First time posting here.
I adopted my dog in November of last year, so I am unfamiliar with his medical history. He had his first seizure while my mom was watching him for a week after Thanksgiving (end of November). Then, he had another seizure while I was home with my parents on Christmas Day.
He was good on the seizures until last Sunday (again, we were at my parents), and then he had another one this morning (a week in between seizures this time). This is the FIRST time in 4 seizures that he has had one at my house.
Now, when he is at my parents house, he eats the food that my mom feeds her dogs (which includes t/d Hill’s Prescription Diet for dental health). When he is at my house, I feed him Blue Buffalo Freedom Grain-Free. HOWEVER, he had his teeth cleaned on Monday (the day after the seizure before last), and the vet recommended I switch him to Hill’s t/d Prescription Diet for Dental Health. I just began giving him this food as his main food (replacing the grain free Blue Buffalo) on Friday of this week (3 days before seizure).
My question is this: Could his seizures be related to the food? It seems like that to me, but I’m not sure. He has had a full blood work up and has no signs of epilepsy, so if he does have epilepsy, it is idiopathic in nature.
I’m no vet or expert, but I feel seizures can be caused by the food. Go to dogtorj.com and read about it. He has some good info. on there about seizures and what to feed. Remember that other illnesses can cause seizures, as well. What has your vet said? It seems kinda weird to me that they did a dental the day after he had a seizure and didn’t say anything about it at all?
Usually they diagnose epilepsy by figuring what else the seizures are not, if they can’t find anything else then it’s epilepsy. It would have to be a pretty toxic food for it to be the cause of the seizures, HOWEVER it is common for food to be the trigger for seizures. Seizures are usually threshhold events. If your dog is far below their threshhold they won’t have a seizure, but if they are close to their threshhold then it is easy to push them over their threshhold and they seizure. No matter why your dog is seizuring or how often, getting toxins and chemicals out of his environment is the best way to keep him under his threshhold. That means all natural foods, no cleaning chemicals, air fresheners, scented candles, pesticides, fertilizers, etc. Good luck!
Hi, guys! Thanks for the replies–
Actually, when I got home from work, I was fairly certain he had had another seizure. And then, despite being totally normal & playing with his toy, I decided to check on him before I hopped in the shower, and sure enough, he was having a seizure on my couch. But, different than normal– less shaking, more paralyzed? That’s the best way I know how to describe it. Lots of drooling, and stumbling (he hasn’t really stumbled after any of the other seizures).
So, I called the vet & left a message, and got an appointment with them this afternoon (since that was basically 3 in one day). I asked her about the food and air freshener, and she said absolutely not, that it wasn’t those things. I’ve unplugged the air freshener, and also I’ve just decided to go ahead and stick with the grain free. Because, despite what MY vet said, I’ve read online accounts of people saying that their vet has told them that food w/ grain in it.
That being said, she wants to start him on seizure meds, since he had so many within 24 hours. Not really ideal, because I wanted to keep him off meds. But, we’ll see. She is going to start him on Potassium Bromide, a loading dose of that, and then once a day, every day.
I’m upset, but she told me that she’s seen dogs not have any seizures for months, and then all of a sudden have a seizure and die. So, it’s better than him dying. 🙁
Still waiting on the results of the blood test & urinalysis though.
She did perform neurological tests on him, and said he was a little slow on the uptake. 🙁 Don’t know if that could be related to epilepsy or not.
Thanks again for all of your responses– if you have any other advice about Potassium Bromide or seizures in general, please don’t hesitate!
Oh, and I asked before the dental to make sure he would be okay, and what they use pre-surgery is valium, which prevents seizures… I was nervous about it, but all the preparations (2 hour drive, time off work, etc.) had been made, and everything went smoothly.
See if you can find the video on Mercola dot com where Dr Becker is talking about seizures. If I have time later, I’ll look for the link.
