AND DIETS THAT HAVE WORKED FOR EPILEPTIC DOGS
Tina and Carly: Carly is a 4 year old Siberian Husky female. She
and her brother, Simon (non-epi) were born on Valentine's Day in 1996.
They have been together since day one and love each other very much.
Carly started having seizures in late October of 2000. Since then she
had a cluster of two in November and one on January 3, 2001. Carly is
a sweetheart and very smart. She prefers giving face licks and kisses
over any treat, unlike her brother who would prefer to have his treat first.
They are my sweet precious valentines and I love them so very much.
Medication and food: 30 mg of
Phenobarbital once a day. Pedigree web and dry food. Bil Jack
Willy: Willy is about five years old and his seizures started at about age
four. Willy's seizures started with just an occasional grand mal seizure. In
February 1999 Willy started having cluster seizures which continued until April 1999 when
Potassium Bromide was added. Potassium Bromide has controlled his seizures pretty
well however, he had a cluster of 27 seizures in April 2000 (the first really hot day of
and food: 60 mg. Phenobarbital and 250 mg Potassium Bromide twice a day.
Rescue Remedy, Valerian and Valium as needed for seizures. Many supplements
including Chinese herbs.
and Alvin: Alvin is a 51/2 year old intact pit bull/husky mix. His
first seizure episode was at 13 months of age and was a 2 grand mal cluster.
He was evaluated by a vet who found nothing wrong and told me to wait and
watch. Three weeks later he had his second cluster and went into status. He
was hospitalized for several days, started on PB, and when he finally was
discharged, he did not recognize me, his surroundings and was only a shell
of a dog. The vet suspected brain damage, but also told me he could be
adjusting to the meds or still severely post ictal. I was heartbroken and
for several days contemplated letting him go. Fortunately, each day he
showed a little improvement and was pretty well recovered after a week.
I went through about 10 vets before I found someone familiar with epilepsy
and was willing to prescribe the valium protocol to help manage his
clusters, which were happening like clockwork every 3-4 weeks. Several vets
told me to put him down ad get another dog, even though when he was in for
examination he was healthy, happy and active.
When PB alone stopped controlling his seizures, we added KBr to the mix. We
also learned that he has a paradoxical effect to narcotics, thus valium and
PB act as uppers, making
him extremely hyper. With my vet’s help, we modified the valium protocol to
replace the follow-up oral valium with clonazepam, which made him much less
Alvin had a 23 day long cluster in April, 1999. The seizure activity during
this cluster was very odd occurring every time he tried to sleep and causing
him to charge repeatedly into walls. At that time, the vet gave us little
hope but referred us to a neurologist. I took him there fully expecting that
it would be the last time I saw him again since we could not get any control
of the seizures. The neurologist had never seen anything like him & actually
called in another neurologist to see Alvin. They did tests including
cardiac, MRI, spinal tap and much more; all were negative. Finally they
reloaded bromide at a much higher concentration and he pulled through. His
seizure frequency shortened, to one cluster every 18-21 days.
After returning from this hospitalization, Alvin began to have severe skin
problems. His face and feet turned bright red and his feet began to
dissolve. His skin on his abdomen started to turn black and he had constant
ear infections and interdigital cysts. I thought he had picked up mange and
his regular vet did skin scrapings. We also did blood testing for thyroid
and sent it to Dr. Dodds as many of his symptoms hinted at hypothyroidism.
He was borderline normal, so Dr. Dodds recommended a trial course of
Also about this time, Alvin came down with a severe bout of hemmoraghic
gastroenteritis. The high bromide dosages he took are suspected to have
caused it but no one can be sure. Again he was hospitalized and placed on
high volume fluids. The chloride in the intervenous solution displaced the
bromide in his system causing yet another severe cluster. His diet was
restricted after this episode to boiled beef and rice. This still did not
agree with him so he went on Hills i/d. This food helped his digestion, but
he seized much more frequently, sometimes twice a week, on it, probably from
the preservatives it contains.
Because his skin was not improving and the food was triggering seizures, we
did allergy testing as a last ditch effort to see what was going on. The
results that came back were astounding. He is allergic to very nearly
everything including trees, grass, mold, cotton, flax, thistle, turkey,
lamb, venison, peas, tomatoes, wheat, barley, brewer's yeast and much, much
more. No wonder the poor guy was itchy! We switched him to a limited
ingredient diet consisting of duck & potato, and his skin has been much
Alvin continued to seize on a predictable pattern of a 2-3 day cluster every
4-6 weeks, with one notable 7 month reprieve during which he did not have a
single seizure. Nothing was different during that time other than his
“brother” Boomer became very ill with Lyme, IMHA/ITP.
Three months ago, I moved into a new home. The old owner had a contract with
a pest control company who sprayed monthly for crunchy bugs (ticks, ants,
termites). Even though the old owner moved out, they sprayed my yard the
second week I was there while I was at work,. Alvin has access to the
outside through a doggie door which leads to a fenced in pen, so was outside
watching the man spray. I came home to a seizing dog that evening. This
dosing of pesticide caused him to have an uncontrollable cluster which
lasted 32 days and resulted in a full week in the hospital. Even the IV
valium could not break this cluster and once again I was faced with the
possibility of him not recovering. The hospital where he was has a
consulting neurologist who had done some research on canine epilepsy using
zonegran and started Alvin on this drug. He told me it would take 2 full
weeks to see if It was going to work. Alvin was sent home, still
seizing-with very odd triggers such as cli
mbing stairs setting him off. I was very discouraged and discussed PTS on
day 10 with the vet. He told me to wait the 2 weeks, and on day 13, Alvin
stopped seizing. He was seizure free for almost 5 weeks, and last Wednesday,
had the nicest cluster I have seen yet-2 GMs in under a minute and post
ictal less than 10 minutes with no additional seizures.
This road has not been easy, and if Alvin were a different type of dog, I
may have made different decisions. On top of it all, he has a sleep disorder
and never sleeps for more than 2 or 3 hours unless he is going to seize-I
live with a terminal infant. Fortunately, he is a very happy dog and the
seizures do not seem to bother him at all. Even during his worst clusters,
he would eat, play and be a typical, if drunk, dog between seizures. His
current drug regime is 130 mg PB BID, 2300 KBr SID, 200 mg Zonegran BID, 0.4
mg soloxine BID, 500 mg cephalexin EOD, IVD duck & potato food, modified
valium protocol which includes clonazepam and clorazepate depending on the
severity of the cluster.