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Old October 3rd, 2010, 08:14 PM
tillieplay tillieplay is offline
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Exclamation Unusual Seizures

Hi! I have a 4mo chihuahua who is 3lbs. Two days ago she had a seizure. She was very weak, if she would sit up she would either fall to the side or her front paws would give out and she would fall forward, when she laid down her front paws would curve inward, and he entire body sort of wobbled. This lasted for about 3-4 HOURS. I brought her to the vet immediately the next morning. Her xrays and bloodwork came back negative and I was told to watch her over the next few days to see if another seizure would occur. So far she's been fine, but this morning my other chihuahua had a seizure! She is 10months old and abut 6lbs. I'll be taking her to the vet tomorrow. I'm not sure if it's because she's bigger than the other chi that she doesn't even try to hold herself up. She just lays there and looks dazed while she bobbles. Let me make it clear that neither of them "shake" they "wobble." Their noses were dry and ears straight back. I always thought seizure were NOT supposed to last more than a couple of minutes, but my mom's chi has meningitis and has seizures just like the ones I described my dogs having; however, the vet said that my dog definitely doesn't have meningitis. I guess I really want to know if seizures are so common in chihuahuas that all 3 chihuahuas in my family have seizures. Also, what could be causing these seizures if tests are negative? Could both dogs have gotten ahold of something and nothing show up on the tests? Please, my vet has me waiting to see if they occur again, but what can I do besides that... anything?
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Old October 3rd, 2010, 08:25 PM
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A question that comes to mind is, are your dogs related? And your mother's dog, is she related? The fact that both pups had seizures within two days of each other makes me think they may have gotten into something poisonous. Is there anything they could have gotten into? Cleaners, something in the garage/basement? Did you have a good look around (you might want to get on all fours)? What are they eating? Where do you store it? Do you know exactly what tests your vet did?

you get to the bottom of this asap.
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Old October 3rd, 2010, 08:27 PM
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Oh, and did you call your vet back to tell him that your other pup had seizures as well? If not, please do so immediately.
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Old October 3rd, 2010, 08:29 PM
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Hi Tillieplay,
Have they done a CSF tap? Bloodwork and x-rays won't show meningitis. I have a Malamute puppy who is going through the same thing. They did all the blood panels, liver shunt tests (bile acid test), x-rays etc. with everything coming back "normal".

They didn't think ours had meningitis at first as he didn't display the common symptoms such as fever, neck pain etc. In fact, other than the seizures, he was clinically "normal". We went through several vets who all gave us differing answers and opinions as well as advising us to put him down. We finally found one who was willing to help. She did a CSF tap and the results came back with a high number of eosiniphil cells. At first they said it was Neospora and treated him for that. He had another seizure so they did titer testing for Neospora, Crypto and Toxoplasmosis, all negative. Which basically left meningitis. He has since had several other problems which I won't get into here, but he has been on a high dose of prednisone for 2 months and has been seizure free for almost 8 weeks on Monday

Seizures can be caused by alot of things, and in a puppy, it's rarely epilepsy. I hope they figure out what's going on with your 2. Good luck

If it's meningitis, and it's not sterile, it can be passed from one dog to another.

Seizures shouldn't last more than a couple of minutes, but they do. One thing you have to distinguish is the per-ictal phase, the ictal phase and the post-ictal phase. The ictal is the actual seizure where the dog will stiffen up, paddle it's legs etc (with a grand mal). With our baby, the pre-ictal consists of him shaking his head and foaming at the mouth. The ictal is a typical grand mal where he goes completely rigid, paddles his feet, cries, deficates, urinates etc. The post ictal varies and can last any where from a few minutes to a day or more, where the dog is shaky, unbalanced, confused etc. With our baby, the actual ictal phase has lasted as long as 3 and a half minutes. The longer the seizure, the more dangerous it becomes.
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Old October 3rd, 2010, 08:35 PM
tillieplay tillieplay is offline
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Originally Posted by luckypenny View Post
A question that comes to mind is, are your dogs related? And your mother's dog, is she related? The fact that both pups had seizures within two days of each other makes me think they may have gotten into something poisonous. Is there anything they could have gotten into? Cleaners, something in the garage/basement? Did you have a good look around (you might want to get on all fours)? What are they eating? Where do you store it? Do you know exactly what tests your vet did?

you get to the bottom of this asap.
They definitely aren't related. They came from different states. I've gone through the house and nothing is within reach of the the dogs. I don't even use cleaners on the floor, just a steam mop. They only have access to part of the house which is puppy proofed just for them. I've looked around outside. They aren't outside without me and I haven't noticed them getting into anything. They chew on leaves, sticks, and they get the occasional mushroom... but I haven't had mushrooms in my yard recently so I don't think it could be that.
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Old October 3rd, 2010, 08:41 PM
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Originally Posted by Rgeurts View Post
Hi Tillieplay,
Have they done a CSF tap? Bloodwork and x-rays won't show meningitis. I have a Malamute puppy who is going through the same thing. They did all the blood panels, liver shunt tests (bile acid test), x-rays etc. with everything coming back "normal".

