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Majestic exercise pens are made of wire with a titanium zinc-plated finish and has a secure, double latch door within a panel, for easy step through access. (connect 2 Exercise Pens to make a larger exercise pen). It can also be attached to a dog crate for a complete kennel solution. Features: Collapsible, 2 doors, easy access Includes: 1 exercise pen

Muffin's Halo for Blind Dogs is a 3 piece device to help blind dogs transition. This twice patented blind dog product offers head protection and is highly recommended by Animal Opthalmologists and Veterinarians worldwide. Muffin's Halo - Worldwide Leading Product for Blind Dogs affected by cataracts, SARDS, glaucoma, trauma and diabetes

This full-body life jacket for dogs is comfortable and lightweight, with adjustable Velcro closures under the belly and across the chest. Adjustable nylon straps with quick-release clips for extra security and protection. Nylon grab handle on back has extra reinforcement to easily guide dog in water or to grab if dog needs assistance. Handy D-ring clip is firmly attached to nylon strapping on back for leash or boat hook. Constructed with lightweight, floatable closed-cell foam pads covered with abrasion-resistant materials.

SleePee Time Bed
The SleePee-Time Bed is a unique new product specifically designed to help older dogs, and those suffering from urinary incontinence to get a good night's sleep.

The design and construction of the Front harness provide the balance and support necessary for your pet to lead a happier, healthier, cleaner life. Use of the harness can also help minimize your backstrain from lifting and carrying heavy animals.

Pet Safety Belt
Dog Seat belts for pets protect not only the animal, but the drivers and passengers in a car or truck as well. Whether preventing a frightened dog from jumping into the front seat and distracting a driver or being hurt in a crash, dog safety belt can help keep your family safe while traveling.

small chair
SMALL Wheelchair - starting at around $249 for dogs 11-25 lbs. (5-11 kg)

Only 23¢ per wipe Refreshing scent Cleans gently like a baby's washcloth Made with pure water and lotion with vitamin E

E-collar with removable stays for dogs and cats, is veterinary tested and approved. Leave stays in for more structure for medical needs or when leaving your pet alone. While supervising your pet, you can remove the stays to fold the cone back for more freedom while eating and drinking. 

This 21st Century Essential Pet Wellness Support Self-Adhering Wrap holds bandages in place securely, even when wet. Easy to use, this no-stick wrap also features an adorable paw print design and stretches for comfort while always keeping bandages securely in place. Features: Holds bandages in place Will not stick to or pull hair or skin May be used alone to support strains or sore limbs Paw print design Includes: Self-Adhering Wrap 2 IN x 5 YD Stretched Intended Pet(s): Dogs, Cats Product.

The Kurgo Up & About Dog Lifter provides extra support for dogs that need help performing daily activities for dogs weighing from 50 to 90 lb. Soft yet strong chest pad and adjustable straps provide optimal comfort and a custom fit.

Greenies Allergy Formula Pill Pockets are all-natural, hypoallergenic treats that are made for dogs that are sensitive to many proteins and carbohydrates. These tasty pill pockets feature the delectable flavor of duck and pea, and make it a breeze to give your dog any pills he needs to take. Features: All natural and hypoallergenic for dogs with sensitivity to common food proteins and carbohydrates, Makes pill-giving easy Food Type: Treat Food Consistency: Chewy

Canine Epilepsy

Our first experience was through Snuggles, a water spaniel.  She had epilepsy and lived to a ripe old age.  While inconvenient, it was manageable. 

Then there was Frosty.We'll never know what caused his epilepsy, and now strongly suspect it wasn't epilepsy at all, but a thyroid deficiency, since none of his brothers or sisters or relatives ever had it.

Shortly thereafter we would get our third experience with this devastating disease.   Not longafter we brought Chevy home as a puppy he started having seizures at just a few months old. By one year old he was having them regularly. Having a dog with seizures really impacts your life.

Canine Epilepsy is a disorder of the brain where abnormal electrical activity triggers further uncoordinated nerve transmission. Canine Epilepsy is a chronic condition characterized by recurrent seizures. There is no sure way to diagnose it except on history which is very bad since many things can cause seizures.  We've seen Meningitis, Thyroid, and Allergies cause seizures so it's not always epliepsy and that should NOT be a veterinarian's first assumption without ruling out a myrad of other things.  Uncoordinated and haphazard nerve tissue activity scrambles messages to the muscles of the dog's body and causes erratic and uncoordinated use of the muscles from the mouth to the tail and this can be caused by other undiagnosed disease. Epilepsy in the general dog population is estimated at .5 to 5.7%. 

