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Doc Sara
Doc Sara, Veterinarian
Category: Dog Veterinary
Satisfied Customers: 952
Experience:  I am a dog and cat veterinarian with a lifetime of experience in our family veterinary hospital.
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My 10 year old female schnauzer just had 2 seizures in the

Customer Question

My 10 year old female schnauzer just had 2 seizures in the past 7 days. Her blood work up was perfect and she is not overweight. never dealt with this before and our family is distraught over this. Don't know a thing about seizures in schnauzers.Is it old age and can it be controlled? Please help!
Submitted: 1 year ago.
Category: Dog Veterinary
Expert:  Doc Sara replied 1 year ago.

Hi there, I'm Dr. Sara. I'm a licensed veterinarian who works exclusively with dogs and cats. I'm so sorry to hear that you're having this difficult time with your pup - what is her name? Please allow me a few moments to type up my thoughts for you.

~Dr. Sara

Expert:  Doc Sara replied 1 year ago.

Thanks for your patience - I type fast but I say a lot, haha :)

In older dogs who have a new onset of seizures, I typically do run full blood work as your vet did to look for metabolic issues like hypoglycemia, liver failure, kidney disease, or other abnormalities that can explain seizures. Unfortunately, when blood work is all normal, that indicates that this is a primary "brain" issue. In people, we head straight in for a CT or MRI scan, a spinal tap, blood cultures, and who knows what other diagnostics to find the reason. All of the above can be done in pets, but unfortunately it's quite expensive. What the actual problem is inside that central nervous system, we won't know without more diagnostics. However, in an older pet I become much more concerned that it's something that we can't fix, like a brain tumor or a degenerative neurologic disease. We always hope that the first seizure will be the only one, but if they do come again, then we have to consider either pushing forward with the above-mentioned diagnostics at a specialty hospital or using medication to control the seizures for as long as possible and get them the greatest quality of life that we can. Most veterinarians have similar criteria for when to start a pet on medications. I recommend anti-seizure medications for my patients if they have a cluster event (which is more than one seizure in a 24 hour period), if they are having more than one seizure a month, or if the seizures are particularly long or severe. Historically most veterinarians have started with either phenobarbital or potassium bromide as their first line of medication, but there are a lot of newer human medications now becoming affordable as they become generic - like Keppra, zonisamide, or gabapentin. I base my choice on how fast I need the drug to be active (as drugs like phenobarbital can take a few weeks to reach therapeutic levels), how bad the seizures are, and any other heath concerns the dog may have. Most of the seizure medications can make a pet sleepy initially, but this improves in a week or two. Our ultimate goal is to keep them seizure free or at least having less than one seizure a month and be acting normally in every other way. Pheno and potassium bromide in particular can cause an increase in appetite and an increase in thirst, which is annoying enough for us to consider using other drugs instead. Which medication your vet chooses will be based on their own experience and your pet's individual needs. Each one is dose differently in terms of frequency, but as a general rule of thumb, these are twice a day medications. Unfortunately, if she has a progressive problem like a brain tumor, there will come a point where the medications can no longer control the seizures. However, the medications can keep her comfortable until it gets to that point.

I hope that this helps - please let me know what questions I can answer for you

~Dr. Sara

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