episodes and analyzed it all..and pretty much told me he thinks rather than a brain tumor, she has this.  Not good either, by any meas.  The prognosis is grim.  the treatment is steroids and she has been on them now 2 weeks.  He wants to lower them every two weeks and get off them. I really don't know.. she had an episode two dys ago two hours after pheno, I wonder what will happen if this is reduced.    Side effects are manageable so far.  was your dog having real seizures or things that looked like mine?
Research GME
Good luck....
Avatar universal
Yes, I know what you mean about life with these pets!  I keep saying once all of mine are gone I am not getting anymore.  But I probably will! So sorry to hear about your cat.  

Daisy was just reduced again on the Pheno on Friday.  She seems a little more alert but not 100% Daisy yet.   I am pretty sure she was having real seizures when she started.  Her whole body would jolt & she would foam at the mouth.  A couple of them lasted 4 mins.  It was horrifying.  

Too bad they can't talk to us & tell us what is bothering them as it all seems to be a guessing game.  

I will look up GME & see if it is similar to anything she has had.  Thanks for the info.

Good Luck to you as well.
Avatar universal
I don't think I know, how old is your baby.you didn't say anything about epilepsy or brain tumor or scan so I am assuming that you have a senior dog?
my first Yorkshire Terrier epilepsy, began when he was three. I understand with the seizures look like first time it happened my friend and I were like the Keystone Cops we had him in our arms and we were bouncing into walls looking for a car keys tripping over things if he has been having a hard attack he would've been dead, what the very poor emergency reactions that I had!

he continued to have these seizures for 10 more  years. I never medicated him, I know much more now, but in reality he led completely full life and died at 13 in his sleep. I wonder how we managed looking back and how he.

managed. I seem to remember reading that one of the reasons they want to control these episodes, is so that there isn't brain damage this time?l it's time
Avatar universal
might end up my last post got cut off.what I wanted to say was, I think they feel the medicine is important depending upon the type of seizure and severity of the seizures in the age of his dog.they have not given me any idea how long my little girl has, and I'm very worried because I travel for work, and right now I'm managing ..octoberr will be serious problem. But they tell me take it one day at a time and I'm sure people are telling you that too. What else can we do?
I have a senior cat too. Who is also sliding I'm she's down to 6 pounds but holding her own.

I got a stroller for my dog. She showed a great interest in going out to walk, but really didn't when she got there. The most I could get out of her was one block and she just stands there pantingI went on Craigslist and got a used one and I take her for walks now and she lays there like the Queen of Sheba
Avatar universal
Yes, my Daisy is 12 years old & has been very healthy all her life & this has just thrown me for a loop!!! All I have had so far is a veterinarian look at her.  We are pretty much in the beginning stages, I guess.  Her first seizure took place June 14th. So it has been a wait & see type thing especially since she has been so over sensitive to the Pheno.   Yes, you do wonder how your dog made it back then with the seizures & no meds. Glad that he had a good long life, tho!  Yes, so far we have not left our Daisy  except for one time & I had a friend stay with her that time just for a few hours.  I know it will be a problem when you have to leave yours.  It is so nerve wracking.  I have a couple of cats that are 18 years old & are doing well.  I know your sweet girl enjoys her rides in the stroller!  That is a good idea!  I wish you the best with your little girl! God Bless!
Avatar universal
Oh, yes, did want to mention I looked up GME but I do not think that is what Daisy has. Thanks for mentioning it, tho.  Good to learn about everything!
Avatar universal
No, I don't think so either. When I wrote that, I thought you had already gone through the other ideas.  I m an exhaustive researcher. I understand There are a number of things that can bring on seizures in an elderly dog
.. ( mine was healthy her whole life too)
but the universal opinion is a brain tumor. .. and like you, her sudden illness?  I was devastated, cried from June 8th up to the present.. although, I am calming down now, enough to enjoy each day like a gift... although I expect I'll need a padded cell  when the time comes.

the only way to actually diagnose it with through scans etc, I;d spend the money ( but out of work for 3 months and borrowing this summer to pay the mortgge even)  but she is too old for these tests, the gen anesthesia would prob do her in.

