Seizures in Dog!!

Updated on January 14, 2013
D.S. asks from Rutherford, NJ
10 answers

My golden retriever is 10 years old and has had seizure for about 5 years now. They say he is epileptic. The seizures used to be very infrequent, maybe one a year, and for the past year they are much more. We have gone from 1 a month to 1 a week, and now 1 every few days. He was on Phenobarbital alone, and then the vet added Potassium Bromide, they got worse. Two weeks ago the vet sent us to a neurologist as a last ditch effort so $750.00 dollars later he is now on 16 pills a day!!!!!! He had a seizure last Friday, this Friday, and just had another one a few minutes ago. It is HELL to watch and see him go through this. The vet keeps telling us we have to be patient, and give the new meds time. Meanwhile, he can barely walk, he can't make steps any longer because his back legs are so weak, (side effect from meds) I feel he is suffering and has minimal quality of life, yet the vet makes us feel guilty for considering putting him down. We sit here every night and watch his every move, fearing another seizure. We will continue to do whatever we need to for the dog, but I am not confident that the vet is ever going to tell us when it is time to call it quits!!! So my question is. How much longer do we do this?? Or would you continue to do this?? We have seen 2 vets and one neurologist and they all say it isn't hurting him, but I can't see how it isn't!! Do they just want our money or is this something we should continue to do. He is a huge part of our family, however I do not want to keep him alive for us, I do not want him to suffer. My other golden had cancer, so there was no questioning our decision, but this is much harder. It seems we will have to make the call, and I am not sure just when enough is enough. Has anyone else experienced this?? And how did you handle it??

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answers from Baton Rouge on

It may not be painful to him, but I don't see his quality of life as very good. If it were my dog, would not continue. I would put him down.

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answers from Detroit on

I am very sorry you are going through this. I would wonder if something changed that resulted in his seizures becoming more frequent. You may have seen a neurologist, but what other diagnostics were done? Any imaging, like a CT scan or MRI? It's possible that he's been epileptic since 5 years old (the age fits - they are usually between 1 and 5) but increased frequency of seizures in a pet his age may indicate something else - i.e. a brain tumor.

Many antiseizure meds can cause some temporary sedation and other side effects as their body adjusts to them - by temporary, I mean 2 to 3 weeks, sometimes less. The thing is, you are the only one who can decide when to call it quits - your vet can guide you, he/she can give you their honest opinion, but in the end, it's up to you and not your vet to tell you exactly what you should do. I personally never try to make people feel guilty over such a decision - I do try to make them aware of their options and what to expect and how their pet might do, but in the end, they are the ones who know their pet best and should know how much they can handle. I have euthanized pets diagnosed with diabetes because it's such a challenge to manage, and the owners are not capable (for one reason or another) or up to the task of taking it on. I have euthanized cats with conditions that would require medicating them with pills the rest of their life because there is no way the owner is going to be able to get a pill into the cat every day. In instances like these, it comes down to what is best for the pet, and it's always the owner's call. Far better that the pet be put down and not be made to suffer, than have to live with a disease that is not being controlled.

Everyone has a different bottom line - I find it helpful to look at factors like eating/appetite, being able to drink and stay hydrated, being able to get around without pain or difficulty, being able to keep themselves clean, not being in pain, or having breathing/respiratory troubles. If you feel that his quality of life right now is not what it should be, make the choice to euthanize him. If it means taking him elsewhere and making it clear that this is what you want and you don't want any discussion of other "options", let them know. I've been on the receiving end of these cases many times, and as long as it is clear that it's about what is best for the pet, and not just about making things more convenient for the owner (such as, they are moving and don't want to keep the dog, or the cat is urinating outside the litter box and they don't want to do anything else about it), I will support their decision and honor their request.

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answers from Miami on


The vet has NO right to try to guilt you into continuing with this. Your poor dog. He hurts all over after these seizures. They tense up his muscles to the max. That IS painful. I have a friend who has seizures and he actually broke a vertabra in his spine during a seizure. The neurologist may be saying his HEAD doesn't hurt after a seizure, but I promise you that his poor muscles do.

Please take him to another vet and ask them to end his suffering. They will do it. My dog was terminal, but on a Friday when I came home from work, he was laying in his own urine shaking like a leaf and pleading with me to fix him. It was absolutely awful and I was desperate to end his suffering. I took him the emergency vet that night because I couldn't bear for him to continue like this, and they took care of my little sweetie. I didn't even wait for the regular vet in the morning.

You too care about the suffering your dog is going through. Stop the agony and either take him in and demand that they put him out of his misery, or go somewhere else. You have the right to do this.