They didn't think ours had meningitis at first as he didn't display the common symptoms such as fever, neck pain etc. In fact, other than the seizures, he was clinically "normal". We went through several vets who all gave us differing answers and opinions as well as advising us to put him down. We finally found one who was willing to help. She did a CSF tap and the results came back with a high number of eosiniphil cells. At first they said it was Neospora and treated him for that. He had another seizure so they did titer testing for Neospora, Crypto and Toxoplasmosis, all negative. Which basically left meningitis. He has since had several other problems which I won't get into here, but he has been on a high dose of prednisone for 2 months and has been seizure free for almost 8 weeks on Monday

Seizures can be caused by alot of things, and in a puppy, it's rarely epilepsy. I hope they figure out what's going on with your 2. Good luck

If it's meningitis, and it's not sterile, it can be passed from one dog to another.

Seizures shouldn't last more than a couple of minutes, but they do. One thing you have to distinguish is the per-ictal phase, the ictal phase and the post-ictal phase. The ictal is the actual seizure where the dog will stiffen up, paddle it's legs etc (with a grand mal). With our baby, the pre-ictal consists of him shaking his head and foaming at the mouth. The ictal is a typical grand mal where he goes completely rigid, paddles his feet, cries, deficates, urinates etc. The post ictal varies and can last any where from a few minutes to a day or more, where the dog is shaky, unbalanced, confused etc. With our baby, the actual ictal phase has lasted as long as 3 and a half minutes. The longer the seizure, the more dangerous it becomes.
I know the vet plans to do more testing, but he's waiting for me to observe more seizures I guess. With my mom's dog, the vet put her on different meds instead of going through all the tests besides basic bloodwork and xrays. First, she was put on phenobarbitol for epilepsy. After a few months she was switched to prednisone and has been ALMOST seizure free for a year now.

That last paragraph was very informative, I guess I must not have seen the actual seizure maybe? Maybe I'm only seeing the post ictal phase? I have a written description of their behaviors. I just hope the vet diagnoses them before its too late.
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Old October 3rd, 2010, 08:43 PM
tillieplay tillieplay is offline
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Oh and I don't think my mom's dog has meningitis that can be spread because she has a second dog that is completely fine.
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Old October 3rd, 2010, 08:48 PM
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If it's meningitis, and it's not sterile, it can be passed from one dog to another.
You mean bacterial meningitis, Rgeurts? That makes a lot of sense. I guess a CSF tap is the only way to know for sure like with humans?

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Originally Posted by tillieplay View Post
They chew on leaves, sticks, and they get the occasional mushroom... but I haven't had mushrooms in my yard recently so I don't think it could be that.
In the meantime, I'd look carefully for mushrooms again. One of our dogs digs for them before they're taller than the grass so it's hard to see sometimes.
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Old October 3rd, 2010, 08:56 PM
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Tillieplay, are they up-to-date on their vaccinations? Which ones have they received so far?
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Old October 3rd, 2010, 08:57 PM
tillieplay tillieplay is offline
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Thanks for all of the quick responses. Since it is dark and they will not be going outside again tonight I will search for mushrooms in the morning. Abbey is still lethargic and a little wobbly. I think she's finally falling asleep. They both will be at the vet again tomorrow. If they have gotten a mushroom... will they just recover from being sick if they don't get any more? Can the common mushrooms found in the yard actually cause seizures like this?
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Old October 3rd, 2010, 09:11 PM
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Thanks for all of the quick responses. Since it is dark and they will not be going outside again tonight I will search for mushrooms in the morning. Abbey is still lethargic and a little wobbly. I think she's finally falling asleep. They both will be at the vet again tomorrow. If they have gotten a mushroom... will they just recover from being sick if they don't get any more? Can the common mushrooms found in the yard actually cause seizures like this?
We were told reaction to certain mushrooms can definitely cause seizures (we have a ton in our yard). And also that once the mushrooms are digested there's really not much they can do except monitor for dehydration etc.
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Old October 3rd, 2010, 09:14 PM
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That last paragraph was very informative, I guess I must not have seen the actual seizure maybe? Maybe I'm only seeing the post ictal phase? I have a written description of their behaviors. I just hope the vet diagnoses them before its too late.
This is a pretty good page for describing the types of seizures and the three "ictal" phases. Also, if you can video one of the seizures for the vet, it would really help them to diagnose

http://www.dogseizures.net/
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Old October 3rd, 2010, 09:15 PM
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It sounds like Hypoglycemia to me, have a look here.
http://www.suite101.com/content/hypo...and-cats-a5598