Before you assume Epilepsy and put the dog on heavy duty medication that can damage internal organs, (yes, phenobarb does that) make sure you've checked the following:

  1. Brain tumor, Head injury
  2. Lyme Disease and Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever
  3. Distemper
  4. Environment toxins
  5. hyper' and 'hypo' Conditions
  6. Hypoglycemia
  7. Hypocalcemia
  8. Hypoxia or Hypoxemia
  9. Hepatic Encephalopathy or Liver Disease
  10. Renal (kidney) disease
  11. Hyperkalemia
  12. Hyperlipoproteinemia
  13. Gastrointestinal disease ("garbage" poisoning)
  14. Tick Bites
  15. Toxoplamosis (Toxo)

And if that's not enough to keep your veterinarian busy... below is a list of factors that most commonly trigger seizures. This does not mean your pet will have a seizure each time it comes in contact with one. EACH dog is different and sensitive to certain things. This list does not apply to every dog.

Some of these potential causes of Epilepsy are impossible to avoid, but wanted to make it a complete list:

  1. Hair spray Do not spray when pet is in the same room.
  2. Wool Wool blankets, wool sofas, etc.
  3. Heartworm pills A seizure may occur 1 to 1 ½ wks. after administering heartworm medication.
  4. Cigarette smoke.
  5. Environmental Pollution from chemical plants.
  6. BHA A preservative commonly used in dog foods, read "Additives in Pet Foods,"
  7. BHT A preservative commonly used in dog foods.
  8. Sodium nitrate Proven in research studies to cause severe seizures. Sodium nitrate is found in many foods we eat. Read the ingredient labels carefully.
  9. Carpet powders.
  10. Air fresheners.
  11. Fabric softeners If exposed to clothes that have fabric softener on them.
  12. Dryer sheets If exposed to clothes that have been in the dryer with the dryer sheets.
  13. Salt, Copper Sulfate, Ferrous Sulfate,  Calcium Iodate, Monosodium Glutamate in excess.
  14. Sugar Corn syrup, molasses, Sucrose, cane sugar.
  15. Low quality commercial dog biscuits and treats.
  16. Low quality dry food.
  17. Low quality canned food.
  18. Fumes from all bathroom cleaners.
  19. Fumes from dusting products.
  20. Fumes from bleach.
  21. Household cleaners Pine cleaners should be avoided.
  22. All toxic flea products If the product states "Hazardous To Humans And Domestic Animals", it is hazardous to your pet.
  23. Plastic bowls All plastics release some undetectable fumes, especially when heated. This out-gassing means the fumes can pass into the foods that are served or stored in the bowl or container. Stainless steel or glass bowls are recommended.
  24. Cheap ceramic bowls Cause the same problem as described above.
  25. Toxic shampoos.
  26. Toxic flea collars.
  27. Dust Change air filters in your home once a month, and wash curtains twice yearly.
  28. Crabgrass.
  29. Mold.
  30. Eating cat or dog feces.
  31. Stress.
  32. Vaccinations.
  33. Lyme vaccine.
  34. Lyme encephalitis.
  35. Rabies vaccine.
  36. Worm infestation.
  37. Lead Pets like to lick lead because it tastes sweet, and lead poisoning can result from licking or eating wood chips on which there is lead paint. This can be checked when doing regular blood work, but it must be specified that you would like a LEAD POISONING TEST which is not part of a normal blood work.
  38. Paint fumes.
  39. Paint chips from lead based paint.
  40. Excessive exercise.
  41. Overheating.
  42. Abuse or neglect.
  43. Rawhides Many are dipped in a solution of salt and bleach
  44. Cheap painted pet toys
  45. Loud noises Yelling, fighting, doorbell ringing
  46. Scented candles.
  47. Vitamins with high sodium level.
  48. Inconsistent routine.
  49. FALL Research studies have shown that more seizures occur in the fall. This is due to mold and bacteria in the air.
  50. Blinking lights Christmas lights, bright lights, etc.
  51. Pine cleaners.
  52. Red food dye.
  53. Ethoxyquin.
  54. Fungi, Bacteria and Germs.
  55. Mobile Phones Research carried out on animals suggests that mobile phone emissions may trigger seizures. Check out this site Epilepsy and Mobile Phones
  56. Hereditary Factors.
  57. Certain diseases can indirectly cause seizures. For instance, Cushing's disease is usually stimulated by a microscopic tumor of the pituitary gland. But in some instances it can be large enough to pressurize the brain and hasten neurological disturbances including seizures. 

So, it's not easy to just assume it's Epilepsy...many factors can be present, some quite common, that can cause seizures.  The key is to see a pattern weekly, daily, monthly, how often and how long and what were you and the dog doing?

Because Canine epilepsy is not a specific disease or even a single syndrome, many things can cause it.It's a very diverse group of disorders.Basically when your pet has "Epilepsy" it means they can't find any other reasons for the disturbances in the brain.  If you've looked long and hard at environment, medications, injuries, heritidary...then you MAY be able to consider Epilepsy as the primary diagnosis.

