Thursday, December 1, 2011

Epilepsy seizures in dogs lasting over 1 hour long

Months two, three and now four have passed us by. Time has been instrumental in getting Capone settled into the family. He is truly a "member of the family" now.

It has been over 24 hours since he had a grand mal or Status Epilepticus seizure which last over 1 hour and 30 minutes. This happened  yesterday early in the morning about 4 am. While he has been on Phenobarbital 1/2 grain (32 mg) (1.5 tablets 2 x  day) it has not been effective at controlling his seizures. After the severe Gran Mal seizure followed by a series of small seizures he went into a coma and I was able to get him to the vet who started him on IV fluids. He was given Valium (apparently that prevents seizures) and the vet brought forth the topic of putting him down if needed.

I asked the vet "How long do we wait until we know he is out of the woods?" To which she replied "24 to 48 hours. perhaps I spoke too soon."

I thought to myself, 'yeah, '. "Let's wait", I said.

Well, in Alabama the vets send us elsewhere to have our dog watched overnight, that being said, we transported Capone to the Emergency overnight clinic and noticed that the charges were high ~ $140 to stay overnight with an upward range of $ 400. But had to pay the bill as we wanted our dog watched overnight and do not have the meds and supplies to do so ourselves at home.

My husband and I just walked into the Emergency after hours clinic this morning, the vet there happily told us he had recovered and was awake!  We were preparing ourselves for the worst. Wow, miraculous recovery! It was a shock to see him, alert, chewing on his catheter (they had to change it) and we took him to the local vet yet again.

I just got off the phone with the vet, seems there are alternatives to Phenobarbital, when it is not enough to control his seizures. So, he is starting on Potassium Bromide (appears to be a very stable drug which has been used for epilepsy in dogs in the past). Loading the drug into the dog for 7 days (that means we give it to him 2 X's a day then taper off to 1 X a day. Not sure why he was begun on Phenobarbital if Potassium Bromide exists and does not affect the liver or cause liver damage. But the good news is - there are other drugs which these dogs can take to control seizures. We now know the following:

  1. If your dog's seizure lasts more than 5 minutes call the vet
  2. If the seizure is longer than 1 hour, spray him with water to protect his brain as his temperature will increase and call the vet or after hours care
  3. If the goes into coma after a seizure it is to protect the dog
  4. Severe attacks will cause brain damage, may affect the dog, and post phase waiting after a severe attack will take 24 - 48 hours to see if the dog recovers. So wait it out!

Second attack I have seen, glad I asked questions!

Going to run a few errands, pick up some Valium gel (apparently good thing to keep at home when the epilepsy attacks are severe, but it is expensive, like 100 dollars per syringe and we have found it helps to have 2 syringes on hand) it helps stop them  - then pick up the dog! 


  1. Hi there...we rescued a deaf Sankt Bernhard and raised him like a "normal" problem, but when he was 18 months old he developed Epilespy....Now two years laterm we have tried all dogs medicaments and human medicaments against epilepsy. Absolutely no result - and no side effects too. We are searching for an explanation, and was wondering, if there is a connection between being born deaf and developing epilepsy.....Perhaps the epilepsy is just a symptom. Hanve you checked something like that - og heard abour it?
    Lars, Denmark

  2. Hi Lars,
    I have wondered about the connection as well. Epilepsy is an neurological brain disorder, in my dogs case it was caused by a Tumor. I asked his neurologist about inbreeding in pure bred dogs and designer dogs, she told me it is contributing factor but there is an actual cause for it which is different for each case. So, in other words...not a definitive yes or no.

    Capone was on phenobarbitol, we tried potassium bromide. I kept a log of his seizures, Valium was kept on hand so I could give to him when they lasted longer than 5 mins. I monitored his triggers in the log.

    Hope this helps!


    1. One more thing, Idiopathic epilepsy was vets term for epilepsy attacks before age 6, I remember. Capone, had suspected epilepsy which as you read the blog got much worse as Time progressed. The foster parents did not ever see him expereince a seizure but he was on meds when we got him, we did not see seizures unless he got agitated which was his trigger. Later other triggers were noticed. Veterinarian suspected he was born with epilepsy?!

      So, Perhaps it may be an underlying symptom....



thanks for sharing!