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Shibas with seizures
  • NOTE: 2/14 I started this thread about my girl Bel, now passed on, who was epileptic, but I have renamed it just to be about Shibas with seizures in general, as I hope some of the information will be helpful for others struggling with this)

    My 5 year old Shiba, Bel, had a seizure today. It scared the hell out of me. I got up, and she got up with me and was normal--jumped off the bed, was running around like crazy, was excited to go outside. Then I heard a wierd sound, and she'd fallen over and was lying on her side looking panicked. She couldn't move. Oskar, my AA pup, had backed away from her and was staring at her and looked scared.

    She managed to get her back legs under her, but her front paws were curled up by her face, and she couldn't seem to straighten them out. She wasn't making a sound, just staring at me, and trying to get up. I went to help, and she collapsed entirely. She could not uncurl her front paws and they felt rigid. I called the vet, threw on some clothes, and by that time (maybe 5 minutes) she was up again. She jumped in the car on her own, and seemed fine. At the vet, she had another moment where she tried to get up from a laying down position, but then she fell over, and was moving like she was drunk...couldn't get her legs to work.

    Then she was fine. The whole thing lasted may 1/2 hour tops. (from falling to recovering)

    I was so scared, because the way she was moving the vet tech wondered if she'd hurt her back, but once the vet checked her out, it was clear she wasn't injured at all. But her seizure wasn't typical either, so the vet wasn't sure it WAS a seizure. Then I told her about how Bel would have these "fugue" states where she'd go outside and run and run barking, for hours, where she wouldn't even recognize me. And how sometimes she'd get scared in the house for no apparent reason, and it would seem like she didn't know me, then 10 minutes later, she'd be fine. All this is making us think that it WAS a seizure, and that perhaps she is epileptic.

    It might make sense with all her wierd behavior....

    My vet is pretty old school: doesn't do a lot of tests unless they seem necessary. We didn't x-ray Bel's spine nor are we, at this point, checking for a brain tumor, because Bel doesn't seem to be in the slightest bit of pain. She's perfectly normal now--but like a dog that had a seizure, she had a slight fever and was very hungry and thirsty.

    I'm going to try her on a very low dose of pheno-barbital to see if it helps, but since she's 5 and as far as we know only had one seizure, it may be hard to even tell if it is helping.

    Anyone have any experience with this? Thoughts? Right now Bel is acting like nothing happened at all!
    Post edited by shibamistress at 2014-02-13 14:23:16
  • OMG! That would be so scary!! I'll be keeping Bel in my thoughts! I hope everything turns out ok for you and your family! Keep us updated!
  • jujeejujee
    Posts: 882
    Oh gosh Lisa! That must have been so terrifying for you! I wouldn't have been as calm as you were in that situation! I'm glad she seems okay now, but still a very scary experience. I hope this isn't the start of seizures for her in the future.
  • Kuro_KaiKuro_Kai
    Posts: 543
    Purely personal opinion here. Honestly... I might have to go to a vet that isn't so old school.

    I'd personally want to make sure Kai's head was cleared of all abnormalities after an episode like that. Brain is too sensitive a thing. And there might be something that a scan can catch now before it becomes something much more serious.
  • I'm really sorry to hear this! How scary it must have been. I'm glad you were there to get quick help for Bel as needed, though.

    I'm not very clear on the link between hypothyroidism and seizures, but there may be a link there. Our local Shiba rescue guy had a hypothyroid Shiba that was prone to seizures, and he helped manage his symptoms with Potassium Bromide:

    Someone else I know with a seizure-prone Basenji also uses pheno-barbital to manage the condition, and hasn't seen symptoms in months. But it sounds like they still happen...

    I'll see what kind of information I can find, as this is something I've been vaguely concerned with given Bowdu's hypothyroidism. I just haven't had the chance to look into it more. Hopefully someone else with more direct experience can chime in.
    Bowdu 寶肚 (Shiba) and Bowpi 寶媲 (Basenji) with M.C.
  • emmyemmy
    Posts: 553
    Oh no! So sorry to hear this. My brother's roommate has a min pin that has seizures, and I think they use pheno-barbital to manage it as well. He has seizures VERY regularly, and they've all just sort of adjusted to it. It sounds just terrifying to me, but it's part of their normal routine now. Dogs with seizures like that are lucky to have owners who won't discard them due to a health problem.

    Hopefully this won't become a regular occurrence and the pheno-barbital will help. You'll be in my thoughts.
  • Thanks everyone for your thoughts!

    Kuro_Kai, I'm thinking about seeing if we should get a second opinion--just needed to try and learn some more about all this first. My vet is great for what they do (and less than 5 mins away and will ALWAYS take me in like today) so I love them for that, but I do have another vet I visit too for more complicated issues. So yeah, I'm trying to figure out what the next step is.

    Curlytails, I just came across something about hypothyroidism and seizures, so that's something to investigate too. And that video you posted? That's VERY similar to what happened to Bel, except it was her front legs, and they were sort of frozen around her muzzle. And then she sunk down really slowly.....But the look on her face was just the same....scared, but in a sort of frozen way. (One of my friends had a Golden who had epilepsy, and she said her seizures were like that too: she'd freeze, and then stare...none of the kind of frenzied kicking some people think of as typical).

