9 year old pug and seizures

Hi there. My poor girl, Daisy, had her second ever seizure tonight. I’ll do my best to explain but please be kind- I’m quite upset. She’s my soul mate. She’s literally saved my life more than once.

She 9 and has been an otherwise very healthy and active pug. She’s not a fatty, her teeth aren’t great but we always take care of those every year to year and a half.

But the seizures. The first one was at the end of May this year. At first it started with the classic pug noise when they aren’t breathing right. She then went stiff with vacant eyes. What scared me the most is her gums were so pale. I admit I tossed caution aside and preached into her mouth just in case. She also had some leg paddling and he neck did arch back. Total this lasted 30-45 seconds. She didn’t lost bladder or bowel control. She was confused for a short time after but bounced back quickly.

The vet said we can watch her and if she has another one go from there. He lipase was elevated when we did labs the morning after and I had an abdominal ultrasound done just in case. He lipase isn’t normally elevated.

No true seizures for awhile since the first. Sometimes she’d just act NQR but nothing I felt a very could pinpoint.

This evening she had another seizure. Same breathing noise and vacant eyes. She did lose control of her bowels and bladder this time. Thankfully the seizure was short, 10-15 seconds tops.

She got a bath to clean her up and her behavior was back to normal. I put her in the crate to clean the bed and she voiced her normal protests.

So all this to say, can anyone with an older dog share experiences with late onset seizures? I’m glad we have gone 6 months in between incidents but I realize this can always change. Meds pros/cons? With MRIs costing so much in NoVA has anyone done them? Any advice or ideas are welcome! Daisy is my little soul mate and my service dog. She doesn’t work much anymore but when I was so sick she was a life saver. I would be anything I could for her to keep her happy and healthy.

As of now she’s with me 24/7 unless I need to go to the barn or the hospital. I feel pretty sure that I haven’t missed any other seizure activity.

We have had many pugs, two of which had seizures. One started at about two years of age, we controlled them with phenobarbitol daily. Occasionally the dose must be adjusted, and they like to check liver and kidney functions about once a year. We have a rescue that we got at age three after having her 1-2 years she started having seizures. We started the phenobarb and have had to increase the dose twice in the last 18 months, but they seem to control them quite well, with no apparent (outward) side effects. It is horrible to have to watch them have one, and our little Pia is disoriented and super needy for about 20 minutes afterward, which means if it’s at night your sleep is toast. See your vet. There is no need to do expensive scans just for seizures, but again see your vet. This can be dealt with and she can live many more years ! The phenobarb is not terribly expensive either. We adore our pugbutts and have spent many dollars on their issues, but wouldn’t trade them for the world!

Thank you for the input. She saw the vet the next day after the seizure and I have a call in to them today. The poor vets here are so booked up it is hard to get in. Obviously I’d take her to the ER if needed.

I guess my worry is that it is unusual for older dogs to develop epilepsy so of course I think brain tumor. She’s been fine otherwise though.

Pugs are such wonderful little creatures and I don’t know what we’d do without our girls. Her sister is a year and a half and just the purest little soul
I’ve ever met. Poor little thing has to have surgery on her luxating patalla earlier this year. She spent 3 months attached to me on the leash. Day and night. Talk about making a pandemic puppy even needier! Lol. She runs around on that bum leg like nothing ever happened.

I agree that it is probably not epilepsy if the seizures did not start until age 9. Typically idiopathic epilepsy is diagnosed up to the age of 4, but not after.

But a brain tumor isn’t the only possible issue; there are other potential issues that can cause seizures other than brain tumor. So I wonder if there are other diagnostics that can help identify a cause. E.g. elevated lipase - is that because of the seizure or possibly the cause of the seizure?

Any chance of toxins from outside?

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I spoke with her vet this afternoon and they said we are kinda at the middle ground. If she has another seizure she should be started on meds and seen by neurology. Or I can just take her to neuro now. They’d likely do more labs, mri and a spinal tap.

They didn’t think the elevated lipase was anything but a fluke. It did return to normal when retested in a few weeks. She also never acted like she had pancreatitis. But I’ll for sure ask neuro when I speak with them.

I’m pretty much with her all day except when I go
to the barn. When I’m gone she’s in the crate. I can’t see her getting into any toxins. Outside she does her business and doesn’t ever pick anything up. She wants her treat when she’s done.

This pug…. I’ve got her a special spot made in the middle of the bed. Extra pillows, blankets, the works.

My now-8yo boxer started having seizures at around 6yo - Grand mal, collapsing, paddling, tongue thrusting, arching, urinating, lasting around a minute, with an extended post ictal period of roaming, crying and anxiety. These started with about six months between seizures, and we were in denial until he was having them every two weeks.

Our vet’s strategy was to start him on seizure meds after some initial blood work (no MRI or other searching for tumor, etc.). Rightly or wrongly, this has worked out for him. After an initial false start with zonisamide, which didn’t control his seizures sufficiently, he is now on phenobarb, and typically has a very mild seizure once every six+ weeks (remains standing, around 20 seconds of head shaking, then emerges with a barely any roaming, crying or anxiety. Our vet’s metric for success is a seizure no more than once a month with significantly reduced length and severity of seizure, so he is there. His diagnosis is idiopathic epilepsy based on his blood and chemical work and the fact that the phenobarb is working.

His medicine costs about 25$ a month with a GoodRX coupon. He takes it twice a day, twelve hours apart. The first week on phenobarb was rough, he could barely walk, he was so out of it. That side effect resolved and now his only side effect is drinking excessively.

Good luck with your baby. I resisted the idea that we had a dog with epilepsy for a while and that was much more difficult than just pulling the trigger and getting the diagnosis and medication.

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Thank you for sharing, Ponyboy. I’m sorry your boxer has gone through this as well. If I’m being totally honest, I hope it is epilepsy. With her normal labs (other than the lipase) that were done after the first seizure and lack of other findings I go to worst case and it being something untreatable.

The plan for now is to watch her and if she has another one to start her on meds. I’m thankful that I’m with her the majority of the time so I’d likely catch it if it happens.

Obviously all of us here love our creatures, big and small. I know the stress and heartache are part of the deal but I wish it wasn’t so! We have the two pugs, three cats and the horse. So I feel like someone is always getting into something. But I couldnt do life without them. Daisy has been enjoying all the extra attention. (As if she wasn’t spoiled enough already.) I’d take her to the barn but she’s anti equine… we can hardly watch Yellowstone in this house without her telling us how she feels about them.