Kiwi is 11 years old and has been treated for idiopathic epilepsy since she was 3, having had her first seizure when she was 1. We've been able to keep her seizures very well controlled and we're extremely lucky that she does not have GMs.
She's developed some neurological issues, that seem to be unrelated to her seizures, around March of this year. We thought it might be some kind of OD of her seizure meds, but all tests come back normal.
About 4 weeks ago, we woke up to her having, what we thought, was some type of seizure. It was about 5:15am and she was on her bed. Her head was bobbing up and down like she was nodding "Yes". The rest of her body was still. It lasted about 5 minutes. We called it into our vet as soon as they opened.
About 2 weeks later it happened again. Also early in the morning, but this time it lasted about 15 minutes and she was pacing like crazy which she normally doesn't do. This time I grabbed my cell phone and got a couple of video clips to send to the vet. He thought it was a seizure and suggested it was time to see a neurologist. I made an appointment for the 24th, but the next day it happened again. This time it went for close to 30 minutes and after about an hour again for 15 minutes. We got her to the neurologist that morning. He had also seen the video clip and didn't think it was seizure related. He said there is something called "Benign Head Tremors" in labs but that it is usually seen in young pups. Since we had done every other test imaginable, he suggested an MRI.
We went home to think about it and finally decided to do it. They were able to get her in the next day, Friday, the 14th. Thankfully everything came out clean. They scanned her skull and spine and found nothing. They also did a spinal tap and that came back clean.
Unfortunately, on Saturday morning, she had another episode and this time it went for 6 hours!!!!
She had another smaller episode on Sunday evening and none since then.
Anyway, sorry this has gotten so long, but I'm trying to see if I can find out any information at all and so far I've not had any luck.
Thanks for reading.
So sorry about your girl I cannot even imagine going through this. I've seen this before (in videos) and have also heard of a few lab people talking about their dogs having this. All dogs that did start with this also had a history of seizures. One girl said after a number of tests, her dog did test positive for Lyme disease. Not sure if this had anything to do with the onset of this or not. I had a friend that had a boxer that also had this condition.
Have you tried http://www.canine-epilepsy-guardian-...CanineEpil.htm they may have some info that may help you, or some support group. 6 hours is a LONG time for this to go on. Your poor dog I'm sorry I cannot offer you any more info..
[size=10pt][size=10pt]There seems to be a lot of opinions on if this has to do with seizures or not. Our regular vet thought it was a seizure, but the neurologist says it is not. In trying to search out more information, I've seen both opinions. Makes it quite confusing.Originally Posted by kallie
I'm already part of the Epi-dog list. I've posted the same questions there and unfortunately (or fortunately) no one else has really had to deal with it.
It does seem to be a very common problem with boxers. I've seen posts on another site about boxers. Just not much info for labs.
Thankfully, it does not seem to bother her to much. We are able to call her name and she'll stop for about 20 seconds. Also, when the 6 hour episode started we tried to feed her and she was able to eat. She actually ignored her food for a moment and we got nervous. We knew if she wasn't interested in breakfast then it was a trip to the ER. Luckily, on the second attempt, she ate.
What medication is she on? How long has she been on it and what is her dosage?
This must be very difficult and frustrating that the vets can't seem to answer the question.
Is there a University Vet school near you that you could have look at the dog?
I had a dog with epilepsy that we had on Phenobarbital. Is your dog on it, has dosage been evalauted and had time to adjust within the body.
I can't say that I ever saw this head bob type behavior. Our Whiskey had GM seizures and it was so hard to watch them.
Hershey Kisses, In charge of getting Ed out to the dog park so that he gets some exercise.
I'm sorry about your dog and what you have to go through. I really don't have anything i can offer in terms of information but, my heart is going out to you and the pup. I just hope it doesn't get worse or that you find a solution.
We had a Siberian Husky who used to get head tremors starting at the ripe old age of 11 as well. Tests came back negative for everything they could think of, and we never found what it was. My dad used to joke it was a canine form of Parkinson's. Also, some horses get Headshaking Syndrome which is believed to be caused by over vaccinating.
Me, Abzilla and the Helomonster.
Thanks everyone for all of the responses. I'll try to answer them all.
obsidian & endofile: Kiwi is on Phenobarbital 60mg 2x per day, Potassium Bromide 3cc 1x per day, Valium 5mg 4 x per day, Glucosamine 2x per day, Fish Oil 4x per day.
She has been on the PB & KBr since '99. She has bloodwork done every 6 months to check the levels and adjustments are made when needed. When her "neurological" changes started back in March, the vet thought it was a PB overdose. We did bloodwork and it all came back within the therapeutic range. In June a different vet thought it might be a KBr overdose, we did the tests and it also came back within range.
We do know that KBr and cause ataxia in the hind end. After discussing with our vet, we dropped her from 4cc to 3cc and saw a huge change. She goes in for another KBr test on the 1st of Oct.
We started the Valium in March. At that time, she was having some major problems with the ataxia and was falling over quite a bit. She also seemed to be quite on edge and was barking alot for reasons unknown to us. Her balance was off and she would need to use us as a was to stop herself when she walked towards us. The Valium has made a huge improvement overall.
Her neurologist is at a vet hospital that is associated with UC Davis. There is another neurologist there that actually specializes in canine epilepsy. She wasn't available when we took her in, but I think we might try to switch to her.
TangerineFizz: We're also looking at it as a type of parkinson's. Kiwi hasn't been vaccinated since last year and we're not sure if we're going to do it this year.
emma1: Thanks for the good thoughts. We're actually very lucky with Kiwi's seizures. There are many dogs that are much worse off than she is. We have her seizures well under control, maybe 1 a year. Many other people have dogs that have GMs every few weeks or more. This would be a much tougher situation. It doesn't matter how often or big they are though. It's a difficult thing to watch because you are helpless.
Anticonvulsants such as Phenobarbital can cause "head bobbing". I'd suggest a second opinion.
I think you're on the right track by going to the neurologist at UCD. The head bobbing could be break through seizures. Since you've had her tested you know its not due to failing kidneys or liver which can cause seizure like reactions.
♣ Laura ♣