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post #1 of 11 (permalink) Old 07-17-2004, 02:20 PM Thread Starter
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Phenobarbital

I took Noel to the vet yesterday and her x-rays and blood work came back perfect which means she has epilepsy. The vet prescribed Phenobarbital but I have concerns about liver damage over long term use. The vet did mention this when she talked to me and said she is starting her out with a very low dosage because her seizures are not severe. I was reading about Pheno on another forum and the feedback was not positive. I plan on getting another opinion from another vet in IL but in the meantime do any of you happen to know anything more about this medication? I will do everything I possibly can to help Noel but I am afraid of possible liver damage.

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post #2 of 11 (permalink) Old 07-17-2004, 04:14 PM
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The choice of phenobarbitol maintainance is a tough and personal one. About 4 years ago, my vet and I discussed it to treat Maureen. We decided that the costs were greater than the benefits for the following reasons. Phenobarbitol can cause progressive liver damage, although due to lack of a gigantic chin study these effects are not entirely known. Depending on how the medicine is adminstered, the chin will have to be caged alone (We were going to put it in her water). Maureen did not exhibit symptoms often (less than once every six months) and only has had two prolonger seizure episodes which required emergency medical treatment in her entire life. Since the emergeny treatment is phenobarbitol or a similar drug, we decided to treat her only in the event of a prolonged episode.

But the upside is that phenobarbitol should prevent most future seizure episodes. I have heard of people using it as maintainance therapy for dogs for years.

Since her blood work is fine, she probably had idiopathic epilepsy (epilepsy with no apparent cause). Unfortunately, this is the hardest to understand and treat, because know one knows why it happens. It may be heritable. The other problem is I have only known of a couple of chins to have been diagnosed with it.

If you'd like to compare notes or talk, email me for my phone number. Also, (even though I should know this already) is Noel a black velvet, white, or mosaic? Where did you get her? It is possible that she is related to Maureen. Maureen's breeder went out of business before her diagnoses, and therefore never knew to stop breeding her parents. Since it is so rare, it is probable that none of Noels siblings have ever shown symptoms. Also, it may not be hereditary in her case at all (epilepsy can also result from head trauma).

Good luck and feel free to contact me.

Patti

Back in NC again! (Army wife and proud!)
Chinnies: Maureen, Max, and Muad'Dib
Cats: Daphne (who says, I only play with mousie toys with a string tail and a bell.)
And introducing: Tasselhof and Kittira (Hubbie's childhood cats, who are 10 and 9 repectively)
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post #3 of 11 (permalink) Old 07-18-2004, 04:19 PM Thread Starter
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Thank you Patti. One of the girls on another forum I belong to had a chinnie with epilepsy and she learned that if the animal does not have the Pheno administered, chemicals can build up in the brain which would create severe seizures and possibly paralysis and death. Because the dosage is so low I would rather have the seizures kept under control than have her getting worse. The only time Noel has the seizures is after she wakes up. I was supposed to ask the vet if it could have anything to do with hypoglycemia but forgot to ask because I was upset when I heard she has epilepsy. I will call the vet tomorrow and make sure that is not a possibility. The blood tests should have indicated that though.

Noel's medication would be given to her through a syringe and it would be a fruit flavoured medication. I hope she accepts it more readily that way.

Noel is a mosiac/vc and she was bred by me. Her father came from a breeder who is still in business and her chins are all healthy.

Patti, I will email you for your number and call you from work (it is free that way ).

Thanks again for your advice and support. It helps to talk to someone that has experience with the same problem.
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post #4 of 11 (permalink) Old 07-18-2004, 05:53 PM
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Glad to hear that things are improving for you. We'll talk more. I was interested, because Maureen's dad was a black velvet/vc and her mom was a mosaic. While they are probably not closely related, if the epilepsy is heritable, it may be attached to the color gene. Although, there is no real proof that epilepsy in chins is genetic in origin. It may simply be a mutation in certain individuals that then becomes heritable. Besides, Maureens parents would have to be 7-9 years old by now. It is just one of those weird coincidences.

Also, glad to hear that your breeder has all healthy little ones. Every healthy chin is a blessing.

