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Ben had his third seizure yesterday. It happened at around 5.30am and at first I heard him dry retching. He vomited and then stumbled and collapsed, going stiff and then the 'paddling motion'. The poor baby lost control of his bowels and bladder and made a growling sound. I tried to remain calm and do the gentle eye compression which Nancy had told me about and when he came around, gave him some honey to bring his blood sugar up. I am not sure if the vomiting brought on the seizure or if it is part of what happens when a seizure is about to occur. I have been journaling these episodes and would be interested to hear from anyone who has experience of a dog with Epilepsy and can offer advice or thoughts that would be helpful. Ben is not on medication for it at this stage.

Chrissie
 

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I'm sorry to hear about Ben's seizure. It sounds exactly like what Theo goes through. Theo *always* has vomiting and ataxia (uncoordination) just prior to a seizure; our vet says that this is normal for the kind of seizures he has. So I have tried to learn not to worry about it, but it's hard!

The best thing is to work closely with a vet who has experience with canine epilepsy. I've also found the site www.canine-epilepsy.com to be very useful. I could tell you what our vet has told us, but I don't know if it would be relevant to Ben's case, so that makes me reluctant.

Good luck! Just remember that although it looks horrible, they are not conscious for the worst part of it. Knowing this makes it easier for me to stay calm and focused on Theo's safety while the seizure is ongoing.
 

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Chrissie, I am so sorry to hear that Ben is having seizures.(Nathan..I am sorry to hear about Theo too). I can't imagine how scary it must be. And how frustrating it is not knowing if and when it will happen again.

Please give your baby boys a big hug from me. Sending good thoughts your way.
 

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I'm sorry. My first Lab had epilepsy and it's a horrible thing to have to go through with a beloved pet.
 

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how often are the seizures?
I am always terrified of the damage a long term seizure can do and tend to err on the side of meds perhaps a little faster than others would - I was at er vet one night and sat with a great dane who seized (or was doped out of it) for over 6 hours - she was terribly brain damaged at the end of it and the owner euthanized her
the image has stayed with me forever ...
my personal experience has been mainly with elderly dogs who have other undrelyign conditions - but I am responsible for 2 dogs in long term foster care who seize quite regularly (well one does despite being on meds; the other hasn't had a seizure since he started meds - we are talking about weaning him back and seeing what happens)
 

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Hi Chrissie, I have a lab who will be 7 this month. He has had epilepsy since he was about 3 years old. It is really tough at times and hard to watch when he has seizures. For the most part the seizures are under control but he will have a break through seizure about every 3-4 months. However, this weekend he broke into his food bag and ate the about 15 lbs worth. This made him sick so he lost his medications so he had 4 seizures. The best thing you can do is make sure your dog has the right amount of meds and that you are consistent in giving them to him. Its also good to know that if the dog becomes sick to his stomach and vomits for whatever reason it can effect the levels of the seizure meds in the blood and cause seizures. So, it was a late night for me on Saturday watching after my dog but he is back to normal now.
 

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I had a lab with epilepsy a long time ago. He started at two and died of kidney disease at 14. He didn't have seizures often...maybe twice a year so we didn't put him on medications. He didn't vomit before but he did have ataxia. He never became completely unconscious so it was hard to watch his fear of what was happening to him. I would just darken the room, get everybody else away and sit quietly with him. They only lasted a couple of minutes but it seemed like an eternity. Good luck.
 

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Sorry about this. The vomiting is part of the seizure.

My last lab had 2 grand mal seizures which were pretty horrible to watch. After the second one she was put on phenobarbytal (sp) and never had another one.
 

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I am so sorry to hear about Ben, too, he is in my prayers!
 

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I'm not sure how much you've talked to your vet, but there are a couple of meds that I've seen used with great success - phenobarbital, which is a drug and also potassium bromide. The KBr we use comes from a local compounding place that dissolves it in a liquid so it tastes better and we have a couple of dogs with seizures that have been weened off the phenobarb onto KBr only and it has worked perfectly, knock on wood.

I can't imagine how hard it must be for you - I hope you find something that helps!!
 

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One of our pack has epilepsy

Hi Chrissie and Ben,
Sorry to hear about the seizures Ben is having, I can totally relate. About 1 year ago my greyhound started having seizures and it was all new to me. I thought he was surely dying, had eaten poison or something awful. Even after our vet diagnosed idiopathic epilepsy (unknown cause), I was still convinced he really had a brain tumor.
Best thing you can do is get educated and it helped me a lot to join a list of other owners of epileptic dogs. How far apart were the 3 seizures Ben had? My dog had "clusters", which is several seizures within a 24 hour period. Rocky was prescribed medicines after the first cluster (phenobarbital), my vet said that neural pathways are established during seizure activity and it's better if you can nip it in the bud before the paths get firmly established.
It took us quite some time to get control of things, the medication can be trial and error to a large extent, but he's much better and living a good quality life.
The other thing I would mention about this, is that sometimes other dogs will attack a dog having a seizure. I have 6 dogs and they did "pack up" on him so I now must make sure he is isolated when I'm not home in the event of another seizure.
Good luck and feel free to email if you like.
Laurie in Pensacola
 

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I've mentioned this here before but I had a Lab'Collie cross who had a stroke and subsequent seizures when she was about 7. She was on phenobarb after that for the rest of her life - and she left us at 14. She had zero side effects from it. I'd err on the side of medicating if the seizures are repeating. The chance of permanent brain damage (which happened to a friends dog) would scare me too much!
 

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Work with your vet. Our previous dog, not a Lab, had epilepsy. Once we found the right dosage of phenobarbital, the seizures stopped and he was 15 years old when he passed one.
 
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