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danny berg

Canine Epilepsy in my Eng. Setter....Help please...

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danny berg

M-H,
We are meeting at your neighbors around 5:30-5:45, at the end of parkside, just in case you are out and about in the morning, Unless you are gone hunting by then.

Danny

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leechlake

My present golden retriever is 7 and has had two, that I know of, doesn't seem to affect her. My last golden had them every couple of months and he always was able to hunt. He seemed to "handle" them better as he experienced them more often. It's a terrible thing to witness and they do seem scared when they happen and they are spent afterwards. Obviously, mine weren't as bad as yours. I'd check with another vet as a second opinion.

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bart simpson

I have a mutt/mix that has been on pheynl since she was a pup. Just recently changed her to bromide to avoid liver problems (she's 10 now). It takes awhile for the bromide to get up to speed but it does seem to be working. Give it a little more time. I know how brutal it is to watch them going through a siezure. The last one my dog had before going on medication lasted about an hour and ended with a trip to the U of M for an overnight stay. Since medication though they have been few and far between and don't last a long time.

As to the question of "when" - one day you will just look at her/him and you will know.

I wish you and your dog the best.

Nick

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Long Gray Line

Our Golden developed epilepsy at about 5 yrs old. They got bad enough that she was on the phenobarb's very regularly. It helped with the frequency and severity of the seizures, but wasn't strong enough to completely control them. Her liver and kidney function went bad very very quickly after about 2 years, probably brought on by the medication. The vet told us that this would happen when he proposed the phenobarbitol, but it gave her an extra couple of years with a better quality of life. We couldn't stand seeing her suffer with the siezures, especially one day when one hit her while she was on a flight of stairs. It's breaking my heart just thinking about it and remembering the images, but, I now have 4 labs and can't do without having what a dog brings to the house and hunt. You folks with dogs know why we put ourselves through the heartache every 12, 13 14 years or so! God love 'em....
Give your friend the best life you can and be prepared to let him/her go with dignity. It's the best we can do.

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Moose-Hunter

Howdy All....

I come to you with a heavy heart looking for advice and opinions.... My 5 1/2 year old English Setter, Rosie, is not doing so well. At about 2 years of age, we were told she had epilepsy. Basically, she has seizures. They started small and very infrequent. Maybe having one ever couple months of so. Even with treatment, phenol barb, they have gotten progressively worse and more numerous. Right now, with seizures, we're at about twice a month. She recently has started on another treatment (bromide) in addition to what she was getting before. She's not yet up to "levels" yet, so we don't really know if that's working.

My vet from the U of M, tells me that Rosie is a "basically a healthy dog that has seizures". Her quality of life is definately not what it used to be. She does not get hunted anymore and has taken her place here as a very much loved house pet.

Question #1.... Have any of you gone through this before? Is there ANYTHING that can be done?

Question #2.... It hurts down to my very soul to ask this but, when do you say "when"?

Rosie and I have been through some very tough times together and it hurts me deeply to see her go through these things. I know it takes a toll on her, as well as myself.

Any helpful advice or opinions... even a kind word or two, would be greatly appreciated....

Thanks....

------------------
M-H (aka: Dan)

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danny berg

I put my dog down last summer because the seizures were occcuring once a week. The phenobarbital is not really a cure it only lessens the effect of the seizure on the dog, and over time the medications has a negative effect on the liver.
I decided to put my dog down because I couldn't stand the look my dog gave me while he was having seizures, and the crying the dog did, had me in tears every time. I just couldn't stand seeing him go through that any more.
I am almost at the point of being ready to replace him, it has been a long haul and I have looked at dogs, but just wasn't ready. My mom said the dog and I were litter mates. I said the dog was my wife and two kids.

Good Luck, I know how hard it is to make this decision, and I am sure you will make the right decision.

Danny

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Moose-Hunter

Hi Danny....

Thanks for your reply.

I'm very sorry to hear of your loss. I can and do understand all of what you said. It literally rips me apart to watch Rosie during a seizure, and the feeling of helplessness when you can't do a dang thing about it....

Thanks again for your reply...

------------------
M-H (aka: Dan)

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LABS4ME

Dan...

