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by Barbara Ruckle
Seizures Our 2+ year-old male, Prince, went into seizures Friday 1/30/98 for the first time. After spending the day and night at the Vet Hospital, he has been put on 1/4 gr. of Phenobarb.

After bringing him home he is like a different dog. He didn't seem to know the people living in our house or anything that was familiar to him. He is not the least bit excitable...words or phrases that would have sent him into an excitable frenzie previous to the seizures, now don't even get a response from him.

I have a call into the vet and am awaiting a response. We have also noted that he is drinking water excessively (as well as urinating all over the house). I've never cried so much. Its like we brougt the wrong dog home. I hate to seem him so lethargic. He's so different....its very sad.

Any ideas as to what is going on? Can anybody help me1?!?


Barbara, it could be that Prince in ver-medicated. I would definitely let the vet know right away the drastic changes you're seeing in him. Good luck.

Yes, it sounds very sad indeed. It could be Encephalitis/meningitis ( infection of the brain ) why phenobarbitol ? I thought that is used to put them to sleep ? Did he fall off anything ? crack his head ? that's what happened to one of my puppies at 11 weeks, fell off a 2 1/2 foot crate onto vinyl over concrete flooring he went into seizure and stiff neck, personality changes etc. by 18 weeks he was blind,deaf etc...very sad ! he had to be put to sleep. good luck ! check with other vets, observe him carfully and write everything down.
Barbara, I'm so sorry to hear your little Prince is not well. I'm certainly no expert but the excessive thirst and frequent urinating could possibly be diabetes. I know dogs can get that. Did your vet check for that?. If that would be what is wrong with Prince, it can be controlled with insulin. Keep us posted. I'll be praying for a speedy recovery for your guy.
Sandee M.
Dear Barbara: I am certainly no expert on this, or most other, dog health questions, and I am sure there are others who can give you direct personal experience on this topic. But I was so saddened by Prince's condition (my little boy, Lucca, is nearly 8 mos.) that I pulled out my "bible" on animal health, "Dr. Pitcairn's Complete Guide to Natural Health for Dogs and Cats". In the book, Dr. Pitcairn gives a full review of epilepsy in dogs, possible causes and a natural treatment which consists primarily of a diet which eliminates all commercial sources which might contain toxins along with various supplements and homeopathic remedies.. He also mentions that epilepsy is often a diagnosis after all other possibilities have been ruled out such as worms, hypoglycemia, tumors and poisons. Has Prince been tested for all of these conditions? What is your vet's diagnosis? Have you considered consulting a homeopathic vet, or would your regular vet consider consulting with one? I hope you can find the answer. This must be so frightening, my heart goes out to Prince and your family.
Obviously you need to take him back to the vet, or at least get in touch with him. In the meantime, try not to panic. The way you worded it.. it seems like at least the lethargy and disorientation occured after the phenobarbitol. Thse could be caused as a side effect of the medication. You didn't say whether the drinking and urinating more occured before or after the pheno, but if its afterwards, it could also maybe be from the medication. If they are just side effects, then adjusting the medication (under your vets supervision of course) may help, or a different type of medicine may be availalbe. I'm not 100% sure that these are side effects of Pheno (I don't happen to have a prescription drug guide) but maybe you could look up the drug on a medical referrence site (it is used in humans too) and see what the common side effects are. It might ease your mind a bit. I'll search around and repost if I can before the update, but in case I don't get back on I wanted to give you some encouragement and hope. He's probably not in any immediate danger, but if he seizures again, take him to an animal emergency center if you can.
Barbara, I am so sorry I can't help you, but my prayers are with you all. This must be awful for you and so scarry. I do have a friend whos dog had seizures and was on medication which made her very sleepy and laid back all the time. My friend took her dog to accupuncture treatments, after 4 years of being on medication, and her dog is like a pup today, free from medication after 4 treatments of accupuncture. Something you may want to check on. Please let us know how this all turns out.
Robin K.
