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Old June 11th, 2008, 02:19 PM
LibbyLou LibbyLou is offline
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Neurological Problems - Any Advise Please

My Cavalier who is nearly nine has been having facial and body twitching and tremours. They have become regular and often. She seems very low, depressed but is eating well. Vet has taken blood tests but feels this will not shed much light on her situation and suggested MRI scan. She said she is too old to have epilepsy as this usually starts at a much younger age. Reading between the lines I think she is suggesting brain tumour or spinal cord problem. Does anyone have any experience of this? Many thanks in advance
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Old June 11th, 2008, 02:23 PM
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mastifflover mastifflover is offline
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You may want to try another opinion. It is possible your dog may have had a stroke. Did the vet do a full blood panel this should give some idea as to what the problem is
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Old June 11th, 2008, 02:28 PM
LibbyLou LibbyLou is offline
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Hello - yes today they did bloods. Took her in and took blood before food and then took blood after feeding. They said results will be with Vet on friday. Why this came to a head is because a few days ago she could walk but she could not get her back legs straight and her tail was ridgid and pointing up. This last for just a few minutes. The twitching and tremours are not severe but they come and go ALL day long.
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Old June 11th, 2008, 10:34 PM
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Dr Lee Dr Lee is offline
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I don't know that you necessarily need another opinion. From your description, your veterinarians statements are sound. Epilepsy can be defined in a couple of ways but in general 'epilepsy' is going to start 6 months to 5-7 years of age. With facial and body twitching the brain or upper (proximal) spinal cord lesion is likely. I agree that a tumor may be a cause. Infection and inflammatory causes may also be the underlying cause. MRI and CSF tap are the definitive diagnostic tests. While I believe that blood tests are important, I agree with your veterinarian's statement.

I have a couple of thoughts on her, assuming that these tests cannot be afforded. First you can video record these episodes and have a consultation with a neurologist. Occasionally there may be signs which are pathognomonic for a particular disease. Another thought would be a therapeutic medical trials of medications like antimicrobials, phenobarbitol and/or steroids. None of these are of course as good as a MRI but I hate to give up an anyone! Some patients can really positively respond to empirical medication administration.

Also, are you in an area or has she ever been in an area of fungal infections like valley fever (coccidiomycosis) etc... Perhaps ask your vet. Some fungal infections can set in the brain and can be treated or managed well.

Good luck.
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Old June 12th, 2008, 01:24 AM
LibbyLou LibbyLou is offline
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Dr Lee- thank you so much for your reply. I have written your suggestions down and will discuss with vet on friday when she phones with the results. In addition to her twitching, trumours and sometimes circling in the house her heart has now gone down hill. In december she had a grade 1 murmour and in just 6 months she now has a grade 4 murmour. So my poor girls problems are two fold. When she saw vet she had a very high temp and since taking antibiotics the twitching has not stopped but she seems much happier in herself. I have known a few Cavi's get to the age of 14 and I was really hoping my girl would do the same
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Old June 13th, 2008, 07:20 AM
Kris Christine Kris Christine is offline
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LibbyLou,

One of the potential adverse reactions to vaccinations is seizures -- has your dog recently been vaccinated? Rabies vaccines are associated with adverse neurological side affects.

Significant calcium deficiency can cause seizure-like episodes, have you had a blood test to check calcium and phosphorous levels? High phosphorous foods (meat, eggs, nuts) bind with calcium, as do high oxalate foods (oatmeal) and may deplete your dog's levels to a point where it will cause problems. Poison will also cause seizures.

You might want to do an online search for "canine hypocalcemia" or just "hypocalcemia". The Lowchensaustralia website will take you to an article on this subject in which it states that the signs of low calcium levels (hyocalcemia) are: "Muscle tremors, restlessness, panting, incoordination, grand mal seizures and fever as high as 106."

Further, the above articles thats a one of the possible causes: Poor Nutrition - "Home brewed" diets usually are at fault. The owner innocently may be adding too much unbalanced meat to the bitch's diet, thinking the extra protein is beneficial. What's really happening is the calcium to phosphorus ratio is out of balance because the amount of useful calcium in the food is actually reduced! The ideal contains a ratio of calcium to phosphorus of 1.2 to 1. (Many organ meats such as liver have a ratio of calcium to phosphorus of 1 to 15!! Liver is great for dogs but if it comprises a large part of the diet, the calcium/phosphorus ratio of the diet will be improper.)

If you have chickens or wild turkeys roaming your yard, you should be aware that their droppings are extremely high in phosphorous and can cause a problem if your dog eats too many of them. If the droppings are charging your dog's blood with phosphorous, it's going to drain him/her of calcium in order to maintain proper pH balance and cause muscle twitching, etc...

The British Health Protection Agency states about Phosphorous in their FAQs "It has been used as a rat and rodent poison.."

The PetEducation website owned and operated by veterinarians states under Eclampsia (Puerperal Tetany, Milk Fever, Hypocalcemia) in Dogs "Eclampsia, also called milk fever or puerperal tetany, is an acute, life-threatening disease caused by low blood calcium levels (hypocalcemia) in dogs ...."

One of our dogs developed severe seizures after the second of his puppy rabies shots -- his head shook so hard we thought his eyes would pop out, it was terrifying. After this seizure activity triggered by the vaccine, he became prone to them from other triggers. Whenever he ate too many high phosphorous foods (or chicken droppings), he would seize. Giving him 1/2 a quart of plain organic yogurt would calm his seizures within 15 minutes, when they were food-related.

Personally, I would have a complete blood count done to check for mineral levels if you don't think vaccines or something your dog is eating is causing the seizures. PLUS, I would consult a Homeopathic/Holistic veterinarian for an alternative treatment, you can do an online search for one near you at American Holistic Veterinary Medical Association and Academy of Veterinary Homeopathy.

Combination Vaccines, Multiple Shots--on Page 16 of the 2003 American Animal Hospital Association's Canine Vaccine Guidelines under Immunological Factors Determining Vaccine Safety, it states that: "Although increasing the number of components in a vaccine may be more convenient for the practitioner or owner, the likelihood for adverse effects may increase. Also, interference can occur among the components. Care must be taken not to administer a product containing too many vaccines simultaneously if adverse events are to be avoided and optimal immune responses are sought. "
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  #7  
Old June 13th, 2008, 02:26 PM
LibbyLou LibbyLou is offline
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Full bloods came back today and have ruled out anything metabolic. No recent jabs, My vet phone and discussed with specialist and she is almost certain it is a lesion on the brain or spinal cord. Is a lesion a tumour?? She is starting her on meds for siezures and we have appt with specialist on the 25 June for discussion and probably an MRI scan. Thanks again for so much helpful information and fingers cross for my girl
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