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Thread: Seizure-Like Episodes in a 4 Month Old Puppy

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Apr 2014
    Boston, Massachusetts, United States
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    Default Seizure-Like Episodes in a 4 Month Old Puppy


    I started on this group so excited about my new puppy, Milo.

    Unfortunately, things have taken a less positive spin.

    At the end of July, Milo started having seizure-like episodes. He is just 4 months old. His eyes twitch, his head bobs and he falls over. I have a lot of video if anyone is interested. He triggers them when shaking his head violently when playing with toys. I went to the vet and they tested for liver shunts, and low blood sugar and he was fine. They did an xray of his heart, which was also fine.

    I then went to a neurologist who did an xray of his spine/neck and that was all clear as well.

    He is currently on clonazepam (at first we thought Episodic Falling Syndrome but now we don't-- although the medicine helped). Now we are testing an anti-seizure medication.

    The next step is an MRI. I am located in the Boston area and am looking for a cheap MRI place. I found the Canine Chiari Institute at the Long Island Veterinary. My neurologist does suspect the Chiari Malformation as a possibility. Has anyone worked with them before? I know the doctor does an appointment before the MRI and will give you a bunch of testing, plus the MRI for $1500 if he believes it is a chiari malformation.

    Any other advice?

    Thanks so much!!!


  2. #2
    Join Date
    Aug 2008
    North Manchester
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    Hello Amanda

    I wonder if it would be possible for you to post the video you have of Milo on here.
    The more people that see it the better.

    It is such a shame that you are having problems with such a young pup and do hope
    you will be able to get some help and support from this forum.


  3. #3
    Join Date
    Feb 2011
    San Diego, CA
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    I'm sorry you are having these worries with your new baby. I remember your other posts and how excited you were to bring him home. I have heard of Long Island Veterinary, but not from personal experience. I believe they have an excellent reputation. Hopefully some one here will jump in with better info.

    Also agree with Nanette. If you could post videos, those with more experience will be able to help.

    I know this isn't the most helpful post. I just wanted to offer you some support.
    Last edited by Sydneys Mom; 16th August 2014 at 12:27 AM.
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  4. #4
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    Dublin, Ireland
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    Hi Amanda: I am so sorry about these worries.

    Before going for an MRI, which is costly and requires a general anaesthetic, please have your neurologist or vet do the simple and inexpensive genetic test for EFS, assuming this has not been done?

    If it is EFS, many cavaliers have seizures when young and then they stop or become very rare after the dog reaches about age 1. They can be managed with similar medications to epilepsy. The breeder should be immediately informed. All breeders can very easily prevent and eventually totally eliminate this condition simply by testing their own breeding dogs. Both parents must carry the gene for the actual syndrome to be passed to offspring. A carrier will not have the syndrome unless it received the gene from both parents. It is important that the breeder never repeat this mating, inform other buyers of litter mates of the possibility of EFS, and only ever use the parents again on a dog tested and clear for the EFS gene.

    Please let us know how things go. If Milo tests negative for EFS -- which, along with epilepsy, would be the most obvious causes -- then he will likely need an MRI to see if what might be causing seizures can be determined. Any good breeder will want to be involved and informed as they would not want to re-mate a dog that might be passing along any preventable conditions. Were parent dogs MRId before mating?

    On LIVS -- yes, they have a lot of expertise in the area. BUT: just be aware they are surgical specialists and in my experience of covering CM/SM and meeting with many researchers and people with CM/SM dogs (including several at LIVS), LIVS tend to see surgery as the main and sometimes only option even for dogs with few to no symptoms and it is their speciality for treatment. They do not often take a more conservative route of suggesting treatment with medications (in my experience of what people have reported back) although that has proven to be fine for many of our cavaliers with CM/SM (all of mine included, 5 cavaliers with symptomatic CM/SM that are now approaching age 11. Some are not on meds and have never had mild symptoms progress in 7 years). I know of people who have had dogs that had a difficult time after the more complex type of surgery they do. Some of these don;t seem to be reflected in their study groups they use for reporting success rates, perhaps because some owners do not return to inform them of issues, especially if they live at a distance. Also while initially the claim was that almost no dogs ever needed meds again after surgery it has turned out that many do. Indeed I am unaware of any dogs personally that have had the more involved surgery that have not needed to remain on gabapentin etc or return to it after a while. Personally I would definitely do the surgery in some cases, but I know of people told by LIVS that their dogs, with few symptoms, would decline and die young without the surgery and many of us here -- most of whom manage dogs via meds -- can testify many of them reach old age with pain managed fine on meds, or probably with not much difference to surgery. Just one perspective to keep in mind as often the medical people are very form and persuasive and we have to be strong advocates for our dogs and what we feel is right to do.

    Almost every single cavalier in the world will have CM to some degree and severity of CM does not necessarily correlate to symptoms and I've not heard of CM on its own causing seizures. SM sometimes might but seems unlikely in such a young dog. I know of cavaliers that had hydrocephalus (which would show on a scan) that have had seizures.

    Before going down other roads I'd want to do the genetic test for EFS though just to definitely rule it out or in.
    Cavaliers: Tansy : Mindy Connie Roxy Neasa Gus
    In memory: My beautiful Jaspar Lucy Leo Lily Libby


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