Categories of Epilepsy

Canine Epilepsy is broadly divided into idiopathic and symptomatic disorders.Idiopathic Epilepsy, also called primary epilepsy, means that there is no identifiable brain abnormality other than seizures.Symptomatic epilepsy (also called secondary epilepsy) has a direct cause such as anidentifiable tumor or traumatic blow to the head causing the seizures.

Primary canine epilepsy manifests by a first seizure between 6 months and 5 years. At 4 years and older, epilepsy can be caused by a metabolic problem such as hypoglycemia, or cardiovascular arrhythmia, low blood calcium, cirrhosis or a brain tumor. Epilepsy in dogs is also associated with hypothyroidism, a very common disease in Malamutes. Chevy eventually developed low thyroid, so we have to wonder if this was the underlying cause of his original symptoms. Frosty was never low thyroid.

Most dogs with idiopathic epilepsy suffer their first seizure between the ages of one and five years of age.A genetic basis for idiopathic epilepsy is strongly suspected in several breeds including the Alaskan Malamute.Idiopathic canine epilepsy may have an inherited basis in other breeds also. As more breeding to certain popular sires goes on, it's becoming much more common.

The terms epilepsy, seizure, fit or convulsion all mean the same thing the physical manifestation of a sudden, excessive electrical discharge of neurons in the brain that results in a series of involuntary muscle contractions such as jerking or trembling behaviors, jerking, paddling, or just staring into space without a response.

In the dog, a far-away look or twitching in one part of the face is a mild manifestation all the way to the dog collapsing and pawing violently, drooling and biting the air.It's common for a seizuring dog to gnash it's teeth, urinate and defecate while thrashing about wildly.

Seizures usually appear without warning, and end just as quickly. They can last for seconds to minutes, or if a tranceline seizure, even longer. Diagnosis of epilepsy is made primarily by ruling out other possibilities, there are no specific tests for epilepsy.

What a seizure looks like

A seizure is a terrifying thing to watch.It's also dangerous as many dogs have bitten their owners in the throes of a seizure when they would have never bitten normally.It's not his fault, he has no control over the involuntary muscle spasms.The word "seizure" refers to the involuntary contraction of muscles.The seizure is caused by an electrical storm in the brain.Seizures can be broken into two types, generalized and partial.In a generalized seizure, the electrical storm appears everywhere in the brain at once.In a partial seizure, the abnormal electrical impulses begin in a small area of the brain, and may expand.

A severe seizure, now called a tonic-clonic (formerly called grand mal), seizure begins with contraction of all skeletal muscles and loss of consciousness. The dog usually collapses to one side with the legs stretched out and the stretched head back.This is the tonic portion of the seizure. He may moan, yelp or bark involuntary but that doesn't mean he's in pain. Often there is facial twitching or air-biting. Often the dog will drool excessively, urinate, defecate or eliminate his anal glands.The tonic portion of the seizure is usually very brief and gives way to the clonic phase of the seizure.Once the tonic phase begins the dog will have rhythmic movements.Typically this consists of clamping the jaws and jerking or running movements of the legs. It's important to get the dog to an area he will not hurt himself while seizuring. Because Chevy was partially blind due to the seizures, he was mainly confined to a large safe pen in our house with everything dangerous removed.He could only come out under supervision because his seizures were so violent, he would have hurt himself on furniture or cement floors.We attempted to keep his area padded somewhat with towels and thick bedding but it wasn't always easy because before or after a seizure he would pace in circles. By the time he feel to the floor the padding was pretty well messed up.So all we could do was pad his head with the towels and mop up any pee and wait for it to subside.

Following the seizure, the dog may lay motionless for a brief period.Eventually he will get up their feet and may appear to be perfectly normal except for periods ofblindness, disorientation, pacing or running about the house bumping into things.This behavior, or "post-ictal" behavior can last anywhere from hours to days after a seizure. This is why Chevy was confined to his pen when we couldn't supervise his every move.A dog as large as a malamute is like a bull in a china shop when coming out of a seizure so it's important he's contained to keep him as well as your home safe. A helmet is an excellent device for when the dog is having an active seizure.  I would NOT try to put it on in most cases during a seizure (good way to get bit) but if you are able to anticipate (sometimes other family pets help), or if the dog is willing to wear it all the time, it can be a good thing to have and prevent damage when head slamming if the dog seizures often.

There are other types of seizures as well, one type of generalized seizure is the tonic seizure, in which motor activity consists only of generalized muscle rigidity. Less common are clonic seizures where there is no tonic phase.Some dogs suffer milder generalized tonic-clonic seizures in they are conscious the entire time.

A Partial seizure is also called a focal seizure.In this type of seizure the electrical storm is affecting only a part of the brain.A partial seizure may stay localized or it may expand to the whole brain and cause a full-blown seizure.A seizure that starts in only a part of the brain is suspect that some underlying disease or injury caused it.A partial seizure may remain localized or spread to other areas of the brain causing more generalized muscle movement.

