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Old November 1st, 2005, 05:04 PM
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epiliepsy in dogs - head shaking - Answered by Dr. Van Lienden

Raingirl posted a thread about this some time ago and I had answered that my 5 year old labX Halo shakes her head like Odin does. It's sort of a gentle side to side shaking (like they're saying no no no). We'd both had the dogs to the vet (possible epilepsy) but the seizures (for lack of a better word) were very rare. Halo has had several of these seizures in the past week, they are very short in duration (30-40 seconds) with no other apparent afflictions. She can walk, and comes to see me. Normally she's sleeping or laying down whent hey occur, but the last one she was just standing in the kitchen visiting. I will be taking her back to the vet on the weekend, but I'm not sure what to expect. Chances something would happen while there are slim to none. Could this in any way be related to her multiple food allergies would you think?? It concerns me that she may be having these episodes during the night when I'm not aware of it and therefore don't actually know how often they happen.

So if it is epilepsy how would they test for that? Is it blood work or do they have to do Xrays to look for leisions or something? Just curious what I'm in for? Tks.
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Old November 1st, 2005, 05:16 PM
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I don't know much about epilepsy, but I thought they just put the doggy on the meds and you observe to see if the seizures stop, but I could be very wrong. Good luck.
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Old November 1st, 2005, 05:29 PM
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http://www.canine-epilepsy.com/Resources.html

http://www.canine-epilepsy-guardian-...s_seizures.htm

Very good resources.

I lived with an epi dog for 6+ years. She was diagnosed at the age of 15 months. Bloodwork was done to rule out anything else. (get thyroid tested) We then started on a dose of Potassium Bromide. When that didn't control her seizures we added Phenobarbitol.

In August we lost our Maggie to a brain tumour that was diagnosed in April after having seizure type activity. Again, bloodwork was done and came back normal. Because of her age and lack of seizure activity before this time the vet said best guess was a brain tumour.

You can ask to be referred to a specialist. They will offer to do an MRI. In both cases I turned down the MRI because it is very expensive and even if they found something they couldn't do anything to fix it.

Check out those sites. There is a lot to learn and a great support system at work.
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Old November 1st, 2005, 05:49 PM
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Thanks

Thanks for the input. I will read the links you gave me Invicta (hope I remembered that right...) Poor Halo, she's got enough issues to deal with without this too now. God bless our rescue puppies
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Old November 2nd, 2005, 06:48 AM
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No worries, I hope the information was informative. Feel free to pm me if you have another questions.
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Old November 2nd, 2005, 07:51 AM
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AN update on that. We found out what it was. I found a lot of bulldog owners who had the same problem, as well as some other non bulldogs, and the consensus with their vets were that it was a low blood sugar related thing. With Odin we feed him something and it immediately goes away. Epilepsy won't show up like that, as there is no form of epilepsy that exhibits those symptoms.
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Old November 2nd, 2005, 09:14 AM
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Resident Diabetic Here

The best thing for low blood sugar is straight sugar, or something close. Dog kibble, cheese, bread, takes a while to break down into sugar in the blood. Your best bests are corn syrop, maple syrop, granular sugar. These items turn to sugar in the blood right away.

Your brain needs sugar the same way it needs oxygene, so if your blood sugars are low, you get doppey and funny things start to happen if it goes really low, because your brain shuts parts of itself off to conserve energy.

Have the vet confirm that it isn't anything else first of course, but hypoglycemia is easy to manage.
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Old November 2nd, 2005, 11:11 AM
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Possible low blood sugar

Wow, I never thought about it being a low blood thing. Thanks for the update Raingirl. Glad you got an answer for Odin, how did they figure that out, through blood tests? Were his episodes coming more often for you.

Thank you all for the input. Invicta, I will be reading those threads. I've looked at them briefly before, but none of the seizure symptoms really matched Halo, but you never know.

PetFriendly, I too am diabetic but somehow didn't connect it with Halo's shaking episodes. She's on such a restricted diet it really could be that now that it's out there in space!!! I'll definitely bring that up with the vet.

