Epilepsy Awareness Month 2019

November is Epilepsy Awareness Month for both people and dogs. This life-long condition has no cure and is extremely unpredictable, which is why it is important to continue to educate, spread awareness, and support continued research.

Most dogs will show signs epilepsy between the ages of 1-3. It is nearly impossible to know exactly when a dog might have a seizure.

Seeing a dog have a seizure can be very unsettling. The dog may fall over, become stiff, convulse, drool, and become vocal. Dogs may lose control of their bladder and/or bowels and sometimes will also vomit.

Seizure recovery can vary from dog to dog. Some may recover very quickly, and others could take 24 hours or more. After a seizure the dog may be disoriented, pace back and forth, or exhibit extreme thirst.

Epilepsy is a diagnosis of exclusion. Your veterinarian will first need to rule out that your dog doesn’t have a different disease or condition that causes the seizures. The doctor may do blood tests, x-rays, an MRI, and/or a spinal tap. Once the veterinarian rules out the other possible diagnoses, they can conclude that a dog has epilepsy.

Want to learn more? Here are a few informative links:

http://pethealthnetwork.com/dog-health/dog-diseases-conditions-a-z/canine-epilepsy

http://www.canine-epilepsy.net/basics/basics_index.html

#Paws4Purple

EpilepsyAwarenessMonth #purpleforporter #caninepilepsyawareness #pawsforpurple

Porter’s Epilepsy Episodes

This is a log of Porter’s Seizure activity to provide a summary of how often his seizures occur, what types of seizures he has, and how long it has been since the last seizure.

Every dog’s seizures may look different, especially depending on what kind of seizure your dog has. Porter has had Grand Mal, clustering Grand Mal, Focal, and clustering Focal seizures. During Porter’s Grand Mal seizures, he has violent convulsions, and often foams at the mouth, clenches his jaw down on an object, urinates, defecates, or vomits. He is unaware during his this type of seizure. During Porter’s Focal seizures, he is very much aware, and looks to us for comfort. Porter’s Focal seizures cause him to have facial and ear twitching, full body twitching, and balance issues during or immediately following the Focal seizure.

I highly recommend using a camera that offers movement/sound notifications and constant record/play-back to monitor your dog while you are not home. There are many brands of cameras out there. However, after researching, we chose to use Google Nest cameras in our home and on our camper. This will allow you to get notified that your dog may be in danger, and also will enable you to save clips of your dog’s seizures to share with your dog’s medical team. I also encourage others to video the seizure when safely possible if the seizure happens while you are home so that you have actual footage to share with your dog’s doctors.

Seizure Log:

  • 1/2/2019
    • 3 am / Grand Mal
    • 1st observed seizure
    • CBC
    • Full Chem
    • Urinalysis
    • fecal
  • 2/26/2019 (55 days from last seizure)
    • 1:50 am / Grand Mal / 30 seconds
    • 5:10 am / Grand Mal /50 seconds
      • 3 hours, 20 minutes from last seizure
    • Hospitalization required
    • started medication: Levetiracetam (Keppra)
  • 5/8/2019 (71 days from last seizure)
    • 1:48 am / Grand Mal / 5 minutes
    • 1:57am / Grand Mal / 1 minute, 45 seconds
    • Hospitalization required
    • Porter was prescribed Midazolam injections for us to have on-hand for emergencies when Porter cannot come out of seizures on his own
  • 5/26/2019 (18 days from last seizure)
    • 2:30 am / Grand Mal / 30 seconds
    • Midazolam injection required
    • Medicine Change: Added Zonisamide
  • 6/15/2019 (20 days from last seizure)
    • 9:55 am / Grand Mal / 40 seconds
    • Midazolam injection required
  • 7/9/2019 (24 days from last seizure)
    • 2:15am / Grand Mal / 45 seconds
    • 2:16 am / 30 seconds
    • 2:17 am / 45 seconds
    • Medication change: Weaned off of Keppra / Started Phenobarbital
  • 7/28/2019 (19 days from last seizure)
    • 6 am / Grand Mal / 50 seconds
    • Medication Adjustment: Increased Phenobarbital
    • Started Melatonin at night
  • 8/11/2019 (14 days from last seizure)
    • 9:44 pm / Grand Mal / 32 seconds
  • 8/13/2019 (30 hours since last seizure)
    • 4:11 am / Grand Mal / 32 seconds
    • Medicine Change: Added Potassium Bromide
  • 8/28/2019 (15 days since last seizure)
    • 7:46 am / Grand Mal / 30 seconds
  • 9/17/2019 (20 days since last seizure)
    • 8:15 am / Grand Mal / 31 seconds
    • 8:17 am / Grand Mal / 46 seconds
    • 8:18 am / Grand Mal / 40 seconds
    • 8:19 am / Grand Mal / 1 minute, 4 seconds
    • Midazolam injection required
    • 8: 22 am / Grand Mal
    • 8:23 am / Grand Mal
    • Hospitalization required
    • Medicine adjustment: Reduced Potassium Bromide
  • 10/1/19
    • MRI
      • no abnormalities found
  • 10/11/19 Medicine change: Added Gabapentin in evening
    • used as anti convulsant and also to help Porter sleep since he was not sleeping much through the night
  • 10/14/2019 (27 days since last seizure)
    • 1:04 pm / Grand Mal / 40 seconds
    • 1:06 pm / Grand Mal / 49 seconds
    • 1:20 pm / Grand Mal / 41 seconds
    • Midazolam injection required
  • 11/1/2019 (18 days since last seizure)
    • 11:14 pm / Grand Mal / 30 seconds
      • Medicine Change: Weaned-off Potassium Bromide and Phenobarbital. Reintroduced Keppra
        • Porter’s neurologist expressed that despite the medication changes, Porter is still having the same or similar cycles of seizures. However, due to the increased and severe anxiety that we observed, he feels it is best if we backed him off of both the phenobarbital and potassium bromide. He also feels that re-introducing Keppra again may be the best alternative since the anxiety and behaviors were not noted while he was on this medication.
  • 11/11/2019 (10 days since last seizure)
    • 8:49am / Grand Mal / 30 seconds
    • 8:51 am / Grand Mal / 40 seconds
    • Medicine Change: stopped Gabapentin at night and started Trazadone
  • 11/23/19
    • began CBD oil (Charlotte’s Web brand)
  • 12/5/19 (24 days since last seizure)
    • 10:51 am / Grand Mal / 30 seconds
    • 10: 52 am / Grand Mal / 30 seconds
  • 12/30/19 (25 days since last seizure)
    • 9:58 am / Grand Mal / 38 seconds
    • 9:59 am / Grand Mal / 10 seconds
    • 10:00 am / Grand Mal / 51 seconds
  • 1/28/20 (29 days since last seizure)
    • 1:15 am / Grand Mal / 20 seconds
    • 1:17 am / Grand Mal / 30 seconds
    • 1:18 am First observation of what we thought was Focal seizures
  • 1/29/20 (43 hours, 25 minutes since last seizure)
    • 8:40pm clustering focal seizures / Clustering until 10pm
    • Midazolam injection required
  • 2/1/20 (3 days since last seizure)
    • 3:15 pm / Focal / 3 minutes
    • Midazolam injection required
    • Medication Change: Increased Keppra dosage
  • 2/27/20 (30 days since last seizure)
    • 4:49am / Grand Mal / 50 seconds
    • 4:50 am / Grand Mal / 45 seconds
    • 4:51 am / Grand Mal / 30 seconds
    • Midazolam injection required
    • 4:52 am / Focal / 3 minutes
  • 3/23/20 (25 days since last seizure)
    • 12:04am / Grand Mal / 30 seconds
    • 12:05 / Focal / 30 seconds
  • 4/8/20 (16 days since last seizure)
    • 11:30 pm / Grand Mal / 30 seconds
    • 11:31 pm / Grand Mal / 30 seconds
    • 11:32 pm / Focal / 3 minutes
    • Midazolam injection required
  • 5/3/20 (25 days since last seizure)
    • 12:21 am / Grand Mal / 55 seconds
    • 12:22 am / Grand Mal / 50 seconds
    • 12:23 am / Focal / 3 minutes
    • Midazolam injection required
  • 5/20/20
    • Veterinary Specialty Hospital of the Carolinas Nutrition Consult
  • 5/23/20 (20 days since last seizure)
    • 12:40am / Grand Mal / 30 seconds
    • 12:41 am / Focal / 1 minute
    • 3:22 pm / Grand Mal / 1 minute
    • 3:23 pm / Focal / 2 minutes
  • 5/24/20
    • clustering Focal seizures throughout the day
  • 5/25/20
    • clustering Focal seizures throughout the day
    • Midazolam injection required
  • 5/26/20
    • clustering Focal seizures throughout the day
    • Midazolam injection required
  • 5/27/20
    • clustering Focal seizures throughout the day
    • Midazolam injection required
    • Medicine change: Increased Keppra and Zonisamide
  • 5/28/20
    • clustering Focal seizures throughout the day
    • Midazolam injection required
  • 5/29/20
    • clustering Focal seizures throughout the day
  • 5/30/20
    • clustering Focal seizures throughout the day
  • 5/31/20
    • clustering Focal seizures throughout the day
  • 6/1/20
    • clustering Focal seizures throughout the day
  • 6/2/20
    • clustering Focal seizures throughout the day
    • Hospitalization required
    • bloodwork
    • urinalysis
    • Medication change: Reduced Keppra and Zonisamide, and added Lyrica (Pregabalin)
  • 6/8/20
    • Medication change: Poor reaction to Pregabalin (Lyrica) – tapering off by 6/10
  • 6/9/20
    • Began transition to new diet, CBD (ElleVet brand), and supplements suggested by VSH of the Carolinas
  • 6/10/20 (18 days since seizure)
    • 11:06 pm / Grand Mal / 36 seconds
    • 11:07 pm / Clustering Focal Seizures / 2 minutes
      • (8 days since last Focal)
    • Midazolam injection required
  • 6/22/20 (12 Days since last seizure)
    • 6:55 am / Clustering Grand Mal / 2 minutes
    • 6:57 am / Clustering Focal / 2 minutes
  • 7/6/20 (14 days since last seizure)
    • 6:39 am / Clustering Grand Mal / 2 minutes
    • 6:41 am / Clustering Focal / 4 minutes
    • Midazolam injection required
    • 7:10 am / Grand Mal / 30 seconds
    • 7:111 am / Focal seizures / 4 mins
    • Midazolam injection required
  • 7/16/20 First Acupuncture session
    • Began Chinese herb Di Tan Tang
  • 7/25/20 (19 days since last seizure)
    • 10:17am / Grand Mal / 45 seconds
    • 10:18am / Focal seizures / 23 seconds
    • 10:18 am / Grand Mal seizure / 32 seconds
    • 10:20 am / Focal Seizures / 3 minutes, 25 seconds
    • Midazolam injection required
  • 7/28/20 second acupuncture session
    • Added Chinese herb Tian Ma Bai Zhu
  • 8/12/2020
    • started new CBD
      • Veterinarian Recommended Solutions brand: ENDO Blend
  • 8/16/20 (22 days since last seizure)
    • 11:24pm/ Grand Mal/ 25 seconds
    • 11:24 pm/ Grand Mal/ 25 seconds
    • 11:25 pm/ Grand Mal / 30 seconds
    • 11:25 pm / Focal seizures / 3 minutes
    • Midazolam injection required
  • 8/27/2020
    • Added Neurotrophin PMG supplement
  • 9/7/2020 (22 days since last seizure)
    • 7:59 am / Grand Mal/ 2 mins
      • significantly more mild convulsions than in the past
      • snapped out of it on his own and did not need Midazolam shot
      • no Focal seizures
      • postictal phase was much shorter than in the past
    • 9/23/20 (16 days since last seizure)
      • 9:01 am / Grand Mal / 37 seconds
      • 9:02 am / Grand Mal / 38 seconds
      • Midazolam injection required
      • Increased dose of Chinese herb Di Tan Tang
    • 10/4/20 (11 days since last seizure)
      • 7:07 pm / Grand Mal / 39 seconds
        • followed by focal seizures
      • 7:09 pm / Grand Mal / 42 seconds
        • followed by focal seizures
      • Midazolam injection required
      • Increased dose of Chinese herb Tian Ma Bai Zhu
    • 10/20/20 (16 days since last seizure)
      • 11:32pm / Grand Mal / 1 minute
        • followed by focal seizures
      • 11:34pm / Grand Mal / 1 minute
        • followed by focal seizures
      • Midazolam injection required
    • 10/25/20 (5 days since last seizure)
      • 9:33 am / Grand Mal / 45 seconds
        • Followed by focal seizures
      • 9:34 am / Grand Mal / 50 seconds
        • Followed by focal seizures
    • Stopped Acupuncture and started weaning off Chinese Herbs and Neurotrophin PMG supplement
      • Porter’s medical team all agreed these were not helping Porter
    • Porter’s medical team also concluded that his special diet was not helping, so he is being weaned off of that as well.
    • 10/29/20 added Topiramate as a daily medication
    • 11/9/20 (15 days since last seizure)
      • 7:11 pm / Grand Mal / 40 seconds
        • Followed by focal seizures
      • 7:12 pm / Grand Mal / 40 seconds
        • Followed by focal seizures
      • 7:13 pm / Grand Mal / 30 seconds
        • Followed by focal seizures
      • Midazolam injection required
    • 11/15/20 (6 days since last seizure)
      • 6:36 am / Grand Mal / 30 seconds
        • Followed by focal seizures
    • 11/25/20 (10 days since last seizure)
      • 5:43 am / Grand Mal / 30 seconds
        • Followed by focal seizures