Sorry for the double post, but I don't like to say things when I'm not pretty sure they are right. I looked for phenobarbitol in human prescription drug guides, and couldn't find it, but after searching around a bit and found a very informative page on epilepsy and seizure in dogs. The address is http://world.std.com/~tolenio/epilepsy.html. Of course, there is no way to be sure without contacting your vet, but it did say under the treatment section that some of the side effects of phenobarb are depression, seditive effect, hypnotic effect, increased eating and/or drinking and urination. It would also seem that you don't want to suddenly take the off the drug, but rather decrease the dosage slowly under a vets supervision, and some of these effects may gradually decrease over time. Once the seizures are under control, you should try to find the underlying causes.. there are a few possibilities listed at that site, and some information on specialists. Good luck, let us know how it turns out, and I hope that this is helpful to you.
Barbara. My Higgens--a silky terrier--had epilepsy. The vet waited on giving him phenobarb until the seizures were frequent enough to warrant it. Her position was that a seizure here and there could be handled by his body and the medication once started was a lifetime thing. So, he wasn't "drugged" until he was about 4 yrs old, even though the first seizure occurred when he was about 6 mo. I know how scary they are for both of you. I do recall that initially Higs was very lethargic and I, too cried because he'd lost his "personality." However, once his body adjusted to the medication, he was fine. Do check with your vet to be sure he is on the smallest possible dose--my vet is very careful about medicating small dogs and believes it is better to start with too little and adjust upward if necessary. Also, make sure your vet has checked out all the possibilities for the seizures. Epilepsy can be kind of a "catchall" for seizures, as I understand it. You need to be sure they aren't being caused by some other condition. And, finally, I know of folks who have had great success with acupuncture and other alternative methods of treatment for the fur babies, so you might want to check those out as well. I am not big on giving people or pets drugs if other methods have good results.
cathy brown
My heart goes out to you, Barbara and to your baby Prince! Seizures are difficult at best to deal with. I just wanted to follow up on Aimee's train of thought. Phenobarbitol is a narcotic class drug commonly used in seizures in both humans and animals. Aimee gave a good idea as to the side effects, but Prince could be showing effects of overmedication. It is a drug that has to be adjusted to find the correct dosage for each individual. It is important to note that anytime after a neurological assault (seizure, stroke, head trauma, etc...), it will require the brain and related systems about 5-10 days to fully recover. The other behaviors you noted may be a result of the communication "haywire" in the brain following grand-mal seizures. It is very common in both humans and animals. I had a wonderful cocker spaniel who live for a few years with seizure disorders and have provided care to many neurological patients in the ICU and your experience so far follows the patterns of those I've had. Good luck to you and Prince. Please follow through with your vet today or tomorrow on the medication and Prince's reaction to it.
My Buddy has been epileptic for many years now. He is on Phenobarbital (1/4 gr.) and 1/4 of a 250 mg Primidone twice daily. He is also a "big water drinker", and is sometimes lethargic depending on when he is dosed. He is unable to "hold his urine" all night, so we have papertrained him---he uses his papers at night religiously. These are side effects of the medication. The anti-convulsants make him more thirsty, he drinks more, and consequently he urinates more. As for the lethargy, it gets better. As Buddy's system got used to the medication, that eased off. Now, he may get a little lethargic 1 1/2 or 2 hours after dosing but it eases off--gives him a good little nap. It did not change Buddy's personality overall. He is the same lovable, sweet animal he was before. We just have to cope with the side effects of the medicine he must take to not have these awful seizures. (Buddy has been on anti-convulsant drugs for 9 1/2 years now.) Give your medicine a litte time. It is incredibly hard to see your little friend go through epilepsy. The seizures are awful, and the medication seems cruel sometimes.. But, if Buddy is the norm, his quality of life is really good with anti-convulsant therapy. It all levels out with lots of love, and alot of patience during the beginnings of medication/the illness.

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