Thanks again. Good to know there's a secondary consideration that should be easy to check anyhow.
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Old November 3rd, 2005, 06:17 PM
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See if you can relate the shaking episodes to food intake and exercise. If she's hypoglycemic, the episodes should occure after exercise on an empty stomach, or within less than 2 hours of a big meal.

What you might want to try is feeding her over two or three meals instead of the one (assuming she's only eating one). That spreads the food out which helps the pancreas (sp) excrete the correct amount of insulin (In hypoglycemics, the pancreas gets confused and send out too much insulin if it gets overwhelmed with food) .

I wonder if they have the 'orange goo' test for dogs? I'm a type 1 diabetic, so I didn't have to so it, but I hear its really gross!
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Old November 4th, 2005, 11:18 AM
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Feeding times

Hi PetFriendly. Halo eats twice a day, about a cup and 1/4 each meal with pumpkin on it (just a bit). She eats at about 7:30 am and again at 5:30 pm. She doesn't have these shaking episodes often, that I'm aware of, but as I said, if it's happening during the night I might not be aware of it. It has traditionally been early morning when she wakes she'd had the head wobbles, again very very rarely (like once or twice a year I'd notice it). This past couple weeks when it happened she was sleeping in the kitchen mid-day twice when she woke with it, and then mid-afternoon was standing there visiting when it just started happening. She's not a particularly active dog, just little bouts of crazies outside in the yard. She gets walks regularly but they wouldn't qualify as high energy things for sure. She can be a bit aggressive with strange dogs so we don't tend to let her run. She eats a salmon and oatmeal kibble by Go Natural as she has some serious food allergies. I'll be taking her to the vet next weekend though and will discuss these things with him. Thanks for all the input. I'll keep you guys posted what he finds. Feel free to add any other thoughts in the meanwhile though. Thanks again, you guys are all so great! I can't say that enough.
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Old November 4th, 2005, 02:32 PM
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Message for Invicta

Re the phenobarbital.

Invicta, I do hope you have your dog on Milk Thistle.
Phenobarb very hard on the liver.

We now have an epi-pei too. She's on pheno and so far all's well.

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Old November 6th, 2005, 05:15 PM
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meimei,

Yes, we did have her on Milk Thistle and a liver cleansing diet.

Unfortunately and tragically we lost her in August.

Hope your epi is doing well.

Cheers,
Invicta
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  #13  
Old November 15th, 2005, 07:51 AM
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Epilesey is a diagnosis of ruleouts: you rule everything else out, and this is what you are left with at the end of whatever testing protocol was done. Seizures fall into two groups, grand mal and petite mal. For the dog with a history of presumed seizures I do at minimum a complete blood count, biochem profile, heart worm test and urinalysis. This allows me to make certain that various blood diseases, liver and kidney diseases are not causing the seizures. I follow up with abdominal and chest x-ray films to make certain that cardiac, lung and abdominal causes of seizures are not implicated.

For multiple, severe seizures I always try to have MRI studies done to rule out abnormal brain structures/tumors/masses as the cause of seizures.

Certainly there are a number of owners who balk at this series of tests, and I always tell them if they can live with the uncertainty, then so can I--and then I merely treat symptomatically, with the diagnosis open and the owner fully understanding that I don't know what the problem is.

There is no EEG test that is standardized in the canine, we can do this for human epileptics but not the dog.

As to causes for epilepsey: head trauma, genetics, previous severe illness. I suppose severe food allergies could be implicated, but this would be a rare, obscure cause. One way to test this would be to use an elemental diet, I personally like Hill's Ultra Z/D hypoallergenic diet. You would use this exclusively for at least 6 months. Others on this list may have their favorites, but you must be absolutely assured that it is a true hypoallergenic diet, just because claims are made for certain foods doesn't mean those claims are accurate.

