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 Epilepsy/weird behavior

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Kobey&Lola
Newborn
Newborn
Kobey&Lola

Female Join date : 2012-09-24
Location : Massachusetts

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PostSubject: Epilepsy/weird behavior    Epilepsy/weird behavior  EmptyTue Jan 22, 2013 9:31 pm

Hi, my name is Jess and I joined back in 2009 but really didn't post much and eventually forgot my username and password. But since then, I have come on just about everyday- most of the time on my phone and I find it annoying to try to post on it, and therefore I just haven't. But I love it here and I was hoping to get some opinions... I apologize ahead of time for the length of this...
I have two huskies, Kobey age 4 and Lola age 2.
For the past year, Kobey has had seizures. Thankfully they have not been severe.. They happen in the middle of the night, usually between 1 and 4 in the morning. They started off being one every other month and my vet told me that it was most likely epilepsy. I worry a TON because how many of these do I sleep through? The past few, he has not tried to get up when they happen and they last no more than 2 minutes. Last month he had two within 28 days. Worried that it could possibly be a brain tumor or something, I took him to a neurologist at Tufts University. He did a thorough exam and watched the videos that I had taken of each seizure and told me that he did not feel the need to do an MRI. He was very confident that this is epilepsy. Kobey has started on phenobarbital- tomorrow will be 2 weeks after the initial dose. He has had all of the possible side effects- the poor dog has been so confused and off balance. He is finally acting normal but has a couple weird things that have me very concerned. FIrst, his tail is- I want to say "limp." He can wag it and all and it does not seem to be hurting him but normally his tail is flipped over his back 95% of the time. Now, about 90% of the time, it hangs down. Is this something that could be normal? When he runs, it does flip up. (Lola's tail has always been the opposite- it usually hangs down and only sometimes does it flip over her back)...
Also, he is constantly whining. I have had him since he was a puppy and yes, he has always been a very, VERY vocal dog but now he is constantly whining, for what seems like no reason. This happens mainly at night when it is time for bed. This is not a normal behavior for him. I emailed the neurologist about these things and he said that they are in no way related to a phenobarbital side effect nor epilepsy. He mentioned that he still does not think that Kobey has a brain tumor; however, brain tumors can cause dementia and whining for no apparent reason can be a symptom of dementia- obviously, a trait of huskies as well. But like I said, this is not normal for him.
I am at a loss. This dog means the world to me. I honestly think that I wake up every time he moves at night. I go into work at crazy hours so that I can be home with him as soon as possible.
I guess other than venting, I am asking for opinions... Does anyone have any experience with any of these things? Would you be worried about a brain tumor despite the neurologist's opinion? An MRI is $2,000. While I am willing to pay this, it's not something that's "no big deal." I'm a grad student with a mortgage Epilepsy/weird behavior  1625187496 but I will obviously do whatever I have to do to make sure that he is fine. The neurologist suggested to take videos of his weird behavior and go in for an appointment. I am planning on doing this, but am not really expecting them to have an answer.

I know this was horribly long. Thank you so much for reading. I appreciate any thoughts and suggestions.
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Sheba&Kennedy
Senior
Senior
Sheba&Kennedy

Female Join date : 2012-08-13
Location : Nebraska

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PostSubject: Re: Epilepsy/weird behavior    Epilepsy/weird behavior  EmptyTue Jan 22, 2013 9:36 pm

Are you on facebook?? There are a lot of Epi Husky owners on facebook. For instance The Five Sibes are on facebook and she is always posting about Gibson. She could point you in the right direction and give you lots of advice.

Other then that I have absolutly no idea what to tell you. Just that I am very sorry you and your pup are going through this right now. Sending positive thoughts your way!
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https://www.facebook.com/groups/379867695570/
Kobey&Lola
Newborn
Newborn
Kobey&Lola

Female Join date : 2012-09-24
Location : Massachusetts

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PostSubject: Re: Epilepsy/weird behavior    Epilepsy/weird behavior  EmptyTue Jan 22, 2013 9:54 pm

As crazy as it sounds, I'm not on facebook. But, that is great to know. I will definitely look into it and try to contact her. Thank you so much!
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Sheba&Kennedy
Senior
Senior
Sheba&Kennedy

Female Join date : 2012-08-13
Location : Nebraska

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PostSubject: Re: Epilepsy/weird behavior    Epilepsy/weird behavior  EmptyWed Jan 23, 2013 12:09 am

You're welcome! I know she has lots of other epi husky parents on facebook, so maybe if you just made one just to get in contact with her I'm sure she could help you out. Good luck!
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https://www.facebook.com/groups/379867695570/
SaberK
Adult
Adult
SaberK

Female Join date : 2012-07-11
Location : Berwyn, IL

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PostSubject: Re: Epilepsy/weird behavior    Epilepsy/weird behavior  EmptyWed Jan 23, 2013 12:01 pm

Two summers ago Saber was on phenobarbital for a couple of weeks. He had most of the side effects too. His tail was also droopy because he had hind end weakness from the drug. One thing he didn't do was whine. Phenobarbital can also cause anxiety, maybe that is why Kobey is whining?
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Kobey&Lola
Newborn
Newborn
Kobey&Lola