Keep working with the doc's on your dogs medication levels. Hopefully you can get some control with the seizures. I would start to do some investigation into other measures to control the seizures.

I'm not up on siezures within the canine world, but am well versed on siezures in people. I have a son who for 7 years had 150-200 siezures a day, (most are short in duration 20-30 seconds, but some are/were long and required rectal valium to break them) and we (my wife really) has never given up trying to control them. It turns out after almost losing him last year we have got them down to around 2 a month. The point I'm making is don't give up to early if she is otherwise young and healthy. I agree if an animal is old or in real tough shape physically or if the seizure levels increase to a very common occurance, the proper thing to do for the animal is to put them down, but I'd say it sounds like you're a ways away from that. A couple of things to know about the seizure episode... they may and probably do know when one is coming on, and they may show outward signs of fear, but once in the seizure they are basically unconscious so they don't remember what happens in the seizure, they will be post-dictal once they come out of it and will probably want to sleep or lay around for several hours. They can give them severe headaches depending on the severity. Start looking around for altenatives to treatment... talk to your doc or other doc's (I'd put a call into Dr. Fran Smith in burnsville, she knows hunting dogs like the back of her hand) to see if they'd be willing to try other means of control... They all want to treat with phenabarb, It seems like that's the only treatment for dogs, but there are other measures used on people, I'd think some can be used on canines. Ask about prednisone... I know this can cause some liver damage too, but start out on a low dose and check liver functions twice a year. Some seizures are brought on by inflamation with the nervous system and the steroid reduces that, maybe a low dose of Rymidal?, This is an approved anti-immflamatory for dogs. See if a vet has access to a ketogenic diet for pets, this is a high fat low protein diet, I don't know if one has ever been thought out for a dog, but maybe with a little effort of a grad student at the U of M, one can be modified for a dog. They have no explaination why this diet works on about 1/3rd of the patients that go on it, but when it does work, it works well. See if any of the other meds on the market for humans are available to hounds... There are probably close to a couple dozen meds out there for humans and each one though related to another one works a little differently on each person. Lastly see if they can prescribe rectal valium to break the seizure if it goes over a couple minutes, it will make them sleep for a couple hours, but it stops the seizure right now! And that is what you really want to do.

One last point, I think quality of life for a hunting dog is just that, what brings them (and you) more joy than spending time out hunting together. With that said, if she is only seizing a couple times a month, I'd make sure to get her out if only for some short hunts. Don't over strenuate her as in an all day So. Dakota pheasant hunt, but maybe a 1-2 hour stroll down a logging road for grouse, a 4 bird hunt at a shooting peserve, a quick woodcock hunt in a favorite alder thicket... the point being, she will enjoy it and I'll bet a dime to a dollar you will too!

I hope things work out, and I hope this gives you a little hope that you can have her around for several more years! If you need to talk to me feel free to call me at 651.341.4581 I do not have answers but I think I can give you options to explore.

Good Luck!

Ken

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Swamp Scooter

Very sorry to hear about your situation. I know it pains you to see the dog go through a seizure but they are pretty much out of it when it happens and they are not in any pain but very disoriented and wondering about what happenend when they are done. Be very supportive, it helps them.

You will know when to say when. Definately let the new therapy get hold and see how things go.

When you do go on and get another dog look to see they are from different blood liines or not crossed so closely.

This can be a workable situation in some cases. The new drugs are working for a lot of cases.

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MikeYager - Suzuki

I have been in the exact same boat. Monitored phenyl levels constantly for 6 years. Tried to balance between enough to lesson the seizures and not so much that she was sluggish. I tried bromide. It did nothing for seizures. It only made her lose bladder control so we stopped it. I got 7 years out of that golden. Did everything I could including emergency vet when cluster seizures would not stop. Eventually she went into a round where they did not stop for 2 days. We put her down on day 3 after bringing her home for a day to say goodbye. Worst thing I ever went through. Went without a dog for 2 years. I now have another golden that is so far a picture of health at 1 1/2 years old but I always worry about a seizure happening again. Sorry for your deal expecially starting so late in the dogs life. Keep treating her and checking levels with vet and hopefully you get to keep her for years. If you want you can email me with questions. Good luck.
myager@avaya.com

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Moose-Hunter

I want to thank each and every one of you for your responses!!! They all were informative and comforting.