Partial seizures are classified as simple focal seizures when consciousness is preserved, and as complex focal seizures when the dog is unconscious. In a simple partial seizure, the area of the brain that is affected is the area that controls movement.Usually the face is affected, resulting in twitching or blinking.This is usually limited to one side of the face or body. The dog is usually aware during this kind of seizure.

A complex partial seizure will originate in the area of the brain that controls behavior and is sometimes called a psychomotor seizure.During this type of seizure, a dog’s consciousness is altered and he may exhibit bizarre behavior such as unprovoked aggression or extreme irrational fear. This is why you must be very careful when attending to a seizuring dog as a dog that has one type of seizure, may occasionally have a different type. Some of the symptoms are he may run randomly, do some repetitive senseless behavior or snap at imaginary things near his head.Some of the bizarre complex behaviors that are repeated during each seizure are lip movements, chewing, fly biting, aggressive actions, vocalization, hysterical running, cowering or hiding, in an otherwise normal dog. Complex partial seizures might include vomiting, diarrhea, salivation, abdominal distress, blindness, excessive thirst or appetite, or biting itself.

Cluster seizures are multiple seizures within a short period of time with brief periods of consciousness in between. Status epilepticus seizures in dogs can occur as one continuous seizure lasting half hour or more, or a series of multiple seizures in a short time with no periods of normal consciousness. Status epilepticus and frequent cluster seizures are both considered life-threatening emergencies, and can occur with either primary or secondary epilepsy, and may suddenly arise in dogs with no previous history of seizures. If your dog continues to seizure beyond a few minutes, get veterinary help immediately.

Medical treatment is generally advised for dogs with epilepsy experiencing one or more seizures per month. Haphazard administration of prescribed medicines is worse than no treatment at all, and may cause status epilepticus, a life threatening condition where the brain is in a state of persistent seizure. Successful drug treatment for dogs with epilepsy depends upon the owner's dedication to delivering the drug exactly as prescribed by the veterinarian.

The 4 stages of a seizure:

1. The Prodome – This stage can last from minutes to hours or even days before the manifestation of the actual seizure activity. Uncannily Pod would warn us of this stage so that we could be near Chevy when he got to the next stage.Typically characterized by changes in the dog’s mood or behavior, I think this is what she picked up on to warn us one was coming.

2. The Aura – The aura stage is when owners first notice the initial signs. Some dogs will begin pacing, licking, salivating, trembling, vomiting, wandering aimlessly, hiding, whining or urinating. A few dogs will exhibit excessive barking and attempts to get an owner’s attention. If Chevy's companion Pod didn't warn us initially, at this point she would let out a very unusual yip a sound she only used when Chevy began to seizure it could wake us from a sound sleep it was so shrill and piercing.

3. The IctusThis stage is the actual seizure itself. It is a period of abnormal activity in which the most common symptoms are that the dog may lose consciousness, gnash their teeth or bite their tongue and the air, thrashing about with their head and legs, drooling excessively, whining, paddling feet as if running as well as losing control of their bladders and bowels.

Some dogs will frantically run in circles, others will just chew like a cow chewing it's cud, some suddenly go blank and stare into space. Some dogs become very quiet and it appears the seizure is over though it isn't. We were told this is the most dangerous part of the seizure and can result in a heart attack as the heart and organs are very stressed.

4. The Ictal – This stage occurs immediately after a seizure. Owners often report the dog acts drunk, doped, blind or deaf. Other dogs will show signs of pacing endlessly or drinking large amounts of water and stumbling in circles. Some will seem to pass out and just sleep.

Whereas idiopathic epilepsy has no known or discernable cause, Secondary epilepsy may be caused by:

  1. Hypoglycemia or “low blood sugar.”
  2. Hypothyroidism – A condition in which the thyroid functions inadequately.
  3. Disease – Seizures are a common symptom of diseases such as encephalitis and distemper
  4. Lead poisoning – This can be seen in dogs that like to chew on items such as painted wood.
  5. Brain Tumors – This is the most common cause of seizures that begin after the age of 5.
  6. Hydrocephalus – The accumulation of excess cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) within the brain.
  7. Eclampsia – This occurs when a lactating female’s calcium levels drop to dangerous levels.
  8. Toxins – Pesticides, fertilizers, poisonous plants, arsenic, strychnine and chocolate.
  9. Trauma – Trauma can occur from some type of severe blow to the head such being hit by a car, bat, kicked or fall.
  10. Organ failure – End stage liver or renal failure can often cause seizures
  11. Infection of the brain or spine
  12. Parasitic – Severe cases of intestinal worms, end stage heart worms or even anemia from fleas and ticks can cause seizures.

It as been proven that epilepsy often runs in bloodlines and new studies are showing that certain breeds are more likely to have the disorder. Some of the breeds it occurs in more often are Belgian Tervuerens, Beagles, Dachshunds, German Shepherds, Collies, Schnauzers, Golden Retrievers, Irish Setters, Keeshonds, Boxers, Cocker Spaniels, Labrador Retrievers, Poodles, Dalmatians and St. Bernards. Antecedently, we are hearing more and more about it affecting Malamutes, particularly certain lines.

