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Dr. B.
Dr. B., Veterinarian
Category: Dog Veterinary
Satisfied Customers: 17122
Experience:  Hello, I am a small animal veterinarian and am happy to discuss any concerns & questions you have on any species.
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My puppy, now 9 months, has been having neurological

Customer Question

My puppy , now 9 months, has been having neurological episodes since we brought her home at 10 weeks. Her head bobs and she becomes catatonic for a few minutes not responding to me at all. My vet was confused because normally seizures don't start this young. He waited a very long time to take action. She had a seizure after being home for 3/4 weeks after she received her shots. He thought this was a reaction to the rabies shot, so just decided to treat her profilactically, before any other shots. I've ended up at the 24 hour hospital in the middle of the night when an episode came on all of a sudden. We were told if they happen more than 3 in a week then she would need treatment. She is now on phenobarbital 2 pills morning and 2 at night. She is depressed, lethargic and not the happy puppy I thought I was getting. I love her and would never give her back. She does spontaneously attack small children especially my youngest son (11). She constantly growls and shows her teeth to him. She has gone after him just never broke the skin. She has had tons of tests and s spinal tap which didn't show anything. It was determined to be seizures. Could this be some other neurological disorder? They say that brain tumors don't happen this young but can that be ruled out? Will she come out of this depression once used to the medication? She hides under the bed now. Sometimes her tummy is warm even without a seizure. I'm just so sad and wonder if this could be something more severe?
Submitted: 4 months ago.
Category: Dog Veterinary
Expert:  Dr. B. replied 4 months ago.

Hello & welcome, I am Dr. B, a licensed veterinarian and I would like to help you with today. I do apologize that your question was not answered before. Different experts come online at various times; I just came online, read about your wee one’s situation, and wanted to help.

Based on her signs, we have two main concerns for what is very much a neurological condition. We can see odd behaviors and seizures with liver shunts (a birth defect where the liver doesn't properly filter toxins from the blood) and we can also see this with brain lesions. Tumors are possible, even if they are less common in young animals. Otherwise, we can see inflammation, infections (viral, bacterial, protozoal), abscesses, cysts, and even birth based malformations of the brain induce signs of this nature. As well, if Sienna has any issue with her intracranial pressure (the pressure within her skull on her brain), this too can cause these kinds of signs.

Now the depression since she started the Phenobarbital is likely temporary since the drug can cause sedation and make them feel a bit odd until they gain a bit of tolerance to it. Of course, those signs could continue is any of the above are present and their progression is triggering those signs.

In any case, while you didn't list all her tests, I suspect she hasn't had an MRI. If she hasn't, that would be the next step here since it would let them see the brain itself and that is our mainstay for ruling out tumors but also checking for all of those above concerns I noted. (expect liver shunts, but I would have hoped they have checked bloods to rule that out already). And that would be the best option to get to the root of this and determine if it is something we can better address for her to give her a good quality of life.

Kind regards,

Dr. B.

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