Porter’s Seizure Protocol

***This protocol is what we follow for Porter. Please do not follow this protocol without first consulting your dog’s primary veterinarian and/or neurologist.***

******If questioning at all – go to an emergency veterinary service.

  • Single seizure in a day with no differences or complications
    • just contact doctors to let them know

Contact Dr. C & Dr. E immediately and go to ER if the following occurs with Porter:

  • 2 seizures within a day 
    • Dogs that have more than one seizure in a 24-hour period are experiencing “cluster” seizures. This requires immediate veterinary attention, and you should take your dog to a veterinary hospital right away for examination
  • a seizure lasting 3 mins or more
  • not coming out of seizure at all or having difficulty coming out of it
  • comes out of one seizure and immediately goes into another

Postictal Phase

  • If Porter is no longer seizing, we still bring him to the ER if the following circumstances are occurring:
    • The postictal stage can last up to 24 hours in some dogs. However, if we still see postictal symptoms after 12 hours but no seizures – this warrants a visit to the ER
    • If Porter comes out of the postictal phase, and then seems to go back into the postictal phase
    • If Porter is out of the postictal phase and has another seizure

VERY important things to report to a doctor:

  • clustering
  • More than one seizure in a day
  • More than 1 seizure per month 

***This protocol is what we follow for Porter. Please do not follow this protocol without first consulting your dog’s primary veterinarian and/or neurologist.***

Porter’s Medications and Supplements

***Please consult your dog’s primary veterinarian and/or neurologist about choosing the best medication(s) and/or supplements for your dog’s unique needs. Never give your dog a drug or supplement without first speaking to your dog’s medical team***

Not every medication is for every dog with epilepsy which is why it is very important that you carefully consult your dog’s medical team prior to starting any drug or supplement. Every dog can react differently to medicinal and supplemental changes. Porter was on Phenobarbital , Gabapentin, and Potassium Bromide in the past with no success. These drugs did not change his seizure patterns or frequency. In addition, Porter had severe negative medical and behavioral changes in response to these medications. These included:

  • ataxia
  • accidents in his crate that he was completely unaware of
  • constantly falling
  • weight gain
  • overall decrease in quality of life

Current Medications

Current Supplements

  • Fish Oil
    • brand: Nature’s Bounty
    • Provides systemic anti-inflammatory effects
  • LiquiCarn
    • L-Carnitine Supplementation is an amino acid that helps to shuttle triglycerides (fat) into the cells mitochondria to be used for energy.
    • has some antioxidant properties known to optimize neurologic health
  • Denosyl
    • SAMe is a potent antioxidant which has been shown to support not only neurologic, but also systemic health
  • Melatonin
    • brand: K9 Choice
    • dogs who typically have seizures at night or in the early morning can benefit from a small snack and some melatonin before bedtime. The food helps to keep blood sugar stabilized and the melatonin assists in maintaining a regular sleep pattern.
  • ElleVet CBD oil
    • We had tried Charlotte’s Web brand in the past and did not see a decrease in seizure severity or frequency

Nutritional Consultation with Veterinary Specialty Hospital of the Carolinas

VSH of the Carolinas offer nutritional services that may benefit dogs with epilepsy. We decided to try a dietary change in hopes that this would reduce the severity and frequency of Porter’s seizures. VSH provided us with a diet and nutrition support plan that was recommended based on Porter’s medical records, diagnostic results, and dietary history. Consultations can be done online or by making an in-person visit.

We are not sharing the dietary suggestions that we received for Porter, as we truly believe that every dog’s dietary needs are unique and should be discussed with your dog’s medical team.

