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Dr. Bruce
Dr. Bruce, Veterinarian
Category: Dog Veterinary
Satisfied Customers: 17842
Experience:  15 years of experience as a small animal veterinarian
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He is 15 y/o had 3 cluster grand mal seizures 3 days ago ..

Customer Question

he is 15 y/o ***** ***** had 3 cluster grand mal seizures 3 days ago .. first ever .. they suspect brain tumor vet put him on pheno. he had some slight hind leg weakness prior to seizure but now he totally collapses while walking most of the time. does it subside when his body adjusts to the meds?
JA: I'm sorry to hear that. This sounds like it might be serious. I'll let the Veterinarian know what's going on ASAP. Is there anything else important you think the Veterinarian should know about russell?
Customer: he had very high lymphocytes for about 7 years ... oddly they returned to normal about 2 years about .. baffled our vet who called him a super dog! all labs were normal when we brought him to the hospital wednesday evening upon his seizures ...
Submitted: 1 month ago.
Category: Dog Veterinary
Customer: replied 1 month ago.
also wondering what else I can do to calm him. he seems to be more anxious that normal and wants to be near me (almost on top of me constantly) .. very unusual for him. I'm guessing it's probably the experience he went through. I feel so badly for him.
Expert:  Dr. Bruce replied 1 month ago.

Hi. My name is***** I'm sorry to hear about this guy's situation. So prior to 3 days ago, he never had a single seizure? Is he able to eat and drink at this time?

Customer: replied 1 month ago.
he's never had a seizure prior other than the weird lymphocyte issue extremely healthy just had physical in july. he is eating and drinking fine. urinating and having bowel movements not barking or anything, not whining to go out ...
Customer: replied 1 month ago.
he can't seem to settle down unless laying on top of me or near me ... he's usually fine in his bed where he sleeps. I'm real concerned of the hind leg weakness ... they totally give out ... especially approx. 2 hours after meds. He had a loading dose Thursday morning and has been on oral dose since Friday morning .. so I know it's been a short time ... its just that he was in such good muscle shape (running like a pup just a week ago).
Expert:  Dr. Bruce replied 1 month ago.

That is good that he's eating and drinking fine. The concern that I have here is what is the cause of these seizures for an older guy like him. Could his current hind leg weakness be due to the phenobarbital that he's on? IF they are doing large dose, it can definitely make them ataxic / wobbly / weak in their rear legs. If they truly gave a loading dose (I give mine IV), then it would be extremely suspect for his current behavior. Could the situation be due to his having a brain lesion / tumor that is causing these clinical signs? This is where some concern has to be too. His current being restless and such, that may be something that improves with time or doesn't. Time is going to be the ultimate tell tale factor here. The loading doses of phenobarbital can absolutely make them "off" for up to a week I've seen as their body adjusts to it.

Customer: replied 1 month ago.
Ok. Suggestions in meantime while I wait ? He had an invisible fence but of course we are not using currently since he doesn't seem to know he's boundaries although he knew them for 15 years. I don't want him to get zapped. I'm walking him several times a day.Trying to comfort him Much as possible. Is that all I can do ?
Expert:  Dr. Bruce replied 1 month ago.

Giving him time and keeping him in a location / area where he can't hurt himself is the best you can do. Watch stairs and being up on things as I wouldn't want him to slip / stumble and fall off them. As he gets more adjusted to the medication in his system, this should hopefully improve.

Customer: replied 1 month ago.
Ok. Thank you.
Expert:  Dr. Bruce replied 1 month ago.

I'm glad to help and hope or the best for this guy. Let him rest.

Customer: replied 1 month ago.
Will do. Thanks
Expert:  Dr. Bruce replied 1 month ago.

No problem. Take care.

Customer: replied 1 month ago.
Another question. He hasn't barked or made a sound since he came home yesterday. Is that normal. He used to whine or bark to go out. Like when he needed to go to the bathroom.
Expert:  Dr. Bruce replied 1 month ago.

It wouldn't be totally abnormal. The loading dose of the phenobarbital can definitely make them "off". I wouldn't be overly worried with the not making a sound. Hopefully again over the next few days he's getting more and more back to his normal self.

Customer: replied 1 month ago.
Ok. Thank you.
Expert:  Dr. Bruce replied 1 month ago.

Absolutely no problem!

Customer: replied 1 month ago.
His hind legs seems much weaker in the morning when he can hardly walk. Then after an hour or so he seems to be able to walk a bit better. But initially he can't even stand since hindlegs have no muscle strength it seems .... worse from over night.Also it seems his head tremors --- I call them that because he tremors from his head into only his mid back. Not his hindlegs at all or back area. These come it seems about a few times a day --- he's alert but wants to just lay on me. Maybe worse right before his next dose.
Expert:  Dr. Bruce replied 1 month ago.

As far as the hind leg weakness, it could be some arthritis. Sometimes after sleeping at night, they can be stiffer in the morning due to the limbs being in a fixed position longer. Could it also be due to the medication? That is still a possibility.

Customer: replied 1 month ago.
Ok because he was walking around a bit better about 30 mins ago. I gave his morning dose of 32.4mg of pheno at 7:45am. It's 9:45 now and it's like he can't move his back legs again at all.
Expert:  Dr. Bruce replied 1 month ago.

I would be suspicious then that it is his body still getting used to the phenobarbital if it is happening after the dosing of it. If it is, then with time and his body getting more used t it, then it should improve / resolve.