    Anyway, Bel has had so much odd behavior that we're really thinking it has to be something in her brain that just isn't firing right. Maybe this is why.
  • Kuro_KaiKuro_Kai
    Posts: 543
    I'm no doctor nor vet. And I'm not trying to scare you or anything. All my experience has to deal with humans: relatives, friends and the people they know. Something I do know that's true for all living organisms is early diagnosis of a problem can prevent cumulative damage and present better treatment options. If it were you and this happened to you at work, you'd be in the emergency room and prolly wouldn't be released until they did a thorough examination of your brain to rule out some very serious possibilities. Something wrong in the brain can be very serious. And a seizure can be an early warning

    This is Bel's first seizure-like behavior that you've witnessed. She may have had others that you don't know about simply because she can't tell you like a human would. Again, if it were Kai, we'd likely be scheduling an appointment somewhere with the necessary equipment to run those tests.
  • Get a second opinion and a more complete work-up. We had a Dalmatian with epilepsy 40 yrs. ago and if something like that is going on you need a diagnosis and plan of attack.
  • I suspect Bel has had other seizures. In fact, from what I've learned, the things called "petit mal" seizures in humans (they don't know if dogs have them) sound VERY similar to what I've seen in her before--where it looks like she is just not there. The fact that she has periods of blankness/confusion were why my vet was willing to believe this is some sort of seizure disorder.

    I went to check out the video Curlytails posted, and found this other video (same dog I believe):
    At the very end of the video, the dog puts his paws up to his face, and that is very like what Bel was doing, and looks like the way she fell over in the vet.

    I should that some things we DO know: Bel is hypothyroid, and was retested recently (July) and is ok on her meds. I see no reason to get a head xray or catscan, because she has no symptoms of a brain tumor--she doesn't seem to be in pain, and her wierdness and confusion has been going on intermintantly for years, thus is not a recent thing. She's certainly not acting like a dog that has liver damage, and I believe seizures from liver damage come in after the disease has progressed a lot. EKGs are expensive and notoriously unreliable in dogs. So right now I'm trying to sort out what tests might be useful, and which won't.

    So yeah, there is still a lot to think about, and I appreciate any thoughts/suggestions. What other kinds of things should I look at? Kuro_Kai, are there other things you're thinking about re: seizures? Even if your experience is with people, it's still worth me checking it out, right?

    (Right now, she's acting as if nothing ever happened at all, and the pheno-barbitol, while a very low dose, didn't even sedate her. We're not trying to sedate her, so that's good, but she's also had a history of wierd reactions to valium makes her super hyper and HUNGRY, and the prozac we tried was just bad....)

    And I'm SO NOT happy that my other vet is going over to the VCA clinic. I liked him, but I HATE VCA. I won't take her there--at least where I live, they are notorious for prescribing every test known to man, because they are trying to drive the bill up.
  • okironokiron
    Posts: 735
    Oh man Lisa, I just saw this. I'm so sorry, it must've been scary. I hope you guys figure out what's wrong and it's nothing too serious.
  • Kuro_KaiKuro_Kai
    Posts: 543
    This is so far outside my field I can't begin to guess.

    You know Bel is hypothyroid. What test have they done recently? Blood work and pressure? Not looking for things related to the hypothyrodism but things like low blood pressure / blood sugar levels / anemia? Do any of her meds affect blood pressure? Could it possibly be a fainting spell? Has she been having any problems with house training lately (incontinence)?

    You said she was running around crazy when you both got up. A sudden drop in blood pressure might cause something similar looking to a seizure I think. I'd want tests to make sure we were looking in the right direction. Treating for a seizure when it's not and vice versa wouldn't help. And could hurt.
    Post edited by Kuro_Kai at 2010-12-11 03:42:27
  • SayaSaya
    Posts: 6678
    Poor Bel hope this is figured out and is a easy fix. =(

    My first boxer Pearly had seizures when she was 13 years old pretty old for a boxer.

    I'd get it checked out it might be something easy to fix and you got it early enough either way good luck. Seizures are not fun to go through just be there for her and talk to her and some seizures can cause them to thrash around which is recommended to restrain the dog so it doesn't get hit on a table or tree..

    Pearly wasn't too bad, but she was old and it got worse.

    I think if we fed Pearly and Junior better food they would have lived a bit healthier lives, seeing what they went through health wise is what pushed me to the raw diet and feeding Bella and Dink grain free high quality food.

    Sorry to go way off topic.. hehe

    Again hope it's nothing bad I've been through it with Pearly and Junior not sure if he had seizures too I forgot.

