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Dog epilepsy / grand mal seizures

by Antoinette
(Sydney, Australia)

Bobbie RHS and best friend, Tuppence

Bobbie RHS and best friend, Tuppence

Bobbie RHS and best friend, Tuppence
Bobbi on RHS in this one.

Recently our dog Bobbi has had two episodes of seizures - the first group of 4 occurred over 36 hours at the beginning of February and another two on 23 February. These were "grand mal" or close clusters from the descriptions I have read.

The 2nd last one lasted around 10 minutes, with lots of frothing, thrashing paws and gnashing of teeth. When she regained consciousness, she was "freaked out", running like crazy around the property and baring her teeth and snarling, which she never does normally.

Bobbi is 3 years and 3 months old, female desexed, from a Jack Russell x Fox terrier mother and Kelpie father (an accidental mating as the dog was so much bigger than the bitch). She was the runt of a litter of six puppies and half the size of the others. She now weighs around 10.4 kg, is about 400 cm tall and body length (chest to tail) 420 cm. She is strongly muscled and in good proportion.

We got her from her first owners when they had to move into an apartment, a month short of her 2nd birthday. We had her de-sexed shortly after acquiring her.

She hasn't had any major health problems that we were aware of, though she did get a warm nose and was a bit lethargic from time to time for no obvious reason. At those times she would eat grass and occasionally sick up a bit of it mixed with bile and froth. Generally she is a very alert, active, affectionate dog.

We have mostly fed her on home cooked meat with brown rice and green vegetable (mostly bok choi)from our garden (organic), however I noticed that the meat comes packaged with preservative 220. She also gets some dry Kibble as a supplement, which is Optimum brand and lists no preservatives. However, we also have to rely on tinned food when away at our remote holiday shack. We buy the best quality available at supermarkets here.



We are very careful about chemical use and poisons and generally don't use any - except for some snail bait but only in areas that she doesn't have access to. We use only environmentally safe household cleaning products and very few of these.

The only chemicals that she has been exposed to recently was anti-flea treatment - Comfortis - active constituent 560 mg Spinosad (in January and again just recently) and a worming tablet (Exelpet) which contains pyrantel embonate 143 mg, oxantel embonate 543 mg, and praziquantel 50 mg which was given at the same time as the latest flea tablet about 4-5 days before the most recent seizures.

Initially our vet took blood to eliminate obvious poisons - I don't know exactly what tests were done but they showed nothing. She was given Valium for 24 hours then we were advised to wait and see whether she had any more, in which case the vet thought it was idiopathic epilepsy and she would have to go on drugs for the rest of her life.

Having read about the drugs and their side-effects I am keen to try other alternatives.

My main question is: do you think it likely that either or both the flea and worm treatments are to blame or is it more likely to be congenital and what treatment for the seizures would you recommend?

The other dog in the pictures (they are inseparable) is another small Kelpie cross, around 13 months old and unrelated.

Comments for Dog epilepsy / grand mal seizures

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Feb 26, 2012
My Online Vet Response for: Dog epilepsy/grand mal seizures
by: Dr. Carol Jean Tillman

Hi Antoinette,
For your 3 year old female spayed Jack Russell mix, that has been having multiple, or 'cluster' type generalized seizures, I think you are smart to seek out some alternative treatments for Bobbi. Homeopathic treatment would probably be best.

Since you adopted Bobbi one year ago, and she is now three, there are a number of questions that you will need to ask the previous owners. Did the previous owners mention any seizures? Did the previous owners mention any head trauma? How often did they vaccinate her? Did any seizures occur after a vaccination? Did the previous owners use Comfortis, or dewormers, or any other flea or tick products?

As for the seizures that you DID witness: did they occur during the daytime or at night? Did they occur after she ate? When the seizures were over (or perhaps this may have been a part of the seizure?), and she was acting 'freaked out', running crazy, baring teeth, and snarling, did you notice that the pupils of her eyes were dilated?

All of these details will lead to the homeopathic remedy that can help her. In fact, during a quick repertorization of the few symptoms that you did give me,
1. Convulsions with loss of consciousness
2. Stunted growth/the 'runt' of the litter
3. Sensitivity to medications

...brings up Calcarea and Calcarea phosphorica as the top remedies.

