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Australian Shepherd Suffering Epilepsy?
Have any of you Aussie owners out there been battling undiagnosed seizures?
My Aussie Jackson is 1 year and 8 months old. He suffered his first wave of seizure in December about 5 months ago. A little young for the onset of hereditary epilepsy? I think so. However I, the ER and the vet cannot figure it out. I went with IC Levetiracetam (500 mg / 3 times a day) because the side effects of phenobarbital are worse.
He continued to have two seizures a month (which is the "goal" in the veterinarian's eyes) for the next three months. They tell me they can't do anything for him unless he breaks that threshold. Well in April, he had two more... Followed by a horrifyingly long, very scary, powerful seizure in the middle of the night. Helpless, I raced him to the ER.. Only to have them increase his dosage to 1000 mg of IC Levetiracetam every 8 hours (3 times daily). Countless tests, blood work, and thousands of dollars later I am still in the dark as to what is going on with my boy.
I do not, and never have used Ivermectin (Heartguard), I have used Selamectin (Revolution) for a heartworm preventative because it is supposed to be safe. Has anyone else experienced anything similar using Revolution? He had been on Revolution for months before this all happened, most of the research I've done describes Aussies having seizures soon after the medicine is administered; which has never been the case here.
If I had the money available I would have had an MRI done months ago, my boy is my world and I will do anything I can to keep him happy healthy. I am just about ready to have an MRI done, but I was hoping to get some Aussie owner opinions to open my eyes a little more. I'm worried he could have a brain tumor, if there is an answer I want to know it. They recommend a spinal fluid tap as well, but I worry the recovery for him will be really hard and I don't know if it is worth it.
He has had lime, active anaplasmosis and giardia in the past, along with being neutered where they removed one testicle, and misinterpreted a lymph node in his sack for the other. So one testicle remains, I can't imagine the lymph node removal would have sparked his seizures but I'm not an expert.
I am a first time dog owner. Jackson spends his days happily chasing the geese of the golf course and following me around at work all day. He his truly spoiled, as he should be, he is such a good boy I wouldn't trade him for the world.
If anyone has any suggestions I would greatly appreciate them! I know I need to get him an MRI, I'm hoping for feedback on a spinal fluid tap if anyone has gone through that.
If anyone is battling hereditary epilepsy, what steps did you take to realize that must be what it is? What do you recommend? What are the seizure patterns like? (With medication Jackson suffers 2, about 6-8 hours apart; Without medication, and before the dosage increase he suffers up to 4, 2-8 hours apart) I worry because the medication worked for three months but then 500 mg doses wouldn't cut it anymore and I don't want to have to add phenobarbital. I want to contact my breeder but I think I should get an MRI first.
Any help would be great!!