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27 March 2009 @ 10:12 am
boston terriers, epilepsy  

Hi, I just posted and joined this community for the first time the other day. I was hoping everyone could maybe give me some input on some upsetting news I got on my boston terrier, Dino yesterday. Dino had a seizure about a month and a half ago.....he had just had his vaccinations and check-up from the vet that same week. I called the vet and he said that he thought that he definitely had epilepsy, because the only other things that could cause seizures were cancer and liver disease, and that since Dino is only 21/2 he is too young to have those problems. My husband and I were unwilling to accept this, so we researched it extensively online....we learned that all of the yearly vaccinations they give them can build-up in their system and cause seizures, that low blood sugar can cause seizures and so can vitamin deficiency. So we changed Dino's dog food to a more high-end brand, we started putting a little maple syrup on his dog food in case he had low blood sugar and started giving him b12 vitamins. For the past month and a half he has been completely seizure free and we had thought that maybe we had "cured" him. Well 2 days ago he had another seizure. I took him back to the vet who did nothing but give him a basic physical exam and told me that he looked extremely healthy and that he thinks that it must be epilepsy causing the seizures. I asked him if we could do blood work to confirm it and he said it was not necessary because the blood work would only rule out cancer, liver disease and toxins..which he didn't think that Dino had since he was so healthy. He told us that there is absolutely nothing that we can do, just to keep track of how often he has seizures and he wouldn't recommend medication unless he starts getting seizures more than 3 times a week. It's so scary and stressful to se e my dog suffer and have seizures.

Has any of your boston terriers ever had seizures? Does anyone have any experience with dogs and epilepsy? I really, really appreciate your input. I also apologize that this post was so very long. To lighten things up I included a picture of Dino in his halloween costume last year.
stealthysasha on March 27th, 2009 03:34 pm (UTC)
I think a lot of us unfortunately have experience with this. Dave started having very mild seizures around his 1st birthday. He's almost 5 now and he's been on potassium bromide for about 4 years. We weaned him off when he was about 3 to see if the epilepsy was something he grew out of, but he started having them again after a month off the medicine. Dave's case is pretty mild and he does great on medicine, so it's really not affected his quality of life at all. He's been seizure free since last fall when we had to make some adjustments. He gained a bit of weight due to excess table scraps and needed a higher dose until we got him back down to his ideal weight.

I know it's pretty scary to watch, but it really does look worse than it is (in most cases). You've got a couple options for medication, or you can do the wait and see approach, which our vet recommends unless the seizures are less than 30 days apart or are more severe when they happen. Paying attention to diet is also a great thing to do. It's amazing what the right kind of diet can do to help all sorts of health issues.
Nancie: Banjoeicnan on March 27th, 2009 03:35 pm (UTC)
I don't really know anything about epilepsy but I would suggest going to another vet for a second opinion. It seems really odd that your vet wouldn't draw blood especially after you requested it. It's not like you refused it or said do minimal tests to avoid extra expenses.
Susanbusysuzy on March 27th, 2009 03:53 pm (UTC)
First of all, Dino is adorable in his Halloween costume.
I agree that maybe Dino should get a complete blood work-up...just because it's not a bad thing to do! (good'd think your vet would at least take your money. I know mine does!).

My Nina has seizures, too. Very occasional. Like, maybe 3-4 times a year. Her seizures are mild and I think, scarier to watch more than anything else. Pay attention to frequency and severity (keep a journal). I think get that blood work and, possibly try a new vet.
Kieranwalklikethunder on March 27th, 2009 06:14 pm (UTC)
man, my vet would never be like that- it's the reason i love them. if i say "please rule all these things out so we know 100% for sure" they are going to do it.

i never had a boston with epilepsy, but i grew up with a keeshond that was EXTREMELY epileptic- he had 60-90 second long seizures the entire time my dad owned him. we a family we all knew how to deal with them when they happened, but i can't say it was easy. we all knew what it looked like when he was about to have one- he would always pee all over himself- and was often so disoriented afterward it was really difficult to direct him to his outside caged in area to rest.

