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!!

Thank you,

Comments for Australian Shepherd Suffering Epilepsy?

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Aussie seizures
by: Lovemyaussies

Yes I have an Aussie with massive violent grand mall seizures. Five weeks ago she had 30 very violent in a 36hr period. I belong to Canine Epilepsy here on FB that's been a blessing. I've gained a lot of knowledge. You have to be patient with meds. It takes at least two weeks for them to kick in. When Fancy had to go to ER thank God she saw a different Dr. This Dr isn't a fan of pheno & lowered it to 34.2mg twice a day & added zonisamide 250mg twice a day. Keppra 500mg as a cluster drug which I haven't had to use thankfully. Her other Dr just kept increasing pheno & it obviously wasn't working. Feel free to private message me if you'd like. I've been going through this since Oct & Fancy just now turned two. Sheryl Tilley Rolin

"golf course"
by: jcrply

I'm sorry that I cannot comment about the epilepsy, but I had to comment on a phrase that concerned me. You said, "....Jackson spends his days happily chasing the geese of the golf course ...." A golf course has about the most toxic grass I could imagine. Unless your golf course is extremely unusual, they use a multitude of chemicals in large quantities, including pesticides and weed killers. A dog running on this in his "bare paws" is going to absorb some of the chemicals he touches. That can't be a good thing. You might want to GOOGLE the phrase "Insecticide Poisoning in Dogs" and take a look at the petMD article. It has a list of the symptoms.

Re- Insecticide Posioning
by: James

That what was my first thought, he must have gotten into something.. Even though he is kept inside during chemical applications that doesn't mean he is completely free from exposure. And although we only make about two insecticide applications on the course per year, that doesn't rule it out as a possibility.

If I could narrow it down and have him tested for specific toxins I would. I'll start with an MRI for neurologic damage and toxic levels of organophosphates and carbamates which we do use on the golf course. When I brought it up to the veterinarian she said he would have vomited and there would not have been multiple seizures which I disagree with but shame on me for not pushing and researching further. Thank you for the link I appreciate it.

Contrary to popular belief, golf courses are actually very clean. Water tests prove stream water is actually cleaner going off the property then when it enters the property. Natural plant provides phytoremediation for the site, and chemical applications residual life is generally not very long.

Granted, the potential for exposure is still high and I am happy you re-opened my eyes to something I put on the backburner.


Article with sources
by: Anonymous

This page has a whole posting (including sources) about ivermectin sensitivity, but also other drug interactions that are hazardous for MDR1 dogs. It might be worth it to see if your pup has the gene.

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