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Canine Idiopathic Epilepsy

Marina August 2011


There’s nothing more frightening than seeing your companion experience a seizure. The first time it happens, you may not have any warning at all.

Marina had her first seizure approximately three years ago. We were having dinner and heard her nails on the wood floor in our hallway. From far away, it sounded the same as when she runs through the house to go outside, or to see who’s at the door. The odd thing was that the running sound seemed to stay in one place. It was odd enough for us to stop eating and investigate.

The scene we arrived to was frightening. She was lying on her right side and was in a full seizure. Her back legs were completely stiff and her right front leg was stiff, the left was in a continuous “paddling” motion. Her teeth were gnashing and she was foaming at the mouth. Her eyes were open, she did not appear to be in pain, and she didn’t seem to be aware of her surroundings. We kept talking to her in a calming way for what seemed to be an eternity, but in reality it was approximately two and a half minutes.

Her hind legs slowly started to become less rigid, and her front leg followed. The teeth gnashing stopped and she tried to get up, but was too unstable. After her third attempt, she was able to get up and walk a bit. For lack of a better description, she walked as if she was drunk and dazed. This lasted for several minutes, and then she followed us very closely as we prepared to take her to a nearby animal hospital.  To our knowledge, this was her first seizure and new territory for us.

The trip to ER was pretty uneventful, the labs (chem. panel and CBC) showed no evidence of poisoning and no other obvious cause was identified. At this point, we were told to keep an eye on her and document any other seizure and to call immediately.

Her next seizure was two months later and then again a month after that. We worked with her regular vet who diagnosed the seizures as idiopathic epilepsy and put her on a daily dose of Potassium Bromide. Her seizures stopped for approximately six months and then we were back for round two of evaluations. To be continued…

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