Help…my old girl is having seizures...
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  • S

    Does anyone out there have experience with older basenjis? My Sam is 14, has had two seizures, the vet says it's slow heart rate and she's on meds to stimulate/regulate her heart. Realistically, I know she can't live forever but…I'm worried the seizures might not be caused by her heart and there's something else I could be doing to make the time she has left more comfortable...has anyone else experienced a similar problem.

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  • L

    Seizures don't have anything to do with the heart, they are a neurological problem (brain related). Can you describe what happens to Sam when you think she is having a seizure? She may actually be having a heart rate low enough to cause her to pass out, which might cause you to think she's having a seizure. It sounds to me like heart meds are the right thing to do. Some dogs actually do have to get pacemakers to correct rhythm problems, especially if they are passing out. I'm a people cardiac nurse, BTW, not a dog one! Lenora

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  • S

    Thanks for responding, Lenora…I didn't get the connection between seizures and slow heart rate myself, but the vet & my sister (ER nurse) seem to think it's common? Anyhow, the seizures involve twitching, inability to stand, "paddling" legs, rigid body, gasping, loss of bladder control--she even barooed twice during the one last night! During this time, eyes are open but she isn't really concious. When it's over, the twitching etc. gradually stops, she's lies quietly for maybe 30 seconds, then BOOM! she's "back" and acting as if nothing happened--except she's unsteady on her feet and a little disoriented.

    I should've mentioned, too, I had the vet check her thyroid levels (low) and she's been receiving Synthroid since the first episode.

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  • With basenjis the brand of thyroid replacement you use really makes a difference. She should either be given Soloxine or Thyro-tabs. Others brands or the generic are much less effective.

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  • B

    I am so sorry this is happening. We had a 15 year old that had seizures. Have you had her renal function tested. Ours was going into kidney failure and the toxins build up and caused his seizures. We fed hills diet KD. We also did fluid injections under the skin. It all helped for awhile, although the seizure activity never went away, They are very scary and happen out of the blue. He could feel them coming and start to run frantically away. Then boom.
    Our vet said old dogs can have this. He eventually got one that would not stop and sadly we lost him now 3 years ago. Good luck may you find something that helps

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  • L

    I know I am terribly late to post this, but I am also hoping someone can give me advice. My 11+ (?) year old Basenji female had a seizure last week. I got her blood & urine workup from the vet (a guy I don't personally like but who has seemed competent until now.) I ran her bloodwork past her last vet (we moved which is the only reason we don't see him now.) He felt that her bloodwork was fine (although thyroid is somewhat low (.80) and seemed to think for a first time seizure at an older age there may be something else going on such as a tumor.

    I really can't afford the $ 1,400.00 MRI right now but I have to find out what is going on with my little baby.

    Does anyone have any ideas or suggestions?

    She is currently on Phenobarbital (32.4 mg daily) but she has been dopey so I cut the dose in half and she is much better. I know she isn't young but I want the rest of her years to be high quality. I don't think medication is the answer.

    I would love to hear from you: whoever you are…

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  • That is really low for a Basenji.. I would certainly look into Soloxine for your Basenji…. Low normal is too low for a Basenji

    And I think I would get a second opinion...

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  • Here is a nice overview on seizures and their possible causes.

    http://www.canine-epilepsy-guardian-angels.com/seizures_overview_cause_treatment.htm

    You may want to get a full thyroid panel since her T4 is low. Here is a link to Dr Dodds' lab. She has good prices and has always been great about answering questions about what the results mean.

    http://www.hemopet.org/services.html

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  • I understand that low thyroid can cause seizures, that would be the first thing to check (Full panel, not just T3-4). And dogs, like people, can have seizures for undetermined reasons, it isn't always a tumor. When we had an old dog that developed seizures, the vet had us keep a log, time, length, length of recovery. He felt that unless they became frequent there was no real need to treat with meds. She had about 1 a month and recovered within an hour during her last years.

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  • L

    Wow. I am so impressed with the level of response and caring. I know we are all a bunch of devoted people to begin with but I am really touched. I will let you guys know what I find out as we progress in our journey. I was actually trying to post pictures of my babies when I saw the responses. Thanks again…

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  • L

    Thanks for the prompt response: I will definitely look into it.