If you are willing to take precautions for the dog's safety, a dog diagnosed with epilepsy can live a long, happy life. Unfortunately that was not the case with Chevy or Frosty.Both had seizures that seemed to get worse over time, particularly Frosty's.Chevy developed multiple problems including thyroid, blindness, brain damage and massive ear infections that may or may not have been related to his epilepsy.The problem is a malamute is a large dog, so maintenance and management is difficult and daunting.It's one thing to clean up and bathe a small dog that deficates and urinates on itself at every seizure, another for a large hairy malamute.That is why we breed carefully and avoid affected lines if at all possible.

If you suspect your dog may have epilepsy and you see seizure like activity, note of the time, date, length and type of seizure as well as the way the dog acts after the seizure is over. If you can video tape the seizure it will help your veterinarian make a diagnosis.I strongly recommend going to a specialist rather than your regular veterinarian.  If you have a teaching hospital or clinic that specializes in neurological disorders nearby, all the better.  Keep a record of these things and get assistance as soon as possible.Do NOT let the seizures go on for hours and hours, even if there is a break between them.Constant seizuring will eventually cause brain damage the longer it's allowed to go on.  

Seizure triggers

It is important to keep your epileptic dog as free from chemicals as possible. It's important to pay attention to the environment.Weather, air pressure, chemicals on the lawn and floor cleaners can affect a seizure afflicted dog.Ivermectin it has been known to cause seizures in some breeds. There are many things that can lower a dog's seizure threshold. Keep a diary of your dog's seizures. Note down anything you have done or that the dog could have come in contact with that day which could have contributed to causing the seizure. It is also a known phenomenon that some dogs may seizure around the full moon.

Vaccinations can lower a dog's seizure threshold and trigger a seizure. It's important to spread out vaccinations do distemper one week and rabies a couple of weeks later. Many veterinary schools are now recommending that the distemper combination shot only be given every three years, and may convey immunity for much longer.  A new protocol may be coming out soon for rabies allowing vaccinations every 5 instead of every 3 years in some states.  The rabies vaccine has been proven to be effective for up to 10 years so it makes sense to vaccinate less often so the dog's immune system isn't overloaded.

Feed a food that is preservative free. It's suspected that preservatives such as Ethoxyquin and BHT may cause seizures. Buy a high quality food made from "human grade" ingredients if possible.Many dogs have done well, and no longer seizure on a raw "barf" diet. Two good books on a raw diet are Dr Ian Billinghurst's "The BARF Diet" & Susan Johnson's "Switching to Raw" which have been recommended to us.Note that if your dog is taking Potassium Bromide be very careful when you switch dog foods. The chloride content should remain the same as the previous food, changing slowly, so that the absorption rate of the KBr remains constant.

What can you do when your dog seizures?

Keep the dog as quiet as possible. Loud or sharp noises, such as other dogs barking, may prolong the seizure or make it worse. Many dogs are fearful of other dogs in the pack during this vulnerable time, so the seizuring dog needs to be protected from others in the pack that may attack it.If the dog is close to another dog that can be trusted, it's ok to let the other dog be nearby, sometimes the seizuring dog will find it's presence comforting.Chevy, as he came out of a seizure would look for Pod and my husband. Pod's presence when Dan wasn't home seemed to help him feel less stressed. We feel it's good to make a point of calmly maintaining physical and voice contact with him throughout the seizure and during recovery. Often they can hear you, but can't react. I know Chevy looked for Dan immediately on coming out of one.

A good thing to keep if your dog seizures is a log book.  This will help you and the veterinarian figure out possible triggers. 

A logbook should contain the following information:

  • The date, time, severity and length of each seizure.
  • What medications were given, if any, or what alternative interventions were done during or immediately following the seizure.
  • What pre-ictal behavoir was noted, if any; or what your pup was doing just prior to the start of the seizure.
  • Details of the post-ictal period; recovery, behaviors, etc.
Also note the date of any medication changes: increases, additions, decreases, or deletions, as well as the dog's reaction to these changes.
  • Changes in food,
  • Environment (sleeping area, cleaning products,new items brought in the house, even soaps and detergents, house guests, vacations, business trips, family illness)
  • Vet trips,
  • Vaccinations,
  • A missed dose of medication,
  • Weather (storms,solar activity, even barometric pressure) are helpful to note.
Any one of these may be a trigger, especially if you can see that a seizure followed the same event more than one time.

One note of caution: do not try to look for patterns after each and every seizur - you need to look back over time to see real patterns.  Always take your log book with you. If you are going on a trip and taking the pup with you, take the log as well; if you have to see a vet or an ER in another town, it will help tremendously. You also have it in case of a seizure while you are away from home.

