Location: Beverley, UK
Joined: Oct 2010
Originally Posted by Fivedogpam
One of my dogs was diagnosed with epilepsy a year ago and has been on epiphen (45 mg twice a day) since then. His is called ideopathic epilepsy as there is no apparent cause - I later found out he has an uncle with full blown epilepsy so I guess it's in his breeding. He is unusual in that he has only had seizures whilst actually competing in agility, rather than whilst asleep or coming out of sleep which is the usual case, but they are short and he recovers very quickly. Fortunately, the epiphen is controlling the seizures and he has not had any since being medicated. He has only had four seizures that I am aware of but they were occurring at decreasing intervals which is why the vet suggested he was medicated - every seizure damages the brain slightly so not medicating could mean you end up with a brain damaged dog. I also understand that withdrawing the epiphen could be dangerous as it is likely to bring on a seizure. My dog has three-monthly blood tests to check on his liver function and also to make sure he is still within the 'therapeutic range' for the drug which reveals how his body is coping with the drug and whether he would be better on a higher or lower dose. It is not definite that the dog would sustain liver damage on this drug.
Once he had stabilised on the drug (which took a few months) I started gradually re-introducing agility, not really expecting him to be able to compete again, but he is and to a good, if not consistent, level. He still has occasional bad days when he seems unable to process commands quickly enough. I did beat myself up about whether or not to stop agility if that was the cause so I wouldn't have to medicate but, once they have started fitting, there's no going back so I may as well let him to do something he enjoys. I was also horrified to find out that evening primrose oil (any essential oil in fact) can be a trigger and he had been having a capsule a day since he was a puppy! Mind you, even my vet didn't realise that but imagine how I felt about that!
I do hope you find another vet who is more supportive but you may have to accept that your dog will need medicating and it will be for life. Fortunately, epiphen isn't particularly expensive, but the blood tests are more so - I'm hoping that my dog will only need them every six months now as he has been seizure-free for a year. I would say that, if he was purely a pet, you wouldn't know there was anything wrong with him - it's just me remembering to give him his pills every 12 hours that is the problem!
There are some useful websites if you google canine epilepsy but let me know if you need any more information. Just as an afterthought, would your dog still be growing at 3 years old? I think an MRI scan would be required to check that out. Good luck.
Thank you for the information. My Suki is the smallest of the bunch at 35kgm, Keiko is a 50kg lump, ha! Unfortunately Suki had another fit at around 9pm last night and for my girlfriend Natalie and i its broke our hearts
Money is of no object for my dogs and i dont care what i have to spend on my dogs as they have a better life than the both of us. I bought some back up medication from allergicpet.com
Once i saw Suki had sat up with her jaw locked in the kitchen i knew she was heading for a seizure, normally her fits are around 2 minutes but once Natalie squirted some drops in her mouth (bought from the website) she came around in 30 seconds so it radically reduced the fit, it was like magic. I have also bought the seizure capsules and these are empted in her food 4 caps 2 x daily, we will observe her on this dose. Suki is a bit of softy and hates the vets, i dont want to stress her anymore than she is already so im going for the natural alternative, at least she wont need blood tests. 3 blood tests does seem a lot to me? I know you have to check or blood stabilsation of the drug to get the dose right but i couldnt do that to Suki to be honest but the good thing is your dog is seizure free so im very pleased to hear that
My vet put Suki on 2 x 90mg epiphen and it was like having a disabled dog! Lost the use of her back legs in the morning and took her at least 3 hours to gain stabilisation, she was an absolute mess and this was very upsetting, so many side effects of this drug my vet never told me about. A walk would be only for 2 minutes and then she scraping her claws on the floor etc and it looked liked she was going to colapse. Even the look on Suki's face was like, whats wrong with me? And Keiko was sulking all day and didnt want to play because he was feeding off Suki's stress, so i took her off the epiphen.... at least your dog i fine on the dose given with no problems.
It seems like a pattern in terms of the fits, 2 fits (1 each day) then nothing fo 4 weeks then 2 more exactly the same. Its too distressing for the Keiko too as he loves Suki to bits and they are never apart and never fight, so im giving the capsules a go and if they work, although expensive (£180 every 3 months at the highest dose) then everyone will be very happy and Suki will be her normal self again.
The capsules really smell and dogs aint daft so ive ordered some salmon oil to add to the food mixture to hinder the smell. Trying to put the capsules in cheese didnt really work because of the volume of the powder and that would alot of cheese. Mixed in tuna and brown rice wasnt too bad but you could smell still it, Suki knew it too! Next meal will be small bite mixer biscuits with lean steak mince, this should hinder the smell better.
I will keep this section updated with her progress because i know (now) there are MANY people in the same situation as us.
Thanks again for your valuable information,
P.s, X Factor then early night tonight, Natalie and i are shattered