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#344972 - 08/21/17 02:02 PM Seizures in a senior dog?
Karin Offline
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We think Heidi might be having seizures. Long ago, we had a dog that had grand mal seizures, which are pretty unmistakable, and who had to be on phenobarbital the rest of her life. Heidi's symptoms are different: repeatedly tilting her nose up in the air, getting panicked for no reason and trying to squeeze into corners/climb up on things, shaking intermittently throughout her whole body, and extreme thirst after these episodes. Valium seems to help but we don't want to have her on this all the time.

We've assumed that she has had canine dementia for the past couple of years, but these other symptoms are fairly new. For the dementia, we've been giving her Cholodin for many years, and recently, CBD oil (7 drops with BF and 7 with dinner), as well as Canibit treats, which don't seem to be doing much (if anything) to help this seizure-like activity.

Does anyone else have a dog with seizures that has these symptoms? In my research, it looks like it could be maybe focal seizures? We have an appointment to see her vet tomorrow, but I was wondering if anyone can give us some advice on what to ask the vet, what to think about in advance, etc. Thanks for any help/advice.
_________________________
Karin and Dave

Heidi, 11-year-old GSD
Adopted on 10/14/07 from: German Shepherd Rescue of Northern California (http://www.savegsd.org)

Sheba, GSD/Malamute angel

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#344975 - 08/21/17 07:37 PM Re: Seizures in a senior dog? [Re: Karin]
Wisc.Tiger_Val Offline
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Karin, no advice just sending you some good thoughts.
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#344976 - 08/21/17 08:17 PM Re: Seizures in a senior dog? [Re: Wisc.Tiger_Val]
Karin Offline
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Thank you, Val. I'm hoping that our vet will have some ideas for us. I'm hearing about others who have had good luck with phenobarbital & CBD oil. Our previous dog did very well on pheno, other than slowing down a bit and gaining weight.
_________________________
Karin and Dave

Heidi, 11-year-old GSD
Adopted on 10/14/07 from: German Shepherd Rescue of Northern California (http://www.savegsd.org)

Sheba, GSD/Malamute angel

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#344977 - 08/21/17 09:47 PM Re: Seizures in a senior dog? [Re: Karin]
SeanRescueMom Offline
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Sorry to hear about Heidi's canine dementia and possible seizures. frown Sean had both so it is a little difficult to separate the two but he had the seizures while still somewhat young and before the dementia. His regular vet prescribed phenobarbital but I had him on the lowest possible dose for maintenance. After the first two seizures he never had another episode. As he aged the specialist he was seeing for his autoimmune illness and neurologist felt he should only be on the medication that was absolutely necessary so we weaned him off the phenobarbital and never experienced a seizure.

Honestly, I'm not an expert and you know Heidi best. Some of her symptoms sound more like dementia and others could be seizure related. I trust your vet will give you the best medical advice that is needed for her. Please keep us posted after your visit tomorrow, good luck! hugging
_________________________
Sean - 1998/2014
If there ever comes a day when we can't be together, keep me in your heart I'll stay there forever.
Carleton DOB unknown
Neely - 2003/2015
Gizmo -2008/2011
Neeko -1991/2005

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#344978 - 08/21/17 11:47 PM Re: Seizures in a senior dog? [Re: SeanRescueMom]
Shilohsmom Offline
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No ideas from me, thankfully I haven't had to deal with this. Just wanted you to know I'm sending many thoughts and prayers for both of you. hugging

Please keep us updated.
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Rosa

Proud Mom to Shoshi, Eli and Kodiak
and never to be forgotten, Shiloh
Every dog deserves to have a human that thinks its the greatest dog that ever lived!

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#344979 - 08/22/17 03:05 AM Re: Seizures in a senior dog? [Re: Shilohsmom]
Codmaster Offline
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Good luck at the vet!