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  • L

    Thanks for your help: I will look into it…

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  • L

    Thank you so much for your input. I will have much more ammo for my second opinion vet now. I really appreciate it.

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  • B

    Our precious boy, Beasley, had a long (3 minute), severe seizure today, the first one ever. He is 13.5 yrs. He has since been very nervous and anxious. He's been rubbing the top of his head on the carpet for some time, recently has increased thirst, has been toppling over occasionally the past few days, and very stiff on the stairs, plus reduced appetite and occasional vomiting. The vet recently recommended teeth cleaning, which was done. From what I am now reading, he might well have a brain tumor, but he can still run 4 miles three times a week with great joy! He will be at the vet Monday when they open, but I dread possibly learning the worst. He is the dog-love of my life and I want him to live many more years.

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  • Welcome to the forum Beasley's mom. Please do not think the worse. Seizures are rarely caused by brain tumors. What you are seeing could be anything from some toxin to an unknown cause. Please post and let us know. ((((hugs))) It is so scary to experience seizures.

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  • K

    My old boy had a seizure once and only once. He was 15. We took him to the vet immediately. All of his levels were normal so a cause was unknown. I was told to watch him closely and if he had another one in the month, we would consider putting him on medication to help control seizures. He never had another one. We thought it could have been low blood sugar, so he happily enjoyed Hagen Daaz Vanilla Bean ice cream for the rest of his days.
    I wouldn't worry until you are sure. Just give him lots of love and let us know how it turns out.

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  • B

    I feel better already. Thanks all. Though still unsteady as he's been the past few weeks, he's enjoying a sunny SoCal morning with all his usual rituals. I will post when I get vet results. Beasley would love the Haagen Daaz cure.

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  • O

    @beezmum:

    Our precious boy, Beasley, had a long (3 minute), severe seizure today, the first one ever. He is 13.5 yrs. He has since been very nervous and anxious. He's been rubbing the top of his head on the carpet for some time, recently has increased thirst, has been toppling over occasionally the past few days, and very stiff on the stairs, plus reduced appetite and occasional vomiting. The vet recently recommended teeth cleaning, which was done. From what I am now reading, he might well have a brain tumor, but he can still run 4 miles three times a week with great joy! He will be at the vet Monday when they open, but I dread possibly learning the worst. He is the dog-love of my life and I want him to live many more years.

    Hi beezmum–

    My b boy had a grand mal seizure just before his tenth birthday. Afterward, he was confused and listless and seemed to be in a daze.

    We rushed our Spencer to the 24-hour animal hospital, where they told us he almost certainly had a brain tumor. Our regular vet advised against $2000 worth of testing and MRIs that would tell nothing but bad news and put Spencer on Dexamethazone for a week to reduce the inflammation in his brain. After that, we began to see gradual improvement. It took him several months to get back to "normal." I say "normal," because he has Fanconi, and our "normal" is constantly shifting.

    The person who helped us most was Dr. Steve Gonto. Dr. Steve reviewed Spencer's labs and adjusted Spencer's diet from high-protein to low-protein with different supplements. I'm not a vet-- and your situation may be nothing like mine-- but Beasley's seizure could be kidney-related (hence the increased thirst and vomiting) and, if so, may be controllable with dietary changes and the addition of certain supplements and/or meds. You could ask your vet to run a CBC, a venous blood gas (checking kidney and liver values) and a urinalysis, then see what the values tell you.

    Spencer had also been having several "tells" before the seizure, though I had no idea at the time. One was rubbing his head on the carpet; the others were tilting his head, shaking his head and acting a little stiff, all of which he was doing the day before the seizure. I wish you and Beasley the best and hope he never has another seizure!

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  • B

    Wow, Spencer's behaviors sound exactly like Beasleys. I will print your suggestions and bring to our vet, Dr. Crowe, tomorrow. Many thanks.

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  • O

    I hope it turns out to be something easily remedied. Once the problem was addressed, Spencer never had another seizure, so hopefully, neither will Beasley!

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  • Hope Beasleys vet visit goes well tomorrow . Our first Basenji developed seizures at the age of 12 they were caused by a problem with his liver. They were horrible to witness but we learned to live with them and the good thing was he was unaware of what was happening at the time.
    On treatment he was with us untill nearly 15 years and had a good quality of life.

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