Nutrition Services Offered by VSH of the Carolinas:

  • Courtesy pDVM/ colleague commercial recommendations: Based on patients’ clinical problems and diagnostic results, a list of appropriate commercial options is provided via phone or email.
  • Voluntary commercial consultations: A list of appropriate commercial options are provided to the client with specific feeding guidelines and monitoring parameters. Anticipated turnaround time 5-7 business days once all information (medical records, dietary history questionnaire) is collected.
  • Weight loss consultation: Individualized weight loss plan provided to the client. Includes bi-monthly weights and check-ins to monitor progress, in addition to addressing any nutrition-related concerns or questions. Anticipated turnaround time 7-10 business days.
  • Assisted feeding consultation (any type of feeding tube/ port): Based on patients’ disease processes, appropriate liquid diets/ liquid diet blends (for nasoenteric or jejunostomy tubes) or slurried diet blends (esophagostomy or gastrostomy tubes), feeding guidelines, and monitoring parameters are provided. Additionally, commercial options for volitional intake will also be provided (if applicable). If/ when the patient goes home, at-home guidelines will be provided to the client. Direct follow up with the client for any nutrition-related concerns or questions it available. (Anticipated turnaround time same day if before 2 pm, otherwise within 24 hours).
  • Homemade diet consultation: Two patient-specific homemade diet recipes are formulated and provided to the client based on the patient’s individual disease states. Additional recipes can be requested ($80/ recipe). Specific cooking directions, feeding guidelines, and monitoring parameters are provided. Use of human supplements (+ $40). Anticipated turnaround time 10-14 business days.
  • Combination Homemade diet + commercial: Please see option 2+5.
  • Homemade diet analysis: Technical analysis of client’s homemade diet using recipe/ information supplied by the client. Often needed to demonstrate nutritional deficiencies/ excesses in online recipes. Does not include “fixing” the diet to make it appropriate.
  • Combination homemade diet analysis and reformulation of up to 2 recipes: See option 5+7.
  • Homemade diet reformulation: FOR ESTABLISHED CLIENTS -In the event that an existing patient with a VSH homemade diet develops new medical problems and a reformulation is required. Ex. Renal disease and then develops pancreatitis; use of human supplements. Within 2 years of initial consultation. If outside of2-yearr window, new homemade diet consultation fee applies.
  • Supplement/ nutraceutical evaluation: depending on the number of supplements – Using existing medical records and product information, recommendations are made regarding dosing, continuation, and/or discontinuation of supplements.
  • Commercial diet evaluation: Based on the patient’s medical problems and diagnostic results, evaluation of the appropriateness of current / potential diet is provided. Does not include feeding recommendations. If feeding guidelines are desired, voluntary/ commercial consultation fee applies.
  • In person appointment: Discussion of client concerns and goals, nutritional physical exam, etc. Written consultation not included.

VSH of the Carolina’s Nutrition Services email: nutrition@vshcarolinas.com 

VSH of the Carolina’s Nutrition Department phone: 919-233-4911

Download Forms Here:

VSH-Nutrition-Referral-form_-2018

Tests That Porter Had Done

Porter has had extensive testing throughout his battle with epilepsy.

  • CBC
    • blood test that provides information about the different cell types in blood
    • there are several abnormalities on a CBC that might explain seizures
    • Porter’s CBC was normal
  • full chem profile
    • Analyzing various substances (such as proteins, enzymes, fats, sugars, hormones, electrolytes, etc.) provides information about the health of the body’s organs and tissues such as the liver, kidney, and pancreas and aids in detecting diabetes and other metabolic diseases
    • Porter’s chem profile was normal
  • urinalysis
    • evaluates the chemical and physical properties of urine.
    • necessary for the proper interpretation of the biochemistry profile, especially in a dog that might have seizures due to kidney disease, diabetes, or other metabolic disorders.
    • Porter’s urinalysis was normal
  • MRI
    • to rule out a brain tumor or prior head trauma
    • Porter’s MRI was normal

Seizure Do’s and Don’ts

Your dog has a seizure… what do you do (or NOT do)?!

These Do’s and Don’ts are just suggestions. As always, what is best for you and your dog should be discussed in detail with your veterinarian. Also, these are not listed in any particular order.

DO:

  • DO remain calm (as hard as it may seem). This can be difficult, but your dog’s health depends on your ability to focus.
  • DO contact your vet or bring your dog to the ER if you are questioning in any way if the dog needs medical attention
  • DO contact your vet and/or bring your dog to the ER if
    • the seizure lasts more than 3 minutes
    • your dog has 2 seizures within a day
    • your dog is having difficulty coming out of a seizure
    • your dog comes out of one seizure and goes immediately into another
  • DO time how long your dog’s seizures last and record them in a seizure diary. Knowing when your dog’s seizure started and how long it lasted will give your veterinarian important information about your dog’s symptoms.
  • DO  film your dog’s seizures when safely possible and show the videos to your vet. This will help you time the seizure. It will also assist the doctor in identifying the type of seizure and better equip them to advise you. 
  • DO remove as many sensory stimuli as possible such as turning the television off and turning down the lights
  • DO try and make sure that your dog is not in a position to injure themselves. Keep them away from stairs, cushion their head if needed (Be sure to keep hands away from the dog’s mouth), and move furniture or dangerous objects, etc. away from the dog
  • DO monitor your pet closely so he doesn’t injure himself; he will be disoriented and unsure of what is happening.

Don’ts:

  • DON’T put your hand near your dog’s mouth while it is having a seizure. Do not put your hands near your dog’s mouth or put their tongue back in their mouth. Your dog is unconscious during this time and has no control. You could be badly bitten.
  • DON’T give your dog additional medication without speaking to your vet first, unless this protocol was already set in place as an action plan by your dog’s medical team
  • DON’T try to move the dog unless the dog’s safety is in danger (going to fall down stairs, etc)
  • DON’T try to restrain the dog
  • DON’T try to give the dog food or water until they are fully alert

Seizure Phases

Seizures consist of three components:

1)  The pre-ictal phase (aura), is a period of altered behavior in which the dog may hide, appear nervous, or seek out the owner. It may be restless, nervous, whining, shaking, or salivating. This may last a few seconds to a few hours. This period precedes the seizure activity, as if the dog senses that something is about to occur.