Customer: replied 1 month ago.
Since I last texted my question he has another upper body/head tremor. They seem to be worse in that more severe and frequent since his seizure maybe but definitely since pheno Could it be a side effect of the drug making them worse ?
Expert:  Dr. Bruce replied 1 month ago.

It could be a side effect of the phenobarbital. Or, it could be due to the underlying cause of the seizure itself. An older dog that starts to have seizures has to have suspicion for a brain lesion and that can have some other subtle clinical signs due to it besides the seizures themselves.

Customer: replied 1 month ago.
Ok.
Expert:  Dr. Bruce replied 1 month ago.

I'm hoping for he best for him!

Customer: replied 1 month ago.
Thank you.
Expert:  Dr. Bruce replied 1 month ago.

Absolutely no problem! Time I think is going to be the best thing for him to get used to the phenobarbital.

Customer: replied 1 month ago.
I'm hoping so. This is awful to watch. He was so active just 6 days ago. Like a different dog now.
Expert:  Dr. Bruce replied 1 month ago.

I know it is hard to see him like this, but I'm going to have hope again for the next week or so to have some improvement if all this is due to the loading dose of the phenobarbital.

Customer: replied 1 month ago.
Thanks again
Expert:  Dr. Bruce replied 1 month ago.

Again, no problem.

Customer: replied 1 month ago.
Good morning. Is it unusual for him to not whine, cry or bark at all since his seizure episode last Wednesday night? He was a pretty active ***** ***** at 15 y/o prior to this. I spoke to my vet yesterday and she will see him today .... she suspects maybe lymphoma also his labs were normal at ER intake .... he had high extremely high lymphocytes for about 5-6 running. They went back to normal about 2 years ago.
Expert:  Dr. Bruce replied 1 month ago.

His "abnormal" behavior now is going to be question as to if it is due to the medication or due to what caused the seizure. There in is the unknown. With the high lymphocyte count, lymphoma is on the list of suspicions along with other types of brain tumors. I wouldn't overly focus on it if he's otherwise eating well, drinking well and not having seizures. Time is key here.

Customer: replied 1 month ago.
He went to our vet today and she said he looks "doped" from pheno and said the dose is too high for his size. She cut dose in half which I will start tonight and added prednisone 5 mg for 7 days for underlying cause. Hoping things improve
Expert:  Dr. Bruce replied 1 month ago.

Sounds like a plan is in place to help correct his situation. Hopefully that and time are going to have positive effects on him!

Customer: replied 1 month ago.
He's about 30% better walking and alertness. However I'm seeing some OCD type behaviors when he goes out ... he walked up and down in a 20' after on our driveway/sidewalk ... for over 3 hours straight. Didn't deviate. Only stopped to rest He walked slowly but no interest in going elsewhere. He has the whole yard and before yesterday went right onto grass and walked/or tried to.
Expert:  Dr. Bruce replied 1 month ago.

That is good that there has been that 30% improvement with the walking and alertness. How much more will things improve as he gets used to the medication? That is the unknown and the big hope. The OCD issue? Is that the medication or part of why he had a seizure?

Customer: replied 1 month ago.
I'm not sure. Was hoping you had some answers
Expert:  Dr. Bruce replied 1 month ago.

Time is going to be the biggest answer here. Unfortunately that is the case.

Customer: replied 1 month ago.
Ok thanks
Expert:  Dr. Bruce replied 1 month ago.

No problem.

Customer: replied 1 month ago.
Since he drags his right foot .. is has begun to bleed. How do I prevent it from getting infected ?
Expert:  Dr. Bruce replied 1 month ago.

You could put a sock loosely on that foot when he is outside where it can be drug on harder surfaces. Keeping it uncovered when inside is needed as the last thing that can be done is to have it on for too long and it cause a circulation issue.

Customer: replied 1 month ago.
Thanks ! I'm heading out now and I'll get one !
Expert:  Dr. Bruce replied 1 month ago.

Hopefully it will help to protect that paw while he improves with his ambulation.

Expert:  Dr. Bruce replied 1 month ago.
Hi,
I'm just following up on our conversation about your pet. How is everything going?
Dr. Bruce
Customer: replied 1 month ago.
He's same as yesterday.
Expert:  Dr. Bruce replied 1 month ago.

This most likely be a sudden improvement in a day or so. IT would hopefully be something that is improving over the course of a week or two.

Customer: replied 1 month ago.
Thanks. We are very hopeful. I do notice his right hindleg is dragging at times. The other three have greatly improved. This leg was dragging a few days prior to the seizure .... may a key in the seizure activity ... ?
Expert:  Dr. Bruce replied 1 month ago.

Is there a brain tumor that is the cause of the seizure and this is also affecting his gait? This is the unknown. Hopefully time allows him to continue to improve!

Customer: replied 1 month ago.
Ok that does seem to be the big question. We see his vet this weekend. Hopefully more answers
Expert:  Dr. Bruce replied 1 month ago.

To rule out the brain tumor, a CT / MRI scan is typically the diagnostic test needed for that. I'm hoping for the best for him.

Customer: replied 1 month ago.
but at his age they said not in his best interests to have anesthesia
Expert:  Dr. Bruce replied 1 month ago.

Looking at the risks with certain procedures / tests has to be done. The other real question is if there was a brain tumor, would surgery or chemotherapy be something that would be pursued.