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Author Topic: Why us????  (Read 177 times)

monasbunnies

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Why us????
« on: June 22, 2019, 07:28:12 AM »

Hi! Now, Jo and some other members will remember I said my thank yous and goodbyes to this amazing group last year when we lost our handsome Weimeraner Riley after a decade of battling SRMA. Following on from that loss we bought our new chap Ronnie as a pup (Frenchie cross) and he is fabulous. We wanted totally the opposite of Riley and that's exactly what we have, he's brave and naughty and silly and just the funniest, healthiest little lad ever. We have been in heaven living with him over the last 10 months, we are so free and able to just take him out as a normal dog instead of spending our whole lives in the vets as we had in the last ten years and having daily worries and anxiety  - we just put him in the car and go, no fuss, no panic and we have so many adventures together down to the beach, on holiday etc which is why today I am absolutely devastated to say that on Wednesday night this week, out of the blue he started to have seizures. We thought initially he had eaten something poisonous but after being so ocd about stuff like that for a decade I'm still automatically careful about checking the garden and keeping things out of reach of the dog. He has been hospitalised since Wednesday with multiple seizures every day and has now been started on Phenobarbital. The have done a CF tap, and MRI, blood and urine tests and all have come back negative with no other clinical symptoms so they are giving him a diagnosis of Idiopathic Epilepsy. I am utterly devastated as it's a week off his first birthday exactly when Rileys SRMA started and the shock and panic that I am going to be back to square one again and totally in the dark about this condition is horrifying.  This will now be a daily worry again, waking up in the night listening to see if he's ok, worrying about going out or what could trigger a seizure -I am in pieces. Of course I will, as I always did with Riley, do my upmost to research and get him the best care and treatment but WHY US????
I am of course fully aware that this is a forum for Immune mediated issues and I no longer really "belong" here but if anyone has experience with epilepsy could they point me in the right direction of food, supplements, triggers, meds or a group similar to this that may be able to offer some light on what we have to deal with from now on as I am petrified that I am so in the dark about this and at some point I am going to have to have him home with me. Ronnie is the most amazing little soul, he does not deserve this to happen to him at such a young age (as no dog does) and we as a little family still have to give him a great quality of life for years to come so any tiny bit of knowledge would be a god send. 
Best wishes
Simona
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Catherine

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Re: Why us????
« Reply #1 on: June 22, 2019, 01:08:16 PM »

Simona, I am shocked! It just seems like this nightmare can not really be happening. To be honest, at least if you had a diagnosis of a tumour say for causing the seizures that may have helped, but just basically no reason....!


You say Frenchie cross......is there epilepsy in his breeding? I think there seems to be an increasing number of breeds with epilepsy in nowadays or perhaps they are just noting it.

I have had dogs with seizures over the years, usually in their elderly years but also a younger dog who unfortunately died of a brain tumour. Looking after a dog with seizures is difficult. Some owners seem to be able to cope better than others and so still have a life not forever waiting for their dog to have a seizure. Others (like me, especially as I get older) find they are reluctant to go places with their epileptic dog, tending to stay with the dog more just in case it has a seizure.

On the positive side of things, if you can get Ronnie's seizures under control without too many side effects and if he goes for some months (hopefully years) without any seizures then you can perhaps begin to relax and carry on as normal.It may take some time at the beginning getting the right amount of medication. But if, after trying to stabilise him for some time and the medication is not working then you may have to think about what to do. Apparently a dog is not affected by a seizure then the owner coping with it. But if he is having multiple seizures especially in such a short time.......


There is a good website here : http://www.canine-epilepsy-guardian-angels.com/  I have found that to lessen the worry a little, it is best to be prepared for seizures. I have found it helps to have an ice pack/ pack of ice cubes handy and to take it with you when you go out and at the first sign of a sezure to put it on the dog's spine. The webiste (and no doubt others) go into detail about this and what to do with a seizure.


I totally understand how "free" you were feeling. Looking after ill dogs, especially for so long can take its toll and I think perhaps we need to take a step back at times and enjoy ourselves without the continuous worry but it is not easy because we want to give our dogs the best care.


Simona, I hope you can get Ronnie stable and regain that carefree fun time again (well most of it anyway). Please do keep in touch on this forum and let us know how things are.




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Jo CIMDA

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Re: Why us????
« Reply #2 on: June 23, 2019, 07:43:08 PM »

Hi Simona

I am so sorry to read about Ronnie.  Idiopathic epilepsy is not that uncommon, and as all the tests have come back unremarkable and he is a young boy it seems that this diagnosis is realistic. 