Patti

Back in NC again! (Army wife and proud!)
Chinnies: Maureen, Max, and Muad'Dib
Cats: Daphne (who says, I only play with mousie toys with a string tail and a bell.)
And introducing: Tasselhof and Kittira (Hubbie's childhood cats, who are 10 and 9 repectively)
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post #5 of 11 (permalink) Old 07-18-2004, 06:46 PM
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I don't know anything about it's use in chins or any animals for that matter but I do know about it's use in humans...if that kind of info might be helpful to you let me know...My brother was on it for YEARS with his epilepsy.

Chin Mom to Lila, Skye, Ty, Rolex, Calypso, Lizzie, Jax, Sam, Sage, Lorenzo, Spitfire, Holly, Dylan, Leia, Punky, Kylie, Skylar, Jetta, Oreo, Emma, Forest, Georgie, Alexis, Picador and all the kits!
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post #6 of 11 (permalink) Old 07-19-2004, 06:25 AM
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This is all very intersting, Denise and Patti I would love to be kept informed on this as this kind of info could be well used for other's in the future, if that is okay with you both?


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post #7 of 11 (permalink) Old 07-19-2004, 08:10 AM
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No problem. The only thing worse than having a sick little one is not having a lot of information. So whatever people need. I have bloodwork for both of my chins (in which everything was normal for Maureen and Muad'dib had elevated liver enzymes), which is not only handy in this case, but also in that the vet provided me with a list of 'normal' levels. Also, I think that it is good that Denise and I are taking different approaches, because if Maureen's epilepsy gets worse as she ages, it may be necessary to put her on phenobarbitol maintainance.

Patti

Back in NC again! (Army wife and proud!)
Chinnies: Maureen, Max, and Muad'Dib
Cats: Daphne (who says, I only play with mousie toys with a string tail and a bell.)
And introducing: Tasselhof and Kittira (Hubbie's childhood cats, who are 10 and 9 repectively)
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post #8 of 11 (permalink) Old 07-25-2004, 08:34 AM
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My daughters poodle was on it for epilepsy. It totaly changed the dog's personality. She turned mean-truely a Cujo dog! Does it do the same for chins?
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post #9 of 11 (permalink) Old 07-26-2004, 08:13 AM
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Well, Maureen was always pretty crabby. The epilepsy made her a little more paranoid, but I think that's understandable. Other than that, I didn't notice any personality changes. In her son, I think the personality change is a little more noticable. He was pretty good-natured before he started having seizures. He's still pretty good natured, but he is more nervous. He didn't start 'barboring' (pulling out his hair) until after the seizures. I think it just makes them more stressed out, and maybe the dog relieves its stress by being mean.

Patti

Back in NC again! (Army wife and proud!)
Chinnies: Maureen, Max, and Muad'Dib
Cats: Daphne (who says, I only play with mousie toys with a string tail and a bell.)
And introducing: Tasselhof and Kittira (Hubbie's childhood cats, who are 10 and 9 repectively)
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post #10 of 11 (permalink) Old 08-04-2004, 10:20 PM Thread Starter
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Thought I would share an update. The medication has helped Noel tremondously. I haven't noticed her having any seizures and since I am currently not working, I am in the chin room 80% of the day (okay I have no life ) I haven't noticed any side affects from the meds either. Noel is still her energetic, comical, self. She also takes her meds like a lil trooper. Thank God for fruit flavoured meds!

Patti, I was going to call you from work but lost my job a couple of weeks ago. I can always contact you via email though.
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post #11 of 11 (permalink) Old 08-04-2004, 10:55 PM
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I'm glad to hear it's working well for her...Thanks! I needed to hear some positive news today

Chin Mom to Lila, Skye, Ty, Rolex, Calypso, Lizzie, Jax, Sam, Sage, Lorenzo, Spitfire, Holly, Dylan, Leia, Punky, Kylie, Skylar, Jetta, Oreo, Emma, Forest, Georgie, Alexis, Picador and all the kits!
Pittie Mom to Kali and Orion
Rattie Mom to Drake and Dumbo
Bunny Mom to Dutchie
Plain ole Mom to Zach, Brandon and Connor!
Come visit us at
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