    Let us know how it goes.
    Nicole, 5year old Bella(Boxer), and 4year old Saya(Shiba inu)
    Posts: 1507
    Hope Bel's seizures are controllable with meds. Sometimes seizures will occur while sleeping and you may not even be aware of it. So it might not even be her first gran mal. A good sign is that it was not a multiple seizure. As in humans the best thing you can do is ensure when they occur that she is safe, not going to hurt herself and monitor her breathing. I know it seems scary when they occur. But they will stop. Many seizure patients I know will not even seek out medical attention when they get them since they are so used to getting them and "What is the doctor going to do?". A red flag would be if the frequency (ie :multiple or decreased interval between them), quality or duration of the seizure activity changes. See if you can determine the subtle changes in her behavior that might clue you that a seizure might occur.
  • starrystarry
    Posts: 187
    i'm NOT a doctor but I do work with people who have seizures, there are seizures where people go stiff and bend awkwardly or there are ones where people shake or a combination of both.
    Its a hard situation because Bel can't tell you why she fell over...if its a drop in blood pressure then she fainted, hypothyroidism does goes hand in hand with low blood pressure (hypotension) but if she is on thyroid meds and therapeutic then you usually see high blood pressure (hypertension), or if she fell over because she felt weak then maybe she has some muscle wasting (you could check her creatinine levels) but this would be a continuous weakness rather than a single event....does she have daily access to alcohol, maybe climbs up and drinks a little out of someone's cup every night without anyone knowing? because a sudden stop in drinking alcohol can cause tremors, seizures and even death.

    As for seizures, if its a brand new seizure you can do a CT scan of the brain to see if there is a reason for the seizure, sometimes a stroke, brain tumor, or even a really high fever could activate seizure activity. If there is nothing abnormal then it might be electrical activity freaking the brain out which is often considered a seizure disorder. However, it is really hard to diagnosis a real seizure, shown by the abnormal electrical activity, if the person isn't actively having a seizure.

    If there is an underlying cause of the seizure they have to take care of that underlying cause.
    If its electrical activity then they take anti seizure meds, like phenobarbital, for the rest of their life. They may still have a breakthrough seizure if their medication levels drop below a therapeutic line.

    FYI, seizure activity, the shakiness or stiffness, is worrisome if it last greater than 5 minutes OR 5 or more seizures in a 24 hour period as that could damage the brain.
    And there can be a post seizure period which occurs after the seizure usually lasting 5 - 30 minutes, although I have seen longer, wherein the person might be drowsy, confused, and in general disoriented (i did see someone get violent)

    Brain tumors don't always show as headaches...sometimes its changes in vision, impaired balance or mobility, confusion. I met someone who developed a massive brain tumor within 2.5 years of her last brain scan she just thought she was getting old. However, if you do choose to do a CT scan and find a tumor would you really want to have Bel undergo tumor removal...or if there is nothing abnormal then you'll just be giving her the same anti seizure meds you are now already giving her.

    Hope any of this info helps, keep us up to date.
  • lindsaytlindsayt
    Posts: 4786
    Sorry to hear that. Beebe has had at least one full out seizure, right after she got done playing in the yard (she had been chasing a pen light), where she suddenly collapsed and began flailing all around, vomited, etc. She looked confused when she stood up again and stumbled for a few steps, looked lost, then within a few seconds, she was back to normal. Other than being hypothyroid, slight anemia and irregular erythrocytes, and having Pacific Rimism with her falsely elevated potassium, blood work is ok. She has played with the pen light a thousand times before and after, so I would say it isn't related. I personally didn't see a need to medicate for it when they are so rare with her, and not disabling.
    "Common sense isn't so common"
    photo c5d87957-61b6-48af-a440-4187cbfc861b_zps88ccdf88.jpg
  • JudyJudy
    Posts: 183
    I found this Q&A by Dr. Dodds:
    Question: Dr. Dodds, why should a dog with seizures have a thyroid panel done to test for low thyroid function or hypothyroidism?

    Answer: Because thyroid dysfunction can precipitate or aggravate existing seizure disorders. The mechanism is unknown, but may relate to the vital role of thyroid hormones in cellular metabolism of the central nervous system
  • I think what we're going to do for now is try out the pheno-barb, and see if it helps. The only reason we decided to medicate her on the basis of one seizure is that she has had such odd behavior in the past that is not getting better (her wierd states where she doesn't recognize people, etc). I'd been trying her on prozac (didn't work), valium (she had an opposite reaction--went hyper), so maybe the problem with her is, in fact, related to the seizures and this well help with her other issues too.

    I was reading about the difference between petit mal and grand mal seizures. Apparently, no one is sure if animals have petit mal seizures, since it characterized by an absence, and animals, of course, can't explain they just were "gone" for a minute or so. But when I read about them, I thought they sounded very like what I've seen happen to Bel--this blankness, followed by panic on her part, then in a few minutes she's ok again.

    So I think we're going to go with this, and I probably will have them check for a brain tumor, just in case (I can't afford the CT scan, though, so it may just have to be an xray). Someone on another forum I'm on said they had a cat who had seizures, and did, indeed, have a brain tumor. They were able to treat the cat to keep the tumor from growing rapidly, and they had a good 10 years with their cat after the beginnings of the seizures. The question about brain tumors is a good one--I mean if she had one, what would I do? Just see if we could keep it from growing too rapidly, and keep her comfortable. I would not have a dog operated on for a brain tumor, just like I'm not willing to go with chemo for cancer in dogs. Partially it's that I simply can't afford it, but for me, it seems just too awful. We can't explain to dogs that what we're doing may help them live longer--and they can't choose it--so to them, it just seems like torture.

