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Older Rescue Fluff--Suddenly Seizures & Tired Parents

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Hello everyone,

This will be my first post here on the forum, 
My boyfriend and I recently rescued an 8 year old husky fluff from a shelter. We've had him a little over a month (adopted August 2nd, 2018), and he has had 12 very severe and scary seizures with us, and one episode that we think was a *very* mild seizure, where he sniffled, sneezed, went limp, and was coming in and out of consciousness. He was surrendered with absolutely no medical records, so we had *no* idea what we were getting into, or that he was so old, because the shelter thought he was no older than 6. We've since been able to get them, and there's only one brief mention of seizures when he was 4 that didn't result in any follow-up, let alone diagnosis or prescriptions. I've had dogs before, and so has my boyfriend, but have never had to contend with seizures before. We have a preferred vet, who advocated the use of CBD oil for his also very severe seperation anxiety, which has also shortened the duration of the seizures from two and a half to almost 3 minutes to less than 2 minutes (it's progress in my eyes!,) the post-ictol phase where he is deaf, blind, and very weak is much shorter, and also the amount of time it takes for him to return fully to the goofy fluffball he is has significantly improved to just a couple of hours instead of several days. The only pattern we've recognized is that they only happen late Tuesday evenings and early (2:30am) Wednesday mornings, which is the dead-center of the work week, and we both wake up before 6am for work, and he looks spacey and sleepy the hours leading up to one. When we stay up with him until he relaxes and lays down after a seizure, we don't get -any- sleep, and if we try to go to sleep anyway, he will bark non-stop unless we are sitting up and staring at him. Sometimes he has just one a week, and other times, he'll have three of them within a 15 hour time frame. 

So I have 2 questions...

One--Does anyone else have experience with a similar situation? How do you get sleep? We want to sleep. We're so tired. If the answer is as simple as "suck it up," I can deal with that too.
Two--Could the heartbreak of being abandoned by the family he's lived with for eight years be the cause of this? Since this does not appear to have been an issue when he was abandoned, could this potentially be a temporary reaction to adjusting to his new family? His sniffling reminds me of the videos you see of sad dogs missing their owners when they pass or give them to shelters. You know what videos I'm talking about. 

If there's any information I'm missing that's vital, let me know. I'm just looking for opinions and input, not necessarily veterinary advice :)

 

Thanks for reading!

Thibideau the Husky, Sam (mom) and Derick (dad)

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Has he been tested for anything like epilepsy etc? 8 years old really isn't that old for a dog mine are nearly 9 and nearly 10 and still act and look like puppies so it doesn't seem like it would be an age issue , there's something underlying that needs to be found out imo

Sent from my [device_name] using http://Husky Owners mobile app

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BingBlaze n Skyla:

We brought him in to our vet after his first three seizures to make sure there wasn't anything underlying, like we accidentally fed him something he's violently allergic to, and his fluid work and everything all looks perfectly healthy. His medical records report him being consistently underfed, but he's a healthy weight now. Our vet said that there isn't any way for them to tell what's causing a seizure unless they are doing a neurological exam like an EEG while he's actively having a seizure, and doggies with epilepsy as bad as we've been experiencing -usually- start having episodes much younger than he is now, but it's definitely a possible and likely diagnosis if they can't find anything else, and then it's just management to make him comfortable. The only troubling thing in his medical records was a tissue mass/tumor of some kind where his nuts used to be that was found and removed when he was about 4 years old, but almost no mention of seizures except a small, footnote comment that he "may have had a minor seizure 3-4 months ago maybe," on a follow-up appointment for the tissue mass surgery in 2014, but no mention of them at all after that.
That's why I'm wondering if this could be an extremely emotional reaction to being abandoned by the family he lived with his whole life, and he's just having a hard time adjusting, since seizures can be triggered by rapid changes in brain activity, and if anyone else has seen a similar reaction in their huskies. 

