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Readers Respond: Living with a dog or cat who has seizures

Responses: 149



Hi, we adopted a beautiful collie about a year ago aged 4 1/2. We new he had epilepsy and was on meds but hadn't fitted for some time. Last Nov 2013 he had 1 episode about 12 cluster fits so we also gave him diazepam and vet upped his meds. More 6weeks later again then 6 weeks later again. Since Sunday (5 days ago) he has had over 150 grand mal seizures. Vets now added bromide potassium but takes 15-30 days to work. I understand the sheer exhaustion everyone who goes through this feels. The fits from last night are less frequent and slightly easier. He did however have 2 aggressive turns this morning for a few seconds. The vet said this is " normal as he is so scared after hits fit. He also lost his sight on Sunday though I'm told it should return. He's very spooked and insecure-to be expected. As I write he's just had another 4 fits. Just pray to God he'll be better soon. Again before I can finish he's had 4 more! To all who are suffering I wish you and your pups wellness soon.
—Guest Shirley

Seizure went in coma and died

I been so sad I'll never get over it. I'm traumatized for life my puppy Oscar started having mild seizures at 4 months a few times a day just mouth movement with foam then they got worse fast he started to have more severe seizures & more than just a few a day and couldn't walk for days after. Then he went in a coma one day and died later that same day. It looked to me like he had a seizure in his coma & he died moments later worst part is I felt his heart stop. I'm on unemployment and had no money to help him which hurts so bad that I couldn't do anything. I can't stop crying. I looked on the Internet for help but couldn't find none. There should be something out there to help people in my situation. I will never stop feeling the sadness this has caused me. RIP Oscar I love you.....
—Guest Katy


Thank you for your letter on when your dog is having a seizure. I have had three dogs in my life time, who have had seizures. When a seizure starts, you as a good pet owner can see that something is starting to happen to your beloved pet. When the animal,(cat or dog) starts to have a seizure, you are doing the right thing for them. Stay close by, if I can I hold them in my arms and talk very softly to them. Petting and letting them know that I am here and I won't let anything happen to them. I was told by my vet that dogs are born with the Epilepsy gene in their brain. Some dogs have more seizures than others. I can see that the last seizure that my Smitty had, has left him not the same. He lays around almost all of the day. I have decided to start to take him with me where I go as to be able to keep an eye on him. The seizure I have read that may have been a cluster seizure. I want to be there when he comes out of it, to help him feel safe.
—Guest deborah

Dog with seizures

A friend of mine bought a pug from a previous owner. After about a year the dog started having seizures, at first they were just one a day every so many days, then all of a sudden he had 9 in one day . The husband had the dog put to sleep.
—Guest Reda

Minimum Dosage

My cat has been having seizures for about two years. They were brought on by trauma to the head while playing. His seizures did not begin immediately, a week or two later. With his first one he was given a shot of morphine and put in phenobarbital. He continued to seize several times a day and we consulted another doctor. This doctor suggested a MRI but this was not possible nearby. He gave Picasso a steroid shot and a prescription for a steriod pill. Picasso was given the prescribed steriod for a couple of weeks to a month along with the phenobarbital. He almost immediately stopped seizing. Since then Picasso has had seizures, about one a month until recently. We had attempted to ween him off the phenibarbital but could not get him below 1/2 a 32.4 mg every other day. Last week Picasso had two seizures in one day and another yesterday, six between. I consulted the doctor this morning and was told to increase the dosage to 1/2 a pill every day.
—Guest Picasso's Mom

Boston Terrier Puppy Seizures

My 9 month old Bostie had a cluster of 5 seizures in 36 hours. Liver Enzyme blood test slightly elevated, but dr didn't think it was the cause. MRI negative. Diagnosed with epilepsy, 15mg Phenobarb 2X daily, 11 days seizure free. Lower energy and weak, but improving every day. Not sure what the future brings. So scary to see the seizures at first! Heard lots of positive things how dogs can lead a long life with epilepsy...
—Guest Rascal's Mum