    But for now, Bel is happy as can be, and (relatively) normal, and the pheno-barb doesn't even slow her down.

    eta: forgot to add I did read about the longer/multiple seizures, so will be vigilant with her now in case something like that happens.
    Post edited by shibamistress at 2010-12-11 19:03:13
  • Ok, this is really scary. Toby just had a seizure. His was classic grand mal type: he suddenly sunk down into a sit, but with his back legs splayed out. Then he fell on his side and his front and back legs started kicking like crazy. He was conscious, but he couldn't control himself at all. He came out of it really fast--the whole thing was maybe 30 secs. I gave him a bit of ice cream (a tip I got on the canine epilepsy forum) and then gave him one of Bel's pheno-barbitals.

    Right now, he's absolutely fine, if a bit agitated. He's shaking himself a lot, not like shivering, but like shaking after getting wet. Other than that, he's fine.

    This really freaks me out. Why would they both have siezures? They are not related. They are fed raw, human quality chicken. They get salmon oil on it and either seameal or the Missing Link (the only new thing in their diet). We use almost no chemicals in the house. We use bleach in the laundry or to clean the toilets, but the bathrooms are always closed, so the dogs don't get in there, and neither Shiba has ever shown the slightest interest in drinking out of the toilet even if the bathroom was open.

    No pesticides. No harsh cleaning supplies. They don't even plastic dishes, they have stainless steel dishes.

    They are both hypothyroid, but both take thyrosin for it, and both have been recently tested (Toby JUST had a full thyroid panel done by Dr. Jean Dodds) and both are at a good level. They get their pills every day, about 12 hours apart, not with food.

    This is really freaking me out.

    (BTW, before all this happened to Toby I was going to post that Bel is doing well on her very low does of phenobarb, and she's a much more normal dog now, not skittish, not disoriented anymore. So just yesterday my vet was really happy to hear that things were going well with her. And now this!)
  • jujeejujee
    Posts: 882
    Oh gosh! How scary! And happening today, on your DAY.

    I'm not sure what could be causing the seizures, especially since BOTH are having it and as you said they are not related. :T I hope both Toby & Bel get better soon, please keep us updated on them!
  • I'm so sorry to hear this... and yes, I would be extremely freaked out too.

    I've been trying to compile a bibliography of canine thyroid articles in an attempt to get all my own info organized. Some recent links I've come across pertaining to this relationship are listed below:

    Thomas, WB. “Hypothyroidism, Epilepsy and Phenobarbital.” Canine Epilepsy Resource page. < >.
    Dodds, W. Jean. “The Low Thyroid Seizure Connection.” Canine Epilepsy Resource page. < >.
    Jaggy A, Oliver JE, Ferguson DC, Mahaffey EA, Glaus jun T. Neurological manifestations of hypothyroidism: A retrospective study of 29 dogs. J.Vet.Int.Med. 1994; 8:328-336.
    Muller PB, Wolfsheimer KJ, Taboada J, Hosgood G, Partington BP, Gaschen FP. Effects of long-term phenobarbital treatment on the thyroid and adrenal axis and adrenal function tests in dogs. J.Vet.Int.Med. 2000; 14:157-164.
    Geiger TL, Hosgood G, Taboada J, Wolfsheimer KJ, Mueller PB. Thyroid function and serum hepatic enzyme activity in dogs after phenobarbital administration. J.Vet.Int.Med. 2000; 14:277-281.
    Paull LC, Scott-Moncrieff JCR, DeNicola DB, Davidson D, Glickman LT, Refsal KR. Effect of potassium bromide (KBr) at anticonvulsant dosages on thyroid function and morphology. J.Vet.Int.Med. 2000; 14:362-362. (Abstract).
    Denicoff KD, Joffe RT, Lakschmanan MC, Robbins J, Rubinow DR. Neuropsychiatric manifestations of altered thyroid state. Am J Psych 147:94-99, 1990.

    You've probably seen a lot of these already.

    Is the canine epilepsy forum you visit The latter is "advised" by Dodds, Thomas, and other vets whose names come up most frequently in public internet searches, but I think there's got to be other information out there too. I intend to keep digging around.

    In the meantime, I would suggest you e-mail Dr. Dodds specifically to ask for some resources you can read up on, or follow up on some of the citations in her articles. Everything I've come across is non-specific about the relationship between hypothyroidism and seizures, if that's even the root of the problem. There's probably more information out there on seizures in dogs unrelated to hypothyroidism.