Female Join date : 2012-09-24
Location : Massachusetts

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PostSubject: Re: Epilepsy/weird behavior    Epilepsy/weird behavior  EmptyWed Jan 23, 2013 2:54 pm

Oh really? That makes a lot of sense. He still drags his back feet, so maybe he does just have hind end weakness. How long did his side effects last? I read that they would last 7-10 days but it's been 2 weeks now. That makes sense about the whining too, I wasn't aware that anxiety was a side effect. Thank you so much for sharing! Saber isn't on phenobarbital anymore?
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mbarnard0429
Senior
Senior
mbarnard0429

Female Join date : 2011-08-07
Location : Michigan

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PostSubject: Re: Epilepsy/weird behavior    Epilepsy/weird behavior  EmptyWed Jan 23, 2013 3:29 pm

Poor guy!

Have you thought about seeing a holistic vet? I know there are holistic ways to control and treat Epilepsy,

I would do the MRI. God forbid he does have a tumor, you want to catch it as soon as you can. I'd miss bills and pay it. That's just me.
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https://www.facebook.com/mheath2
arooroomom
Husky Collector
arooroomom

Female Join date : 2009-12-13
Location : South Fl

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PostSubject: Re: Epilepsy/weird behavior    Epilepsy/weird behavior  EmptyWed Jan 23, 2013 4:04 pm

I 2nd the holistic vet approach. At least just a consult and see what they think...

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SaberK
Adult
Adult
SaberK

Female Join date : 2012-07-11
Location : Berwyn, IL

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PostSubject: Re: Epilepsy/weird behavior    Epilepsy/weird behavior  EmptyWed Jan 23, 2013 4:27 pm

Kobey&Lola wrote:
Oh really? That makes a lot of sense. He still drags his back feet, so maybe he does just have hind end weakness. How long did his side effects last? I read that they would last 7-10 days but it's been 2 weeks now. That makes sense about the whining too, I wasn't aware that anxiety was a side effect. Thank you so much for sharing! Saber isn't on phenobarbital anymore?

No problem! Saber was on phenobarbital temporarily. Maybe about three weeks and he still had all the side effects: hind end weakness, drinking a lot, eating a lot and very sleepy. When he stopped taking it he went back to normal.

Here are a couple of links to phenobarbital side effects:

http://www.drsfostersmith.com/Rx_Info_Sheets/rx_phenobarbital.pdf

http://www.petplace.com/drug-library/phenobarbital/page1.aspx

Trust what your instincts tell you. If you think something's still not right, get the MRI or get a second opinion.
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Kobey&Lola
Newborn
Newborn
Kobey&Lola

Female Join date : 2012-09-24
Location : Massachusetts

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PostSubject: Re: Epilepsy/weird behavior    Epilepsy/weird behavior  EmptyWed Jan 23, 2013 4:49 pm

That's a good point. I honestly have never heard of that but I just did some research and there is a holistic vet in my area. Out of curiosity, do you think there is something wrong with phenobarbital? The neurologist really didn't give any other suggestions other than starting him on that. He did say that after using it for a while, it can cause liver impairment. To make sure that doesn't happen, he has to get labs done on a regular basis.

I am definitely still thinking about the MRI.. I keep telling myself the same thing. If I were to ever have to say, "if we only did it then, we could have prevented this," I don't know what I would do with myself. When we first went to see the neurologist, I was assuming we were going to go through with the MRI. But he was really confident that it wasn't needed. He said he wouldn't go through with it if it were his dog. Kobey's local vet thought the same, which is why I brought him to a neurologist in the first place. I wanted a second opinion.

The neurologist said that epilepsy is common in huskies... I've never heard this before..? I also don't see a lot of discussions about it on here.. Has anyone ever heard this?

Thank you for the links! Poor Kobey has had most of the side effects.
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Sheba&Kennedy
Senior
Senior
Sheba&Kennedy

Female Join date : 2012-08-13
Location : Nebraska

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PostSubject: Re: Epilepsy/weird behavior    Epilepsy/weird behavior  EmptyWed Jan 23, 2013 6:02 pm

From what I've read it is a husky thing. I don't want to say a common disease; but its definitely not unheard of in huskies.
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https://www.facebook.com/groups/379867695570/
mbarnard0429
Senior
Senior
mbarnard0429

Female Join date : 2011-08-07
Location : Michigan

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PostSubject: Re: Epilepsy/weird behavior    Epilepsy/weird behavior  EmptyWed Jan 23, 2013 7:01 pm

Epilepsy is becoming more common in Siberians because of poor breeding practices. Responsible Breeders will spay/neuter those in a line that carry it. Of the dogs I have come into contact with, which are mainly show dogs, I have yet to meet one with Canine Epilepsy. However, I do know that there are for sure a few pet lines carrying it. This is one more reason why it's important to go to a responsible breeder.