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#344982 - 08/22/17 08:36 AM Re: Seizures in a senior dog? [Re: Codmaster]
Mary Jane Offline
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Originally Posted By: Codmaster
Good luck at the vet!
x2

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#344986 - 08/22/17 12:31 PM Re: Seizures in a senior dog? [Re: SeanRescueMom]
Karin Offline
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Originally Posted By: SeanRescueMom
Some of her symptoms sound more like dementia and others could be seizure related


This is the hardest thing. Heidi has been having what we've thought is canine dementia for several years now. We've kept it in control very well with Cholodin. Her first symptoms were just getting really startled and scared, and trying to squeeze into corners. I've read that Cholodin also helps seizures, but if you read the label, sometimes they will get overloaded on it and have exaggerated forms of the symptoms above and you have to take them off of it for a couple of days and then put them back on again.

Heidi has lost a lot of weight lately due to loss of appetite (53 lbs, down from 65 at her highest). She's always been on the thin side, but our vet is getting concerned and as much as I try to get her to eat, she just eats the toppings and not the kibble until she gets really hungry. Add to that the fact that she has an extremely sensitive stomach and I searched high & low for something she could tolerate and found Nature's Logic kibble, which she has been eating for years and is probably sick of it. I've been cooking up lean ground beef and sweet potatoes to try and entice her, which seems to work pretty well.

So, part of me wonders if she's always had seizures and the Cholodin kept it at bay or if she's had dementia the whole time. And I had to take her off Cholodin because of the "overloading effect" and she is now on a much smaller dose. Could that be causing the seizures (if they are, in fact, seizures).

And then there's the CBD, which is supposed to help seizures and anxiety and maybe I'm not using enough. I think I am overanalyzing everything, trying to do the right thing. In the meantime, Heidi is either sleeping all day, or panicked out of her mind. She won't even go for a walk anymore and barely eats. frown I'm glad we're going to the vet today, although I have asked her about these symptoms before and we never came to any conclusions.
_________________________
Karin and Dave

Heidi, 11-year-old GSD
Adopted on 10/14/07 from: German Shepherd Rescue of Northern California (http://www.savegsd.org)

Sheba, GSD/Malamute angel

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#344989 - 08/22/17 01:04 PM Re: Seizures in a senior dog? [Re: Karin]
Karin Offline
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Thank you for all the kind comments. I will keep you guys posted after we go to the vet. Just now, I made up her breakfast with all the things she likes on top and she wouldn't even touch it. Maybe something else totally different is wrong with her. She is almost 12, so I know that we may not have much time left with her, which I don't even want to think about.
_________________________
Karin and Dave

Heidi, 11-year-old GSD
Adopted on 10/14/07 from: German Shepherd Rescue of Northern California (http://www.savegsd.org)

Sheba, GSD/Malamute angel

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#344992 - 08/22/17 07:31 PM Re: Seizures in a senior dog? [Re: Karin]
Mary Jane Offline
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No ideas or knowledge from me. But dear Lord how these magnificent older dogs demand every single thing we can do.

Heidi, you picked the right family all those years ago.

all the best to all of you,
MJ

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#344993 - 08/22/17 10:48 PM Re: Seizures in a senior dog? [Re: Karin]
SeanRescueMom Offline
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Originally Posted By: Karin
Just now, I made up her breakfast with all the things she likes on top and she wouldn't even touch it.


There were times when out of the clear blue sky Sean would not eat either. The only way I could get him to eat was to sit on the floor with him and feed him a little at a time out of my hand.

Regarding you overanalyzing everything, isn't that what we all do for our dogs? I think it's perfectly normal. wink We form such a close bond with them that we try to fix everything and when we don't know the cause of something it effects us. After the Cholodin wasn't working as well for Sean the specialty vet switched him to something else and it did help but off the top of my head I can't recall what it was, if I remember I'll let you know. Sending special thoughts your way, will be anxious to hear what your vet has to say. hug
_________________________
Sean - 1998/2014
If there ever comes a day when we can't be together, keep me in your heart I'll stay there forever.
Carleton DOB unknown
Neely - 2003/2015
Gizmo -2008/2011
Neeko -1991/2005

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#344994 - 08/23/17 06:30 AM Re: Seizures in a senior dog? [Re: Karin]
PositiveDog Offline
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I'm so sorry for what you are all going through.