Epilepsy is a horrible, distressing problem to deal with, and I truly sympathise.  I have had an older dog who developed seizures and it is the most upsetting experience for the owners.  Luckily affected dogs don't seem to have the anxiety that us humans have caring for them.

 I have  known many young dogs who have been diagnosed with Idiopathic epilepsy and when the correct dose/cocktail of medication is right they have gone on to lead a normal life.   At this stage it is about stabilising and getting the blood levels right.  Unlike autoimmune disease, most vets will have a lot of experience with treating and monitoring epilepsy and if your vet isn't able to stabilise Ronnie then there are specialist centres you can take him to; or the vet colleges, such as Cambridge and the RVC, will also consult with and give guidance to your vet over the telephone. Usually, if the phenobarbitol alone doesn't control the seizures then there are other things such as Keppra, potassium bromide etc.,  One dog, I knew, lived very successfully medicated, but seizure free, until she was seventeen and a half.   

Witnessing a seizure is one of the most distressing things, and it would have left you traumatised, but I doubt the vet will allow Ronnie home until he is stabilised, so lets hope he never has another seizure again.

Catherine is very experienced in looking after a dog that has seizures, and she is a great resource for you.

 I am sure you have done research, if if you haven't,  below are a few websites that might be of use.

Some dog owners have followed the latest, human pathway in giving their dog CBD oil.

https://www.akc.org/expert-advice/health/cbd-oil-for-dog-seizures/

https://www.darwinspet.com/health-issues/canine-epilepsy/

https://www.akc.org/expert-advice/news/dietary-supplements-treatment-canine-idiopathic-epilepsy/

https://www.thekennelclub.org.uk/health/for-owners/epilepsy/

Why us?  Indeed!  I can't answer that, but genetics are the bottom line and like AI disease, it is often triggered.  The positive thing is, epilepsy is well documented, and there are lots of veterinary specialists there to help stabilise Ronnie and help you to come to terms with this unsettling condition. 

Crosses of certain breeds are at risk of developing genetic diseases too. 

This is another steep learning curve for you but you will master it, I am sure.

All the best.

Jo 

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Jo CIMDA

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Re: Why us????
« Reply #3 on: June 25, 2019, 03:23:00 PM »

Hi Simona

A friend of my recommends you call Honey's, a dog food company.   https://honeysrealdogfood.com/
She said you can ask to speak to a nutritionist.  They are extremely helpful.

Also, she gives her dog milk thistle tablets to help the liver cope with the drugs.  That sounds a very good idea.

I hope Ronnie will be back with you very soon.

Jo


 
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MonasWeim

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Re: Why us????
« Reply #4 on: June 26, 2019, 03:03:11 PM »

Jo, thank you for replying - yes genes are my sworn enemy it seems! Will I ever have a healthy dog????? We had done everything with Ronnie from when we bought him home at 8 weeks that we did with Riley to live a healthier life despite him being what we thought was a good healthy bruiser of a puppy. Only his basic puppy jabs (no lepto, no kennel cough) no flea and worming, no chemicals in the house, he's been raw fed with natural treats etc etc so god only knows what the trigger was (with Riley initially it was his one year booster jab).  You know how ocd I am about trying to get things right and researching things so I shall be going through all those links today - thank you! Yes I am looking into Milk Thistle at the moment however I have seen a couple of accounts where it has been given to an epileptic dog and they have has seizure within a couple of hours of taking it despite not have one for six weeks or more so I am trying to see if this is actually a known threat or if it's just down to the individual dog as they are all different. For and against with everything I know but I want to try and get it right asap and not waste a year flailing around in the dark as I did when Riley had SRMA. I think it's the fear of the unknown and the threat that things can still change at anytime - ie just because he's been on holiday and been fine once doesn't mean he will be the same next time and there's always the worry that he will have one if he's too hot, too excited, too tired - I think I'm the one that needs the Phenobarbital haha!!!   