I am a weird hippy. At least, that is what my mom tells me. I won't use the majority of conventional medications because their risks outweigh their benefits in my opinion. I used to take antidepressants, thyroid meds and all sorts of things..my doctor(holistic variety) has since gotten me off of everything.
So, no, I don't find it safe but that is for you to decide.
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SaberK
Adult
Adult
SaberK

Female Join date : 2012-07-11
Location : Berwyn, IL

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PostSubject: Re: Epilepsy/weird behavior    Epilepsy/weird behavior  EmptyWed Jan 23, 2013 7:33 pm

Unfortunately, there are always some kind of side effects to medications. Saber is on three different meds and I make sure he gets a blood test every 5-6 months to make sure his liver and kidneys are okay. Two of the drugs he takes are for pain management. I tried the holistic route and it didn't help, he was still in a lot of pain. That is just my experience.

At this point, it's not going to hurt anything if you at least went for a consult with the holistic vet and see what their opinion is.
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mbarnard0429
Senior
Senior
mbarnard0429

Female Join date : 2011-08-07
Location : Michigan

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PostSubject: Re: Epilepsy/weird behavior    Epilepsy/weird behavior  EmptyWed Jan 23, 2013 7:43 pm

Delilah has a slipped disk that will go in and out her whole life - my vonventional vet wanted to treat it with Deramaxx and kill her kidneys. I consulted my holistic vet and the only thing that helps the pain is Boswellia.
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SaberK
Adult
Adult
SaberK

Female Join date : 2012-07-11
Location : Berwyn, IL

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PostSubject: Re: Epilepsy/weird behavior    Epilepsy/weird behavior  EmptyWed Jan 23, 2013 8:08 pm

Saber has a pretty bad case of spondylosis that's compressing nerves and discs. I gave up on the holistic meds after days of him just pacing the house panting. Hardly sleeping because he would scream in pain every time he would try to lay down. Maybe I didn't give it a long enough time to work but I couldn't have him in pain like he was. Conventional meds worked for him and he takes them as needed. I know the risks and I don't regret it.

Sorry for the hijack!
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Cyberpup
Puppy
Puppy
Cyberpup

Male Join date : 2013-03-16
Location : Boulder

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PostSubject: Re: Epilepsy/weird behavior    Epilepsy/weird behavior  EmptySat Mar 16, 2013 4:32 pm

Jess

We also have a Siberian with epilepsy. Our youngest dog, Lyra, had her first seizure when she was about 15 months old, last October. The Emergency room vet put her on Phenobarbital, and our understanding is that is the standard treatment option for epilepsy. However, Lyra's neurologist started her on Levetiracetam. It does not have the heavy side effects of the barbiturates, particularly the possibility of liver damage. Like Phenobarbital, it is also to treat epilepsy in humans. It has a wiki page if you want to check it out. To be fair, Lyra's seizures are not completely under control, so we can't say if Lyra will be able to stay on Levetiracetam. We certainly observed the punch drunk effects of the Phenobarbital for the few weeks Lyra was on it. With the Levetiracetam her behavior is normal, normal for a year and a half old Siberian that is. For what it's worth, Lyra is from show dog stock: I think both her parents were champions. She is beautiful, with a super personality, and just one little flaw.
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Kobey&Lola
Newborn
Newborn
Kobey&Lola

Female Join date : 2012-09-24
Location : Massachusetts

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PostSubject: Re: Epilepsy/weird behavior    Epilepsy/weird behavior  EmptyTue Mar 19, 2013 3:47 pm

Thank you for your response! I haven't heard of Levetiracetam but I will definitely look into it. Kobey is still on Phenobarbital and is now doing well. The side effects are gone. He has had one seizure since that we know of and it was even more mild than the others. I hope Lyra continues to do well!
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Cyberpup
Puppy
Puppy
Cyberpup

Male Join date : 2013-03-16
Location : Boulder

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PostSubject: Re: Epilepsy/weird behavior    Epilepsy/weird behavior  EmptyWed Mar 27, 2013 11:23 pm

Jess

Lyra will be going on two medications now. In addition to the Levetiracetam she will take Bromide (Potassium Bromide) daily. Like the Levetiracetam it is considered “liver safe”, but otherwise has side effects similar to Phenobarbital.

Cheers
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bstuart
Newborn
Newborn
bstuart

Female Join date : 2012-11-19
Location : London, Ontario

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PostSubject: Re: Epilepsy/weird behavior    Epilepsy/weird behavior  EmptyTue Jun 04, 2013 10:44 pm

Hi Jess,

I just wanted to let you know that everything he is going through is normal. I had an epi dog but he was a border collie. He did everything that you mentioned. As for the whining, my little guy did that as well. I noticed he whined more often right before having a seizure. Almost like he knew he was going to have one. I had to put him down when he was 2. They got so bad and no meds were working any longer. It was damaging his nervous system.

I have noticed that it is a common thing in huskies as well. I know a couple of them that have it. I am praying my husky does not get it.

If you are on Facebook or get around to it, I started a Canine Epilepsy group a couple of years ago. I have a lot of people on there with huskies that have it. You can talk to them further and compare notes. Just a thought.

Good luck with everything! Smile
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