Please, if you're reading this post for the first (or second, third...) time and would like to add anything.... By all means do so!! Right now we need all the help we can get.

Labs4me... Thanks!! I have your number and will use it if need be....

Suzuki... Since we seem to be sharing a paddle so to speak... I'll keep you email handy!! Thank you...

And thanks again for the responses thus far!!!

------------------
M-H (aka: Dan)

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Moose-Hunter

Howdy All...

Just a quick update on Rosie's condition....

I'm sad to report, things have become worse. Much worse. Even on large daily doses of phenobarbital and bromide she had two more episodes of cluster grand mal seizures. The first time consisted of two, the second was three. These were the WORST I've seen to date. Much longer in duration and much worse in physical movement. During the post-ictal phase (after the classic seizure itself) she now appears blind and more disoriented the ever. This lasts 10 to 12 hours, where before she was up and "aware" in a matter of minutes. The changes have been very radical and in a very "short" period of time. The possibilities of other drugs and treatments has been thoroughly explored and would be a shot in the dark at best. And even if they did do something, Rosie would still have to endure the physical trauma of these seizures until they took hold. Not to mention the possibilities of brain damage and heart attack.

The toll it's taken on Rosie's physical condition can be seen when she's next to my other dog Jazz. Though only 6 weeks apart in age, you would swear the difference was more like 6 years or more. Her full-out run is now down to a lethargic trot at best. And very, very wobbley. She won't even think about chasing the birds out at the feeders anymore.

I have come to the very sad conclusion that Rosie no longer has a good quality of life. She's only a faint glimmer of her old self. And I know, she would agree...

Many people have told me that I would know "when to say when"... And for Rosie, that time has come.

Heaven is getting one great bird dog. See you on the other side of the bridge Rosie....

(Note: For those of you with questions about canine epilepsy, check out the Canine Epilepsy Network. Best online info I've seen yet...)

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LABS4ME

Sorry to hear of the turn for the worse with Rosie... frown.gif You are facing one of the harder decisions we face with our hunting buddies during their short tenure with us... Keep the memories of her in that little corner of your mind and she'll never be truley gone!

Good Luck!

Ken

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Moose-Hunter

Thanks Ken for the kind words. As you said, with memories, she will never be truely gone. This is the way I'll always remember her...

Rosie_Whoa_1.jpg

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simcox282

My heart and thoughts go out to you and your family. If there is anything I can do please let me know. Terry@libnatmort.com.

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danny berg

I feel for ya Dan,I know how it feels.

My prayers are with you.

DAnny

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gspman

Moosehunter,

That is a beautiful dog. I feel your pain. I had to put down my first pup at 7 months old. It's a crushing blow to let her go but it is the right thing to do. Our thoughts are with you and Rosie.

gspman

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Borch

Very sorry to hear aboout your loss. frown.gif

I too had a yellow lab that developed epilepsy and ended up at the UM pet hospital for 5 days as he almost died. Even with Phenobarb he had break through seizures about once a month. Our vet also had use redically change his diet and this help as well. He started having seizures in May and died the following March when he had a seizure in his doghouse and likely loss his airway and choked to dead. It was a very sad day indeed. However, he did get one more season of pheasant hunting which I was greatful for. It's a mazing how attached we become to these fine animals.

Take Care.

Borch

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Harmonica Bear

Beautiful setter! Oh man, Moose-Hunter, I feel for ya. I've been there, I know the feeling. You did the right thing. Cherish the memories, you'll have them forever.

HB

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Moose-Hunter

I'd like to take this time to thank all of you for your advice and caring words. During this tough time it really helps a lot!!

With Rosie gone now, Jazz and I have been spending much more time together. I'm sure she misses Rosie as much as I do. We went bird "scouting" this morning and found nothing but sparrows which Jazz locked up on. Made me smile. No roosters in the bag or in the air. Just a good time afield with my dog.

Thanks again!!!

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