I owned a small Chi" and used to show with a friend who breed and show them. She went close to losing her best male at a show due to this problem, he just went toppling off the table sideways, out of it altogether. If your little dogs are having to cope with hot weather it may explain why it's effecting more than one. Chi' exhibitors here usually have glucose powder with them at shows in case one of their dogs gets like this. They just add water and syringe it very carefully, in small amounts, into the mouth.
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Old October 3rd, 2010, 09:17 PM
tillieplay tillieplay is offline
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We were told reaction to certain mushrooms can definitely cause seizures (we have a ton in our yard). And also that once the mushrooms are digested there's really not much they can do except monitor for dehydration etc.
I've always figured those mushrooms shouldn't be ingested, I guess I didn't think I would have some that causes such a severe symptom like seizures. I will mention this at the vet tomorrow. I will definitely search the yard before I go too. Hopefully the vet gives me some helpful information tomorrow. Thanks
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Old October 3rd, 2010, 09:17 PM
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You mean bacterial meningitis, Rgeurts? That makes a lot of sense. I guess a CSF tap is the only way to know for sure like with humans?


Yep, bacterial, viral, parasite etc. Nookie monster has a "sterile" menigitis which he was most likely born with and it isn't infectious. And his is steroid responsive, so we are lucky with that

They are calling his idiopathic and think he may have an autoimmune disorder that is something similar to Lupus in a person.

The CSF tap is really the only test to diagnose it short of an MRI. And even with the CSF there is nothing that tells them it is meningitis as far as I have been told, only that there are "markers" such as eosiniphil cells that would indicate swelling (for sterile meningitis)
If it's bacterial or viral, I believe that would show in the CSF tap.
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Old October 3rd, 2010, 09:20 PM
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It sounds like Hypoglycemia to me, have a look here.
http://www.suite101.com/content/hypo...and-cats-a5598

I owned a small Chi" and used to show with a friend who breed and show them. She went close to losing her best male at a show due to this problem, he just went toppling off the table sideways, out of it altogether. If your little dogs are having to cope with hot weather it may explain why it's effecting more than one. Chi' exhibitors here usually have glucose powder with them at shows in case one of their dogs gets like this. They just add water and syringe it very carefully, in small amounts, into the mouth.
I mentioned this possibility to the vet. Pixie is only four months old so she goes to the vet often for shots and such. She also has access to food 24/7 as per the vet. I do not know how or why the vet excluded this as a diagnosis, but he did.
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Old October 3rd, 2010, 09:29 PM
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Maybe he has never owned a Chihuahua? LOL. I think you should at least try some sugar or glucose next time it happens. Did the vet even bother to check their blood sugar levels?
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Old October 3rd, 2010, 09:41 PM
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Maybe he has never owned a Chihuahua? LOL. I think you should at least try some sugar or glucose next time it happens. Did the vet even bother to check their blood sugar levels?
Honestly, I'm not sure what the vet checked when he did blood work, but I can tell you he took three vials (which were not very small) and it took two days for all of the results to come in. When filling out the paper work in front of me for the lab, he had almost the whole page checked off. When the results came back he said everything "looked" normal and all of her levels were "fine". My vet is always very thorough in examinations, and I would think multiple things were tested with this blood work. My vet bill for the day was pretty high so hopefully her blood was tested to the limit.
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Old October 3rd, 2010, 09:50 PM
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Our original vet said that puppies that have seizures usually test normal for everything and when that happens they will diagnose idiopathic epilepsy and put them on pheno, which is exactly what happened, except hubby and I didn't accept that diagnosis as they had also told us that puppies don't get epilepsy. So we went from vet to vet until we found one that didn't settle for the "idiopathic, easy way out because they didn't know what was happening" diagnosis. Had we not pushed it and found someone willing to try, we would have most likely lost our baby as he wouldn't have gotten the treatment needed for meningitis. Again, I wish you the best and I hope your vet is attentive and doesn't write something off because the "symptoms" don't fit.
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Old October 4th, 2010, 01:16 AM
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Hmmm have you given your dogs any treats with wheat in them? Sounds like what happened to Quincy and Trya a couple of years ago. Looked like they were stoned. I figured out that the treats they were eating must have had wheat mould, which is like LSD. Shook and ears were back, fell over, wobbles and head bobbed a little bit. Scared the crap out of me.
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Old October 6th, 2010, 05:01 PM
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Hi Tillieplay,
Have they done a CSF tap? Bloodwork and x-rays won't show meningitis. I have a Malamute puppy who is going through the same thing. They did all the blood panels, liver shunt tests (bile acid test), x-rays etc. with everything coming back "normal".