I know a little bit about seizures as I have had two dogs, a Bernese Mountain Dog and a Golden Retriever that did not live together and both had seizures. The Golden we bought as a puppy after the first Berner female died. I did a lot of research on the breeds and the issue of seizures. Bernese Mountain Dogs are prone to seizures as they age, Goldens are not. And no one knows what that means, prone to, or why. We believe that initially, the Berner had a brain tumor or cancer that travelled to her brain. I was using a regular vet who just put her on anti seizure meds that really didn’t help. No seizures, no personality, she only lived a month after we put her on the meds. As a puppy she never had seizure, therefor, we knew that she was not epileptic. Epilepsy is diagnosed before or around two years of age. The Golden was having seizures that were probably unrelated to his diagnosis, osteo-carcenoma (bone cancer) which he got at nine. He actually lived another year after he was diagnosed- usually the diagnoses is six months. Since he lived way beyond his prescribed “end”, probably because I was cooking human grade food, and because of the attention he got from his family, at his last visit to the vet they believed that perhaps tumors form elsewhere in his body may have metastasized to his brain. He got real bad real fast only in his last ten days. So I think the food was a big part of lengthening his life, making him happy and giving him the best quality nutrition, and sometimes there is just nothing else you can do. Heavy meds do not make a happy dog. He died Spring of 2015. My current Bernese Mountain Dog (unrelated, but from the same breeder as the other dog) has had four unpredictable seizures in the last year and a half. I thought at first that it might have been from the dry food because of the Golden’s seizures. I got rid of the enormous cookies (Pro-Pet) we got from Agway with our grain and hay deliveries. The dogs liked coming to the barn and chowing down on big bones. Its very odd though, his blood work was good, especially for a 9 year old Berner. My vet is a holistic vet, who gives our dogs (we have a Wheaten too) supplements to help them maintain an effective system. (Like vitamins). They are also regular vets that give shots and operate, and they absolutely believe that foods can be toxic to pets. Especially poor brands of pet food. (Look at what the first ingredient is on the label). HOWEVER, more toxic are the many unnecessary shots that they give. Really. The puppy shots and rabies (every several years depending on the dogs age) are necessary, but there are many other shots that you can ask your vet to omit. In addition, you are worried about cleaning products? If you’re okay, your dog should be okay, but you never know. I think that lawn products, stuff on the sidewalk, stuff that your dog can lick off his paws and get sick from are real problems. I am trying to find out if any of the dry foods I feed them have caused seizures or something else. The now get Merrick and Blue, and Blue Dog Bakery biscuits. Has anyone said anything about Milk Bone? (I think the UPS delivery guys give them Milk Bone when the drop boxes off). But really, I find it easy to cook for them, making chicken or fish for the family, I just make extra. We also have chickens so they get a lot of eggs, those small carrots, peas, cooked yams, apples, and even plain yogurt. If you know where it came from and if your eating it yourself its safe. Allergies are another story. I hope this helped a little bit… And please, if anyone discovered more about this bizarre and mysterious seizure conundrum, or about the dog foods and treats I listed above, please post!!
I know this post is a few years old but I wanted to add my experience. As we all search for answers, maybe a pattern will emerge! I have an 12 year old wheaten who has had seizures for the past 18 months. We have been giving her phenobarb with moderate success. She never goes longer than a month without seizures but generally only has one every 3-4 weeks. Mostly, but as the budget allows, she now eats a commercial frozen raw brand with occasional dry as a substitute/supplement or for convenience when we travel. A month ago, I replaced her raw food with a new dry food. After two days on the new food, she had a three days full of seizures every 10-12 hours. Disclaimer-this was two days past her 4 week mark of being seizure free so ONE seizure at this time wasn’t unexpected. I quit that food immediately. But neither the vet nor I really believed it could affect her seizures so much. Fast forward three weeks of continuing on the raw frozen again and no more seizures. I hadn’t thawed out enough for this past Saturday’s complete meal so I supplemented with a SMALL portion of the dry food (yes, the previously mentioned new dry food). Six hours later, she had two seizures within 15 min of each other, then a third two hours later. At this point, I took her to the ER, fearing the speed at which this was escalating. Within four hours, she’d had two more, one of which was violent enough to scare the vet tech. After 5 seizure free hours, they gave her some food -one of the Hills prescription canned-. She had a seizure within an hour. After a few more hours, they fed her. She had a seizure within an hour. After a few more hours, they fed her……She had a seizure within an hour. And yes, this trend wasn’t noticed until the third round, even though I noted it after the First feeding. But that’s another story. So……..I am firmly convinced that yes, food can be a GIANT seizure trigger. Like another reply said, probably not a whole cause (but really, who knows?), but most definitely something that can put them over that seizure threshold. I’m trying to determine why said foods are doing that. The two foods don’t share any main ingredients. The dry food is supposedly a high quality food. However, I’m discovering that pea proteins are fast taking over the “high quality”, grain free world of dog food. And even though meat is the main ingredient, we can’t discount how much of the protein content is coming from sources other than the meat. Dogtor J has a theory on food and seizures I’m interested in. Hindsight being 20/20, I’d also like to add that a couple of months prior to her very first seizure, we’d been trying new dog foods because a)she was suddenly hungrier than she had been….after years of eating the same amount and being satisfied and b) her skin issues were no longer being held at bay. Perhaps our dog food’s formula had changed? It was a chicken/chickpea formula I settled on to aid with her skin flareups. Or maybe that formula didn’t change, but instead her body just couldn’t process it anymore. Or maybe the hunger obsession is indicative of a brain lesion/tumor, although that doesn’t explain the seizures that immediately followed certain meals. My gut tells me her seizures are related to her gut…..not necessarily as easy as eating better food (we haven’t found a magic answer there yet) but even due to some disorder or malfunction that’s keeping her body from processing correctly……but I believe her ongoing interest(read obsession) in food (she’s been known to eat her own poop during some of her hunger phases) is related to the seizure puzzle. For what it’s worth, we’ve returned home and had a few meals of her raw food with no additional seizures.