    Meanwhile, just going out on a limb here... Why Thyrosin for their thyroid therapy? Why not Soloxine? I'd not heard of that one before, and I'm a little confused -- (maybe not always the most accurate source of information?) says it's not a US brand? Is it a generic brand? Soloxine is the brand name for canine Levothyroxine sodium, manufactured by Virbac ( Dr. Dodds did advise that we should go with brand name pills -- "either Soloxine or Thyro-Tabs" by her recommendation. I have no idea if generic thyroid medication has any direct relationship to seizures, but it has been widely reported that generics are less effective in canine hormone supplementation therapy, for whatever reason. Hypothyroid humans can apparently do okay with generic Levothyroxine, but not dogs... who knows why? This is anecdotal. Maybe something to ask Dr. Dodds or your vet/specialist directly about.

    I'm planning on taking Bowdu to UC Davis next time he needs a blood draw, and I'm racking up quite a list of questions that I hope I can ask a specialist...
    Bowdu 寶肚 (Shiba) and Bowpi 寶媲 (Basenji) with M.C.
  • Thanks so much. I haven't yet looked into the seizure/thyroid issue, so I hadn't seen those yet. That will give me some helpful reading to do. Also, good idea to email Dr. Dodds, esp. Toby so recently had a full thyroid panel done.

    Obviously, the thyroid issue and/or thyroid meds is a big common denominator with the Shibas--I thought of it too. Thyrosyn, though (I spelled it wrong initially) is just a generic of soloxine. It is made by Vedco (here: I'm sure my initial misspelling through things off! They've both been on it for years with no problems, and have been regularly tested on thyroid levels. Still, you never know, so this is one avenue of investigation.

    I joined the canine epilepsy network forum last week--thanks for the links to the others. I think I just joined the canine (am waiting for approval).

    The other thing that I'm thinking is that they both ate something out in the yard. But what? I'm afraid I freaked out when I realized how many things in the yard could be problematic. (Juniper? Who knew? I live in the Juniper/pinon mountains of NM, and we have TONS of juniper trees). What I'm concerned about right now: did they dig up some bulbs and eat them? Crocus for example? Or even daffodil? They've been known to dig up bulbs in the past. Also, they could have gotten into the compost. I don't know what is in there that might be toxic, but there is plenty of stuff in it. I ran into someone a few years ago whose dog got very ill from eating something in the compost...I don't remember if she said her dog had seizures or not.

    I'm thinking it is REALLY odd that they both had seizures within a week of one another....that makes me think that they might have eaten something....tomorrow when it is light I will investigate further. And keep reading.

    If anyone has any pointers for investigating anything else related please let me know. And thanks so much for help and well wishes...damn this is just...scary.
  • - Shibamistress....Wow....I would be stressed to. I would be thinking fungi or mold toxins also. Have you switched foods or have the dogs been under some sort of stress such as moving or sudden high exercise such as agility etc? Sometimes the metabolic changes associated with that can cause things to go off kilter.

    -Curly tails thanks for all the links and info.

  • sunyatasunyata
    Posts: 8584
    As I said in the NKF, I am so sorry to hear this. I agree with Patrice, some sort of environmental factor, maybe?

    Either way, I am glad that Bel seems to be doing better, and I hope that Toby follows suit.
    Bella 2Mountains 2Nola 2
    Casey, with Bella and Nola, hanging out in the mountains of Virginia.
    I Wander, I Ride
  • McYogiMcYogi
    Posts: 518
    No advice, but my sympathies for you and the pups while you're figuring this scary situation out. I can't imagine being in your shoes.

  • I was definitely thinking it may be environmental. I really hope and pray you get answers and get them soon, that has got to be so scary for YOU and for your babies! :(
  • atlasatlas
    Posts: 360
    That's super scary. I'm sorry to hear that they (and you) are going through this. My initial inclination would be environmental, too, maybe something that they picked up on during a walk, because it seems like an odd coincidence. I hope you're able to figure it out and that Toby feels better soon.
  • RorsRors
    Posts: 165
    Hi, My heart was in my mouth when I read this - My Sympathies sorry I wouldnt know where to start with any helpful advise.
  • SayaSaya
    Posts: 6678
    Sorry this has happened to both Bel and Toby. =(

    I hope things go well.
    Nicole, 5year old Bella(Boxer), and 4year old Saya(Shiba inu)
  • I know nothing about these type of situations but I did want to let you know that I was thinking about you and the pups and praying that it all gets figured out and under control.
  • Thanks for your thoughts everyone. Still no idea what is causing all this, but I am reading a lot, looking to see if there is anything they could have eaten, etc. I did see that coccidia can cause seizures in dogs, and Oskar had it when I brought him home. We treated all the dogs for it, just in case, and we thought they were clear (looked like it on the stool samples) but it is a hard parasite to kill.

    The thing is, none of them have diarrhea, so it seems unlikely it is that, but I'm trying to think of ANYTHING. I looked to see if they had eaten any bulbs, but nothing in the garden is dug up, except the holly hocks Toby eats, and they are not toxic as far as I can tell (he's eaten them before with no ill effects). They could have got in the compost (though it doesn't look like they did), and that can be VERY toxic to dogs (a word of warning to everyone: if you have compost keep the dogs out of it! Here is a scary article: ). But I think my dogs would be much sicker if it were mycotoxins. And it's very dry here in the desert, and so frankly, our compost isn't doing much of anything--we just had the top off to collect some of the recent snow. (Still, I'm going to make sure they can't get in it).