Unfortunately, skull x-ray films will tell you nothing about the brain's architecture, because the skull will blot out any soft tissue structure. This is why MRI is necessary to view the brain.

As to treatment, if the seizures are infrequent and mild, then not every case is treated. Dogs do not need to work or drive cars, etc. If one does opt to treat, then many drugs exist, and a consult with a veterinary neurologist will help. I frequently use a combination of phenobarbitol and potassium bromide to treat my epileptic patients.

Now, having written all this, it may be entirely possible that all you are dealing with is an ear problem, so don't overlook the obvious.

Dr. Van Lienden

Dr. Raymond Van Lienden DVM
The Animal Clinic of Clifton
12702 Chapel Road, Clifton
Virginia, U.S.A. 20124
703-802-0490
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Old November 15th, 2005, 11:57 AM
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Thank you

Thank you Dr. Van Lienden for taking the time to answer this thread of mine. I appreciate your input, and shudder at the thought of the cost of all the tests you have indicated. I will however go to my vet with all this information in hand. I also hadn't thought of the ear issue so as I said to the other people who answered, all information is helpful. Thank you again, it's appreciated greatly.
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Old March 17th, 2006, 04:00 PM
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Thank you for the valuable information Dr. Van Lienden. My golden Molly had her first Seizure last week at 5 years old. Since her seizure, she has been shaking her head and drooling more. Her vet ran all of the tests you've described and they all came back normal. The vet wants to wait a month before prescribing medication for Molly (her seizure lasted a minute). Since Molly is 5 (which seems to be the older end of when Goldens develop seizures), I'm a little concerned that she could have a brain tumor. Her vet can't rule that out, but she doubts that is the cause of Molly's seizure given her age. Any thoughts? If she did have a brain tumor, I would like to know early on so we could possibly treat it. Are there any symptoms (besides seizures) with brain tumors? I just need some guidance on whether I should have an MRI done on Molly.
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Old March 18th, 2006, 11:24 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Dog Dancer
Raingirl posted a thread about this some time ago and I had answered that my 5 year old labX Halo shakes her head like Odin does. It's sort of a gentle side to side shaking (like they're saying no no no). We'd both had the dogs to the vet (possible epilepsy) but the seizures (for lack of a better word) were very rare. Halo has had several of these seizures in the past week, they are very short in duration (30-40 seconds) with no other apparent afflictions. She can walk, and comes to see me. Normally she's sleeping or laying down whent hey occur, but the last one she was just standing in the kitchen visiting. I will be taking her back to the vet on the weekend, but I'm not sure what to expect. Chances something would happen while there are slim to none. Could this in any way be related to her multiple food allergies would you think?? It concerns me that she may be having these episodes during the night when I'm not aware of it and therefore don't actually know how often they happen.

So if it is epilepsy how would they test for that? Is it blood work or do they have to do Xrays to look for leisions or something? Just curious what I'm in for? Tks.
Our one chi had seizures when she was almost 6 mos old.She has been on phenobarb since then.Been on it for a little over a yr.Molly had 4 episodes all after we come home from work at night.Vet told us that generally this is when its going to happen..........upon awakening after sleeping for a while.We took her in..........did blood work,took her to Guelph university clinic.They again examined her .Did an ultra sound.It's a process of elimination that vets have to do.There is no actual test for epilepsy.Vet told me she might out grow it as puppies sometimes do .They call it juvenile epilepsy.So we dont know if it is epilepsy she has yet or not.
Now we are weining her off the meds to see what happens.So far so good.
Another thing, you might be interested in.Just got news other day from a breeder on a gene labratory research place in Toronto that now can detect epilepsy through genes.Vet is sending 2 vials of blood from Molly Wed. to get analysed.Alongwith a copy of her pedigree.Amazing isnt it on what research has done for dogs?
Your dog isnt a pure breed Lab?
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Old March 18th, 2006, 11:42 AM
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Keep a daily log, may help you to find if stress, meds, vaccinations, food changes, treats, exercise level changes, barometers/weather changes etc may be the cause.