The level of pheno your dog is on. Is it controlling the seizures? We backed it off to bring her out of zombie state.. apparently it is up to us to watch ad see if seizures are controlled. you read, you should keep an exact diary of when she has one, what conditions surrounded it, food, time,excitement, did she come to you before and warn you?  My epileptic dog did.

there is a phenobarbital thread on this .site, did you find it ???
if you can't I'll see if I can send it to you.

many say their vets added potassium bromide to go with the pheno , I forget.. why.. maybe it helps the absorption better so they hve less pheno.. which is damaging to the body...can't remember. but good for you to look into all this.  
Avatar universal
The vet has mentioned her seizures can be something wrong with her heart, brain tumor or epilepsy.   It's  all trial & error trying to figure it all out.  Have not had any specialized tests run.  Of course the MRI test for a brain tumor would be impossible with the cost being outrageous.  The vet did say at one point we may do an xray of her head if we felt we needed to but they do not always show up on xrays.  Daisy has been on a very low dose of pheno  since Sat & she had another seizure right after I got home from work today that's a first since June 28th.  Then she just had another one while ago.  I gave her some more pheno after the first seizure hoping it would keep anymore away.  The vet is trying to get her seizure free without being so drunk.  I had just said this morning how alert she was.  I really don't know if I should give her anymore pheno tonight or not.  Will be calling vet in  the morning. Yes, I have been writing a diary of her day to day happenings since the seizures began.  Also, timing them, etc.  She usually is just laying around when they happen. No, I did not know there was a phenobarb thread on site.  Have not found it yet. Yes, I have heard of the potassium bromide also, but vet has not mentioned that yet.  Just trying to get an even kilt on the pheno & get a handle of things with the seizures at this point.  Right now, bless her heart, she is doing her pacing.  She always does that after a seizure. I am hoping to get some sleep tonight. Lately it has been rough, tho.  Hate that our babies have to go thru this mess.  Well, you take care!
Avatar universal
  in my 10 year exp with epilepsy, I heard repeatedly, " you can 95 % rule it out that it is  epilepsy in a senior dog"  In researching seizures in an older dog, I went to
Buzzle  and typed into the search engine, "seizures in older dogs". and got a lot of references..  kept me busy for a week. .  

I will find the pheno link and post it for you today.  
Avatar universal

Jun 17, 2014
Welcome..We have a Pheno thread on this forum...Maybe it will help you....Let me go find it & I'll give you the link....Karla


Jun 17, 2014
Here it is:



If it doesn't work, let me know...There is valuable info. in this thread.....Karla
Avatar universal
Wow! I have not heard that about the percentage that more than likely it is not epilepsy if an older dog has seizures.  I will ask the vet about that.  I briefly looked at some of the information you suggested about that. I spoke to the vet this morning & we are going to try another dosage of Pheno & he did say something about there is another medicine but did not name it.  But right now will keep with Pheno. She has not had a seizure today but has been pacing a good bit this evening.  I will check out the Phenobarbital link you posted as well.  Thanks so much for your help.  Appreciate it.  
Avatar universal
yes I have been to neurologists ($$$)  People use the word epipeptic seizure a lot to describe the type of episode I think. My dog has 'focal' seizures, ....   yes, there are several drugs .  One Vet professional from England has been emailing me, He is smarter than a lot of doctors.
and if I remember right, he said something about adding potassium bromide I think it helps dogs process pheno if pheno is not enough. .

the pheno thread will put you in  touch with other owners who can communicate with you and give you emotional support.
Good luck with your baby

I just put into worldwide web the question again for the tenth time and the very first medical article i found said:

"Elderly dogs can develop seizures because of inner organ failure, cancer, injury, bad reactions to medications, poisoning, overexposure to heat or a sudden and potentially fatal drop in blood sugar. "Dog Owner's Home Veterinary Handbook" notes that such conditions as epilepsy or narcolepsy often begin when dogs are younger than 1"

Avatar universal
Seems like the smaller dose is too little & the one up is too much!! And the dose is a very small dose!  Will be calling vet Mon morning to see about adding other med & maybe we could put her on the lowest dose of pheno.  She has been pacing non stop since I got home! Cannot get her to settle.

Thanks for all the information you have shared with me.  I appreciate it greatly.  

Avatar universal
Hi  what dose do they have her on? How much does she weigh?