2)  The ictal phase can last from a few seconds to several minutes, and can vary in appearance. The ictal phase can range from mild changes in mental awareness, such as a dazed look, mild shaking, staring aimlessly, licking lips, to a complete loss of consciousness and body function. If the dog experiences a grand mal, or full-blown seizure with loss of consciousness, all of the muscles of the body move spastically and erratically. The dog usually falls over on its side and paddles its legs while seeming to be otherwise paralyzed. The head will often be drawn backward. Urination, defecation, and salivation may occur. If the seizure has not stopped within five minutes, the dog is said to be in status epilepticus or prolonged seizure (see below).

3)  During the post-ictal phase or the period immediately after the end of the seizure, there is confusion, disorientation, salivation, pacing, restlessness, or even temporary blindness. There is no direct correlation between the severity of the seizure and the duration of the post-ictal phase.

Information reposted from: https://vcahospitals.com/know-your-pet/seizures-general-for-dogs

Seizure Descriptions

This information is reposted from: https://canna-pet.com/cluster-seizures-dogs/

As a pet owner, seeing your dog have a seizure can be one of the most frightening experiences you’ll have. Seizures are often sudden, seemingly occur without reason and leave you feeling helpless as the owner.

There are a variety of different types of seizures found in dogs. However, one very important type of dog seizure to be aware of is cluster seizures.

What are the types of seizures in dogs?

Unfortunately, there are actually several different types of seizures found in dogs, and they can vary greatly in severity. It’s valuable to be able to differentiate the different types of dog seizures so you can have an idea of what type of treatment and outcome to expect.

Epilepsy in Dogs

Believe it or not, epilepsy itself is actually NOT a type of seizure, rather a condition that often causes repeated bouts of seizures. The term “epilepsy” refers to recurrent seizures that originate in the brain. There are different forms of canine epilepsy as well, but again, these are not types of seizures themselves.

Grand Mal Seizures

In a generalized seizure, the dog will fall, lose consciousness, and extend his limbs out rigidly. The dog may also have sudden apnea, meaning he will briefly stop breathing. This will generally last for around 10 to 30 seconds. Afterwards, the dog will begin paddling his limbs or start chewing. He may also have dilated pupils, salivate, urinate or defecate.

Mild Seizure

A mild seizure begins the same way as a grand mal seizure but will typically not involve the extension of the limbs or paddling. The dog usually will not lose consciousness. Mild and grand mal seizures are most often associated with epilepsy.

Petit Mal Seizure

Also known as an absence seizure, petit mal seizures are very rarely recognized in dogs. These seizures are very brief, lasting just seconds, and can manifest as a brief period of unconsciousness, loss of muscle tone, blank stare, or possibly even an upward rotation of the eyes.

Partial Seizure

During a partial seizure, the associated movements will only be seen in one area of the body. This can be the movement of one limb, a muscle jerking, a turning of the head or bending the trunk to one side or even facial twitches. Partial seizures can progress to generalized seizures and are associated with secondary epilepsy.

Complex Partial Seizures

These seizures are notable for the strange or complex behaviors that they repeatedly cause. In humans, complex partial seizures cause us to distort our thought perception, and certain emotions, like fear.

When they happen to dogs, they might be displayed as lip-smacking, chewing, fly biting, aggression, vocalization, frightened running, covering or hiding. Dogs may also experience vomiting, diarrhea, salivation, blindness, unusual thirst or appetite or biting.

These can last minutes or even hours, and can be followed by or progress to a generalized seizure. Like partial seizures, complex partial seizures are also closely associated with secondary epilepsy.

Status Epilepticus

Colloquially known as simply “status,” this type of dog seizure can occur either as a series of multiple seizures within a short timeframe with no periods of normal consciousness in between, or as one continuous seizure that can last up to 30 minutes.

Although closely related to primary and secondary epilepsy, status can sometimes occur suddenly in dogs that have no history of seizures or brain injury. Status can often be difficult to differentiate from cluster seizures. These seizures are considered life-threatening emergencies.

Cluster Seizures

Cluster seizures in dogs occur when a dog experiences multiple seizures within a short period of time, generally considered within a 24-hour window. Like status epilepticus, cluster seizures should be considered life threatening. These seizures are typically brief and isolated, but can also be more serious. Large breed dogs tend to be the most susceptible to cluster seizures.

When a dog experiences cluster seizures, he will usually have one, seem to recover, and then have another a few hours later. However, the dog never fully recovers from the first seizure before the second strikes. This can continue on and on until the dog is in critical condition. With the aforementioned status epilepticus, these seizures won’t be spread out, but will be one long seizure that doesn’t stop. Both are true emergencies.

Cluster seizures can be managed with medication, but the cause of the seizures must first be established before any medication can be prescribed.

What causes cluster seizures in dogs?

Cluster seizures in dogs are often caused by a problem in the dog’s brain, such as a tumor that interferes with the communication between parts of the brain. They can also stem from a lack of oxygen in the brain, low glucose level in the blood, known as hypoglycemia, or hypothyroidism, which is a deficit of thyroid hormone production.

If the seizures seem to happen for no apparent reason, then idiopathic epilepsy may be the cause. This type of epilepsy is difficult to detect because it leaves no lesions or lasting damage on the brain. Genetics can also be a factor in dogs having seizures, but this is not yet absolutely proven.

What dogs have cluster seizures?

Any dog of any age and breed can experience cluster seizures, but they are most often seen in middle-aged dogs. Breeds like Border Collies, Cocker Spaniels, Dachshunds, German Shepherds, and Boxers are known to be susceptible. Research has actually shown that male dogs are more prone to cluster seizures than females.

What are the symptoms of seizures in dogs?