Catherine - thank you! Re the breeding, no we have stayed in touch with the breeder and they have not had a dog with epilepsy. They usually  American Pocket Bullys but Ronnie's Frenchie Father was a little tinker and jumped the fence to get to the girls when the petsitter was doing her holiday cover and hey presto they had a ridiculous mix of French Bullys - thankfully not to be repeated!), I've also contacted most of his siblings owners and they have no health issues so we are at a loss. I don't doubt it's genetic as every test has come back normal but it would have been nice to have had some little clue as to why it happened, especially as there was no particular trigger...…     He has the usual side effects of Phenobarital which I've been told are all normal for the first couple of weeks and we have a blood test again in two weeks to see if everything is working as it should.  Thanks for the link, I have been on there already and mentioned something to my vet about the peak and trough timings at which there was a sharp intake of breath and a sigh at the mention of Dr Jean Dodd's (who I have followed for years due to the SRMA!) and I was then told to be very careful with what I believed from her as there is a lot of mis-information coming from that direction - I told her thank you very much for her advice and that I had been taking Dr Dodds advice for over a decade on every doggy subject and she had got me through just fine thank you very much and as the Vet herself had just almost made an almighty cock if I hadn't noticed it myself, it wasn't unreasonable to have a lack of trust in my normal vets! Was also told we couldn't take in Ronnies raw food (in pre packed frozen containers) as so many hundred of people die every year from e-coli and handling bacteria associated with raw food and she wasn't going to put the staff at risk bla bla bla…. so they gave him some of their yucky tinned chicken paste that was luminous orange and gave him diarrehea for  three days.... 
My thinking is that if the excitement of taking him in the car or being too hot or playing with another dog does cause a seizure, I simple wouldn't do that thing again to reduce the chance of a seizure but then I wonder if it would be unfair on all of us to stop doing all the things he loves "just in case".  My other half is a glass half full kinda guy and he says we'll just go about our normal life and if anything happens we'll deal with it together but to me (glass very much half empty!) if you trigger a seizure surely you wouldn't want to cause another by doing the same thing.... aaargh, so much anxiety!!   Simona. xx   
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Catherine

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Re: Why us????
« Reply #5 on: June 26, 2019, 08:08:44 PM »

It is so frustrating and worrying not knowing what triggered the seizures. How many days did Ronnie have the seizures for and did they only stop when he was given the Phenobarbital?

Why now? Is Ronnie still entire? I am just thinking it could be sex hormones that triggered it. My unspayed female dog seemed to have more seizures around her season and phantom pregnancy times. Ronnie has been okay in the car, with other dogs etc. up until last week so I would think you should be fairly safe continuing with those things.

Has Ronnie been raw fed since you got him? I do not know a lot about the various raw feeding but I wonder if it is open to more germs than a cooked food. Are the natural treats bought? My own thoughts would be to just keep to the same cooked/bought kibble and not to give any food treats.

Simona, I am like you with your half empty glass! But as Ronnie is so young you can not put off doing things and going places. Although I think for the moment, until he is stable on the medication it would help your anxiety a bit to stay close to home. Then when, hopefully, no more seizures occur, you can start to go further afield. It would also help to keep a diary.

I found being prepared helped a little. For instance make your home even more safe in case Ronnie has a seizure. This is vital if you have to leave him alone, so that if he has a seizure he can not stumble into things etc. (I expect you have read all about that anyway).

Another thing - I read that flash photography can trigger a seizure. There seems to be a lot of it nowadays on the television so I used to change channels when my dog was in the room!







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MonasWeim

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Re: Why us????
« Reply #6 on: June 27, 2019, 09:26:04 PM »

Hi Catherine, yes he's entire - purely because he is perfect as he is, no behaviour issues other than his high energy (the usual mad bully thing), no humping or dominant behaviour etc but yes as he's just turned one yesterday so hormones could be am issue although the vet never mentioned it (but then again they haven't mentioned a lot of things!!). The Vet gave him Diazepam for the first 24 hours but it stopped working so they put him on Phenobarbital.
He was weaned onto Royal Canin puppy food with the breeder but once we picked him up at 8 weeks we swapped gradually over to raw over the course of a month and a bit so as not to upset his tummy. He was given only the basic puppy vaccinations (no kennel cough or lepto) and no flea or worming since we've had him. Treats on a daily basis are carrot, peas (although he has more fun spitting them out, playing with them and squishing them into the carpet with his paw!), cooked chicken and natural dried fish treats (from Jon Angel) or sometimes dried sprats. He has green tripe, chicken necks, and raw nuggets in salmon or chicken flavour all of which he loves and his poops are really good. The only supplement he has is a glossy coat omega capsule which seems to have done him the world of good as his coat is amazing but again he has had this every day for at least 7 -8 months.  He loves to watch telly so yes this is another thing I am also aware of - can't even sit and relax in front of the tv anymore either! Had we not been doing all the normal "good" things (ie things suggested for immune issue dogs) I would be changing to them now but I just can't think of anything we have done wrong despite torturing myself over it night and day......         
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Catherine

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Re: Why us????
« Reply #7 on: June 28, 2019, 06:19:33 PM »

Oh, Simona, I so understand! One of my dogs was apparently healthy as anything, had great blood test results for her age and was eating  well. There did not seem to be any reason for her seizures. It might have been easier if there had been an obvious reason like a tumour or poisoning. As it was, like you, I tried to think of everything that had caused it. Like you, I also give my dogs a chemical free life as much as possible. This makes it more difficult to accept when we are doing our best. I think you just have to try and accept that you may never find the trigger.