Thank God foe Zonisamide

My chihuahua/corgi mix developed seizures about 3yrs ago. At first, the phenobarb worked, but we kept having to raise his dosage. Then the vet decided to supplement with the potassium bromide. Poor Diesel got every side effect (lethargy, back leg weakness, etc), and no benefit. His seizures were coming more often than without it. He also started putting on some serious weight. He ballooned from 14 lbs to over 19 lbs. That's when the vet suggested trying the Zonisamide. It's been over a year since he went on the 100 mg, twice daily dose with his phenobarb, and he hasn't had a seizure, at least that anyone's seen, since. He's back below 14 lbs, and the other side effects of the bromide are gone. Now we're transitioning him off the phenobarb, too. I know that the drug still needs more study of the long term side effects, but it's given Diesel a far better quality of life. And, to me, that's worth a try.
—Guest Cindy S.

Emotional Stress?

Hi All, I am so perplexed! I had two 7 year old sibling female Mini Schnauzers. I had to let Sophie go 10 days ago from most likely a stroke. Her sister Chloe started having Grand Mal seizures 9 days later. Her only medical condition is Pancreatitis which has been kept under control with diet. We've done blood work that shows elevated liver enzymes, awaiting bile acid test results. Probably an ultrasound tomorrow. We put her on Keppra every 8 hours but haven't had two full days for the therapeutic level to take affect. Last night she had 4 seizures that seem pretty close to 6 hours apart. I'm a Paramedic so luckily giving her rectal Valium has been easy and effective. My question is this.....can she be so emotionally distraught over the loss of her sister that this is pushing her to her threshold limit? Has anyone experienced this? I'm also considering parasites, liver shunt, epilepsy and brain tumor in light of her sisters recent demise. My best advice, research, research
—Guest Michelle

Cats w/ seizures & Phenobarb vs Keppra

I have 2 special-needs cats: One that has post-trauma epilepsy, & another that has an unknown neurological disorder. My cat w/ the neuro disorder had a seizure last year that lasted 1-1/2 hrs (a status elepticus) before we could get him to the vet. He was induced into a coma & is fine now after months of rehabilitation from brain damage. Long story short: He was on Phenobarb for a year after the seizure, & he almost died AGAIN b/c the Phenobarb was killing his liver. Now he is on Keppra & all is fine. Our other cat is on Phenobarb & tolerates it well. Not all cats/dogs do. If your furbaby is on Phenobarb, please, please, please get his/her ALT liver #'s checked periodically to make sure the liver is functioning correctly. I want other people to know, b/c we did not know about this, (our vet never told us), & we almost lost our cat.
—Guest Aly

doberman with idiopathic epilepsy

my dobe has had epilepsy since he was 3 he is now 5 i have him on keppra best drug so far, but when he does have seizures, i found that covering his eyes and being absolutley quiet helps a great deal the less stimulus during the seizure the better and the shorter the seizure is, afterward, i leave him alone but stay close if he comes to me for comfort, also i corral him close to the water bowl as he is always thirsty after, i do not let him drink copious amounts but a little is good until he normalizes again, also, i keep his activity to a minimum as his muscles are quite taxed and his lactic acid release is quite large during the seizure. i stay close by and am there for him all through, he is never alone as he cannot help himself during a seizure, so he goes everywhere with me even the shower!lucky for him i have a waterbed as this is the safest most comfortable place for him to have a seizure, he no longer walks outside as i cannot have him go down on the concrete.
—Guest chris