Drug therapy

Among the recommended tests that are done to rule out other diseases when epilepsy is suspected are: CBC, urinalysis, BUN, ALT, ALP, calcium, fasting blood glucose level, serum glucose level, serum lead level, fecal parasite or ova examination, and others if indicated. The point is to see if there is something specifically causing the seizures, such as thyroid disease or calcium levels.

There are several medications that are often used to control or stop the seizures. The most common medications are:

  • Primadone (Mysoline)
  • Phenobarbital hard on the liver, dog must be tested regularly for liver damage
  • Potassium Bromide careful of salt levels, change foods very slowly to maintain stable levels
  • Dilantin
  • Potassium Bromide
  • Valium (Diazepam)

Sometimes the medications seem to have no affect and the seizures, or they may actually cause them to worsen. In most instances dogs that are kept on medications can lead pretty normal lives with few restrictions or changes in routine. Occasionally they will build up a resistance to some of the drugs and will need to change over to others or receive Valium injections to stop the seizures once they occur. (This happened to Frosty). There is also the more rare occurrence we discovered with Chevy, in that he was allergic to Potassium Bromide. For almost two years we were told the drunken uncoordinated behavior was a symptom of the Phenobarbital.Finally, after seeing no improvement, changing vets and switching to JUST Phenobarbital we found the dopey uncoordinated behavior stopped.He was apparently reacting badly to the potassium bromide.

If you are into holistic medicine, you will probably still need one of the above medications for your dog. Alternative therapies, including acupuncture and vitamin therapy, are usually not adequate to control serious seizures, but can be used with the above medications. Some studies suggest some forms of epilepsy in dogs respond to supplementation of vitamin B6, magnesium, and manganese.

In order for any drug therapy to be effective, the amount of drug found in the body should be consistently monitored. Three dogs given roughly the same dose of Phenobarbital can have very different seizure control. The amount of drug found in the body correlates much better with seizure control than daily dosage.It is important to work with your veterinarian and have him test the dog's serum levels often to make sure he's receiving the appropriate amount of drug to control the symptoms and avoid side effects.

How to handle a seizure.

  • A seizure is a scary thing to observe. Don't panic. This is how you handle one, following up with your vet.
  • At the onset of a seizure, some dogs will get a dazed look in their eye or seem a little unsteady on there feet. Dogs might also hide, seem confused or stare off into space.

A grand mal seizure is typically where a dog will fall on the ground and is usually unconscious. A partial or petite mal seizure only involves a body part such as a leg or head twitch without being unconscious. There are also psychomotor seizures which include biting at the air, staring at something, circling or barking. The most common cause of seizures is idiopathic epilepsy, a disease or condition of unknown origin that arises spontaneously. In this state, the brain cells are too excitable. Other known causes of seizures include brain tumors, inflammatory diseases of the brain, toxins, and metabolic diseases.

What to do during a Seizure:

  • Don't let yourself be hurt. Avoid the dog's mouth and head.
  • Don't let your dog hurt himself. Move the dog away from stairs, furniture and sharp objects.
  • Don't put anything in a dog's mouth. Dogs won't swallow their tongues.

After a Seizure:

  • Watch your dog to make sure he recovers. This may take minutes to hours. If you can't be with him the entire time, put him in a safe place where he can't hurt himself. With padding that is soft and will absorb any urine (often dogs will pee or deficate when seizuring).
  • Let him hear your voice and feel your touch. When dogs wake from a seizure, they need reassurance.
  • Remain calm and speak softly. Animals are better at sensing feelings and emotions than humans. If you're anxious, your dog will also become anxious.
  • Record when the seizure occurred, how long it lasted and what the dog looked like. This helps your veterinarian manage the problem better.
  • Use towels, and large padded blankets to keep the dog safe during the seizure.

Most of the time, the seizure is over by the time you get to the veterinarian. If you can video the seizure with your phone, it can help your vet make a diagnosis. If it lasts more than four or five minutes, or if there are more than three in a 24 hour period, this is an emergency. The longer the seizure goes on, or if there are many in a row, the body temperature goes up and brain damage is possible. The goal of veterinary treatment is to reduce the severity and frequency of the seizures. To do that, your veterinarian will want a complete physical and neurological examination of your dog.

