Huskies, Seizures and Phenobarb

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It's all about- playing!!
Barked: Wed Jul 8, '09 4:21am PST 
Cooper just started having seizures. frown His first was on May 27. The second (I think -- I was at work when it happened, but he looked "suspicious" when I got home) on June 22. But, this past weekend was the worst -- one on Saturday and two on Sunday.

I took him to the e-vet Sunday after his second seizure. They kept him overnight for "observation," did blood work that came back normal, and started him on 60 mg phenobarb a day.

He has not had a seizure since 3:45 p.m. Sunday, which is a blessing, but the pheno is really throwing him for a loop! I know it's a side effect that will go away in a few weeks, but he's like a drunk puppy in a china shop. And, my daughter said that he whined all day yesterday while I was at work.

I hold my breath when he yawns, for fear it's not a yawn, but the onset of another seizure. I hold my breath when he takes naps and when he wakes up from naps, because that's when most of his seizures have occurred.

Anyway, I'm writing because I'd like to know if there are any Husky "success" stories. It seems everyone I've talked to who has owned a husky that has had seizures and were put on pheno, ended in a tragic story. I know other breeds have "success" stories, but I need to hear a husky "success" story so that I can feel better about this. Cooper is only 15 months old, and this is just so not fair for him.
Vance CGC

You kids g'off- my lawn!
Barked: Wed Jul 8, '09 5:01pm PST 
It really depends on the cause of the seizures. Have you joined any seizure support groups? They can help you educate yourself on things like seizure triggers (heat, rosemary, physical or emotional stress, loads of things) and how to identify them. Did he come from a breeder? If so, I would contact the breeder ASAP and see if it may be genetic. Maybe a littermate is having a similar issue, and even if not, the breeder should know.

I know a lot of dogs who have had seizures. In some it was an acute reaction to a specific factor in their environment. For example, one ate a bag of almonds. She had several seizures then, but hasn't had another since.

Some went on Pheno for a while, weaned off it, and were fine. Others weaned off and had to go back on. Some turned out to have underlying causes which, as you've been reading, are more or less curable depending on the individual.

It's all about- playing!!
Barked: Wed Jul 8, '09 7:36pm PST 
Hey Vance smile

The very first person I called after Cooper's seizure on May 27 was his breeder. She said that none of her dogs ever had seizures. Hate those brick walls. The next person I talked to after the vet, who told me to "wait and see how he was doing the next morning," was Phil. Phil is the daddy to Queen, Lucas, Max, Panda, etc., etc. Are you familiar with him? In any event, he has Cooper's younger brother Max, who has the same parents (he was returned to our breeder, and I met Phil 1/2 way with Max, so that he could be in a good home). He told me that Max had a reaction to his vaccines by having a "bobble head" for a while after wards. Ok, that's a bit suspect to me.

There were a few events this weekend that I'm sure made the cluster seizures come about -- going to the vet on Friday for his vaccinations -- NEVER will I again let them give him rabies and distemper at the same time, plus the fact that 3 people had to hold him down to take blood for heartworm testing, and there was a firework that went over our house Saturday night the freaked the living daylights out of him. So, to me, those events sparked the cluster seizures. The one from May 27 and June 22, I cannot think of any stress that would have caused them, unless it was because we couldn't take them for walks because it was so hot. I'm at a loss there. I initially thought maybe he could have eaten a mushroom in the yard to spark the May 27 seizure, but I doubt that now.

The fact that he even had seizures shows that it is an underlying ailment. I compare it to me -- I have psoriasis, but had no clue until I was in my late 30's, and had to have an antibiotic -- that sparked the outbreak. I haven't had an outbreak since, but the potential is there.

Actually, I wasn't aware that there were support groups for this. Wow, I can certainly understand why, because it is the most horrific thing to ever have to witness!!

Thanks for your input, and maybe, hopefully, Cooper can be one of those that can be weaned off the pheno and not have anymore seizures.

Sasha Belle

Bring Blue- Home!!
Barked: Wed Jul 8, '09 7:41pm PST 
Hey Cooper!

I just wanted to pop in and tell you a success story that I know of. When I worked at a vet we had a client with 3 Sibes. One of them, Nikita, was a huge overweight girl who had grand mal seizures and was on 60mg of Pheno. She was 5 years old the last time I saw her and had not had a seizure in about a year. She was still a happy go lucky Sibe that ran and played and rough housed with her sisters.

One of my sisters dogs is on 30mg (he's a Pomeranian) of pheno. Leo is 11 and was only put on the pheno two years ago but since then has only had 1-2 very small seizures.

About Coops drunkeness, tell the vet about what you see. Cooper might not need to be on that high of a dose. I'm pretty sure you are going to have to get his levels retested soon if they do things the same as the vet I worked at, and that will better tell the vet if he is on the right dosage. I remember a time when one of the techs screwed up and filled Leo's and Nikita's (coincedence since I don't own or have relation to Nikita or her family) pheno at the same time and they got switched. Leo ended up not being able to use his back legs for 3 days and Nikita had several seizures because they weren't getting the correct dosage. In Leo's case too much and in Nikita's case.. not enough.

I think the key is to talk to your vet. He/she will do all they can to make you feel comfortable with the meds, dosages, and Coop's side effects.

I know Buzz's story scared you, but remember that Buzz had a very serious epilepsy problem. They don't all end like that.