And if you could share any info about the past few years I would be grateful……
Millicent, I’ve had a similar experience as yours though probably not as dramatically obvious. I have a cat with feline hyperesthesia syndrome and dry food triggers violent outbursts; he self-attacked himself to the point of bleeding and removing dry food from his diet completely has dropped the episodes. Occasionally he’ll flare up; a chiropractic adjustment or acupuncture does the trick. I have no idea why he has this or what causes(d) it, but I’m just glad I’ve found a link to help keep the episodes down and keep him from being a bloody and miserable mess. Best to you and your pup.
Per the search engine. Hope this helps: https://www.dogfoodadvisor.com/forums/search/idiopathic+seizures/
Seizures in canines are often idiopathic (unknown cause) and genetic. It’s neurological. Like a brainstorm that will occur at certain intervals, of course sensitivities could trigger, things like thunderstorms can lower the seizure threshold.
Probably best to avoid unnecessary additives and chemicals and make sure the dog is getting adequate exercise.
If he has more than 1 seizure a month the vet will advise medication, this is necessary and will help him.
Uncontrolled seizures can lead to brain damage, not to mention the suffering and confusion the dog experiences.
I had a dog with seizures that lived to old age on a daily low dose of phenobarbital. Listen to your vet regarding diet recommendations, I didn’t avoid any particular foods. However, a simple ingredient food might make sense. I like Nutrisca Salmon and Chickpea
Also, ask your vet about a rabies vaccine waiver, he may qualify, if he is diagnosed with a neurological disorder.
I had a dog that lived to be 18, and it developed seizures after it turned 17. They’d happen every other month or so, and would get worse, until they’d happen several times a week. I was told by the vet that it was due to old age, which I’m not gonna argue with, because the dog was indeed very old, but based on a couple of the symptoms, I suspect that the dog might have contracted canine distemper, which according to Wikipedia can also lead to seizures.
I thought I would share our experience. My dog Widgit started having seizures around age 3. The Vet said there was no particular cause and it is just epilepsy. We delt with the seizures for about three years. They were getting worse and we were on the verge of putting her on medication based on the vets recommendation. Then we noticed a pattern with certain treats we were giving the dogs. We had tried different foods over the years , and Widgit was a picky eater. We decided to get the best food we could and switched again. It has been over a year without a single seizure! I’m not saying that diet is a cure or that it will work in all situations, but I can say for a fact that dog food and treats were a trigger and maybe a cause for my dogs seizures, and better food and no processed and flavored treats have changed her life. The funny part was once we fed her her current food she loved it and gobbled it down. So her pickyness was probably just her not wanting to eat because it made her feel bad. A high quality diet without junk made all the difference for us, and I recommend changing your dogs diet for the better if they are affected by seizures, and to look for patterns associated with changes. Keep a seizure log, we did for three years and it was helpful. Like I said, once we switched food after seeing the pattern, Widgit’s seizures immediately stopped and she hasn’t had one. Good luck
- This reply was modified 1 year, 6 months ago by The guy who throws the ball.
I would be very interested in knowing the dog food you fed and then switched to.