You wrote,
"My main question is: do you think it likely that either or both the flea and worm treatments are to blame or is it more likely to be congenital and what treatment for the seizures would you recommend?"

It is hard to answer these questions without knowing all of her history. For example, if she fell off a deck when she was only 6 months old and had head trauma, that could certainly manifest as an epileptic seizure 2 years later, and there would be a different homeopathic remedy needed.

Certainly any medication, whether flea preventive or de-wormer, can have toxic side effects, especially in a susceptible individual. So, I would advise NOT using it again on Bobbi. There are more natural flea treatments for dogs that you could try.

TO BE CONTINUED IN PART TWO.

Feb 26, 2012
My Online Vet Response for: Dog epilepsy/grand mal seizures PART TWO
by: Dr. Carol Jean Tillman

Hi Antoinette,
Here is the rest of my response.

Also, instead of 'automatically' giving her a combination de-wormer medicine, it would be best to take in a stool sample to the veterinarian and have it checked. IF she is positive for a parasite, you can give a single medicine that is indicated for that parasite (instead of throwing the entire pharmacy into her!).

I would also advise not giving Bobbi any more vaccinations. A dog must be healthy before administering ANY vaccinations. If she is prone to seizures, she is NOT healthy!

Her diet sounds good, but giving her more raw meat that does not contain any preservatives, (NO RAW PORK or RAW FISH), cooked vegetables, and cooked grains are ok. More canned and less or no dry food would be better.

Dr Richard Pitcairn's book, Complete Guide to Natural Health for Dogs and Cats has some good recipes along with our Homemade Dog Food Recipes section. Also See our page on 10 Best Dog Food Options for some suggestions.

Finally, seeking the help of a holistic veterinarian knowledgeable in homeopathy would be best. Click here to find a holistic veterinarian in your area. Another resource for vets knowledgeable in homeopathy is AVH.org.

Please keep us posted by coming back to this page and clicking the 'click here to add your own comments' link below.

Take care,
Dr. Carol Jean Tillman

P.S. If you've found this service or our web site helpful, please "Like" us by clicking the like button at the top of the left margin. Thank you!

DISCLAIMER: This educational advice is based on the depth of your question and the picture you submitted. The above should never replace the advice of your local veterinarian, as they have the ability to evaluate your dog in person.

Related Pages:
- Dog Epilepsy & Seizures - Diagnosis & Treatment
- Ask a Vet Online Library - Dog Seizures & Dog Epilepsy Section

Apr 19, 2012
Update on Bobbi's seizures
by: Antoinette, Sydney

After the two very distressing episodes of seizures, which were about three weeks apart earlier this year, Bobbi has not had any more. I was wondering how frequently we could expect more seizures if she had ideopathic epilepsy and am beginning to feel more hopeful that these were a reaction caused by the internal flea treatment we gave her just prior to the seizures. The second one followed the dosing more closely than the first. Of course, we haven't given this flea treatment to any of our dogs since. Keeping fingers crossed....

Apr 19, 2012
Update on Bobbi's seizures - 2
by: Antoinette, Sydney

Sorry, I didn't respond to your questions:

did they occur during the daytime or at night? Did they occur after she ate? When the seizures were over (or perhaps this may have been a part of the seizure?), and she was acting 'freaked out', running crazy, baring teeth, and snarling, did you notice that the pupils of her eyes were dilated?

The first seizures occurred at night, after we had gone to bed and early next morning on our way to the vet.

The second ones occurred during the day (afternoon) - neither time after food.

I didn't specifically notice the pupils, but her eyes were certainly not normal. Our impression was that she looked terrified. Her eyes were certainly wide open.

I haven't been able to contact the previous owners to find out if there was any earlier trauma.

Thanks for your interest and concern.

Kind regards
Antoinette

Apr 20, 2012
My Online Vet Response for: Dog Epilepsy/grand mal seizures
by: Dr. Carol Jean Tillman

Hi Antoinette,
Thank you for the update on Bobbi. I am glad that there have not been any more seizures. In some cases of idiopathic epilepsy, seizures can occur 6 months or up to a year apart.

Or perhaps it was due to a drug reaction to the flea product.