Giving Medications:

  • any dogs on Phenobarbital gain weight - this is normal.  Watch his diet.
  • Open their mouth really wide and pop the pills in as far back as you can. 
  • If you don't like putting your fingers in the dog's mouth, inexpensive pill guns can be purchased at many pet stores and vet offices.
  • Try lightly blowing at the dog's nose or rubbing the throat to get them to swallow.
  • A treat and 'good dog' as a reward will be appreciated for taking the pill.
  • If your pet likes to eat, often you can hide pills in food.
  • Or make a 'meatball' which is about 3/4 inch in diameter and consists of canned dog food and the pills.
  • Wrap the pill in a piece of cheese.
  • Peanut butter on a tiny piece of bread with the pill in the peanut butter works well for me.
  • Liquid potassium bromide (Kbr) can be given right on the food or squirted on a small piece of bread and given. Use a baby medication dropper or syringe to measure the amount.
  • Pill splitters and crushers are available at most pharmacies. If you must divide the dose into an odd amount, crush the pill and use a razor blade to divide the amounts into the number of doses needed.
  • It's important to remember to give the medication, sometimes pill reminders can help. A weeks worth of medication can be prepared in advance, and the question of "did I give it or didn't I" can be answered with one look at the medication dispenser. Some even have alarms to remind you a dosage is due.
  • Keeping medication with you at all times may be important if your dog seizures frequently. Small fanny packs or ID wallets can even be attached to the dogs collar. Extra Phenobarbital, oral valium, and even liquid Valium can be carried by the dog when away from home 

During the Seizure:

  • Some dogs are light or sound sensitive during seizure episodes. Try dimming the lights and keeping phones at a distance from the dog.
  • Keep old towels or baby diapers handy to catch urine if your dog urinates during seizures.
  • Some human epileptics say they have an easier time if the seizure is allowed to run its course. Calling the dog's name to bring them out of the seizure may not be the best thing for your dog. Try both ways to see what works best.
  • Have a fan blowing on the dog, or rubbing the feet and belly with cool water or alchol may help cool the dog down. If the dog seems to be overheating due to repeated seizures or not coming out of a seizure -IMMEDIATELY contact a vet since overheating can cause brain damage.
  • Many dogs are confused and even blind right after a seizure. Keep the dog in a safe area where they cannot fall down stairs or hurt themselves.
  • Keep a record of the seizures. A video record is good too.  As soon as possible write down the exact time the dog started to seizure and the time the seizure ended. A stop watch or watch with a second hand can be helpful. After the seizure is over write down all circumstances surrounding the seizure, such as unusual food eaten, activities that happened during the previous day, medications or vaccinations recently given. 
  • Be prepared to transport a dog that cannot stand up and walk, or is even in the middle of a seizure. Owning a stretcher that can be used by one person is invaluable.  Hard plastic children's sleds can be used to carry or drag the dog to the car. A heavy blanket folded can also act as a stretcher. If you are alone with a very heavy/large seizing dog, call the vets office for instructions. Perhaps a neighbor can help lift the dog into the car.


  • It is important to make your home safe for a seizuring dog because they could have one at any time - even when you aren't home. If you crate your dog when not home, use an airline crate as the dog is less likely to get it's feet caught in the wires. A better option is an x-pen - giving the dog room to 'pace' and lie down or get away from accidents once they recover.
  • Remove the collar when the dog is home alone. Tags and collars can get caught and pose a choking hazard.
  • A safe, padded, 'doggy room' may be the best idea should you have a 'catapulting dog', one that throws itself across the room during seizures. A dog like this can benefit from a helmet and soft bedding.
  • Never leave an epileptic dog alone near any water deep enough to drown in. If this is not possible, or your dog likes to swim, invest in a doggy swim vest for your dog.
  • A seizing dog can trigger the 'pack' instinct in multiple dog households, in which an injured animal on the ground is attacked. If you aren't home, it's best the dog that may seizure is separated from the rest of the pack for safety.
  • Baby gates are wonderful to block off stairways or confine the dog to a certain area.
  • Be careful of leaving windows open should you have a dog that spends time near one.
  • Prop a large piece of styrofoam insulation against a sliding glass door if you are worried the dog may pound against it during a seizure.
  • A webcam or baby monitor with sound can alert you to the dog having a seizure in a different part of the house. Put the receiver in the bedroom - it will listen for you so you can be free of worry and sleep.
  • If you really want to know what happens when you are not home, get a webcam. Foscam has several inexpensive cameras that are easy to set up that you can monitor with a free app on your smart phone. You can check in with sound at any time. Even talk to your dog remotely! If you get the additional software you can even set it to notify you of movement beyond a certain level. This will not only let you know if your dog has seized, but let you look in and see what is happening in real time.
  • Keep phone numbers to your vet and all emergency vet hospitals near your phone.  Put them on speed dial on your smart phone.. Know exactly where the emergency vet is before you need to find it in the dark! When traveling, get emergency numbers in advance. There are also some great smart phone apps that can tell you where the nearest emergency vet is located and then direct you there.
  • An ID tag on a lost epileptic dog is very important. Make sure you note this on any tags you have made.
  • Train all your dogs for basic obedience. You may need it someday if you are walking multiple dogs and your epileptic seizures. You don't need them mulling around, getting in the way - so much better if they can do a down-stay.
  • If your dog has a seizure while your are driving, you should safely pull over to the side of the road. Use a pet seatbelt to keep him in place and from falling or hurting himself. If you give your dog medication after a seizure, keep it in a special place that can be easily reachable by you, even when traveling.