    No mushrooms that I can see. We have brick floors--no carpet toxins, no carpet cleaners. I do think we should have our water tested--its well water, heavy on calcium and we humans don't drink a lot of it because it doesn't taste good. Last time we tested it, a year ago, it didn't have lead or anything in it. We don't give the dogs heartworm meds (no mosquitos). It's all very puzzling.

    and on top of everything else, Bel is freaking out. Twice in three days I heard her do what I call her "rage" scream: it's a Shiba scream, but with an edge of barking/snarling to it. She did it a couple of years ago when she attacked Toby. She did it once to Oskar when he was rough playing with her, and she bit him, but not hard, in his ruff, and he just ignored her. Then a dog walked by outside the fence and she launched at the dog through the fence and did it again, then bit Oskar again when he came near her. This morning, a near disaster: Toby slipped past my husband out of his room into the living room where the other dogs were. He was just looking for food, as usual. Bel screamed, then launched herself at him, and grabbed him by the ruff and would not let go. I ran downstairs, and we were able to separate them without bloodshed, but it was clear Bel wanted to kill him. (This is after they'd finally declared a truce, I thought. They'd been on walks together, they'd even been sitting calmly in the house together under supervision).

    I don't know what's up with her. Could it be a wierd reaction to pheno-barb, even though she seemed fine earlier this week? Maybe. Could it be something else? Maybe. But her behavior is getting so erratic I think I will at least do a head xray to see if there is a brain tumor.

    And....I hate to say this. I hate to even think it. But you know, if she's going to just go crazy like this, I may have to think about euthanasia. I don't want to.( I went through this after she attacked Toby, and we managed, through separation, but if she's going to get worse, I just don't know.) I love my little crazy girl. But she's starting to scare me with how erratic her behavior is becoming. She's been super calm for a week, and then this....rage, for lack of a better word. After she attacked Toby, we separated them, and she was...."hunting" him....trying to see if she could get in his room (she couldn't) coming upstairs to see if he was up there, and later today when she saw him outside, she growled and launched herself at the window. If she attacks Oskar, who up to this point, she has loved, well...I'd have to think seriously about. (Oskar is the mellowest of Akitas, and when she bit him yesterday, he just looked surprised and slightly hurt, like what did I do?, but he is an Akita, and he would really hurt her if she forced him into a fight).
  • I am so sorry to hear what you are going through. Sounds like you may be facing a difficult decision. Discuss the pheno-barb with your vet again. Sometimes people have an adverse reaction to pheno-barb; it makes them really "wired", for lack of a better term. Don't know if this happens with dogs as well.
  • Hey shibamistress. How is everything going? I just wanted to mention that I have a 3 year old shiba (boy) who has been suffering from these mystery seizures for about 2 years now. We have had him tested for everything, at all sorts of vets, and they never came up with any sort of answer at all. We even had him attached to a heart monitor for two nights, and the results came back inconclusive. In the end, they just gave us this heart medication, and suggested he would have to take it for the rest of his life. We thought that this sounded crazy - especially since it was never actually proven that he had a heart condition - so now we just monitor him, and hope for the best. Recently 8 months had passed, with no incident, and we were beginning to hope that the seizures had gone away. Then, when summer came around, it started again. He has had two seizures in the past month. We have noticed that it happens when he gets too excited. For example, if he chases birds or runs freely in the dog park. So we just try to encourage him go take it easy, and live life at a slower pace. When he has his seizures, he staggers around like he is drunk, then he usually falls on his side, and starts with that terrible shiba scream - like he is calling for help. He also usually loses control of his bowels and bladder.... I truly empathize with you here, because it is such a terrible thing to witness, in your pet.
  • Thanks everyone, and thanks Marlena for sharing your experience. It's pretty much what my vet said...that they just don't know what is wrong with either dog (Toby in particular looks just fine) but that epilepsy often means they simply don't know what is causing the seizures. Your story made me so sad....your poor boy! But I'm glad you're finding a way to live with it.

    sukoshi's mom, I did think of that, because Bel had a bad (opposite) reaction to valium--she got really wired on it. But this does calm her, not enough to make her appear sedated, but calmer.

    Neither of mine has had a that bad of a seizure (yet).

    But I'm worried about Bel. My vet asked me to watch for a head tilt--she thought she saw a slight one. I don't know that I do see it, but I'm noticing some things that bother me. Bel is a very agile, athletic dog, and in the last couple of days, she's been just slightly clumsy. She may stumble a bit when trying to jump on the sofa. She often stumbles just very slightly when she gets up--so slight I almost don't see it. But I do. I noticed she got up a minute ago and her paw bent under so her weight was on her toes not her pads for a minute.

    It could be the slightly higher dose of pheno-barb we've given her is making her stumble a bit. But I worry in that those are also things people see in dogs with brain tumors.