It’s important to note that most seizures are brief, and that your dog can live a normal life when given the proper dog seizure treatment. However, cluster seizures are much more serious, and can cause serious brain damage, or worse.

A dog experiencing a seizure will most often suddenly collapse, exhibit abnormal movement in its limbs, excessive drooling and uncontrollable jaw movement, as well as incontinence. The dog will usually be unconscious and unresponsive, and have no control over its spasms.

In cluster seizures, the dog will seem to recover between seizures, although he will be very tired and lethargic, potentially even staggering, as seizures are exhausting events.

Though their demeanor will otherwise seem fine, they do not fully recover in between seizures and can get progressively worse. If they don’t regain consciousness at all, or seem to have a prolonged seizure lasting up to 30 minutes, this is not a cluster seizure, but status epilepticus, which is extremely dangerous to your dog and can be life threatening.

How are cluster seizures diagnosed?

Dogs that have encountered cluster seizures should be brought into the veterinarian immediately. Once there, your vet will give your dog a glucose test. Often, your vet will also test to see if your dog has ingested poison.

A lot of the diagnosis will come down to what you are able to report to your vet when you bring your dog in. Pay attention to the symptoms your dog displayed during, before, and after a seizure. If you suspect cluster seizures, tell your veterinarian why and that will help them make a proper diagnosis.

Your vet may also conduct a CT scan or an MRI to see if there are any brain tumors or lesions. Since cluster seizures are so serious, you can expect a full round of testing.

How to Treat Cluster Seizures in Dogs

Medication will be prescribed by your veterinarian in order to treat a dog that is experiencing cluster seizures, but there are also a few things you can do at home to help care for your pet.

If you happen to notice your dog having a seizure, you can spring into action if necessary. Make sure your dog isn’t near anything sharp or close to stairs. Note your dog’s behavior during the seizure and, if possible, try to pinpoint the trigger. Comfort your dog after the seizure and see your vet immediately, especially if another seizure occurs.

If your dog has had cluster seizures, you should also be sure to monitor his other bodily functions. Things you’ll want to monitor include:

  • Mental status and level of consciousness
  • Breathing irregularities
  • Heart rate and blood pressure
  • Body temperature
  • Salivation and fluid intake
  • Muscle damage

Sources:

  1. Yin, Sophia, “Vet Advice: Seizures in Dogs and Canine Epilepsy.” The Bark, 3 Feb. 2015, Accessed 1 April 2017. thebark.com/content/vet-advice-seizures-dogs-and-canine-epilepsy.
  2. “Cluster Seizures in Dogs.” VetInfo, Accessed 1 April 2017. www.vetinfo.com/cluster-seizures-dogs.html.
  3. “Epilepsy in Dogs.” The Kennel Club, Accessed 1 April 2017. www.thekennelclub.org.uk/health/for-owners/epilepsy/.
  4. Packer, R, “Risk Factors for Cluster Seizures in Canine Idiopathic Epilepsy.” Current Neurology and Neuroscience Reports, Apr. 2016, Accessed 1 April 2017. www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/27033922.
  5. “Seizures and Convulsions in Dogs.” PetMD, Accessed 1 April 2017. www.petmd.com/dog/conditions/neurological/c_dg_seizures_convulsions.

***This information is reposted from: https://canna-pet.com/cluster-seizures-dogs/

Canine Epilepsy

Explanation

“Epilepsy” is a general term for neurological disorders that are characterized by recurrent seizures. In some cases, the seizures are caused by trauma, a toxin, a brain tumor, an infection, or an issue with your dog’s blood, kidneys, or other organs. At other times, the epilepsy is referred to as “idiopathic,” which simply means that there is no identifiable, underlying cause.

Seizures commonly fall into two categories: generalized (grand mal) or partial (focal). Generalized seizures commonly appear as involuntary jerking or twitching movements of all four limbs with loss of consciousness. Partial seizures may involve one limb, side of the body, or face. Partial seizures may progress to generalized seizures. Seizures may also result in abnormal behavior, vocalization, salivation, chomping/chewing, and involuntary urination and defecation.

Dogs with idiopathic epilepsy typically have their first seizures between the ages of 6 months to 6 years. Though idiopathic epilepsy can occur in any breed, it is considered an inheritable disease in many breeds and in some breeds a genetic basis has been identified. Therefore, dogs diagnosed with idiopathic epilepsy should not be used for breeding. Commonly affected breeds include:

  • Labrador retrievers
  • Golden retrievers
  • Poodles
  • Keeshonds
  • Beagles
  • German shepherds
  • Dachshunds
  • Irish setters
  • Cocker spaniels

Is a seizure painful or dangerous to the dog?

Despite the dramatic and violent appearance of a seizure, seizures are not painful, although the dog may feel confusion and perhaps panic. Contrary to popular belief, dogs do not swallow their tongues during a seizure. If you put your fingers or an object into its mouth, you will not help your pet and you run a high risk of being bitten very badly or of injuring your dog. The important thing is to keep the dog from falling or hurting itself by knocking objects onto itself. As long as it is on the floor or ground, there is little chance of harm occurring.

A single seizure is rarely dangerous to the dog. However, if the dog has multiple seizures within a short period of time (cluster seizures), or if a seizure continues for longer than a few minutes, the body temperature begins to rise. If hyperthermia (elevated body temperature) develops secondary to a seizure, another set of problems need to be addressed.

Symptoms
Prolonged seizures lasting more than 5 minutes or two or more consecutive seizures without full recovery are referred to as status epilepticus. This is a true emergency and you should seek immediate veterinary care for your pet. Two or more seizures in 24 hours are referred to as cluster seizures and are an indication for beginning anti-seizure medication.

