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View Full Version : 13 Week Old Puppy with seizures - has this happened to you?



Eleanor
30th June 2011, 08:44 AM
Hi there!

Iím new to the site and new to Cavalier ownership and while Iíve browsed through a few of the posts that deal with seizures, I havenít seen anything specific to what my very young pup has been experiencing, so I decided to add my own post.

We got Rigby at 8.5 weeks and she is now just 13 weeks old. About a week after we got her we noticed that she suddenly woke up from a dead sleep on my lap and was foaming at the mouth. Her head was moving backwards as she was trying to get out (or get back in??) the foam. At that time she did not defecate or urinate, nor did she go rigid. It lasted under a minute and afterward she was perfectly fine. We rushed her to an all hours vet and were shocked that he did an X-ray as he believed she was choking (since she was sleeping for at least an hour and is always monitored while awake we were very critical of this course of action). When he found no obstruction he suggested she was congested and that we Ďwait and seeí if it happened again.

Since then Rigby has had 5 similar bouts and it was finally confirmed by a more competent vet that she did in fact have at least one seizure. Her most recent episode showed more classic symptoms (it lasted 45 seconds, she foamed a bit, urinated and defecated a bit and her legs were rigid). We were convinced it must be epilepsy or early SM (although she does not scream in pain while having a seizure and so far shows no other typical SM signs Ė and from this site Iíve learned the tie between SM and seizures is contentious). Also, Iím not sure if this is important, but the seizures ALWAYS happen when she is sleeping.

Weíve already ruled out a liver shunt, an infectious disease, hypoglycaemia and a few others with an ultra sound, acid bile tests, blood panels, etc. and so up next would be an MRI to check for SM, hydrocephalus, etc. Before going into such a costly test with such a young pup, I just wanted to check if anyone else had a similar problem with a very young dog.

Thanks!

goda
30th June 2011, 03:50 PM
Hi there!

Iím new to the site and new to Cavalier ownership and while Iíve browsed through a few of the posts that deal with seizures, I havenít seen anything specific to what my very young pup has been experiencing, so I decided to add my own post.

We got Rigby at 8.5 weeks and she is now just 13 weeks old. About a week after we got her we noticed that she suddenly woke up from a dead sleep on my lap and was foaming at the mouth. Her head was moving backwards as she was trying to get out (or get back in??) the foam. At that time she did not defecate or urinate, nor did she go rigid. It lasted under a minute and afterward she was perfectly fine. We rushed her to an all hours vet and were shocked that he did an X-ray as he believed she was choking (since she was sleeping for at least an hour and is always monitored while awake we were very critical of this course of action). When he found no obstruction he suggested she was congested and that we Ďwait and seeí if it happened again.

Since then Rigby has had 5 similar bouts and it was finally confirmed by a more competent vet that she did in fact have at least one seizure. Her most recent episode showed more classic symptoms (it lasted 45 seconds, she foamed a bit, urinated and defecated a bit and her legs were rigid). We were convinced it must be epilepsy or early SM (although she does not scream in pain while having a seizure and so far shows no other typical SM signs Ė and from this site Iíve learned the tie between SM and seizures is contentious). Also, Iím not sure if this is important, but the seizures ALWAYS happen when she is sleeping.

Weíve already ruled out a liver shunt, an infectious disease, hypoglycaemia and a few others with an ultra sound, acid bile tests, blood panels, etc. and so up next would be an MRI to check for SM, hydrocephalus, etc. Before going into such a costly test with such a young pup, I just wanted to check if anyone else had a similar problem with a very young dog.

Thanks!

Did you contact the breeder, because at that young of an age the breeder ought to help with the cost. I have never heard of a dog that young having such dire symptoms. It's sounds like she is epileptic and that can be treated with medication.

sunshinekisses
30th June 2011, 05:27 PM
It's sounds like she is epileptic and that can be treated with medication. Cavaliers can have epilepsy. It sounds like you have done all the necessary vet work up needed to rule out other causes. She will need medication for epilepsy. I know a lady here that has an epileptic cavalier and he does really good on meds. I would have never known he had problem other than she had told us. Sadly he was bought from a byb.