Often the head shakes/bobbing will occur as a result of meds or vaccines.

Some owners have notice it occuring for a short period of time 2 to 3 weeks after the dog has had vaccinations, heartworms meds or frontline
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Old March 20th, 2006, 11:32 AM
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Well it's been a while now and Halo has not had any more episodes of the bobbles. Interesting though the comment about post vaccine being possible. When Halo had her first episode it was just a day or two after having that flea medication put on her - now I can't remember the name of it because we haven't touched it since - the one that you drizzle on the back of their neck and down to the tail. The vet said it wouldn't be that though. Anyhow, her other episodes were definitely not vaccine related or any product related type times. We have no real diagnosis yet, but no episodes either so that's a good thing. We are right now doggy sitting my son's 4 year old Pom who just recently had a seizure. Their vet can't find anything wrong with the dog, but they were going away and were afraid to leave her in a kennel so soon after the seizure so now I spend my nights listening to see if she's sleeping or seizing... And my days walking three dogs! So far so good, no episodes for the wee one.
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Old March 20th, 2006, 01:09 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by raingirl
AN update on that. We found out what it was. I found a lot of bulldog owners who had the same problem, as well as some other non bulldogs, and the consensus with their vets were that it was a low blood sugar related thing. With Odin we feed him something and it immediately goes away. Epilepsy won't show up like that, as there is no form of epilepsy that exhibits those symptoms.
Quote:
blood sugar levels often drops drastically before or during seizures
from this link http://www.canine-epilepsy-guardian-.../ice_cream.htm
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Old March 23rd, 2006, 02:31 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Dog Dancer
Well it's been a while now and Halo has not had any more episodes of the bobbles. Interesting though the comment about post vaccine being possible. When Halo had her first episode it was just a day or two after having that flea medication put on her - now I can't remember the name of it because we haven't touched it since - the one that you drizzle on the back of their neck and down to the tail. The vet said it wouldn't be that though. Anyhow, her other episodes were definitely not vaccine related or any product related type times. We have no real diagnosis yet, but no episodes either so that's a good thing. We are right now doggy sitting my son's 4 year old Pom who just recently had a seizure. Their vet can't find anything wrong with the dog, but they were going away and were afraid to leave her in a kennel so soon after the seizure so now I spend my nights listening to see if she's sleeping or seizing... And my days walking three dogs! So far so good, no episodes for the wee one.

Products like advantage, advantix has the active ingredient imidacloprid and can effect the brain


Frontline has been noted to cause these head bobbing incidences fipronil

This happens in a small number of animals, it was because owners had kept diaries on their pets after the first instance they were able to trace back the cause

Article on spot on flea treatments

http://www.apnm.org/publications/res...leachemfin.pdf
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Old March 23rd, 2006, 02:48 PM
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I am so glad you joined this forum Ontario you have some great info to share. That is something I have never heard before and glad to have learned.
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Old March 23rd, 2006, 03:31 PM
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Spot-On

OntarioGreys - Thanks for both of these links. I'm just printing the Spot-On link right now, but Halo would have had her first episode a day or so after getting Advantage or Program - whichever one wasn't pill form five years ago. I can't read the article now at work, but can't wait to go home and read it. I'm sending the ice cream after a seizure link to my son's girlfriend who's little pom has just had her first seizure. She'll go through that link for sure. Thanks for all the info. The girls and I appreciate it.
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Old August 4th, 2006, 11:34 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by OntarioGreys
Products like advantage, advantix has the active ingredient imidacloprid and can effect the brain


Frontline has been noted to cause these head bobbing incidences fipronil

This happens in a small number of animals, it was because owners had kept diaries on their pets after the first instance they were able to trace back the cause

Article on spot on flea treatments

http://www.apnm.org/publications/res...leachemfin.pdf

Does revolution have the same effect as I gave my dog this and the next day he started head bobbing but other times he's totaly fine.
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Old August 28th, 2007, 09:44 PM
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head tremors