We have a 6 year old labradoodle. She had a seizure 2 years ago and then nothing. Four weeks ago she had another seizure and yesterday another. They were pretty mild, lasted 2-3 minutes – but they are not the violent kind where she loses control of her bladder or has clenched jaw. I read somewhere that rosemary is a trigger in terms of food, and sure enough, one of her treats had rosemary in them. I took those away after the second seizure. When we initially took her to the vet they told us there was nothing they could do, it was pretty common, as long as she wasn’t getting them all the time we shouldn’t be too concerned. They did not recommend any medication unless she was getting them all the time. Since she went so long with nothing happening, we almost forgot about it until last month. I haven’t really seen a specific dog food recommended and hoped someone could share their experience with that? Also, she almost exclusively likes chicken, which she has fresh a lot of the time. Thank you
We have a Beagle that just turned 6 on 2/5. About 2 years ago, he would have an occasional seizure. They weren’t too bad. Thought maybe it could be Heartguard. Took any dog food or treats that Rosemary Extract out of his diet. BUT on 11/30/2017, he had seizures that were every hour…grand mal. Horrible thing to see your baby go through. The vet started him on Keppra. After two weeks, he had a very mild seizure. On Christmas morning at about 2am he had 3 grand mals in less than a hour and we were at vet emergency by 3am. On the way there, he had another. He stayed in ICU for a couple of days (until he was seizure free) and we brought him home. His Keppra was increased and we were given an emergency package of diazepam to administer rectally. He had a small breakthrough seizure on 1/11. The vet added Phenobarbitol. On 2/10, he started having seizures that morning every hour again. Took him to the vet and he had another at the vet. The vet added another medication of Zonisamide. This medication didn’t stop anything (it would take at least a week to get in his system to help him) but were given more diazepam to get him through this spell. We stayed up all night with him while he had grand mal seizures every hour. That morning we were back in the ER with him. He had another seizure while they were examining him and they were going to keep him in ICU. He also had another seizure while they were taking x-rays. We have him back now. His phenobarbitol has been increased and he stays on Keppra. They removed the Zonisamide. It’s hard to imagine this happy guy goes through these horrible episodes. They are so violent. I believe that if I can get him on the right diet, it will help him. I’m not really sure about ‘vet recommended’ food, since they love to push Science Diet. Since his release, I have been feeding him chicken (cooked), carrots, sweet potatoes, he’s not a fan of green beans. I am worried about him getting all the proper nutrients that he needs. I would like to try The Honest Kitchen. It looks like something that would be good for him and he would like it. We did a very very brief episode of the raw diet. But he just sniffs it, backs away, and looks at me like “yeah right. You’ve got to be kidding me…THAT’S not cooked.” He doesn’t eat store bought treats unless they are fresh. His treats are homemade. Tried Orijen. Made him extremely bloated, miserable, and he could clear a room! I am also looking at trying Fromm’s Gold. Just wondering if anyone has tried The Honest Kitchen or Fromm’s Gold…or anything that helped their furbaby. Thanks!
My dog has seizures when she eats carrots.
Regarding food we have fed our dogs and are feeding them now, I don’t want promote any specific brand. I think that this may be specific to each dog and what affects my dog won’t necessarily have the same effect on other dogs. But we had tried a few different foods as mentioned. Of the foods we tried Purina Beneful was one, Kirkland brand foods, and a few others I believe. We finally settled on Blue Buffalo chicken and brown rice. Our dogs are fat so we give them the healthy weight version in the yellow bag. Blue gets some negative publicity, but it has changed my dogs life without a doubt. there may be plenty of other brands that would do the same for Widgit, but we are unwilling to treat her like a guinea pig and possibly cause more seizures. Its pretty terrible watching your pet go through that and not know what to do, and then later put all the pieces together and find out they were trying to tell you in their own way (being a picky eater in our case). It is going on almost 2 years now with out a seizure after years of suffering to the point we were about to start her on medication. Bums me out just thinking about it.
Hi first let me apologise for the long post post but I felt a bit of background info was needed.
I have a golden retriever who will be 7 in May and since he was two and half years old has been having seizures. He was investigated by Neurologists as they started to become more frequent and the medication he was initially placed on wasn’t having any effect. He was found to have diffuse lesions over his brain, they weren’t able to biopsy as they were small and diffuse, and they put this down as a cause for the seizures.
Over the years he has been on various drugs which were increased and for the last few years has been on pheno, bromide and keppra with rectal diazepam for clusters.
His longest GM seizure free period was 6 weeks, but he still had complex partial ones every night lasting a minute or two, but he became so sedated and his drug levels were high that they reduced the meds. The GM’s returned to weekly, so they increased his pheno again which had little effect in fact no effect. He has been fed on Royal Canin in various forms since almost the start of his disease. However in February 2019 we were away visiting relatives and I ran out of his food, so rather than having to transport a large bag back home I gave him human grade food, which consisted of fresh salmon, rice, and vegetables (carrots, kale, and celery).
I didn’t get the chance to order his food on arrival home as it was a long and difficult journey. I was also back to work the next day, so he remained on the home-made diet (meat or fish with fresh raw vegetables).
It came as a shock and surprise to find that he wasnt suffering his nightly partials. This carried on for several days, each night I was waiting for the partials which were worse than GM’s in that he entered into a fear/flight response but with blindness but they never came, neither did his GM’s !!!!!!
It has now been over three weeks and he hasnt had any sign of a seizure, which after almost 5 years it quite shocking !!!!
I researched the raw diet, but have been reluctant to try it as he hasn’t been vaccinated since he started with seizures (I have titre levels done, to monitor his antibody levels).
I have even reduced his pheno as his recent blood test came back with high levels, and have also by complete accident, missed his nightly keppra on a couple of occasions.
This has been a truly very strange, but happy period although I am still waiting in anticipation of his next seizure, as I have lived my life for so long dealing with this aweful disease.
I find it almost unbelievable to have a ‘seizure-free’ dog for almost a month !! He has even started playing with his toys again like a puppy which is a delight.
I can only say this is my experience and can’t say it was his Royal Canin diet that gave him the seizures but it is pretty convincing.
I hope my story helps as seizures are the worst thing to experience for both animal and owner. X
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