I know what you mean. my pill is small as my dog is 9 pounds, I gave her 8.1 in a.m., and 8.1 at the night..  16.2 for day.   now I cut those tiny pills in half   and she gets steroids too to try to control the inflamation in the brain they think she has.
and yesterday, she was exhibiting restlessness,  almost little whimpers all day and she has NEVER done that in her life, I felt so helpless.. just as you feel when your dog is stupid from the pheno.. but pain? I don't want that..
I called vet, thought she was having physcal distress.. I think it is from steroids, what do I know. It is an uneducated guess.  She was supposed to start decreasing steroids last night ( gradual reduction)  he told me not to since she was anxious.  But then, in the next breath, he told me steroids can increase anxiety in dogs.. so..... ? what?   rather than give her more pheno to now stem this 'anxiety' he thinks this is..
Following my instincts, I went ahead to reduce it, and the idea is to keep the seizures away..so now I have to try to watch her 24/7.  how?

when I wrote the posts in this forum, I didn't know if her symptoms were  from the pheno, ( and we should reduce it) or if the condition she was in was from the brain tumor most everyone thought she has.
some of the symptoms are the same.  this is possibly what you are going through.
does the larger dose keep the seizures from happening?
but she is zombie?
Avatar universal
Hi -- Daisy weighs 30 lbs.  She is on 1/4 tablet in morning &1/4 tablet in evening of a 16.2 mg pill.  So, that would be equal to 8.1 for the day & it is still too much. It did keep seizures away but she is a zombie on that dose.  She did well (more alert) on 1/4 tablet a day but did not keep seizures away.  The Vet feels she is overly sensitive to the Pheno.  I know you hate seeing your sweet baby going through distress the way she is.  It is so pitiful & really not much we can do but try to guess at what might help them.  Sometimes we have to use commonsense for our babies & do what we feel is best.  Daisy is still walking around drunk this morning! I am not giving her any Pheno this morning.  Will probably give her 1/4 tablet this evening.  She paced nearly all night.  Yes, I know the symptoms are all so similar as to what "might" be wrong with them & the side effects of the medication.  Hard to tell which is which!  She does an odd thing sometimes when she is pacing -- she holds her tail way over to the side.  I do not know why she does that.
Avatar universal
Had an emergency with Daisy later in day -- called the Vet but he did not call me back for 1 1/2 hr so I called another vet & they told me to bring her in.  I could not get her to eat & she started throwing up mucous like stuff & used the bathroom & passed a puddle of blood! Boy, was I scared!  This new vet told me like you about a Senior dog suddenly having seizures it is not epilepsy but something more wrong.  He observed her for quite some time & feels she has a brain tumor.  He has put her on steroids like your baby to relieve some of the inflammation. He gave it to her Intravenously today & sent me home with the pills.  Also gave her some meds for her stomach.  Less then 5 mins after she had the injections, she laid down & it was like she was saying "Thank You" -- at last some relief!!  Bless her! He said we can treat her as long as she has a quality life, even if it is just lying around but there may be a day come that we will have to make some hard decisions. She has been resting all day since I got home with her.  She has needed it so badly.  He recommended not giving her the Pheno today as he felt like what he gave her might be enough for today. She ate a little this evening.  So, we need to enjoy our babies for as long as we can.  So sad but I know she has had a good long life & has been spoiled & taken care of.   Hoping your baby has done ok for today.
Avatar universal
Oh so sorry I was away and not online. What an ordeal for you and your baby.
Yes, It is prob tumor of brain but they can go a while with this.  I'm amazed at your dose and her weight and her reaction to it.BUMMER
what is happening since your last posting?

My girl is 9-10 pounds and  16.2 had her in zombie land, but when I reduced it to half of that, she is doing well.

now she takes 8.1 pheno and also steroids and is doing ok.  It is not a cure
but she is having some quality.
she walks a little crooked  like drunk, but this is the disease. but she is not in pain, isn't that what we worry about most?
maybe you need to do  someplace between 1/4 and 1/2.  wouldn't it be esier if it were liquid .  don't know. I'm beginning to think WE NEED TO TAKE THE PHENO FOR OURSELVES
I have to to away 7/31 to 8/11 and I'm very worried to leave her with someone else, and the babysitter is 87.  hmmmmm who will be in worse shape if there is an issue  also, she is not flea or tick protected as these are toxins, afraid to introduce, but the again, if she doesn't go out, there is zero excercise......