They didn't think ours had meningitis at first as he didn't display the common symptoms such as fever, neck pain etc. In fact, other than the seizures, he was clinically "normal". We went through several vets who all gave us differing answers and opinions as well as advising us to put him down. We finally found one who was willing to help. She did a CSF tap and the results came back with a high number of eosiniphil cells. At first they said it was Neospora and treated him for that. He had another seizure so they did titer testing for Neospora, Crypto and Toxoplasmosis, all negative. Which basically left meningitis. He has since had several other problems which I won't get into here, but he has been on a high dose of prednisone for 2 months and has been seizure free for almost 8 weeks on Monday

Seizures can be caused by alot of things, and in a puppy, it's rarely epilepsy. I hope they figure out what's going on with your 2. Good luck

If it's meningitis, and it's not sterile, it can be passed from one dog to another.

Seizures shouldn't last more than a couple of minutes, but they do. One thing you have to distinguish is the per-ictal phase, the ictal phase and the post-ictal phase. The ictal is the actual seizure where the dog will stiffen up, paddle it's legs etc (with a grand mal). With our baby, the pre-ictal consists of him shaking his head and foaming at the mouth. The ictal is a typical grand mal where he goes completely rigid, paddles his feet, cries, deficates, urinates etc. The post ictal varies and can last any where from a few minutes to a day or more, where the dog is shaky, unbalanced, confused etc. With our baby, the actual ictal phase has lasted as long as 3 and a half minutes. The longer the seizure, the more dangerous it becomes.
HI! I was wondering if your dog had any other symptoms besides seizures for the meningitis?

I took Pixie to the vet Monday to get her vaccination. She had another seizure Monday night. She has no other health issues and is completely healthy otherwise. I called the vet yesterday morning and he has given her a prescription for Phenobarbital. This was his explanation: All of her blood work came back normal. The only way to diagnose unforeseen disease is further, possible painful, testing. He said the Pheno will help curb how often she has seizures whether it is epilepsy or not. Since her seizures are the only problem she's having right now she'll be fine. If other symptoms show up later on he'll re-diagnose her.
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Old October 6th, 2010, 05:25 PM
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HI! I was wondering if your dog had any other symptoms besides seizures for the meningitis?

I took Pixie to the vet Monday to get her vaccination. She had another seizure Monday night. She has no other health issues and is completely healthy otherwise. I called the vet yesterday morning and he has given her a prescription for Phenobarbital. This was his explanation: All of her blood work came back normal. The only way to diagnose unforeseen disease is further, possible painful, testing. He said the Pheno will help curb how often she has seizures whether it is epilepsy or not. Since her seizures are the only problem she's having right now she'll be fine. If other symptoms show up later on he'll re-diagnose her.
I'm very sorry to hear that tillieplay. He is doing exactly what the first few vets did to us. It's what I was talking about before. Instead of trying to figure out what's wrong, they just push them onto pheno. Our puppy had no clinical symptoms of meningitis whatsoever. Clinically, he was a perfectly happy puppy (except he had diahhrea alot ), which is what confused our vet. he didn't have a raised white cell count, he didn't have a fever or painful joints etc. The painful tests your vet is talking about are most likely blood tests and a CSF tap. Our puppy came through all of them with no problems at all.

One thing our vet did tell us is that alot of vets will look at the bloodwork, especially where the liver is concerned (the liver is a huge culprit for seizures in a puppy). She said the enzymes come back as not showing elevated in the blood so they assume all is well, but if your pup has a liver shunt and the liver is not working properly, the enzymes wouldn't be showing as elevated in the blood because the liver "isn't" working properly. The first test I would request is an Bile Acid test. It isn't painful. You basically have to fast the pup for 12 hours, they draw blood, then feed and draw blood again. if that comes back normal then the CFS tap is a good test. It's the only test that came back abnormal. If your pup has been exposed to parasites like neospora, toxo or crypto, there will be indicators in the CSF. The same with meningitis.

