|Barked: Fri Jul 2, '10 10:59am PST |
There have been some studies suggesting that spayed females have less issues with epilepsy as seizures can sometimes be linked to the heat cycle.
I have previously written a long answer about seizures for another dog so if you don't mind I am just doing to reprint it here for you. I apologize if I miss taking out that dogs name for yours.
Seizures are a confusing diagnosis in both humans and dogs. Here is a some info on seizures
At this point Dawn is about 2yrs old right? This is the age that seizure disorders usually present themselves. At this point I would do exactly what the doctor has reccomended. Start a journal where you record the time, date, length, symptoms/actions, what was happening at that time and weather at the time. It is also important to record any medications he recieved that day and what time. This is important because some animals have seizures associated with medication administration - this happens to some animals after heartworm preventative or flea/tick topical meds.
This journal is very important because it will help you keep track of how often they are happening and give you the ability to find a pattern if there is one.
Seizures are scary events for the witness NOT neccesarily the affected. Most humans report that they have no memory of the seizure and they are generally not painful. So keep in mind your anxiety when Dawn comes around may negatively affect her or cause her stress. During the seizure there are several small nursing care things you can do to help make Dawn comfortable and also help calm yourself as well.
You can start prior to any more seizures by "seizure proofing" your home. Now that you know Dawn is having seizures you should ensure that she is confined to one floor during the times she is home alone. This will help prevent any possible falling down stairs if she loses conciousness. Also look around the rooms she is most likely to be in for any super sharp corners or places that he may fall onto something and hurt herself. It may be neccessary to have a "safe" room for her when she is alone.
OK - Now for DURING the seizure - Most times a seizure is pretty safe for the witness but I also would like to note that there are a small percentage of dogs who have agression associated with seizures. This can be very dangerous so please monitor your pets behavior. If they become aggressive leave immedietly, lock them in another room and contact some ASAP. The seizure should not last long so usually they come around and get back to themselves but NEVER lock yourself in a room with a seizuring animal. I don't mean this to scare you but have seen this happen and it is not fun!
1-Never put your hand near or in her mouth during the seizure. SHe may bite even if she has never bitten you before, and during a seizure she may not let go.
2-Never place your face close to hers - same reason as above - she may bite and it may be very dangerous.
3-Make sure to remove any dangerous items from around her so that she does not hurt himself. Place her on the floor if she is not already. If this is not possible then position people around her to prevent her from rolling off whatever she is on.
4-Make sure she is laying down and not tangled in any blankets. I would remove all blankets from her. During a seizure body temperatures increase dramatically and can cause overheating or heat stroke.
5-Provide a pillow under her head to prevent her from flopping and banging her head on the floor. In general dogs do better during seizure while laying on their sides on the floor.
6-Place a fan nearby (especially in summer) to help cool her. You may also want to wipe her face with a cold face cloth. In my experience the cooling sensation helps them to recover slightly faster and it also helps the witness by giving them something to focus on to stay calm.
OK - Now AFTER the seizure.
The average seizure (shaking/convulsing) should last no longer than 5 minutes. If it is longer or they are not coming out of it at all your regular vet or emergency vet should be contacted immedietly. If a dog is having a seizure for longer than 8 minutes with no sign of improvement OR has cluster seizure that are more frequent than every 10 minutes or lasts 1/2 hour then you should go to the closest open animal hospital for IV medications like valium or phenobarbitol IMMEDIETLY!
The convulsing part is followed by the POST-ICTAL period. This is a period of confusion, disorientation and ataxia that last anywhere from 1/2 to 1 hour. Some people report feeling funny for the rest of the day. This is a time when constant supervision is required for Dawn. She may have trouble standing, walking, may appear dizzy. Some instances vomiting or diarrhea may occur now. Some owners also report dogs become very thirsty following a seizure. At this point you may need to confine Dawn to a small comfortable area and sit with her. Speak calmly and take time to stroke and pet her. Humans have reported that during the post-ictal stage human touch helps them to feel comforted and often helps them feel less stressed. In my experience with dogs they calm down better when you spend time stroking and talking to them after a seizure. This may also be a good time to write in your seizure journal.
There are anti-seizure medications that can be given. These medications have side effects on the Liver, kidneys and also cause poluphagia (increased appetite) and polydipsia (increased thirst). These side effects cause concern so many vets will only treat an epeleptic dog if they have seizures consistantly lasting longer than 5 minutes or they have seizures more frequently than once monthly. These medication require frequent bloodwork to check that they are providing adequate levels in the blood and also to check the liver and kidney functions. The two most common preventative medications are phenobarbitol(tablet) and potassium bromide/KBR(capsule or liquid). There also appears to be a link between KBR and pancreatitis. If you notice a decreased appetite or diarrhea while taking this medication contact your vet. Depending on the severity of the seizures when medication is started your vet may reccomend hospitalization for a loading period. A loading period is usually 24 hours of hospitalization where anti-epileptic drugs are given IV at a high dose that usually causes some sedation (which is why we only do this hopitalized) but builds the drug level up quickly in the system so we can get the seizures under control then start a pill regiment at home. Anti-seizure medications are given either once daily or twice daily.
Some other things to consider are:
1) Some people use bells on the collar of the pet to help notify them when they are unable to keep constant visual contact but are within hearing distance. Bells will shake violently when the dog is having a seizure. This is common practice at alot of vet clinics to help notify nursing staff of a seizure.
2) There is a group on Dogster called "the movers and the shakers". This is a group of other dogs and owners who are dealing with the same things as you and may be able to give some good info too.
3) Consider adding a medical alert tag to Dawns collar incase she gets free or is picked up by a citizen or animal control. This will ensure she is treated properly in case a seizure happens in their care. It is just a emergency notification type thing.
4) Make sure EVERYONE in the household understands seizures and what to do if they happen! It may be neccessary to tell guests as well.
5) Make sure to NOTIFY any place Dawn goes like groomer, daycare, kennel etc so the staff knows. I would also make sure to mention it at every vet visit and bring along the journal too so that the vet has all the info you do. This will be helpful when considering medication and also to help make sure no medications are given that may negetively affect her. Some clients also call their vet after every seizure so that the receptionist or tech can place a note in his file everytime - this is sort of like a back-up to the journal just in case.
Whooooo! Sorry for the long long post but I think I got everything in that I wanted to say. I hope this info helps.
One more thing - There is really only one way to diagnose 100% seizures and that is an MRI (MRI) and CSF (ceribrialspinal fluid tap - CSF tap ) tap - This test can be expensive and requires anesthesia (usually costs about $1500-2000 depending on the area MRI'd and the CSF tests). The MRI will show any issues in the brain and the CSF shows infectious diseases, brain chemical inbalances etc. These tests are not an everyday option in most areas and a referral to a board-certified neurologist may be neccessary (and in my opinion IS VERY necessary). There are many many dogs out there who have seizure disorders and have never seen an neurologist so it definetly is not required but I wanted to make sure you knew it was available and that it may be something to condider especially since Charley is so young. Dogs who have seizures disorders at his age often will have them for life. They can lead relitively normal lives but may end up on daily medications. On the other hand he may only have 1 or 2 seizures a year for the rest of his life. At this point you need to just see how things play out and go from there.
I hope this helps Dawn
Dawn reports "So far she leads a normal care-free life. However, I've noticed that sometimes she just doesn't feel like herself. Instead of being playful and/or cuddly she gets depressed and just lays there. Is this part of it possibly?"
I would report these in the journal as well. This could be indicative of a post-ictal phase for an unwitnessed seizure.
Edited by author Fri Jul 2, '10 11:08am PST
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