can your dog go for a walk or not?  I bought her a baby carraige.
Avatar universal
Glad to hear from you.  I thought something might have happened to your baby.  Glad she is "holding her own" as best she can.  Yes, Daisy's dose of Pheno is very low.   I have discovered she cannot tolerate anything over 1/4 tablet a day.  The new vet said since that is so low he doesn't really know how much it is doing as far as the seizures & if I wanted to try going without the pheno I could.  But still continuing the 1/4 tablet a day Pheno for now.  This week she has done remarkably well! I am so happy.  The old Daisy in many ways has come back to me.  Last Sunday she jumped up on a chair & had not done that in a month!!!  I was so excited!!!! We are gradually lowering the dose of Prednisone.  Right now she is on 1/2 tablet of a 10 mg.  She will be on this 3 days then we will do 1/2 tablet every other day.  The vet says if she begins not to do well, we will go back up to the previous dose she was on & keep her on it for awhile.  

I can understand why you would be concerned about leaving her.  I had to leave Daisy a couple nights ago but only for 3 hours but I was still worried.  Well, hopefully your babysitter will do well with her -- we will pray all works out well.   Yes, Daisy likes to go out for walks.  We just take it slowly & mainly we walk in the yard or driveway.  

Avatar universal
wow, I am so excited for you. I know it's easy to lull ourselves into the illusion that nothing is wrong and that  will live forever. !..since we can't imagine life without them.My little girl is jumping at me this morning like a puppy....she is only nine and a half pounds and she is on. 1/4 pill in the morning and at night. If your baby's episodes return if you discontinue the pheno, there are other medications your vet can prescribe. You can read about it on the phenyl thread I sent you I'm pretty sure.
3 hours! Know I have left my baby alone for much longer than that now, but not overnight or for a trip. I travel for business, so I have no idea what I'm going to do come October but one dayat  a time
I am leaving Thursday morning for 11 days for a family reunion. I am grateful. I have a sense of security with her current status she has always been the most considerate dog
Avatar universal
good luck, I will be thinking of you and Daisy. Please keep me posted...

for some reason I'm getting dis..connected so at the bottom of this email it ends abruptly, sorry about that..at  I'm referring to
a. Non toxic..all natural product I found online, I can't seem to get to the bottom of the email to finish it but if you are interested and if you can get a tester bottle for $1.99 on the site

I was very concerned about flea and tick protection as I do believe she got this condition from Lyme disease which she got from being bitten by a deer tick 3 years ago. Even though she was on frontline.
I hate putting these toxins into her body, and now she is on steroids and meds, I'm even more concerned, and your baby being very sensitive..I'm wondering what you're doing about that. So that told me to wait until at least off the steroids, to give her this protection but she has to go to my babysitter who is entry territory. So I researched and found something called EVOLV
I think there are two products with his name but the one I bought is holistic, cedar oil, they have maybe 40 testimonials, I just got a tester bottle delivered to see how it goes because it's non-toxic and usually is non-toxic ones don't work! Sorry to say
Avatar universal
Yes, it is easy to lull ourselves into thinking "nothing's wrong".  But in reality it is & we will eventually have to face it.  Enjoying each minute of quality we have with her.  Sounds like your sweet little one is doing good.  Jumping around like a puppy!  That is great!  It is so good to see them like this. Daisy is continuing to do well.  Spoke to her Vet on the phone, as he wanted an update on her.  We will be going down to 1/2 a tablet of a 5 mg of Prednisone by Sunday. Hoping this dose keeps her in good shape.  Still giving the 1/4 tab of PB. Yes, I too have been concerned about the flea & tick protection but have not used anything due to her health concerns.  Will check into the EVOLV that you told me about.  Let me know how you do with it.  I gave her a Heartguard yesterday -- was concerned but Vet felt like it would be ok & she definitely needs to be protected from heartworms.
Hoping you  have a good time with your family & hoping your baby fares well with the babysitter.  I am sure all will be fine.   Take care!
Avatar universal
I've been thinking about you and Daisy.  what's going on?

I'm seeing deterioration in my girl.
Aug 1, I left her with babysitter for two weeks.  She started having episodes so we upped her pheno.  
then my babysitter OVERFED her, she gained more than a pound in two weeks.  My girl was begging for food ( never did it before) and my babysitter caved.  I was furious.

She feels like a cow.  that is like me gaining 15 pounds overnight. she has labored breathing and low energy and stamina..  no chance of getting this weigh toff while on steroids.

Well It is what it is.

she is still happy and  doesn't know she is sick. I worry about blindness or incontenance but so far so good.

tell me about Daisy.
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