Just one thing, not all natural things, be it food or plants say, are harmless. One person/dog can be okay with something natural and another will have a reaction to it.

I am still learning about seizures and how they happen etc. so I might be on the wrong track. But if Ronnie was still having seizures when he was at the vets would that rule out something in the home causing it? I know he started having seizures at home but it may have been to do with something else, if you see what I mean. As he continued having them at the vets would that not point to him either having a reaction to something or just something happening in his body, not a “spur of the moment thing” like being hot/excited etc.?

Was Ronnie awake or asleep when he started his first seizure at home?
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MonasWeim

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Re: Why us????
« Reply #8 on: June 28, 2019, 08:42:57 PM »

Hi Catherine, it was 9pm on a cool rainy day and was in my workshop a few metres away from the house and Ronnie was doing his usual rounds of the garden peeing on my plants - I looked up to see that he wasn't in my line of sight which he always from that view so presumed he had gone back indoors, I immediately went to check where he was as he has a habit of unrolling the loo roll if the bathroom door is open and he was running wildly from room to room in what looked to be a panic, pupils dilated, panting, heart beating out of his chest and he just would not sit down or even stand still. I tried to get some water down him as at this point I had no idea what was wrong as there was nothing outwardly obvious but when he wouldn't take that I gave him a  little bit of Manouka honey which usually makes him lay down and lick it off his paws but to no avail. My other half came home at 9.30pm and Ronnie started to dribble uncontrollably and then have what looked to be a mini seizure with his muzzle twitching an his head flailing/shaking and lots of froth. Now I've spoken to people with dogs with epilepsy this seems to be quite common, as does the manic hyper activity bit but the only thing I could think of at the time was that he had been poisoned by something despite him not having anything odd that I had seen.  We spent ten minutes trying to find an emergency vet that wasn't busy and rushed him to one 30 minutes away by which point he was having little seizures in the van and at the vets when we arrived. They took some blood and ran it through quickly and all I can remember is that they said his temperature was 39.8, his heart rate was up, he had a small increase in white blood cells and red blood cells, his glucose levels were up and one of his kidney readings was different from the other but nothing abnormally high that would indicate something that would cause seizures. On repeat tests three days later everything came back normal as did the CF Tap and the MRI  - I shall ask for a copy of the blood tests when we go for another test in two weeks but as he didn't vomit once or have a bad tummy there was nothing at all to indicate (even Liver wise) that he has been poisoned.....          He stayed in there for four days and only in the last ten hours before we picked him up did he not have seizures (after Phenobarbital being administered three times) which is why they allowed him home so Idiopathic Epilepsy was the diagnosis as they could find no medical cause and we were sent home with Phenobarbital every 12 hours and Diazepam for emergencies.  Re the supplements and natural things yes we have been doing things like being Rosemary free for ten years anyway and I'm aware that something new could cause a seizure (we know he gets hives from probiotics!), hence not starting on the Milk Thistle until we've seen the first set of blood results and whether he needs it. So confused right now, maybe I'm looking for an answer that doesn't exist but to me everything has a reason you just have to work a bit harder to find out what it is sometimes.  :) 
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Catherine

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Re: Why us????
« Reply #9 on: June 28, 2019, 09:19:13 PM »

Thank you for going into great detail, Simona. I know it is not nice reliving the scenarios of seizures.

When I first read about you finding him running about in a panic I did wonder whether he had had a seizure when he was out of sight. Dogs can be wild looking and running about confused for a time after they come round from a seizure. It is difficult to know what blood levels were caused by the seizure. Could his glucose have got too low? He is only young but could a low thyroid be the cause?

I hope you do not mind me asking all these questions, and I hope things settle down for you all soon.
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MonasWeim

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Re: Why us????
« Reply #10 on: July 11, 2019, 08:18:23 PM »

I think it's like looking for a needle in haystack! Also have the issue that we can't use Piriton when he gets hives so I have no idea what we're going to use instead now if it happens as we can't use antihistamines with Phenobarbitol. 
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