Sending you strength~

7 moms found this helpful


answers from Pittsburgh on

In my experience, deep down inside, you just "know" when it's time.
No O. knows your dog better than you do.
You know your dogs quality of life.
I suspect if you are considering that it might be "time" then maybe it is. Or it's near. A vet shouldn't be causing you guilt. They should be able to give you a realistic account of what lies ahead.
I know it's so hard to watch (I had a dog with seizures.) them decline.
In the end, a peaceful release is often the last gift you can give them.

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answers from St. Louis on

We went through scans, blood tests and the vet couldn't come to a solid conclusion why are Carin Terries kept seizing. Then one day we were at a dog fair. After talking to a Purina rep. we changed her food NO corn, soy or wheat. The seizures stopped. Now whenever she accidently gets some of are other dogs food the seizures start about 30 mins later. We have all become very vigilant about what she eats. The food is expensive but not as much as what all the meds would have been. Now when the vet sees her she still can't believe this dog is 7 yrs old. She looks like a 2 year old and acts that way as well.

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answers from Reno on

OH how i feel your pain. our lab/rot mix had epilepsy (we had adopted him when he was 7 due to the fact he was dropped off at a shelter by his owner who didnt want to deal with it, he was fostered out and that how is he came to us) anyway our 1st vet only had him on phenobarbital but his seizures were awful so she put him on both as well and the poor dog looked stoned all the time and it did not reduce the seizures. (they even gave us liquid valium to shoot up his nose when he had a seizure, that was a nightmare) we switched vets and found he was being give the wrong dosage of meds, they put him on potassium bromide alone and the seizures reduced and he was a bit more active. we also had many nights of wondering if we should put him down. i had wished we did as he went into a seizure that he never came out of. it was awful. there was nothing i could do, my husband was out of town, my vet was out of town, i could not lift this 108 pound dog who was in a seizure to drive him to the emergency vet 45 minutes away, so i sat in the back yard with my baby and just rubbed his head till he passed away. i feel for you so much right now. i know i questioned everytime he had a seizure about his quality of life but i know he got a forever home and he was with people he loved when he died. i am not sure if that helps but i just wanted to tell you i have been there.
good luck to you and many blessings

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answers from Washington DC on

i doubt all those vets are just money hungry. people rarely get into this line of work if they don't truly love animals.
that doesn't mean they're always right about what to do. i'm very concerned that the vet is making you feel guilty (is he really? or are you feeling guilty and ascribing it to him?)
reading about what your dog is going through makes me think i'd help him along out of a suffering life. but ultimately it's not up to me or anyone else, including the vet whom you're not confident will do it for you, to make that call. you know your dog best.
i'm so sorry, for all of you. what a hard situation. strength and hugs to you, your family and your lovely golden.

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answers from Sacramento on

Our golden has had seizures for years. They had him on meds at one time and they seemed to increas the number of seizures that he had. He is almost 11 now. I used to freak out when he would have them, now if we are with and see him, w pet him softly and talk him through it, when he is done we get him up and walk him around a bit, then he is usually wagging his tail and prancing around. If I thought they were causing him alot of pain I wouldnt let it continue, but he always seems fine and happy when they are over. Good luck to you. I do think that sometimes the vets are MONEY hungry!

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answers from Honolulu on

Did all those Vets, actually give you a "diagnosis" for your dog?
Or they are just giving him meds?
Maybe they don't even know, what is wrong?

I know that the internet is not a replacement for a Vet. And it can easily cause worse thoughts.
But did you Google Search "what causes seizures in dogs?"

Because, no where in your post, did you say that the Vet actually DIAGNOSED, your dog. Per the seizures.
And it is getting worse, and the meds are not helping.

Find another Vet.

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answers from Portland on

Years ago, I had a sick cat. I don't remember why but I wasn't comfortable with the vet I was taking her to. A friend told me of another vet who was more compassionate. i.e had better "bedside manner." I took the cat to that vet and he recommended putting her down. She had cancer in her mouth. I think the first vet was just cold and seemed uncaring, perhaps. This vet spent time with my daughter and I explaining the process and provided emotional support as he gave her the injection.

So, another vet may be a good idea.

Since you've just started new medicine I would wait to make the decision to put him down until you see if the medicine does work. I would finish the path you've started.

A friend's dog just died who has been suffering from seizures and congestive heart failure. He lived on medication for a couple of years. He was spry and interested in what was going on around him. He coughed and was short of breath all of the time. They decided to keep him because he was still interested in life. For me that would be the deciding factor.

My dog is old, blind and deaf. He can't climb up or down stairs. He has accidents inside the house. But he's still looking happy and so I keep him in spite of the damage to our floors. He drags his blanket all over and sleeps in pathways. I will consider putting him down when he can no longer get around.

I would wait to see what the meds do or don't do. And I would wonder why he's having the seizures. I agree with S.H. I'd want to know the diagnosis. That might make a difference in that you'd then know better if there is a chance of getting better.

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