You are so good with her and have no doubt made her life so much better. I will be thinking of you.
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#345016 - 08/26/17 02:31 PM Re: Seizures in a senior dog? [Re: PositiveDog]
Karin Offline
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Thank you for all the replies and kind words. I really appreciate it. We had our vet visit and it went well. We showed her videos of Heidi doing the head tilts and the rhythmic trembling, and our vet said that it did look like something neurological to her. She recommend a veterinary neurologist at a local specialty animal clinic down the street so we went over there and made an appointment for next Tuesday.

In the meantime, we've upped Heidi's CBD oil to 12 drops with breakfast and 12 with dinner, in addition to her regular cholodin tablet & canibit (CBD oil treat). She seems to be doing better. She hasn't had any more head tilts or tremors, although she is still doing the compulsive digging of the grass/carpet/gravel and getting really anxious now and then. She has also been sleeping through the night most of the time, which is a HUGE improvement from before.

Previously, we had her on 2 Cholodin tablets with BF and 2 with dinner and I think it was too much considering she has lost so much weight. And according to the label (and our experiences) sometimes dogs can get overloaded on Cholodin and get extremely agitated. They recommend taking them off it and putting them back on it after a couple of days. That's what we did and now that it's kicking in a bit, it seems to be helping. In my research, I've read about people who say that Cholodin and/or CBD oil has reduced and/or eliminated their dog's seizure activity.

I've also been cooking Heidi stew meat, sweet potatoes, and lean ground beef in, addition to her kibble as well as mixing it in, and she is definitely eating more. She weighed 52 lbs at the vet's and she said she'd like to see Heidi back up to 60 lbs again.

We're not ready to lose Heidi yet (of course, nobody ever is...), so we'll do whatever we can to help her and try and figure out what's going on
_________________________
Karin and Dave

Heidi, 11-year-old GSD
Adopted on 10/14/07 from: German Shepherd Rescue of Northern California (http://www.savegsd.org)

Sheba, GSD/Malamute angel

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#345017 - 08/26/17 02:37 PM Re: Seizures in a senior dog? [Re: Karin]
Karin Offline
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Also, the vet called yesterday with the results of Heidi's blood tests. They were all very good, except she said there was a "mild elevation in one of the liver enzymes" (ALT). It was 163, whereas the high end of the range 118. She said that sometimes the ALT can be in multiple hundreds or thousands and it can be transitory, so it may be nothing, but it is new to her previous results and she thought we should do another test in a month or two. I've been looking on the Internet and can't find too much about it. Anyway, at least I feel like she's doing better right now and we're on track to try and figure out what's wrong with her. Thanks again for the support!
_________________________
Karin and Dave

Heidi, 11-year-old GSD
Adopted on 10/14/07 from: German Shepherd Rescue of Northern California (http://www.savegsd.org)

Sheba, GSD/Malamute angel

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#345043 - 09/01/17 02:38 AM Re: Seizures in a senior dog? [Re: Karin]
MaxaLisa Offline

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Jazz had a couple of different types of seizures. Here are her trembling ones:
https://m.youtube.com/watch?list=PLp8Fx2...amp;mode=NORMAL
She also had that weird staring type of seizure.

I personally don't think neuros are super helpful unless you're going to do the MRI and all sorts of testing, and then do different drug therapies.

I would run a tick panel through protatek with any neuro condition and elevated enzymes. I would have to look up what the internist had us run on jazz, but we included the tick stuff as well as toxo and the one that starts with N that I can never remember. (found it: http://germanshepherdhome.net/forum/ubbthreads.php/topics/285799/Re:_Facing_difficult_decisions#Post285799)

Jazz seems to no longer have those seizures, but still has anxiety/panic attacks. I do not know what I did to help with the seizures since I did a bunch of things, and she is also on doxy for her collagen issues.

I do think that lots of neuro issues correspond to r-lipoc or alpha lipoic acid and I think there was a distinct improvement in both jazz and indy when I added it to their protocols. I think lecithin also helped jazz, but that's sorta like the cholodin. Too much acetylcholine though can cause that jittery stuff because of the way it affects the communication with the muscles.