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Any neurological exams ? Depending on his past he could have been abused (hit in the head) which could have caused a problem which stayed hidden until moments of stress etc like being put under anaesthetic

Sent from my [device_name] using http://Husky Owners mobile app

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First of all can I say how sorry I am for both you and your furbaby.   This might be a long post:

You might have a point about the stress of going to a new home.   We rescued my old dog Cane (who passed away 3 years ago around 14-15 years old) when he was around 9-10 – and everything seemed fine for a week or so  - until one day he attacked me for no reason in the park, breaking a finger and lacerating my hand.   A week or so later he attacked me again quite badly  after a play session with a ball  -  he just seemed to fixate on the ball – which I was holding and then charged at my hand and latched on to it and would not let go.     Cane never went for my other dog, my husband, and only once went for the cat – but I got there in time.   The rest of the time he was a lovely dog who  really did appreciate being fed regularly, walked and not being hit  (it was quite evident he had had a bad life before).  His previous owner had been put in prison and the dog removed from the household  - that’s all we were told.

It turned out he had focal epilepsy  -  and the vet thought it might be caused by the stress of being in kennels then a foster home and then to us.  He put him on epiphen and it really reduced the episodes  -   we got very good at recognising the signs of an approaching episode and quietly left him alone in a room until it had passed.

Fast forward to three years ago when Cane had just crossed over the bridge and I got a beautiful husky pup at 12 weeks old  -  and I was his fourth owner  -  no details of his past except a vaccination record card.  Marley had his first fit at around 10-12 months old from memory and they occurred approximately every month.    With him, he remains conscious throughout, but needs reassurance from me -  he looks like he has Parkinson’s during an episode which can last up to 3 mins at a time.   He has never had a fit when being excited or active -  they only ever occur at rest or when waking up from sleep.  

The vet did not want him on any drugs because at that age they would kill him in a couple of years  -  I just had to keep a record of frequency, duration and severity and contact the vet each time.  After much research  I contacted Doc Jones – an herbalist and vet in Idaho USA  (could not find one in the UK at the time) to ask about natural methods and whether skullcap would help  -  he said that he had had some success using powdered skullcap and passionflower – and gave me dosage amounts for his weight (22 kilos)   This really seemed to help for a few months – then Marley had 4 seizures in 12 days – 3 in 2 days -  two were consecutive and quite severe.

I started to research cbd and got hold of some and added it to his meals.   His next seizure was 67 days later  - over double the time he had ever gone before.   The next seizure came at 39 days.   Further research led me to cbd with THCA  -  the active part of cannabis that works on seizures specifically   -  unfortunately here in the UK it is illegal.   However I came across a cbd oil that contained .1% THCA  (legal)  and although this is a miniscule amount I changed Marley onto that cbd oil.  Over the next couple of weeks I increased the dosage to 4 drops per day with his meal.

His last seizure was on the 24th June  -  83 days ago.

My research leads me to believe you need a much higher THCA content than I am able to get here in the UK  but it might be worth having another word with your vet   -  your dog possibly has a pet medical CBD card – which will enable you to get a much stronger cbd oil than I am able to get my hands on because of our Draconian laws.

I put Marley onto cbd much against our vet’s liking – we had quite a ‘discussion’ about it, ................ however he cannot argue with the facts that Marley’s seizures have decreased dramatically.

From a Facebook group I belong to  it does not work for every dog and their particular condition  -  but it has got to be worth a try.

Fingers crossed for both of you.

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As to sleep   -   our other dog Lunar has doggie dementia  -  particular bad is his Sundowner syndrome  -  we cope by hubby going to bed around 7pm to get some sleep  -  I go to bed around midnight  - hubby gets up and then sleeps on the settee as best he can  until around 3-4am when he takes the dogs out to try and settle Lunar down.   Lunar cannot be trusted on stairs any more in case he falls, but panics if left alone, howls and whines all the time - even when we leave the light on all night for him.   He then sleeps all day (lucky dog)

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I have experience with epileptic pups as my youngest has had seizures since he was 1 1/2 years old.  The first time he had a seizure the vet put him on medications after he had 3 within a few days.  Now, he is on several meds and CBD oil and a special neurocare food.  He was maxed out on meds, and I wasn't seeing an improvement, but I have seen a dramatic improvement since CBD oil was started. 

With your pup, I would be concerned that if he does have  epilepsy it has never been controlled by meds.  If they have ruled out any poison and his bloodwork is fine, I would get a thyroid test as well. Mine had one and it was normal, but it was something that the vet said could be the cause.  It just wasn't the case with mine.  Another option would be an MRI, which was suggested to me when Yukons seizures kept getting worse, however I opted against it because it would put him under more stress and regardless of the results I would not change his treatment. 

I would just talk more with the vet and see what they think about putting him on meds to control them. 

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