    I was supposed to take her in to see the vet today, but they just saw her Monday, and couldn't come up with anything, so I doubt they'll discover something new in a week. I canceled the appt, but I told them I'd reschedule after I had enough time to watch her a bit more, so I've got more to report back about. She is so scared at the vet, I'd prefer not to take her unless I really need to.

    She's a handful, for sure, but she's only five. I'd expected to have at least that many more years with her. Now I'm getting worried I won't have that time.
  • sunyatasunyata
    Posts: 8584
    Lisa... I am so so sorry to hear this. I know it can not be easy watching Bel deteriorate like this.

    I know that things are tight right now, but I think a head x-ray would be my next move. Bel's symptoms do sound a bit like those from a brain tumor. While, I know that it will not help (as these things do not have a cure, just a timeline), but it might help you feel more at peace if one is found, or rule it out and help the vet look at other possibilities if one is not found.

    I am sending you virtual hugs. I hope that something can be done to at least give Bel a little peace (and yourself and your husband as well).

    If there is anything I can do to help, just let me know. And I wish I had more information to share with you, but I am at a loss.
    Bella 2Mountains 2Nola 2
    Casey, with Bella and Nola, hanging out in the mountains of Virginia.
    I Wander, I Ride
  • No answers, but more disturbing things happening to Bel. I noticed yesterday that she didn't want to sit for her dinner (she sits with alacrity for food). But I got her to do it. Then a few hours later, she looked like she wanted to jump on the sofa, but didn't. Instead she sat down near it. then I called her, and she tried to get up out of the sit position but couldn't. she tried twice, then just laid down. She was able to get up after that. I felt her all over and moved her legs gently and she doesn't seem to be in any pain.

    this morning she couldn't sit down either--she tried, but clearly couldn't get in the position. She seems to have weakness in her back legs, more on one side than the other.

    but she doesn't seem to be in pain.

    I guess I'll take her to the vet next week and have them look her over, and I guess we will do some xrays. But I'm really worried about her.
  • How heart wrenching... it sounds like she's changed so much in the last few weeks, and since you started this thread. I hope the X-rays can provide some kind of information at the very least. Times like this, I really wish dogs could talk.
    Bowdu 寶肚 (Shiba) and Bowpi 寶媲 (Basenji) with M.C.
  • Here is a write-up about treatment of vestibular disease in dogs:
  • starrystarry
    Posts: 187
    Wow, I'm so sorry this is happening, it must be so worrisome having this happen and all the fights
    Weakness on one side over the other sounds a lot like a stroke or a brain tumor...
    seizures are a common side affect of both, confusion, change in personality, loss of balance and apparently the head tilt thing is listed as a symptom as is the article I was reading, the second page talks about vestibular disease
    keep us updated.
  • sunyatasunyata
    Posts: 8584
    I just read your update, Lisa... I am so sorry that Bel is not doing well...

    There is nothing that I can really add, except that I am thinking about you guys. Hopefully the vet will be able to come up with some sort of diagnosis and treatment plan.

    Bella 2Mountains 2Nola 2
    Casey, with Bella and Nola, hanging out in the mountains of Virginia.
    I Wander, I Ride
  • bobc33bobc33
    Posts: 287

    I hope things improve dramatically and soon for you. It is so tough when our Shibas suffer, and they of course can't talk to us. My thoughts and prayers are with you.
  • Well, just got back from the vet and there was good news and bad news. Good news: no signs of a brain tumor, which I was really worried about.

    Bad news: super super bad luxating patella, so bad that she really MUST have the surgery. That's why she's been irritable, seemed down, why she was having problems with getting up, etc. We knew she had them, but they were very mild on both knees. Now, on the right knee, it's about as bad as it can get. Right now, we've upped her thyroid dose a bit as it was low normal last time we tested, and the vet feels it certainly will help to get her in optimum health before we do any surgery. I also need to wait moneywise, and it would be easier on all of us if it were not winter when she is recovering from surgery.

    So we're going to wait. Luckily my vet is not super expensive: she'll do the surgery with all follow up visits for $700, and we'd wait a year and do the other knee. I still have to wait and save up the $, but it is, at least, within the realm of possibility. The hardest part of the talk was just the vet saying that I need to think about the fact that Bel has severe behavioral issues that are unexplained, that she's been having seizures, and she said she wanted me to be absolutely sure I was committed to Bel for doing the surgery, because she said some people would euthanize her rather than spending yet more money on her.

    I don't want to do that, but I did think it was important that she brought it up, esp. she said that the recovery from surgery will take a lot of committment on my part, making sure Bel doesn't run and jump, etc.

    But mostly, I'm just happy that this is something we can fix, and potentially give her many more years ahead, instead of something that we can't fix. I'll still need time to think about everything, but I'm pretty sure we'll go ahead with surgery in the spring.
  • SayaSaya
    Posts: 6678
    Good luck on it I think Nami on the dogster shiba forum had LP or maybe it was HD I forgot, but she gone through the surgery and is much better.