In dogs, seizures often occur in three distinct phases:

  • The first is called the aural phase and the most common signs are behavioral changes. These changes may be subtle and include restlessness, attention seeking or anxious behavior. 
  • The second phase, called the ictal phase, is when the seizure itself takes place. A seizure can last from just a few seconds to several minutes.
  • The final phase is called the postictal phase, which occurs after the seizure. During this phase, your dog may seem restless, uncoordinated and/or disoriented. Occasionally, temporary blindness, deafness or other neurologic abnormalities may occur.

It may be difficult to watch your pet have a seizure but most are of short duration and cause no permanent harm. Avoid being bitten by keeping your hands away from your pet’s mouth during a seizure. If it can be done safely, provide padding and move your pet away from stairs to prevent injury.

Diagnosis
Your veterinarian will take a complete history and perform a thorough physical and neurological exam to determine if there is an identifiable, underlying cause of your dog’s seizure.

In order to do so, the following tests may be recommended:

  • Chemistry tests to evaluate kidney, liver, and pancreatic function, as well as sugar levels and electrolytes
  • A complete blood count to screen for infection, inflammation, anemia, and other blood-related conditions
  • Urinalysis
  • PCR testing and/or serology to evaluate for infectious diseases that may cause seizures
  • Referral to a neurologist for advanced testing including MRI and cerebrospinal fluid analysis
  • Cultures, PCR testing, and other specialized tests that can identify if specific parasites or diseases could be the cause

Treatment 
Epilepsy cannot be cured, but it can usually be controlled with anticonvulsant drugs. If your veterinarian determines that your dog’s epilepsy is idiopathic, one or more of the following medications may be prescribed:

  • Phenobarbital helps reduce the frequency of your dog’s seizures and is the most prescribed medication for dogs with idiopathic epilepsy. It is generally a well-tolerated drug.
  • Potassium bromide is another seizure medication that may be added to your dog’s treatment, if she does not respond well to phenobarbital alone.
  • Levetiracetam (Keppra)

With these medications, as with all drugs, some patients experience side effects. In order to make sure an adequate dose is being given, and to monitor for side effects, it is important that blood levels of each medication as well as complete blood counts and blood chemistry profiles be monitored periodically. Liver function tests may also be indicated. Your veterinarian will advise what monitoring needs to be done and how often. Medication dosages should not be changed without talking to your veterinarian.

Dogs diagnosed with idiopathic epilepsy may require treatment for life, and sometimes more than one drug is needed for adequate seizure control. And while many dogs are well controlled, some are not despite multiple medications. In addition, adequate seizure control does not necessarily guarantee that a dog will be entirely seizure free. The degree of seizure control may need to be balanced against potential side effects of the medications. 

Management 
Besides medication, there are many ways for you, yourself, to help manage your pet’s epilepsy:

  • Maintain a seizure log that lists date, time, length and severity of seizures as well as videotape and share this with your veterinarian
  • Do not change or discontinue medications without consulting your veterinarian
  • Have blood work and other lab work done when recommended by your veterinarian
  • Consult your veterinarian whenever you notice a change in your pet’s condition
  • Put a medical alert tag on your pet’s collar so that if he becomes lost, whoever finds him will be aware of their seizure disorder and need for medication.

Several treatments are available for pets with epilepsy. By working closely with your veterinarian, you can maximize the chances of controlling the disorder and giving your pet a long, happy, and comfortable life.

If you have any questions or concerns, you should always visit or call your veterinarian – they are your best resource to ensure the health and well-being of your pets.

This is information is reposted from: http://www.pethealthnetwork.com/dog-health/dog-diseases-conditions-a-z/canine-epilepsy and https://vcahospitals.com/know-your-pet/seizures-general-for-dogs

Intro to Porter and Tips for Living with a Fur-Kid Who Has Epilepsy

Some Superheroes Fight Crime, Mine Fights Epilepsy

My Epilepsy Warrior is a 3 year old English Pointer named Porter. Approximately 2.5 weeks after Porter joined us as a Pointer Rescue, Org foster dog in December of 2018, he had a Grand Mal seizure in the middle of the night. Since then, he has stumped doctors as his epilepsy continues to progress and evolve with no significant response to the usual medications. Porter has been a trooper to say the least. Despite all the ups and downs of his battle, Porter remains a happy and loving pup.

Aim for Zero

Brian and I have – and will continue to – put forth our best efforts in trying to help Porter. For the past year and a half we have unsuccessfully been able to make considerable progress with Porter’s seizures. Although we have researched on our own as well as received ample medical advice and other suggestions, we can’t make too many changes all at once. Everything becomes a waiting game as we sit tight to see if a newly implemented change will make a difference. It is heartbreaking and frustrating to helplessly watch your fur-kid suffer through Epilepsy…but ultimately what we feel as PAWrents is minuscule compared to what Porter is dealing with. Our goal is to reduce both the severity and frequency of Porter’s episodes – with our ultimate objective being ZERO seizures. As we strive to lessen the severity of Porter’s Epilepsy, we are doing our best to balance his medical treatment with maintaining a high quality of life for him. Some people have suggested we stop trying to figure out Porter’s epilepsy. Anyone who knows me well knows that the suggestion for me to “stop” only fuels my determination. In my opinion, to cease trying is the equivalent to giving up on Porter. Giving up is not an option. We will never stop. We have one mission: AIM FOR ZERO.

“Experience is not what happens to you. It is what you do with what happens to you. Don’t waste your pain; use it to help others.”

~Rick Warren

Having a dog with Epilepsy and experiencing canine seizures for the first time can be traumatic and definitely may alter your lifestyle. However, that doesn’t mean these modifications have to be distressful. Embrace the changes, make the necessary adjustments, and turn them all into positive actions. Educate yourself, and pay it forward to others as you share your knowledge that may help fellow PAWrents who are not familiar or experienced with Canine Epilepsy.