I tried some canna-pet for jazz, but it heightened her anxiety and made her more aggressive to other dogs on hikes. I have a friend that is using it for his severely brain injured son and it's been amazing. Different types will have different affects so i'm glad the stuff you are using is working out.

Seizures are so hard. And then with the other aging stuff, it's really hard to know what exactly is going on. I'm really glad though that the cBD oil is helping.

I would find some liver support. Unfortunately they changed the formula for my favorite liver support and I don't know if the new stuff works, so I don't have a good product to recommend.

I also would consider a B complex, but a lower dose one. The b vitamins are so important with neuro conditions, but too much might increase anxiety. The only ones that Max could tolerate were the Jarrow b-right vitamins which are about a B-25 complex.


Edited by MaxaLisa (09/01/17 02:50 AM)
Edit Reason: changed link
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#345086 - 09/05/17 08:12 PM Re: Seizures in a senior dog? [Re: MaxaLisa]
Karin Offline
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Originally Posted By: MaxaLisa
I personally don't think neuros are super helpful unless you're going to do the MRI and all sorts of testing, and then do different drug therapies.


Well, we just got back from our visit to the veterinary neurologist and Lisa, you're absolutely right! She said that she thought Heidi's problems were all behavioral but that they could do a spinal tap and MRI to see if there were any problems, but she said it would probably come back normal. I definitely don't want to subject Heidi to that at age 12. It was stressful enough for her just to go through the examination!

She also didn't seem too interested in the videos that we brought to show her and when I asked about hypothyroidism (since Heidi's results were low-normal), she said that wouldn't cause any behavioral issues or anxiety issues, let alone seizures. She said that the main symptom would be low activity.

Everything I've been reading says that anxiety issues (and seizures) can be caused by low thyroid, and sometimes even weight loss can be a result of it (contrary to the weight gain that is common). Plus Heidi's coat is very dull.

She said that they could prescribe trazadone for her anxiety, but I think we should stick with the valium in the times when she is really, really agitated. So, we're back to square one again.

I think I might contact our regular vet and see if she would agree to a trial prescription of a low dose of Thyro Tabs, like Keefer is taking, just to see if it does anything...
_________________________
Karin and Dave

Heidi, 11-year-old GSD
Adopted on 10/14/07 from: German Shepherd Rescue of Northern California (http://www.savegsd.org)

Sheba, GSD/Malamute angel

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#345087 - 09/05/17 08:28 PM Re: Seizures in a senior dog? [Re: Karin]
Karin Offline
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Here is one of the videos where Heidi is repeatedly lifting her nose up in the air.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vVDV9hdIv9s&feature=youtu.be



Edited by Karin (09/05/17 08:29 PM)
_________________________
Karin and Dave

Heidi, 11-year-old GSD
Adopted on 10/14/07 from: German Shepherd Rescue of Northern California (http://www.savegsd.org)

Sheba, GSD/Malamute angel

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#345088 - 09/05/17 09:25 PM Re: Seizures in a senior dog? [Re: Karin]
SeanRescueMom Offline
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Just out of curiosity, have you ever noticed if Heidi does that when she's outside before a storm or fluctuating temperature change? Sean had seizures and would do the exact same thing in the yard, as Heidi did in the video, but only before a storm front.
_________________________
Sean - 1998/2014
If there ever comes a day when we can't be together, keep me in your heart I'll stay there forever.
Carleton DOB unknown
Neely - 2003/2015
Gizmo -2008/2011
Neeko -1991/2005

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#345090 - 09/05/17 09:45 PM Re: Seizures in a senior dog? [Re: SeanRescueMom]
Shilohsmom Offline
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I've been following this thread with concern but everytime I go to write I get distracted. sleep

I'm so sorry Heidi is having such problems. As far as the eating, this might be a long shot but have you had her teeth checked? With age comes more dental issues. How are her lips? Sometimes Shoshi has sore lips so I put some meds on them and that helps. For any meat that I add I tend to warm it first in the microwave. It makes it smell more and attracts the pup.