    Poor Nami couldn't play with her shiba friend, but she recovered with owners help.

    Glad it's not a brain tumor poor Pearly had cancer in the brain or tumor it was sad..

    Good luck keeping her calm that's like keeping a kid from playing video games.. lol
    Nicole, 5year old Bella(Boxer), and 4year old Saya(Shiba inu)
  • curlytailscurlytails
    Posts: 2779
    Not an easy diagnosis to take, but at least it's concrete and, like you say, fixable! I hope it was worth it just for some peace of mind. Damn those luxating patellas! Do you know what might have caused her condition to go from mild to very bad? Or does that generally just happen with age?
    Bowdu 寶肚 (Shiba) and Bowpi 寶媲 (Basenji) with M.C.
  • Well, maybe addressing the patellas will also help with mental issues.
  • We think what it made it go to very bad was an injury. It snowed a ton--we got 16 inches overnight--before Christmas, and she was like a little snow plow out there, trying to jump in the snow to get through it, etc. We think she injured the leg--the ligiment doesn't seem to be torn, but it problably is stretched enough that it's not doing a good job of helping out with keeping the knee cap in place, and this injury didn't help. So the injury exacerbated an already existing problem that was probably getting worse with age anyway. (the bone actually gets ground down, which is why the knee cap slips in and out, so that does tend to get worse with age).

    My vet is very much into educating the dog owner, too, so we spent a lot of time with her having me practice feeling where the patella was and how easily it slid off, which was interesting, though it made me wince every time I could feel it slide in and out. It doesn't actually seem to hurt her much when it does it, but, ugh, it must feel wierd nonethless.

    I'm fairly certain Bel's temperament issues are separate and this just happened at the same time, though it may explain a little of how touchy she was in the past week or so. But unfortunately, the seizures and the odd behavior and confusion are something else....

    But at least we know what is going on with one part of her!
  • lindsaytlindsayt
    Posts: 4786
    That's encouraging, I hope her life is much improved after surgery.
    "Common sense isn't so common"
    photo c5d87957-61b6-48af-a440-4187cbfc861b_zps88ccdf88.jpg
  • sunyatasunyata
    Posts: 8584
    That IS encouraging! Glad that she has a diagnosis for the mobility issues...

    However, I will say that pain and discomfort can cause some pretty significant behavioural changes. So seizures withstanding, hopefully this is good news all around. :)
    Bella 2Mountains 2Nola 2
    Casey, with Bella and Nola, hanging out in the mountains of Virginia.
    I Wander, I Ride
  • Ugh. I'm going to have to do a lot of thinking I guess, of the kind I don't even like to consider. Today Bel was carrying the leg a bit, and dumb me, I should have NOT let her out offleash in the yard, but it's habit so I did, and then she heard the coyotes and wouldn't come in, but I was worried about her running around on that leg. Called her. She started to come, but Oskar knocked her down (he's just big and clumsy) and she was laying in the snow, crying, and I tried to go out to her and she ran from me....

    We got Oskar in. I though I my husband could get Bel in (she wasn't in a total crazy phase--it was clear she wanted to come in), but when he went out she didn't recognize him and ran and barked and barked at him. I sent him in, and I went outside and just sat down in the snow (in my pajamas) and luckily she recognized me and crawled into my lap (she doesn't always even recognize me) and I brought her in, gave her another pain pill and put her to bed.

    But when I put her behavioral issues in with her physical issues, I start to realize she isn't really having a lot of good days. Some days she is a fearful and anxious and doesn't recognize people and stays outside (that used to be a few times a year. Then every few months. Now it is every month or so). Some days she recognizes us, but is fearful, and wants to be held because she's scared of...whatever she's scared of. Some days she's mentally ok, but can't walk well or is in pain because of her knee. Somedays, much rarer now, nothing is wrong at all. And it's gotten so much significantly worse in the past month or two....

    and she's on a lot of meds (phenobarb for seizures, thyroid meds, now both a painkiller and a muscle relaxant for the knee), and that must fuck with her head too...and her health in general. The surgery is a long process both in terms of recover and in terms of the fact she'll probably need both knees done...I'm just starting to wonder if it is the right answer....In an otherwise healthy dog, yes, without a doubt, but with Bel, I just don't know.

    Well, I'd been planning on waiting til the spring for the surgery anyway, so I can see how she does, I guess.....but my poor girl....she's just got so much going wrong right now.
  • My 6 year old shiba has major seizure where he gets in to the weirdest positions ever.

    He also urinates and defecates while having the seizure, everywhere.

    He comes out of them just fine. He has about one a month, they were more constant about 3 months ago he was having one every Saturday morning. But we figured out there was a lot of change and stress in our house.

    I've recently noticed my younger shiba being really crazy, he will start shaking and running around like crazy, our vet can not find anything wrong with him. He has done it three times since Christmas, but he does not show the same symptoms as Niko does when he has his seizures.
  • McYogiMcYogi
    Posts: 518
    It's a really tough call, but you'll make the right decision and you have only Bel's best interest at heart. You know the forum is here to support you, whatever the decision is!

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