5yo Ausie Cluster Seizures begin

last year, at 5yo, my susie started having cluster seizures. His clusters usually last 2 days (about every 3 mod) and in that time he has from 4-8 seizures. He is on Phenobarb daily and when he has clusters I give him Clorazipate…which makes him very out of it. I have learned some things. 1)Have lots of towels and blankets ready in case he makes a mess. 2) After the seizure, try to distract him by playing a light game of fetch or taking him for a leisurely walk. This helps "a little" with the pacing and nervousness. 3) He is ravenous after the seizures…I try not to feed him too much but oats and chicken broth help. 4) The vets aren't much help. They are so used to pets having seizures that for them it's just routine…though it never seems routine to me. I've learned to not expect too much from them…sadly. 5) When in a panic in the middle of the night the after hours ER Vets are free and available for advise. 6)He likes to be outside after the seizures because it cools him down
—Guest Kim

It's worth a try!

I have only gotten through a couple of pages so far and I feel the need to comment. I will first say that I do not intend to act as though I have the answer for everyone. However, I do have a suggestion. My Benny is a 3 yr old, active, healthy border collie/chow mix. He has had no medical problems except some allergies in the spring time. About a month ago he had his first seizure and 2 days later another. I took him to the vet and said it was epilepsy. Started him on pheno 2x's a day. He has no energy while taking these meds and has trouble even standing up. I feel very fortunate that while waiting in the waiting room at her vet, my sister just happened to talk to a stranger and found out that the same thing happend to her dog and it was the dyes in the dog food that was causing the seizures. I immediately switched Benny to a food that contains no dyes and have been slowly weening him off of the meds. So far it seems to be working! It is certainly worth a try. Wishing you all the best
—Guest Benny's mom

Beautiful 9 yr Akita with seizures

I am writing this as i await word from our vet on how my baby is doing. He started having seizures almost two years ago. He has always had allergies, yeast etc. I started making all his food and treats as i thought maybe that was the cause. At first they started out having three every month, then it got to be more. Once in the span of three days he had eighteen. I came home and found him in a status seizure, just when i thought they couldn't get any worse. He was on deaths door for two days, we transported him to a vet a hundred miles away that is more knowledgeable in this condition. He was resting when we left him, now i called and he had another. They are doing more tests and i pray its not too late. I love him so very much. He has been my rock, i don't know what i will do without him. The house has been so empty without him there. He has always been the best, never misbehaves, is so loving and gentle. What a horrible, horrible thing for our babies and us to go through.
—Guest Rowds Mom

Quick Tips

Melatonin calms my dog - great to use before a seizure occurs too. If you can, hold their head during a grand mal seizure so they don't hurt themselves worse. Pee/poo happens; clean it up fast before they come out of it and make a bigger mess. Keep chicken stock and quick oats on hand if your pet is ravenous post-seizure; it keeps my dog distracted long enough for her to calm down and not tear the kitchen or garbage apart. Go for a walk around the block (if its not too noisy + not too far from home) or play fetch someplace safe (I've used the basement) after your pet comes around post-seizure. The distraction is good. It helps get their mind back to normal. My pooch doesn't always want to walk, but standing in the yard is better for her spirit than confining her. When they begin to clam down even more, minimize noise/lights/electronics. Seizures take a lot out of your pet. They need to relax in a quiet environment. And don't leave them alone! They're scared - be close by for them.
—Guest Julie

seizure in tabby cat

I recently worked with a beatiful gray feral tabby cat who was tested 3 times for FIV. The first test was positive, the second (blot test) was negative and the third was "inconclusive". The cat had a series of issues including an ear infection, a cyst in his throat, and roundworms. He began to lose his balance, was clumsy and would follow me but bump into things. Eventually he became very lethargic and looked like he was "crying". I was told he had "toxoplasmosis". This is a death sentence for cats that are FIV positive. He began having seizures and they got worse.. to the point that I couldn't touch him anymore without triggering one. So anyone who is a cat owner, please test your cat for FIV and if he/she has it, DO NOT LET YOUR CAT OUTSIDE. I had my baby euthenized. This was a horrible experience that I am having extreme difficulty getting over.
—Guest shirl

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Living with a dog or cat who has seizures

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