I know Heidi is in good hands. Please keep us posted. Oh, the weathers been so hot that likely will be affecting her too. My pups are miserable here with all the heat.
_________________________
Rosa

Proud Mom to Shoshi, Eli and Kodiak
and never to be forgotten, Shiloh
Every dog deserves to have a human that thinks its the greatest dog that ever lived!

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#345094 - 09/06/17 12:49 AM Re: Seizures in a senior dog? [Re: SeanRescueMom]
Karin Offline
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That's interesting that Sean had the same type of head tilts. I really don't think this is a behavioral issue because it seems to be an involuntary movement and something that is so different that she just started out of the blue. I'll have to keep an eye on any weather changes. This has only happened to her when she's been inside the house. And it doesn't seem like it was related to weather, but I will make a note of it if it happens again.
_________________________
Karin and Dave

Heidi, 11-year-old GSD
Adopted on 10/14/07 from: German Shepherd Rescue of Northern California (http://www.savegsd.org)

Sheba, GSD/Malamute angel

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#345095 - 09/06/17 12:53 AM Re: Seizures in a senior dog? [Re: Karin]
Karin Offline
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Thanks for your reply, Rosa. Heidi's teeth were checked and cleaned a while back. Her lips are pretty floppy these days so who knows, maybe they are sore too! It's tough to get old! And yes, this weird, horribly hot weather is no doubt making things worse for her. We recently got a wall A/C in the living room, and that's where we're spending our time, with the A/C running all day. I'm going to hate to see our next PG&E bill!! Thank you for the kind words and good thoughts.
_________________________
Karin and Dave

Heidi, 11-year-old GSD
Adopted on 10/14/07 from: German Shepherd Rescue of Northern California (http://www.savegsd.org)

Sheba, GSD/Malamute angel

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#345096 - 09/06/17 12:56 AM Re: Seizures in a senior dog? [Re: Karin]
Karin Offline
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Here's another video of the tremors she was having last week. This is also a new thing and another thing I don't think is "behavioral" because it's a rhythmic shaking. She'll shake and then stop, and shake and stop, etc. It's different from the constant shivering/shaking she does when she's really scared.

https://youtu.be/qWxsQS9t-CU

By the way, her liver values (ALT) were on the high side in her blood panel. Is milk thistle a good supplement for this sort of thing? Does anyone have a good brand they recommend? Thanks!
_________________________
Karin and Dave

Heidi, 11-year-old GSD
Adopted on 10/14/07 from: German Shepherd Rescue of Northern California (http://www.savegsd.org)

Sheba, GSD/Malamute angel

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#345099 - 09/06/17 09:39 AM Re: Seizures in a senior dog? [Re: Karin]
SeanRescueMom Offline
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I tried to watch the video but got a message that it is private and I have to sign in. Do you have any idea why this may have happened?
_________________________
Sean - 1998/2014
If there ever comes a day when we can't be together, keep me in your heart I'll stay there forever.
Carleton DOB unknown
Neely - 2003/2015
Gizmo -2008/2011
Neeko -1991/2005

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#345100 - 09/06/17 09:47 AM Re: Seizures in a senior dog? [Re: SeanRescueMom]
Shilohsmom Offline
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I'm getting the same private message when I try to see the video.
_________________________
Rosa

Proud Mom to Shoshi, Eli and Kodiak
and never to be forgotten, Shiloh
Every dog deserves to have a human that thinks its the greatest dog that ever lived!

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#345102 - 09/06/17 10:53 AM Re: Seizures in a senior dog? [Re: Shilohsmom]
Karin Offline
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This is the first time I've posted anything to YouTube. I must have done it right by dumb luck the first time! I think I fixed it:

https://youtu.be/OYPYCXIFcKU
_________________________
Karin and Dave

Heidi, 11-year-old GSD
Adopted on 10/14/07 from: German Shepherd Rescue of Northern California (http://www.savegsd.org)

Sheba, GSD/Malamute angel

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#345115 - 09/06/17 09:29 PM Re: Seizures in a senior dog? [Re: Karin]
SeanRescueMom Offline
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It's working now! I can see the shaking but because her head is down it's difficult to see if there's any change in her facial expression.
Can you tell if her expression is different than when she was putting her nose up in the air doing the head tilts?
_________________________
Sean - 1998/2014
If there ever comes a day when we can't be together, keep me in your heart I'll stay there forever.
Carleton DOB unknown
Neely - 2003/2015
Gizmo -2008/2011
Neeko -1991/2005

