Cluster seizures
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  • I Just got the below message from Karen at So Cal Basenji Rescue. Any suggestions would be great to pass along.

    We have an adorable tri gal, my special love and not looking for a home since she has us wrapped around her toes and heart. She is seven years old, weighs 17 pounds, and has started having cluster seizures. My first Basenji had seizures but only an occasional one and I had never even known about cluster seizures. Shida started into this gradually with a short seizure and several weeks before another. We had finally put her on zonisamide 25 mg to stop any further seizures. We have a terrific vet here and a friend also has a Basenji boy, an older gentleman, who is on zonisamide, so we at least were tuned in to the best medication. The last three days have been hell with a night filled with seizures almost every hour, an visit to the vet where her dosage has been increased to 50 along with a great Chinese herb that does help keep her calmed down, and this morning we are already on number 3. It looks like she is settling down now but these short seizures have to be taking a toll with their frequency. I don?t think she is hurting but she now whimpers as I hold her during a seizure as she comes out of it. Shida is just about the sweetest little thing you could ever meet and we are being torn apart watching her deal with this and not finding a way to get it under control.

    There is no way a breeder will offer info on seizure medications but I thought you might be able to reach out and get some response from your network. We are open to every bit of help out there?diet, meds, supplements?.

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  • my now 13 year old brindle girl started having seizures this last Sept = not cluster. She is on 100MG of zonisamide 2 times a day = the last go round was 65 days between seizures - did they ever test to see her zonisamide levels? Hoping you get some answers soon. I know how terrifying it is.

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  • K

    So sorry to heat about her condition.
    I have no direct experience with seizures, but as the drug you describe may ease the symptoms, I would recommend a holistic approach to address the underlying issues. That could mean homeopathy, food and orthomolecular supplements, essential oils, and things like Tellington Touch or Healing Touch for Animals. It ususally demands time and effort to find out what works and keep the regimen up for maybe months. There is no quick fix.

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  • I'm with kjdonkers, try the Healing Touch for Animals. You may want to try a chiropractor as well. Sounds dumb, but if a nerve is placed wrong, they may be able to help. and yes, I am a breeder, I've had very limited experience with seizures though.

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  • Okay not to alarm you, but please make sure that what you are seeing is in fact cluster seizures (where there is a definite recovery between seizures) and status seizures, where there is no recovery but continues seizures.

    Status are the most dangerous… they can and do die from them. So getting this under control fast is critical. A side note, I worked in the UTnK Brain Research and Neuropsychology Lab with Dr Joel Lubar on his epilepsy program.

    QUOTE:>> The massive muscle activity of the seizures leads to hyperthermia with temperatures as high as 106 degrees Fahrenheit or more, which if sustained, causes irreversible damage to neurons. Hypoxia from inadequate pulmonary ventilation also causes brain damage. Severe lactic acidosis from shock and tissue hypoxia, amplified by excessive muscle activity, probably contributes to neuron deterioration. Death is usually not from brain dysfunction directly, but from overtaxation of cardiopulmonary reserve by the combination of massive continuous exercise, hypoxia, lactic acidosis, shock, and possibly also hyperthermia.<<

    Below are notes from Feb with a vet friend regarding another friend's chow. He was having seizures and they could not get control. (he mostly likely, however, had a brain tumor, and due to age and advancing loss of quality of life was put down.)

    NOTES:

    Hey, yell when you see this:
    OK, friends - I guess I posted too soon that xxx was doing so well. He had another seizure this morning about 4:00am. ...talked to the vet again and I think I would at least like to TRY some antiseizure medication. The vet talked about phenobarbitol and something called Zonisamide. She said that usually Zonisamide is given if the phenobarbitol isn't working - but that they have started giving it as the first drug some. It does not have the side effects of phenobarbitol because it isn't metabolized in the liver. But she also said it is a fairly new drug and hasn't been widely used. I also read online about Potassium Bromide.

    BR response::::
    KBr is a good option and we have been using Kepra with good results too. I have no experience with Zonisamide

    Seizures do need to be controlled we have had 3 dogs in the practice in the last year that went into status and cooked themselves.... body temperature skyrockets during the seizure and causes brain damage

    Zonisamide is in the same class of drugs as Kepra.....we have used it as a first option but most often along with pheno when the pheno isn't working by itself

    Debra Levey
    So would you say start with pheno and add kepra if necessary?

    BR:
    Depends on liver function.... if ALT is normal then that's what we usually do, mostly because it works quickly (KBR & kepra take a little longer to build a "blood level")
    If ALT is elevated or borderline then start with kepra or KBR. Milk thistle is a good idea to support liver also<<<

    That's all I can give you as I have never had a dog with seizures. But if you don't get things under control in a couple of weeks, you might consider a specialist at a university since there could be other issues causing it. I am assuming your vet already did blood work and ruled out any toxins or medication issues.

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