I have a 2yr.old boxer named Banshee, and in the last couple of weeks we noticed, just at night, while he's relaxed his head will start bobbing,kind ok like Parkinson's disease,and then it stops after a cuople of minutes.
When we first noticed it we took him to the vet,and all his blood work came back fine.Are vet told us to give him phenobarbital just at night when it happens, so we have a half of a pill, for the last week. We took him of on Friday, he was fine Saturday and got another one on Sunday night. I gave him a dog treat and it went away once he started chewing. He was fine all day Monday
and got one Monday night at 8:30 the same time as Sunday and then again at 11:30.So I called my vet and they said to put him back on the meds.
My Question is there a cure for these tremors or a cause to why out of the blue this would happen? Banshee eats very good and his health is exellent, beside these tremors.Also when your dogs get them how many days do they last,and have they came back?
Please if someone could answer me that would be great, i"ve called 6 different vets and got on Busters head tremors forum and nobody is helping me.

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Old September 5th, 2007, 10:45 PM
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Question more boxer head tremor

The exact same thing that happened to Buster, happened to our dog Enzo just tonight. I googled "head tremor in boxer" and up came this site with the video clip. I looked at a few of the responses, but still not sure if anyone has discovered what this is definitively. Enzo has had ~6 mini seizures since puppyhood (he's 3.5 now). They are short duration but quite different than what we witnessed tonight. Was Buster ever diagnosed (or other dogs with the same type of thing that posted on the site)? Thanks
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Old December 17th, 2007, 03:14 PM
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epilepsy in dog

did you ever figure out what this was? my dog does the same exact thing...he knows exactly whats going on and responds to commands when his head is shaking.
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Old June 6th, 2008, 09:58 PM
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Question shaking of head in dogs

I have a 3 year old female american bulldog, named dali' and she just started this wierd thing. Her head trembles for seconds at a time. Thats the only symptom, her body remains still and she does not look in pain. I will be bringing her to the vets on monday to see what it is but till then are there any ideas as to what this could be?
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Old June 9th, 2008, 09:58 PM
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head shaking boxer

This morning I freaked my 1 year old boxer was doing the head shake thing like the post described. I also took him to the vet and got blood drawn... he seemed alright after a couple of hours at the vet. it is really hot here so I am trying my best to keep the cool, i point the fan at them, always ice water and keeping them from really being outside... but he just seems sad today like he knows something is wrong....
let me know what your vet said, i will find out tomorrow.
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Old November 22nd, 2008, 03:25 PM
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My lab-pitt mix has been doing the head shaking think on and off for about a year. The first time it happened I rushed him to the vet...only for it to end when we got there. Once we left and were in the car he did it again, the whole staff ran out and observed it (so I was confirmed to not be nuts! lol). My vet ran tests but they all came back negative. The one thing that really indicated it wasn't too serious was that I could get his attention while he was doing it. Still it scares me to death when he does it. He had not done it in a very long time, but did it 2 weeks ago and I was FINALLY able to figure out what caused it.....heartgard. I never thought it was any preventative medication that he was taking....you just never really think about that. But luckily he did it shortly after taking the pill. He did it a couple times for the next 2 days and then stopped. Needless to say he won't be taking that medication anymore. There is something in it that is too strong for him and makes him react this way. I will probably have blood tests done to see if it is one specific ingredient but I'm not sure if that is something that I can have done locally but am looking in to it. If anyone else's dog is doing this then I would suggest talking to them while they are shaking to see if you can get their attention. My dog could shake and growl and bark all at the same time....would be funny if I wasn't so concerned.....but he can also let me hold him and kiss him until it stops. If that happens then yours may be similar to mine and it could be an ingredient.
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Old November 22nd, 2008, 04:19 PM
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There's another thread here about head tremors in which a few people, myself included, have observed a link between heartworm preventatives and head tremors. In the case of my dog it was Sentinel. Food for thought I'd think.
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