Porter is the first fur-kid we’ve had with Epilepsy. To be honest, it has been upsetting, frustrating, heartbreaking and has left me feeling helpless to say the least. My intent for this section of the blog is to share information that has helped me both understand the disease and better prepare myself to assist and support Porter. Within the “Porter’s Epilepsy Episodes” entries, you will find the following:

Seize the Day

Do NOT let epilepsy hold your dog back. Yes, I will fully admit: Epilepsy is a scary thing… However, it is not a death sentence. Despite your dog’s diagnosis, they can live a healthy and happy life. Porter still enjoys many activities such as camping, hiking, and playing with our other dogs just to name a few. Mindset matters and your pup can sense your mental attitude before you even realize your own mood. Keep your head up, stay positive, and allow your dog to live their best life!


“Always plan ahead. It wasn’t raining when Noah built the ark.” ~Richard Cardinal Cushing 

Porter’s seizures used to have a pretty predictable pattern. His seizures were always in the middle of the night while we were with him. However, that is not the case any more. Regardless of when you think your dog will have a seizure, it is best to be prepared. Just when you believe you may have it all figured out, Epilepsy likes to throw a curve ball. The last thing you want is to be in a panic and without a plan when your dog is in the middle of a seizure.

With epilepsy, you never know where or when a seizure episode will occur. We have a mini backpack – much like a baby bag – that we carry with us any time we leave the house with Porter so that we have Porter’s medication and essential supplies on-hand no matter where we are. At home this bag hangs on a hook close to Porter’s crate for easy access, and so that we always know where it is in an emergency.

Porter also always wears a collar when he is outside or traveling . Attached to his collar is his regular ID tag as well as an extra tag that says “I have seizures and need medication.”

We also have a plan in place for the moment a seizure begins. The first one who notices seizure activity simply says “seizure” and we both begin our routine. One of us stays with Porter, talking calmly to him and making sure he is safe while timing the seizures. The other grabs Porter’s backpack in case he needs his emergency injection. Once Porter is conscious, one of us takes him outside to allow him to safely move about during his Post-ictal Phase and potty if necessary while the other changes-out bedding if Porter vomited or lost control of his bladder or bowels. We then work together to compose notes on the seizure.

Seizures may occur while your dog is home alone. Look for dangers – and mitigate them. If your dog is not crated while you are gone, use baby gates at the top/bottom of stairs to keep your dog safe. Your dog can be seriously injured if they are at the top of the stairs when a seizure begins, or if they try and navigate the stairs while they are disoriented during the Pos-tictal Phase following a seizure. Porter is crated while we are gone, and we use cameras to monitor him. We chose the Google Nest cameras, which allow us to set zones and alerts for both movement and noises. The cameras also offer a constant-record option, which is helpful in tracking the time, length, and severity of the seizures. Clips can be saved from the video and shared via text or email as well.

Traveling with your pup? Seizures don’t take a vacation and can occur in transit, or at your destination. Before you hit the road with your 4-legged road tripper, research emergency veterinary hospitals along your route, and in the surrounding areas of any stop-overs as well as your final destination. Having this information already saved in your phone will lessen your stress in the event your dog has a seizure and needs medical assistance while you are beyond the drivable distance to your dog’s medical team. Be sure to take enough seizure medication (and special diet) to last for longer than you plan to be away in case your stay is prolonged for any reason.

If you attend dog sporting events, leaving a note with instructions on top of your dog’s crate could be a life saver. Any time we are at a dock diving competition with our dogs, we have a sign that hangs on Porter’s crate explaining that he has seizures and what to do/NOT do for his safety. We do our best to be sure one of us is always at our team canopy. We also recruit friends to be “on-watch” in the event we have to walk away from the dogs. We also include both of our cell phone numbers on the crate sign so that we can be reached immediately in the rare event we are both away from our team canopy, friends are unable to watch the pups, and someone observes what they think to be a seizure.

Help others be prepared as well. This includes your dog sitter, your family and friends coming over to your house, other PAWrents at the dog park, etc. Keep in mind that you may be used to observing your dog seizing, but seizures that include convulsions like Porter has are extremely upsetting for some people to see. Prepping others for what your dog’s seizures look like will lessen their anxiety if they witness your dog having an episode.

Don’t Worry, I’m All Write

It’s essential to take notes and have easily accessible information about your dog’s condition, as well as tips on how to deal with it. I choose to keep my notes in Evernote . Evernote offers easy access from both my computer as well as an app on my phone and allows me to easily share information when needed. Within Evernote, I keep a journal of Porter’s seizure activity, a list of his current medications / supplements and their dosages, and his seizure protocol. It is very helpful during a doctor’s visit to have all the information needed without having to try and remember it all on-the-spot and while you may be stressed. You think it all would become routine, but if you are like me, having information in front of you to refer to during a traumatic time is a must. Sharing the information about your dog’s Epilepsy as well as the seizure protocol is especially important when it comes to dog sitters and anyone else who is ever alone with your dog. When a seizure occurs, it’s much easier to avoid panic and fear when there are clear instructions on how to help.

Connecting with others is rewarding; it makes us feel like we’re not alone in the world.~ Jonah Berger

Seizures are a very upsetting thing to experience with your dog regardless of how knowledgeable you are about the disease. Knowing that more seizures are coming but not knowing when can be both overwhelming and extremely unsettling. Not being able to control the seizures and watching helplessly as your fur-kid suffers is excruciating and leaves you feeling alone, weak, and powerless. I am tremendously grateful and fortunate to have an outstanding and brilliant medical team for Porter. I am also blessed to have a wealth of knowledge, support, and information from others who are also dealing with Canine Epilepsy through connections with rescue and dock diving friends. Please keep in mind that you and your pup are not on this difficult journey alone. Talking to your veterinarian can surely help ease concerns you may have regarding seizures. However, forming connections with others whose fur-kids are also battling Epilepsy is priceless. We are all in this battle together…your fight is our fight. Please do not ever hesitate to reach out to me!

**To contact me, there is an email option on the home page of the blog, also found in the upper right corner of any page of the blog. Feel free to also send me a private message on Facebook , Instagram, or Twitter .