StillPooh
30th June 2011, 09:55 PM
Your baby's seizures sound exactly like my Clancy's, except his didn't start until he was 3 years old (which is fairly typical in cases of genetic epilepsy).

Are you seeing a veterinary neurologist?

Eleanor
1st July 2011, 11:34 PM
Thanks for the replies!

Yes, we contacted the breeder and she was extremely surprised - she's a very well known breeder out here and has never had a puppy with these problems. I never thought of asking her to help with costs as it's not part of the agreement we signed, although she did offer to refund the dog and take her back, but we're already so bonded to her.

And thanks for the suggestions of epilepsy, sunshinekisses and goda, we definitely thought of this first, but are a bit worried as three of the vets we've seen have said they do not recommend medicine for a dog her age.


Your baby's seizures sound exactly like my Clancy's, except his didn't start until he was 3 years old (which is fairly typical in cases of genetic epilepsy).

Are you seeing a veterinary neurologist?

I think I came across your descriptions of Clancy's seizures in another post, Stillpooh - they are terrible, aren't they! How is Clancy doing? We just recently saw a neurologist and he did acid bile tests, blood tests, an ultra sound etc, and it all came back clear, so the MRI would be next, but we're still a little reluctant to do it. Did you have one done? How was Clancy's epilepsy diagnosed?

Holly
2nd July 2011, 03:01 AM
What about Episodic Falling?

The symptoms mention drooling and spasms. Here is a link:

http://www.episodicfalling.com/symptoms.html

StillPooh
2nd July 2011, 03:35 AM
I think I came across your descriptions of Clancy's seizures in another post, Stillpooh - they are terrible, aren't they! How is Clancy doing? We just recently saw a neurologist and he did acid bile tests, blood tests, an ultra sound etc, and it all came back clear, so the MRI would be next, but we're still a little reluctant to do it. Did you have one done? How was Clancy's epilepsy diagnosed?Clancy's epilepsy was diagnosed pretty much as a process of elimination, based on his lack of any lab abnormalities and my description of his seizures. We didn't have an MRI done as there was no evidence of any structural abnormality. He's doing pretty well now, taking KBr+ and Zonisamide and having single grand mal seizures no more than once a month. It's been more than 30 days since the last one, and I've noticed him looking twitchy lately, so I am expecting a seizure to come soon.

We never had an MRI, but I think I would if I had a puppy as young as yours. If you can afford to; I know they are dearly pricey.

Eleanor
4th July 2011, 11:34 AM
Thanks for the link, Holly. I had initially thought about but forgotten episodic falling early on as she is always asleep for awhile before it happens (instead of the sort of 'knock out' after excitement I thought was most common to the affliction), but I may have been too quick to rule it out as this link shows many other symptoms - especially ones that are similar to liver shunts, SM and epilepsy (which were all possibilities in the beginning). I'll make sure to ask the neurologist next time I see him.


Clancy's epilepsy was diagnosed pretty much as a process of elimination, based on his lack of any lab abnormalities and my description of his seizures. We didn't have an MRI done as there was no evidence of any structural abnormality. He's doing pretty well now, taking KBr+ and Zonisamide and having single grand mal seizures no more than once a month. It's been more than 30 days since the last one, and I've noticed him looking twitchy lately, so I am expecting a seizure to come soon.

We never had an MRI, but I think I would if I had a puppy as young as yours. If you can afford to; I know they are dearly pricey.

Thanks again for the reply, StillPooh. I've been thinking quite a bit about your comment that you've noticed Clancy is "looking twitchy" and I've been trying to keep track of any slight changes in behavior on and around the days Rigby has seizures. I think we're headed in the process of elimination route as well as every test they've given her has been clear. We're currently doing as the neurologist suggested - waiting to see what happens, which is so hard. We're also trying a few different things to see if it has any effect on causing seizures (smaller, more frequent meals, etc.) before we make the final decision about the MRI, but we're definitely leaning towards having it.

sins
4th July 2011, 12:06 PM
Hi Eleanor
Belated welcome to Cavaliertalk.
The Animal health trust in the UK carries out the genetic test for Episodic falling.
It's £48 to have this test done in conjunction with Dry eye/Curly coat.
It may be more cost effective to rule out this condition first,rather than go for the Mri scan.
You can order the cheek swabs online,pay by credit card,your swabs should arrive and you should have your result in a week or two.
If this comes up negative,then the Mri scan would look to be essential.
Sins

Eleanor
5th July 2011, 11:52 AM
Thanks for the welcome, Sins! And for the great info about Episodic falling testing - unfortunately I am in Canada and the little bit of research I've done so far seems to point to a lack of this testing method out here, so far (?) although there is a mention of it on the Canadian club site, so perhaps it is just new or coming soon. I will make sure to check with my neurologist right away!