Canine Epilepsy Resources:

A Brief Overview of Canine Epilepsy : Marion Mitchell

Important Issues Regarding Seizures: William Thomas DVM, Dipl.ACVIM(Neurology)

Why Does My Dog Have Seizures? : Roy Dvorak.

Canine Epilepsy Links on the WWW.

Glossary of Seizure Terminology.

Canine Epilepsy FAQ: Alicia Wiersma-Aylward.

Seizures in Dogs : Thomas K. Graves D.V.M.

Alternative/Holistic Approaches: including Milk Thistle, Rescue Remedy, Gold bead Implants & Chinese Medicine.

Epilepsy, Convulsions and Seizures, Holistic Approaches: Mary Wulff-Tilford & Gregory Tilford

Chinook Seizures article by Dr Dennis O'Brien DVM .

Anti Epilepsy Drugs: (AEDs)


Potassium & Sodium Bromide.

Home Treatment with Diazepam for Cluster Seizures in Dogs: -W.B.Thomas DVM. MS, Dipl. ACVIM (Neurology)

Where to buy AEDs:

Compounding Pharmacies

AAA Brochure (PDF form use legal size paper and "shrink to fit paper")

AAA Prescription Card This is NOT insurance just a way to reduce medication costs.

A Hands on Method of Shortening or Preventing Seizures:

Don Moreno

Problems Associated with Antiepileptic Drugs

New non invasive urine bile acids test Finally a painless and more accurate way of checking your dogs/cats bile acids

Phenobarbital Induced Liver Disease: W.B.Thomas DVM. MS, Dipl. ACVIM (Neurology)

Antiepileptic Drugs and the Liver: Clare Rusbridge BVMS.DipECVN. MRCVS

Liver Disease Signs Symptoms and Diagonosis. Dr Fleming DVM

Blood Work: Kathi Dvorak

Pancreatitis and Epilepsy is there a Connection? Clare Rusbridge BVMS.DipECVN. MRCVS

Non Epileptic Seizures ( Also Known as Secondary Epilepsy) Caused by an Underlying Disease.

Brain Tumors, Hydrocephalus, Porto-Systemic Shunt. Hypoglycemia, Diabetes and Cushings Disease : William Thomas D.V.M. and Barbara Eamous

Vestibular Disease: W.B.Thomas DVM. MS, Dipl. ACVIM (Neurology)

Seizures, Narcolepsy and REM: W.B.Thomas DVM. MS, Dipl. ACVIM (Neurology) Just added info on DNA testing for some breeds

Lead Poisoning and Seizures : W.B.Thomas DVM. MS, Dipl. ACVIM (Neurology)

Hypothyroidism, Epilepsy and Phenobarbital:William Thomas DVM, Dipl.ACVIM(Neurology)

The Low Thyroid Seizure Connection : W. Jean Dodds D.V.M.

Autoimmune Thyroid Disease -A Common Problem in Pure Bred Dogs : W. Jean Dodds D.V.M.

Directory of Laboratories that test for Autoimmune Thyroiditis

Conditions that Mimic Canine Epilepsy

Canine Epileptoid Cramping ( Spikes Disease) A recently diagnosed canine health problem and hereditary canine disease in Border Terriers.



Vaccinations Issues.

Dr Jean Dodds revised vaccination protocol 2006

Diet and Nutrition

Diet & Nutrition: Susan Wynn D.V.M.

Links to articles about Dog Food.

The Role of a Healthy Natural Diet in the Management of Canine Epilepsy.

Survey of dogs on Epil-K9 who are fed natural diet: (Reworked 1/2003)

Issues in Nutrition including Homemade and Raw Diets: W.Jean Dodds D.V. M ( new 1/13/2003)

Does the Ketogenic Diet work for dogs? William Thomas DVM, Dipl.ACVIM(Neurology

Doggy treats!! recipes for your favorite pooch.

Dr Dodds Liver Cleansing Diet

Genetics, Breeding Issues and Research Projects Underway:

Dr Thomas's Research Updates

Genetic Basis of Canine Idopathic Epilepsy: Barbara Licht Ph.D.

What's the Big Deal :breeder Lauren Howard.

Canine Epilepsy Research Projects.

Details of Canine Epilepsy DNA research at the University of Missouri for prospective participants.

Details of Canine Epilepsy DNA research at VetGen for prospective participants.

Epilepsy and the Greater Swiss Mountain Dog

Winner of the 2003 DWAA Maxwell Award for "Best Regular Column in a National Club Magazine or Newsletter." First published in Australian Shepherd Journal, vol 13 issue 4, July/August, 2003.

Border Collie Epilepsy Research At UC Davis

Veterinary Q & A

This page is dedicated to Snuggles, Chevy & Frosty beautiful dogs dealt a bad lot in life...