Good luck and I hope everything works out. Please let me know how your baby is doing
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Old October 6th, 2010, 05:30 PM
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One thing I should mention is the cost. All the tests do not come cheap, at all. Most people probably wouldn't have spent what we have (and continue as ours seems to have an autoimmune disorder of some type which could be the cause of the meningits and encephalitis). We have spent just over $11,000 to this point

Alot of people do opt for the pheno to control the seizures, and if that's all you can afford to do, you just do the best you can
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Old October 6th, 2010, 05:32 PM
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Oh... I just read you had her vaccinated the same day. Ours went 5 weeks without a seizure and was doing great! We took him in for his last set of vaccines+rabies and he seizured the next night

Hubby and I have often wondered if that may have had something to do with it. I have read several articles pertaining to vaccines and seizures. For some dogs, they seem to go hand in hand. Maybe ask your vet about that as well. Ours thinks it's just coincidence
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Old October 6th, 2010, 06:09 PM
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He took two large viles of blood when I first brought her in last week and ran all the tests he could with that. It cost me a few hundred dollars. My mom's dog has reoccurring seizures. The vet said that she has seizures too often and has stopped her vaccinations. I guess since mine just started with seizures and it was the last of her distemper he wanted to give it to her.
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Old October 6th, 2010, 06:10 PM
tillieplay tillieplay is offline
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Originally Posted by Rgeurts View Post
One thing I should mention is the cost. All the tests do not come cheap, at all. Most people probably wouldn't have spent what we have (and continue as ours seems to have an autoimmune disorder of some type which could be the cause of the meningits and encephalitis). We have spent just over $11,000 to this point

Alot of people do opt for the pheno to control the seizures, and if that's all you can afford to do, you just do the best you can
my mom's dog has meningitis and encephalitis as well! she is now on steroids and she has been doing a lot better
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Old October 6th, 2010, 06:17 PM
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Rgeurts Rgeurts is offline
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my mom's dog has meningitis and encephalitis as well! she is now on steroids and she has been doing a lot better
Ours is doing great on the prednisone (except for tummy troubles and lowered immunity). He has been seizure free for a little over 8 weeks now
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"Obey my dog!" - Mugatu

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"Dogs are not our whole life, but they make our lives whole" - Ok... whoever said this has never had a sick or special needs baby. They ARE our whole life!

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Old October 6th, 2010, 06:20 PM
tillieplay tillieplay is offline
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I'm almost positive that is what she's on. She goes for a while not having any seizures, but when she has a seizure she usually has them off and on for a couple of days before she seizure free for awhile again.
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Old October 6th, 2010, 06:31 PM
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Rgeurts Rgeurts is offline
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I'm almost positive that is what she's on. She goes for a while not having any seizures, but when she has a seizure she usually has them off and on for a couple of days before she seizure free for awhile again.

The vet that originally did the CSF tap and diagnose the meningits/encephalitis put him on prednisone, but did not know how to treat meningitis so she had him on a very high dose for 2 weeks, then dropped him to a very low dose for 3 weeks. He had another seizure at the end of the low dose period. She apologized and said she had never dealt with meningitis and wasn't aware they need to be on pred long term. We decided to take him to a specialist who said you have to start on a very high dose then lower it by about 25% every couple of weeks until they are on the lowest possible dose to control the seizures, then they should remain on the steroids for a minimum of 6-8 months. Some dogs with steroid responsive meningitis have to remain on a low dose for life. Were hoping nookie monster isn't one of those dogs

I would say if your moms dog is still having seizures on the pred, she may not be on the right dose. The specialist told us that dogs are all different and it's really just trial and error with the dosing. She said as we're lowering it, he may have a seizure. And if he does, she will boost it back up a bit for a longer period then start lowering again.
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"Obey my dog!" - Mugatu

"Who can believe that there is no soul behind those luminous eyes!" ~ Theophile Gautier


"Dogs are not our whole life, but they make our lives whole" - Ok... whoever said this has never had a sick or special needs baby. They ARE our whole life!

R.I.P. my sweet, handsome Thorin. You are missed dearly Dec. 25, 1999 - Mar. 4, 2012
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  #30  
Old October 6th, 2010, 06:55 PM
tillieplay tillieplay is offline
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It sounds like you received the same information we did as far as dosing goes, however, out vet didn't want to get our hopes up and said that most dogs with meningitis and encephalitis do stay on meds for life otherwise they just deteriorate. My mom has been playing with the doses. Before Jingles was diagnosed she had actually lost her vision in her left eye and started walking in circles continuously due to disorientation. We know that she will most likely be on the steroids for life, because at first, Jingles was on the steroids for quite a few months and doing excellent so we weened her off, only to have her start having seizures again and going in circles. So if meds is all she needs we are hopeful she'll be fine. She actually got her sight back within a couple of days of starting the steroids.
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