my dad payed over 15,000 dollars worth of meds (5 different meds, three times a day). he had a different gate because of the brain damage it caused.
ben lived a good life though- my dad loved him so much- they would always cuddle. he ended up passing naturally at about age 12.
Sarah Raesarahrae on March 27th, 2009 07:00 pm (UTC)
Most vets will tell you that seizures are still in control if they are more than 30 days apart. That once they start having them more frequently than that, they should be treated with medicine.
We changed our dogs food and it's helped a bit and we're also cautious to keep him calm during the week surrounding a full moon (which sounds hippie crazy, but bear with me). After charting him when they started around 2-2.5 yrs of age, that's when they occurred 8/10 times.

He's had them for several years now but we've been able to slow his seizure rate down to zero and has been seizure free for 6 months and counting.
dinosmom on March 27th, 2009 07:35 pm (UTC)
Thank you everyone, I really appreciate all of your input and advice. I think I am going to try a new vet and get bloodwork done. That was also good advice to chart when he has his seizures, the full moon thing was interesting sarahrae, and I definitely won't discount it! I feel very thankful and blessed to be part of such a supportive community. Thanks again!
Penny Tentiary: petunia!mouthfullofdust on March 27th, 2009 08:04 pm (UTC)
Petunia has epilepsy, and that is about the age she started having seizures. It is scary to see them go through that. She is on phenobarbital. She takes two pills a day and has blood work every 6 months to keep an eye on everything, and is doing really well. She has only had one seizure since starting the medication several years ago (She's 7 now). Epilepsy isn't something they get over, but with medication it can be maintained and your dog can live a happy and healthy life.
know all your enemieskelliee on March 28th, 2009 01:34 am (UTC)
you should also join! they have a lot of knowledgeable people over there... many have experience with seizures.
C.a.t.h.i.e: Boston Hearts_simplyinlove on March 30th, 2009 03:04 am (UTC)
Oh wow, I remember myself being in this place a little more than a year ago. Violet has had 2 seizures, knock on wood. We, however, contribute the seizures to stress. She first got into ibuprofen and we rushed her to the vet where they induced vomiting and started her on 48 hour IV to flush out any that had possibly gone to her kidneys. I honestly don't think she had gotten any into her system but it was a precaution. So we had to keep her pretty still for awhile to make sure her kidneys were functioning and about a week later, she woke us up around 3am with a seizure. My vet did blood work and there was absolutely nothing wrong with her...she just said that since they are such hyper dogs and the fact that she hadn't been able to run around or go out for walks and being scared from the vets might've really upset her and that was her way of releasing her stress. Well, then this past october, she jumped on our kitchen table and ate my fiance's change...I know, my baby is weird. So, since she swallowed $1.52, we had to surgically remove the money. Once again, she couldn't do much at all this time because of her stitches...and again about a week later, she had another seizure. Our vet obviously didn't want to put her on any meds since it seemed to be just a stress issue. I would definitely get a 2nd opinion. It's honestly so much worse to watch than it is for them and I have had my fair share of panicky posts in this community and everyone was so great is reassuring me that my Violet was okay. Just make sure that you clear the way of where they are so they don't their head or get hurt. I had asked my vet about epilepsy and she had mentioned that we would most likely have seen symptoms and seizures when she was about 4-6 months (this all happened when Violet was 3, going on 4) and that she was too old to now be developing Epilepsy. As I stated, I would definitely get blood work done. It may show some sort of electrolight imbalance that could be associated with the seizure and that was one other reason our vet did the bloodwork when she had her first seizure. Sorry for my long post but I remember how upset I was when this happened to Violet. I hate watching it and it's awful. Let us know how everything goes!!

PS. Dino is TOO cute!
ce_soir on April 1st, 2009 05:29 am (UTC)
one of my ex boyfriends had a 15 year old cairn terrier(rascal) that had epilepsy. there was nothing they could do besides try to comfort him when he was having one. also, try blocking off stairs you have in the house if he is home while you aren't there. rascal had a seizure and fell down a flight of stairs.