Sorry I never commented on facebook about Cooper. I didn't realize he was having problems until I saw your post the other day. Let me know if you need anything else! wink
Kiona CGC

The Prettiest- Princess

Barked: Wed Jul 8, '09 8:19pm PST 
I am so sorry, goodness, how scary!!! I am glad he has been seizure free for a few days now!

Siberian huskies DO have seizure disorders in their bloodlines - there was an immensely popular sire about 20 years ago (the name escapes me) - who EVERYONE bred to who apparently had seizures. At least, I think I am remembering this correctly... and ever since then, the disorder has popped up in Siberians.

Well, Cooper's breeder can no longer say none of her dogs have ever had seizures, can she? I hope she never breeds the two dogs who produced Cooper again because it is believed there is a genetic component to it.

As for experiences - I have none, I am sorry. I know a few of the Siberians in the rescues have had seizure issues but I never personally have dealt with it.

Have you joined Sibernet-L? You should, and post on there. Note - I have never posted but once or twice on Sibernet, but I know it is a good source.

Good luck, keeping Cooper in our thoughts!

It's all about- playing!!
Barked: Thu Jul 9, '09 5:40am PST 
Hey Natalie! I'm just glad that you posted here when you did! I was getting "inside my head" way too much the last few days.

My main problem is that I must have an explanation for everything. smile So, this idiopathic diagnosis will drive me completely batty if I let it. I'm the one that will research everything I can get my hands on to get an explanation -- and I simply cannot do that in this case. I guess I have to accept the fact that he carries a gene that makes him suspectible to seizures and leave it at that.

As for his dosage, I've read everywhere that for the first week they are uncoordinated because of the pheno, and it takes a bit for the liver to be able to process it. It's amazing the views that different vets have as far as testing the pheno levels. The animal hospital vet said 6 months. My vet said 1 week, and a friend who is a vet said 2 weeks to one month. I'm going to go with the 2 weeks opinion.

I do like the success story, and you're right, Buzz's story probably isn't typical at all. Same with Tasha (Phil's dog) I suppose as well. My Little Demon's mom talked about Nomo with me, and although the pheno seemed to be a success for 5 years, he developed cancer and could not be operated on because of the pheno. So, for a while, those were the only stories I had to go by, and as you can see, they are pretty discouraging. But now, after hearing your success story and a few others, I feel better. smile

Kiona, thanks so much for your support. Cooper's breeder actually retired and altered the parents at the beginning of this year -- so no more litters there. That's a very sad, but interesting story about the very sought after sire. I will check out sibernet-j in a little bit. Thanks for that info.

Aside from the uncoordination, Cooper is back to his normal self -- playing rough with Summer, doing zoomies through the house and demanding walks. That's a great thing to see!
Kelly - Our Angel At- the Bridg

Mr. Fatty-Pants
Barked: Thu Jul 9, '09 9:42am PST 
Hi Cooper's Mom! - I probably contributed to your fear by telling you about our Sibe Ellie, with her seizures issues, and my apologies for that! Keep in mind that Ellie's seizures started at 6 months and were the result of brain damage from birth. from all that you have said about Cooper - this is not the same! There is a lot of great information out there, including some very successful holistic therapies, and I alos agree with looking more into events & behavior that may trigger the seizures. Also on medication questions and interactions, in Chicago, there is an animal poisen control phone number, which I think is staffed by Vets from one of the medical schools. I will email you the phone number - they are really, really helpful with a lot of medication questions I had.

Take care.......Judith (Gracie & Kelly's Mum)

Fritz, cats are- fun when they- run
Barked: Mon Jul 27, '09 4:45pm PST 
Well he wasn’t a husky, but we are all dogs’ right? blue dog My person’s dad had a golden retriever that had grand mal seizures. He was on meds and lived a long and happy life. He had the occasional seizure every few month or so, but it was very livable and he was a happy boy.

Edited by author Mon Jul 27, '09 4:46pm PST


It's all about- playing!!
Barked: Tue Jul 28, '09 12:56pm PST 
Quick update on Cooper.
He's been seizure free for 3 weeks and 2 days with the pheno. Yeah!!! He was very clumsy at first (especially in the kitchen), but has pretty much overcome that. He does have one hind leg that drags just a touch, and I know that is because of the pheno.

I do take him for walks every day, and he's not as fast nor does he have quite as much energy as he used to, then again, it is July. smile By the end of the walk, he looks like a perfectly trained Husky on a leash. LOL!!

He's doing well, and thanks so much for everyone's support and input. It really does mean a lot. smile

Who wants a- Husky Hug?!
Barked: Fri Aug 28, '09 10:27am PST 
Hi everyone!
My Husky, Heidi, may have had a seizure last night. We are taking her to the vet this afternoon at 4pm. I am a nervous wreck.

She was sleeping in her bedroom around 10pm last night, and came running into the living room to get me. She was walking lopsided. Sort of tilting to the side as if she was about to fall over. Her eyes were wide open and her blues eyes were darting from side to side very quickly. There were no muscle spasms and she never did falll over. She was kind of looking up, not directly at me, but when I called her name she did look at me, with a glazed look.
It lasted about 10 -15 seconds (which felt like a lifetime) Afterwards she was fine and walked over to the kitchen cabinet and wanted a treat.
Does this sound like a seizure or am i over reacting ??
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