Best posts made by Derek Groves
posted in Basenji Health Issues & Questions read more

Basenji friends,
Here is a quick update on Elliot and his condition/seizures. He is now 16 years and 8 months old. My original post is pasted below for reference. We are grateful he is alive, but the quality of his life decreased with each seizure and he has lost his eyesight. We know that doggy heaven will have a new Basenji angel soon, but we want to contribute an update to help anyone that might be experiencing a similar condition with their dog.
Elliot has had 4 different veterinarians over the past year including a neurologist and ophthalmologist. Unfortunately, we do not have a diagnosis. It has been a very difficult year with very few answers. In one year, Elliott had 13+ seizures, several head tremor episodes and one hospitalization (2 days).
We have learned several things since our first post.

  1. Gabapentin was not effective to control Elliot's seizures.
  2. Keppra (Levetiracetam) controlled his seizures. 1 seizure in 3 months.
  3. 1/2 oral Valium calmed his head tremor.
  4. Once Elliot started Prednisolone his head tilt and twitch went away.
  5. A liquid suspension of Valium released in his rectum brings him out of a seizure in 10 to 15 seconds.
  6. IV Supportive care fluids gave Elliot a second chance at life 2 months ago. He stopped eating for 5 days and we took him to the animal hospital. After a comprehensive exam, we decided to try IV supportive care fluids for 2 days. It took him another day and a half to bounce back, but he began eating again.
  7. Elliot's liver enzymes are unexplainable, according to the vet and pathologist. They are high before and after fasting and eating a high fat meal. This remains a mystery.

Elliot's entire condition is a mystery and I dislike the unknown. Elliot has been a healthy dog his entire life. Up until a year ago people would stop us and ask about our puppy. They were shocked to learn his real age. Today, Elliot's physical appearance has changed. He has aged so quickly with each seizure. He still eats, goes potty outside (a few inside accidents) and we believe he is comfortable.
I have never been a fan of medication, but I am grateful for the current medicines that Elliot is taking. I only wish we would have started the Keppra sooner. I also wish we would have considered an MRI earlier when he was stronger because it would have confirmed if we are dealing with a slow growing brain tumor. I would have also insisted on every Cushing's disease test available before he started steroids (prednisolone). The price of the MRI and additional testing would have been minor compared to a year of specialty care and medication.
I wish I had more answers to share, but I have accepted that we may never know what is wrong with Elliot. I don't think this is just old age/failure to thrive. Something is wrong with his neck, head and eyes (white streaks in his eyes).
Note: We recently met another Basenji owner who had 2 Basenjs with an unknown neck/head issue. He had to put both down. One also had seizures.

Thank you all for your kind wishes. We will keep you posted. Elliot has brought so much joy to our life and we are honored to show him love and compassion at the end of his life.

Derek Groves

Original Post:
Derek Groves 30 Sep 2017, 16:58 reply quote
Does anyone have any experience with an older Basenji having seizures later in life? My male is 15 years and 9 months old. He's never had a seizure, or any major health issue before. However, he developed head tilt and a twitch 2 years ago. Seizures began 3 months ago.
His strength and spirit declines with each seizure and my heart is heavy to see a rapid decline. We have him on:

Taurine supplements (3 months)
Canna-Pet (Medical Grade Cannabis, 2.5 months)
Gabapentin ( started 24 hours ago)
(The above treatment list was recommended by our primary vet and neurologist)
We saw some immediate improvement with the cannabis, but the results faded and we observed him to be in pain, so our vet suggested Gabapentin. After research, we agreed it was best. After his first dose (100mg), he had his second largest seizure.
~Any advice on Gabapentin would be appreciated.
~Feedback on Canna-Pet also welcome.

Note: We have not had an MRI because our Basenji is aggressive and will not allow a needle anywhere near him. Additionally, we would not consider surgery if we found out he had a brain tumor. My main goal is to keep him comfortable.

Thank you,

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