If she does have another seizure, please note time of day, relation to eating, dilation of pupils, etc. In some cases, these 'symptoms' can help to find the right homeopathic remedy for treatment.

Keep us posted. Come back to this page and click on the 'click here to add your own comments' link below.

Take care,
Dr. Carol Jean Tillman

P.S. If you've found this service or our web site helpful, please "Like" us
by clicking the like button at the top of the left
margin
. Thank you!

DISCLAIMER: This educational advice is based on the depth of your question and the picture you submitted. The above should never replace the advice of your local veterinarian, as they have the ability to evaluate your dog in person.



Apr 22, 2013
COMFORTIS KILLED MY DOG-GRAND MAL SEIZURES
by: sue

DOG AND CAT LOVERS UNITE, SPREAD THE WORD....COMFORTIS CAN CAUSE GRAND MAL SEIZURES WHICH CAN LEAD TO DEATH !
MY DOG HAD A HORRENDOUS LAST WEEK OF HER LIFE DUE TO SEIZURES CAUSED BY THIS TOXIC PILL FREELY GIVEN TO DOG AND CAT OWNERS WITH NO WARNINGS OF POSSIBLE SIDE EFFECTS INCLUDING GRAND MAL SEIZURES AND DEATH
MY VET SAID HE HAS SEEN THIS WITH OTHER DOGS AT HIS PRACTICE.

PLS. EMAIL ME IF YOU HAVE HAD A SIMILAR EXPERIENCE WITH THIS DRUG AND YOUR PET AND PLS SPREAD THE WORD!

MY PRECIOUS COMPANION WOULD BE SLEEPING BY MY SIDE NOW IF IT WERE NOT FOR THIS DRUG..SHAME ON ELI/LILY PHARMA!

sue1478@yahoo.com

thanks

Apr 22, 2013
My Online Vet Response for: Dog epilepsy/grand mal seizures
by: Dr. Carol Jean Tillman

Hi Sue,
I am so sorry to here about the loss of your beloved dog. Our site does the best we can to promote more natural methods for flea control, diet, and treatment of medical conditions through homeopathy, acupuncture, supplements for whole body support and Western and Chinese herbs.

Thank you for your posting.

Click here to find a holistic veterinarian in your area. Another resource for vets knowledgeable in homeopathy is AVH.org.

Please keep us posted by coming back to this page and clicking the 'click here to add your own comments' link below.

Take care,
Dr. Carol Jean Tillman

P.S. If you've found this service or our web site helpful, please "Like" us by clicking the like button at the top of the left margin. Thank you!

DISCLAIMER: The above should never replace the advice of your local veterinarian, as they have the ability to evaluate your dog in person.

Apr 23, 2013
Comfortis + epilepsy
by: Anonymous

Bobbi had a further cluster of severe Grand Mal seizures and we have had her on Phenobarbitone 30 mg x bd. Unfortunately I cannot remember how long after any flea treatments. She has had no further seizures in the 12 months since starting the medication and her liver function is normal, so far. Our vet is monitoring her therapeutic level of drugs and liver function regularly. She appears happy and lively.

However, I am very interested in the report about Comfortis, as this was the drug I used for flea treatment for both our dogs. Our other dog is only 2-1/2 years old now, and I used it only about twice a year when fleas manifest (so 3 times on the younger dog) but will now not use it ever again. I hope the younger dog hasn't been compromised already.

Apr 25, 2013
My Online Vet Response for: Dog epilepsy/grand mal seizures
by: Dr. Carol Jean Tillman

Hi Antoinette,
Thank you for the update on Bobbi. Hopefully, the Phenobarb will continue to control the seizures, and liver enzymes and everything else will remain stable!

It is hard to say regarding the effect of Comfortis on your other dog. If your other dog is not susceptible, and has a strong 'constitution' I doubt that there would be any adverse effects from it. I am not sure if that dog is related to Bobbi or not. In some cases of epilepsy it can be inherited.

Please keep us posted by coming back to this page and clicking the 'click here to add your own comments' link below.

Take care,
Dr. Carol Jean Tillman

P.S. If you've found this service or our web site helpful, please "Like" us by clicking the like button at the top of the left margin. Thank you!

DISCLAIMER: The above should never replace the advice of your local veterinarian, as they have the ability to evaluate your dog in person.

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