Karlin
5th July 2011, 12:55 PM
Anyone can do the test, but you need to order it from the UK. If you ring the Canadian club they should be able to give you further advice. You mail back the swabs for the test to the UK and then they will give you the results.

sins
5th July 2011, 01:01 PM
http://www.ahtdnatesting.co.uk/

You can order the tests directly from the online webshop.
Sins

ByFloSin
5th July 2011, 08:35 PM
Sorry I haven't noticed this thread earlier. My Bl. boy, Little Joe, has been epeleptic from about 12 weeks old. His fits were sparked by fear, therefore the fits are stress related. Since I got him a stroller last August he goes almost anywhere without a problem and hasn't had a fit since then. Last weekend I persuaded him out of the stroller and out on the collar and lead for about half an hour.

There is light at the end of the epileptic tunnel but you have to be patient and work very long and hard to find it.:lol:

StillPooh
5th July 2011, 11:09 PM
Do young puppies with seizures sometimes outgrow them, the way young children often do?

I know it's hard, but definitely keep a journal and wait and see, as the neuro suggested. Perhaps you needn't do anything but wait for your pup to get older.

Eleanor
7th July 2011, 11:30 PM
Do young puppies with seizures sometimes outgrow them, the way young children often do?

One of the vets we saw mentioned this, so we are crossing our fingers!


My Bl. boy, Little Joe, has been epeleptic from about 12 weeks old. His fits were sparked by fear, therefore the fits are stress related. Since I got him a stroller last August he goes almost anywhere without a problem and hasn't had a fit since then. Last weekend I persuaded him out of the stroller and out on the collar and lead for about half an hour.

There is light at the end of the epileptic tunnel but you have to be patient and work very long and hard to find it

Hello ByFloSin! Thank you for that encouraging word! I'm sorry to hear about your dog, but it sounds like he is doing well. How was Little Joe diagnosed?

And thanks everyone for the info about the episodic falling test - I am off to contact the Canadian club.

ByFloSin
8th July 2011, 10:40 AM
One of the vets we saw mentioned this, so we are crossing our fingers!



Hello ByFloSin! Thank you for that encouraging word! I'm sorry to hear about your dog, but it sounds like he is doing well. How was Little Joe diagnosed?

And thanks everyone for the info about the episodic falling test - I am off to contact the Canadian club.

Hi Eleanor,

I went to my own vet originally when Joe was a young pup. He took blood tests and decided that it was Juvenile Epilepsy and that Joe would grow out of it. He did not, but meanwhile I had insisted on a referral to a veterinary neurologist. Because it was convenient at the time we ended up at one of the university veterinary medical schools' neurology department, where he was assigned to a post graduate student.

A whole battery of tests was run. At the end of it the diagnosis was the same, but Joe did not grow out of it by either 12 or 18 months. I kept a detailed diary of what sparked off the fits, what happened when he was having them and their duration. I was also guided through a 1 to 5 scale of severity to assign to each of them. Out of all this came the decision that Joe was best off staying home, because he just could not cope with the outside world. Every few months I would try him outside, but the moment there was a loud noise, someone on the street he had never met before, or another dog, he would go rigid with fear, then fit.

They suggested another way to socialise Joe and reduce the sensitivity, introducing new people, dogs and situations to Joe when he was at home, but even this was not enough because taking him outside proved to be a stimulus to fit from the outset, so Joe became a house dog and the fits stopped for several months.

Joe's salvation came from a combination of the new neurology student's suggestion to try showing him and the coincidence of the Stroller that nobody wanted except him.

I do hope that some of this has been helpful and that your own dog's diagnosis will be good and a solution to the fits found.

Warmest wishes
Flo