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#345117 - 09/06/17 09:35 PM Re: Seizures in a senior dog? [Re: SeanRescueMom]
Shilohsmom Offline
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I can see it now too. Not sure what could be going on but wanted to let you know I'm thinking about you and Heidi and hoping for only good news.
_________________________
Rosa

Proud Mom to Shoshi, Eli and Kodiak
and never to be forgotten, Shiloh
Every dog deserves to have a human that thinks its the greatest dog that ever lived!

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#345125 - 09/07/17 08:35 AM Re: Seizures in a senior dog? [Re: Shilohsmom]
Mary Jane Offline
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Thinking about you two, as well. (Heidi, that's a very pretty collar).

MJ

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#345143 - 09/08/17 05:37 PM Re: Seizures in a senior dog? [Re: Mary Jane]
Karin Offline
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Thanks for your replies, everyone! As far as facial expression goes, it's the same as her usual expression. She usually has her mouth open and is panting a bit. She hasn't done the nose tilts for at least a week, thank goodness!

Also, I've read that sometimes rosemary can cause seizures in dogs. I think there is something to that because I noticed that the nose tilting seemed to happen more often when we were giving her rosemary and turmeric treats. One thing I've discovered is that it is VERY hard to find any kind of dog food or treat that doesn't contain rosemary oil, rosemary extract or rosemary leaves. They say that the oil and extract is more potent and more likely to cause problems. And when you see "mixed topherols" or "natural flavorings," chances are that rosemary is in the food. It's considered a "natural preservative," which seems to be popular right now. In any case, I've been doing my best to avoid rosemary completely and I actually think it has helped.
_________________________
Karin and Dave

Heidi, 11-year-old GSD
Adopted on 10/14/07 from: German Shepherd Rescue of Northern California (http://www.savegsd.org)

Sheba, GSD/Malamute angel

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#345154 - 09/09/17 05:24 PM Re: Seizures in a senior dog? [Re: Karin]
MaxaLisa Offline

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Loc: Northern CA
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Do you have copies of all the recent bloodwork (aside from thyroid)?

I would NEVER trust a neuro that said seizures are not linked to a low thyroid. Who is training these people???? Finding good "professional" help is so hard these days, for dogs and people. I have been disappointed by all of the neuros I have consulted with for dogs and humans.

You can Google and find info on that. There are all sorts of neuro issues that can come from hypothyroidism, including seizures. Now, it may be true that you won't see them in severe form with low normal values, but that doesn't mean that having optimal thyroid function won't help treat any neuro disease.

With jazz's seizures the vet ruled out tick disease, later I had them rule out myasthenia gravis though no one really thought she had it. I put her on the most pure homeprepared diet that I could, and we still treated with doxy for other things. I put her on neuro supportive supplements. Jazz does have a history of two types of clostridium infections, as well as topical staph. Flagyl of all things helps with the tremors, as does doxy, but there is now (oops, meant was NO) evidence of infection when these were started (long story).

There are some random studies that point to gut infections like H pylori triggering or making parkinson's worse, as well as some clostridium strains maybe implicated in MS. Based on those studies, and experience here, for any dog I have, or human even, I am going to look for gut infection in any neuro disease (after testing for TBD), and if I don't find any still treat and note response. This is something neither allopathic nor holistic vets/doctors would endorse outright, though the reason we did some treatment was due to consultation with our internal medicine specialist since jazz has IBD and also neuro issues. Anxiety is the tip of iceburg wink


Edited by MaxaLisa (09/09/17 05:30 PM)
_________________________
MaxaL (aka LisaT)

Jazmine, mini-mix, 10/18/2011
Max-n-Indy
Max, 5/2001-2/2012, RIP my partner, my Regal Boy
Indy, 5/1997-10/2010, RIP my friend, my teacher

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K9 TBD info and Tick List Links
http://www.rabieschallengefund.org/

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