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My dog has been on phenobarbital for 6 years.. only had

My dog has been...

My dog has been on phenobarbital for 6 years.. only had seizures when he was 1yr old and absolutely nothing since. He often misses his dose by not eating and has had no reactions. Is it safe to start to wean him off after all these years with no seizures? He also has very very low thyroid (hypo) which was diagnosed about 8 montsafter his early year seizures.. he takes meds for that. Can it be the low thyroid caused the seizures and he doesn’t need the pheno now that he is on thyroid meds?

Veterinarian's Assistant: I'll do all I can to help. Seizures always look scary. Let's get you talking to the Veterinarian. What is the dog's name?

Cooper

Veterinarian's Assistant: Is there anything else the Veterinarian should be aware of about Cooper?

No... he’s a golden doodle

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Answered in 5 minutes by:
3/28/2018
Dr. Bruce
Dr. Bruce, Veterinarian
Category: Dog Veterinary
Satisfied Customers: 20,719
Experience: 15 years of experience as a small animal veterinarian
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Hello, I'm Dr. Bruce. I have over 17 years of experience as a veterinarian and I'd like to help. Please give me a moment to review your concerns.

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Thank you for your question about this situation with Cooper. This is one of those situations where one of the possibilities that I throw out to owners is - could he be benefiting greatly from the phenobarbital and the frequency of seizures is so infrequent that you just never see one now? If you're out of the house for a few hours, could he have had one at some point where it was just never seen / realized? That is the unknown in a lot of situations. But, in saying that, could he truly have been seizure free for this entire time? If he has, it would be a situation where an owner could consider weaning them off the phenobarbital. There is no way to know until it is tried. IF he gets weaned off and then obvious seizures are happening, then the trial has failed and he needs to be put back on them.

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Customer reply replied 4 months ago
He has rarely been alone.. I worked from home since I got him and am now retired.. at best he has been alone for no more than 8 hours on less than 5 ocassions over the past 6 years.. and if I am out, my husband is home.. so he pretty much has someone with him or by him almost all the time ( he’s a golden doodle so, not a loner and mostly under foot or in eye shot all the time
Customer reply replied 4 months ago
If I want to wean him off... do I start with 1/4 a pill (he gets 4 a day) less, for a couple of weeks, then 1/2 less for a coup please of weeks etc.. till he is down to 1/2 pill, then off?
Customer reply replied 4 months ago
0
Customer reply replied 4 months ago
Any suggestions on the rate to wean him off?
Customer reply replied 4 months ago
Did you get my additional question?

Sorry for my delay. Him being observed that much of the time makes an unseen seizure event being pretty unlikely. As far as weaning him off, there is no real set protocol. What could be done (and you need to make sure your vet is on board with this), is to go to 1/2 of the dosing he's on now for a couple weeks, then 1/2 of that the next couple and then stop. It will bring his levels down and ease his dependence on them.

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Customer reply replied 4 months ago
Great! I will confirm with my vet. I had heard, perhaps erroneously, that extremely low thyroid could cause seizures..so I am hoping that may have been the initial cause. I will follow up and work to wean him off the pheno.

Hypothyroidism can have issues on the body and it could make a dog be more at risk for breakthrough seizures if it isn't managed well. Always consult with your vet about what you're thinking of doing and get their opinion too. They are doing the long term management of the case and they want to make sure all is going as it should. I'm hoping for the best for Cooper!

Dr. Bruce
Dr. Bruce, Veterinarian
Category: Dog Veterinary
Satisfied Customers: 20,719
Experience: 15 years of experience as a small animal veterinarian
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